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07:07 pm: What Boys Read.


Insightful post by Vox Day on "What Men Read" or, more precisely, what boys read.

What is funny is that, when I was younger, I would not have thought it was insightful. I would have thought it was obvious. Everyone knew what kind of stories boys liked to read: action, adventure, exciting.

But, I think some people have forgotten. Vox does a nice job of putting what has been forgotten into words.

What Men Read

I was doing an interview a few weeks ago for Women of Bad Asserywhen I started to wonder if it was actually true that men – and young boys – refuse to read books written by women or starring women.  It wasn't actually hard to disprove it – JK Rowling may have used her initials to hide her gender, or so I have been told, but I read quite a few other books by women when I was a child.  The gender of the writer alone had no influence on me.  Nor too did I automatically dismiss a book starring a girl.

What did have an influence was school.  The vast majority of the books I was forced to read at school were boring.  Teachers – both male and female – would select books that bored me to tears.  Thankfully, by then I already had the reading bug.  Boys who didn't, who only knew reading as a chore, didn't read when they didn't have to read.  They found it a tedious process – and preferred watching television instead.

So … what did all the books I liked have in common?

Most of them featured adventure.  The characters would be pitted against a remorseless enemy or given a task to do.  It didn't really matter if the task was large or small, a thinking enemy or a force of nature; all that mattered was the challenge, the urge to overcome and triumph over one’s circumstances.  The characters didn't simply exist, the characters had something to do.

Harry Potter works, at least for the first five books, because it fits neatly into this pattern.  Harry escapes the mundane world and flies straight into a world of magic, but gets pitted against a string of deadly foes.  All of his books feature Harry being challenged – Goblet of Fire being the most dramatic example – and overcoming his challenges.  Everyone who wants to argue that Dumbledore is a poor headmaster because Harry has to deal with the problem-of-the-book is missing the point.  The series works because Harry is the one who deals with the problem. 

This is true for a lot of my childhood favourites.  The Famous Five and The Secret Seven all feature mysteries that have to be solved.  Hood’s Army and The Demon Headmaster all feature battles against deadly enemies.  And all of them are exciting reflections of the way young boys think.  They want adventure.

Read the rest.

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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[User Picture]
Date:September 4th, 2016 02:36 am (UTC)
He isn't exactly capable of anything insightful.
[User Picture]
Date:September 4th, 2016 04:50 am (UTC)
Everyone is capable of insight. It is a divinely given gift we reflect from on High.

"All good gifts and all perfect gifts come down from the Father of Lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

Those good and perfect gifts include insight and inspiration.
Date:September 6th, 2016 06:12 pm (UTC)

What Harry Potter Did - Or Did He?

In the first two or three books, my recollection is that poor Harry looked on while others rescued him and/or vanquished the evil foes. He seemed to be more of a bystander who didn't quite understand what was happening than a major participant - except for the getting into trouble and opening up the giant can of evil whatever from which he had to be rescued. So, while the books were certainly adventure fiction, I don't think they quite fit the pattern, at least not if one is focused on Harry Potter. As he acquires more magical power and skill, Harry's actions in each successive book do fall more and more into that pattern.
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