29 April 2013

Male Readers (Part Two)

After writing this post, I have had some good conversations about it.  Mostly, I must admit, with other women.  What can I say?  I don't have many male friends.  The only one that is written down is a comment from "G" and it's pretty good (especially the things he says about Uneasy Fortunes, just heads up).  So, I hope it's all right "G", I'm reposting it here:

I am a guy and I seldom ever read a book, but am a veracious reader often reading articles, news stories, facebook posts, blogs, and emails. 

I did once start a book club at work to motivate myself to finish a book and get great recommendations (half the club were men). So I know that men and book clubs are not mutually exclusive.

The only romance novel I have ever read is your book, and I was pleasantly surprised - I enjoyed it very much. While it has opened me up to the genre, I must admit to reading no others since except the snippets of particular romance books that my wife makes me read to 'get me in the mood' :)

I am not sure I have ever considered some reads too girly - If I trust the recommender I will try most anything.

Thank you so much for commenting and adding to the discussion.  

After thinking about this for some time, I have to come to the conclusion that I was mistaken.  I was thinking as a novel reader.  My husband reads every bit as much as I do, but his reading isn't lumped together in a cohesive story, it's as "G" said, in articles, websites, etc.  In fact, he calls his reading "research". In talking to other women, they say much the same thing about their husbands, brothers and sons.  So, perhaps the issue isn't that men don't read, it's that they read differently than women do.

And since I'm a lover of differences in all shapes and sizes, I must say, Vive la difference!  Because it isn't about men reading differently, it's about them reading at all.  

22 April 2013

For Unabashed Male Readers

I went to book club, as I do occasionally.  We were talking about a book I particularly enjoyed, "Okay For Now."  As part of the discussion, I thought of something I read on Shannon Hale's blog some time ago about how there aren't as many male readers as female readers.  According to Ms. Hale, (Ooo, just hearing that name in my head made me think of the movie "North and South" with Richard Armitage.  *sigh*  It's so romantic.) much of the reason boys don't read as much is because it's taboo for them to be seen reading a "girl" book.  On the other hand, it's perfectly fine for a girl to be seen reading a "boy" book.

I brought that up at this book club.  I was happy to hear the librarian of the group say that she wasn't sure she agreed.  There is a series of fairy books.  All have pink or purple covers with glitter on them.  Each story is about a different fairy, like the Horse Fairy, or the Sports Fairy, or the Rainbow Fairy, or the Astronaut Fairy (I'm actually not sure on the last Fairy, but I wouldn't put it past them).  Our Club Librarian said that she would get mostly boys asking for these books.  Of course, girls read them, but the boys were the ones who came back and back and back.

Speaking as a mother of a nine year old son, I have to throw my hands in the air in indecision.  My son certainly wouldn't read a book if someone told him it was girly.  But he has read "The Secret Garden" just because he wanted to.  He mostly likes adventure (he's reading the Deltora books right now) or non-fiction war/weapons books.  But he is a reader.  He's the kind that will stay in bed all morning reading, if I let him.  We have read together as a family.  Lots of books.  Books like "Heidi". He has never once complained about a book being too girly. (I just asked him if he's ever read a girly book and he said, "No.  Or yes."  I asked which one.  And he replied, "I don't remember.")

I have noticed that men will rarely admit to having read a romance.  Or there's rarely a man who does. But go ahead and ask how many have read Tom Clancy or Louis L'Amour.  Also, if a man classifies himself as a reader, it's a solo activity.  I can't think of any man I've ever met that has been part of a book club.  Can you?

I'd be happy to be wrong about any of this.  I'm just spouting.  So, call me out on it, if you feel I need it.

For those of us who might find it useful, here's a website: Guys Read.

15 April 2013

I Heart Yard Sales

My kids and I tumbled into the car Saturday morning and went for a hike, even though it was kinda chilly.  We hiked to this:

Around here, this is iconic.  Y Mountain.  It was originally supposed to have three letters up there B and Y and U, but it took so much effort to get the Y there, that they never finished the other two.  There's a switchbacked trail with 11 turns (there are signs announcing which turn you're on and how long to the next one).  I think it's sissified.  They may as well pave the thing and set golf carts up it.  But my personal feelings aside, it is a good gage to see how fit you are for other summertime hikes.  If you don't pause at every turn you can work up a good sweat, but with two of my three kids wanting to take breathers, I bowed to the pressure and we stopped regularly.  (As a side note: my middle child was as annoyed by the pauses as I was.  I don't like interruptions when I have a goal in my sights.  I think he just wanted to get the hike over with.)

We got to the Y in less time than I thought we would.  My kids are troopers.  I attribute it to the hill we had to climb to get to our house in Wellington. (In fact, hiking to the Y was much like that, but longer.)

When I say this is a sissified hike, what I mean is that it's overused.  It's too civilized.  Not that it's only for sissies.  It's a pretty good incline.  Some amazingly lunged people even run up and down the trail, which I think would count as superhuman.  But as a hike, in nature, it leaves something to be desired.

My favorite part of the day though, was after the hike.

All sweaty and grimy, we drove back home, and on the way passed a humoungo yard sale.  Some sort of fundraiser for a high school baseball team, but I don't really care about that.  What I care about, was that I got to fill bags and bags full of nice clothes and I paid less for the whole thing than I would have for ONE item of clothing in a store.

I freely and fully admit my tightfistedness.  I am a cheapskate.

But how can I deny myself when it makes me so, so happy?

Bless you yard salers.  And bless this delightful season.

05 April 2013

My Night.

We got a babysitter last night, and that in and of itself is noteworthy.  We hardly ever go anywhere exclusive enough that the kids can't come.  Nor do we often want to bother family members to mind our children because we're too cheap to actually PAY someone to do it.  So, yes, we got a babysitter.

I got in my favorite long, long skirt that makes my legs looks twelve feet long when I wear heels, and my goldy cardigan.  My husband reminded me how much I like looking at him by donning dockers and a blue dress shirt with his favorite tie.  So, all spiffed up, we went to a golf course in Orem, Utah.

Once in the club house, a sign saying "Cedar Fort Author Appreciation Dinner" pointed us in the direction we were to go.  We wrote our names on stickers and stuck them on a place we usually try to divert attention from.  We sat at a table with an author who's been in the business for a couple of decades, Janeen Baadsgaard, and her husband.  Their last name is one of my secret vanities: I can spell it.  Their son set Mark and I up on our first date.  So, we chatted.

Then I spied her.  One of my favorite authors of late.  Carla Kelly.  How many pleasant hours have I spent in the last year submerged in her stories?  Her story "My Loving Vigil Keeping" is one of my favorite pieces of historical fiction.  She did so much research!  She wrote about real people so convincingly that you almost believe she knew them.  One of those people is my great, great, great, grandfather Richard Evans.  Of course, I had to gush at her.  So, while my husband waited patiently in the hallway, I approached her.

In my heels, I probably topped her by a foot and a half.

I walked away from that conversation with her email address and phone number, and she has mine.  She said she wanted to do research for a non-fiction history of the same events she researched for "My Loving Vigil Keeping" and was interested in the story of my grandmother from the other side of the family. (We come from coal miners on both sides.)

At least, that's what she said.  I think she just wanted my info.