Iron Man, a typical protagonist of guys\' fictionHere’s a great Philadelphia Inquirer story I found through – it’s called “Men – in general – are not ones for the books.” The female author, Jen A. Miller, bemoans the fact that the most of the guys she’s known just aren’t book readers, and wonders why that is. She writes:

According to Publishers Weekly, 68 percent of book purchases are made by women (and we suspect they are buying for themselves, not the men in their lives).

And the National Center for Education Studies reported that 71 percent of women, vs. 57 percent of men, have read a book in the last six months.

“If I had to make a huge, sweeping, overgeneralized statement, guys probably read less – and less fiction – than women,” says Jeff Garigliano, a senior editor at Portfolio magazine and the author of Dogface, a “guy” book about a punishing summer camp for kids who’ve been bad.

Well, duh, Jeff. Those of us who make our living trying to get kids (which include boys) and books together have known this for, well, decades maybe?

Garigliano has an interesting – and totally wrong – notion of why guys don’t read as much fiction as girls. He speculates that males “think they should have outgrown the notion of make-believe, so they can’t find as much enjoyment in fiction.”

Large percentages of the boys and men I know love guy fiction, which is almost entirely make-believe. It’s just that very little guy fiction is in novel-style books. It’s in TV shows, movies, and comics. It’s Star Wars, Sandman, Batman, Lost, the Terminator and Predator films, and all the other stuff guys (and more than a few girls, too) look at for fun. How many guys will be going to see the new comics flick Iron Man, and then the new Indiana Jones movie, between now and Memorial Day? You betcha; see you there.

But it is true, as we all know, that guys prefer their books to be nonfiction. And Miller quotes – guess who? – our pal Jon Scieszka, who it’s great to see popping up in so many of these Net and newspaper stories. He tells the truth, so I give him a cheer.