Have you tried typing “guys reading” on Google? These are the top three results:
And this was what greeted me when I clicked on the first hit:
“Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological. Some of the reasons are sociological. The good news is that research also shows that boys will read – if they are given reading that interests them.” —Guys Read
Of course, I had to check the website’s virtual vault of good books or “the place to come to if you’re looking for something to get a guy reading.” The top categories include:
- Tails and Scales (?)
- How to Build Stuff
- Pop Up Books! (?), and
- Outer space, but without aliens.
Sadly, there was no category for Outer Space. With aliens.
Meanwhile, the @hotdudesreading Instagram is mostly (spoiler ahead)… well, hot dudes reading. This is a page that has around 700,000 followers (as of writing) so it would be safe to assume that there is a significant interest in guys/dudes who read. (Either that or they clicked the get free followers link I keep seeing all over Instagram.)
Browsing this account, the top two places to find hot dudes reading – at least hot dudes reading abroad – would be: 1) in trains and 2) at the beach. As I 1) take the train and 2) I seldom go to the beach, it’s no surprise I’m not on this page. (I am hot, in the kind of “I’m a dude who lives in the tropics” hot. Heh.)
Apart from that—and the realization that again, this page only mostly features certain types of hot dudes, it can be difficult to get a clear view on what these hot dudes were reading. Were they absorbed in a novel about outer space, without aliens, or a short story or article on how to build stuff? And yes, I checked and double checked: no hot dudes were reading pop up books.
But I digress. My point is: What about the rest of ’em dudes? The only-a-little-hot ones who don’t make it in the top Google results, the ones who choose other forms of public transport (or you know, who own cars) or those who aren’t really into building stuff during wars in space? You know, guys like me?
So in the spirit of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, I present to you:
5 Desert Island Picks for Guys Who Read (Or Who Want To Read)
1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
When you’re stuck in a deserted island, you need to be reminded that, “It’s only after we lose everything are we free to do anything.” Probably the most quoted Chuck Palahniuk novel. You will be a better person after reading this. (Or I hope you’ll be.)
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
Probably too predictable to some but there’s a little Holden Caulfield—or a little phony—in each of us.
3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Another familiar title. This follows the life of two Jewish cousins before, during and after World War II. Three words: Golden Age Comics. You’re welcome.
4. Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
About 1,085 pages of Historiographic Metafiction or Metahistorical Romance. I won’t even try to explain. But trust me, it will be good. Real good.
5. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace
A collection of nonfiction writing, this contains Wallace’s brilliant insights on topic you didn’t know you’d be interested about until you’ve read about them. Also: if you enjoy footnotes that have footnotes, then this anthology gets away with it and does it well.
So if you’re a regular guy looking for something new to read, or if you’re someone thinking about getting a guy something to read, there you go. This list will at least help you skip the Sci-Fi Section, stray you away from the home repairs section and make you forget about the children’s books section. Take note of the operative word “help” as these are only recommendations. I’m just a regular dude who likes to read and make lists. ☁