Our panel of men ready to talk about reading, with the Book Council's Tanya
With a pint in hand and plates of chicken nibbles and chips at the ready, a group of men who are self-confessed non-readers gathered last night to talk about why they don't read and what might encourage them to do so. Those gathered included a security guard, sound technician, IT manager and labourer. Author and playwright Victor Rodger facilitated the session.
Several trends emerged from the diverse group. Most read widely as boys but stopped reading either when they started work or families. Other activities now fill their leisure time - activities that seem easier than reading: gaming, YouTube, TV, and following their social media feeds. Reading texts they found boring at high school turned some off reading, being tired after work and not wanting to concentrate on anything difficult was another driver for other pass times, as was just having limited downtime due to work, sport and family commitments.
Some interesting insights emerged. All would classify themselves as slow readers. A book may take a year to finish. They avoid libraries because they would never read a book within the usual two week loan period. All had strategies for getting the information they needed that didn't require in-depth reading - scanning news sites, watching YouTube clips or podcasts. All were worried about boys not reading as much as they should.
A range of ideas about how to encourage men to read were suggested. Perhaps, they suggested, books are often published and marketed to women, because women read more? But what it there were more books with strong, competent male leads? What if more books had more risqué content? More sci-fii? What if interesting men shared widely what they were reading - business leaders, sports heroes, comedians?
This left us lots to consider and we are planning our next meeting to flesh out some actions.
See our original post about this panel here, and find posts about men's reading groups across NZ here, here, here and here.
Would you like to join the next men's reading panel? Please email Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org