A 17-year-old reading Herman Koch’s Odessa Star

There is a lot of buzz going on about boys not reading. Authors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, they all rack their brains to find ways to get them to read. Particularly young adult boys seem to have fallen in a deep and dark literature-less pit.

I’m an inveterate optimist if it comes to reading, even when it concerns boys. They do read.
But there are some preconditions.
First of all the book needs to be good. It needs to be a stories about stuff they’re interested in. Young adult boys have a vast range of topics that appeal to them: girls, scooters or cars, experimenting, hanging about… Not necessarily in that order.
Just kidding.
There are way more issues that grab them. The young adult struggle for independence and the inevitable testing boundaries offer an author a myriad of possibilities to write about, in reality, dystopian, science fiction or thriller setting.
There are plenty books out there that work for young adult boys. I only have to name Andrew SmithThe Marbury Lens or John Green’s Looking For Alaska. And there are plenty more out there. For more titles, check out Books for Boys or the famous goodreads list.

Still reading...But what does it need to have a young adult boy actually pick up a book? I think progress is helping us out here. Where most young adults boys don’t mind schlepping around an extra battery for their tinkered-up scooter, they do seem to mind the weight of a book or the mere fact that they might be considered an egghead if they run around with one. And that’s where the e-book comes in handy.

In short: don’t offer them paper books, but offer them electronic versions of well-written, well-crafted books, books that interest them. Books they can download on their computer or, better still, their cell, and read them anywhere, anytime. Books that won’t bust their cool.

What about you? Do you think boys don’t read?