I Am Not a Target Market: Questions for Mr. Adam

On hiatus last week, my series on the modern male reader is back and kicking. We've heard from guys from Nova Scotia to BC, guys who are booksellers, author or critics and guys who love science fiction or literature and everything in between.

In this final week I wanted to step outside my happy but slightly insular circle of trust, yes that would be the very vocal Canadian publishing/authoring/ critiquing community, and ask a few guys who like to read but who don't work in books (and some Christly digging it took too). A note of introduction for our first installment: Adam just happens to be married to book blogger Lindsey of The Book Guru AND he is totally hilarious so please, please do yourself a favor and read this.

B: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Adam. Service Manager for a plastics auxiliary equipment/Robots/Automation company. Age: 29, location: Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

B: How often do you read and when do you find the time?

Mostly just before bed time. Books can have a strong sedative power over me and it helps me wind down from a busy day.

B: What's your favourite author/book? What do you like about it? Do you tend to read fiction or non-fiction?

My favorite author has to be Terry Pratchett. My tastes tend to run towards the cynical and he has it in spades. Accompanied by humour it makes for a good read which keeps me chuckling with smug inner satisfaction. Generally authors like Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Charles Stross resonate with me as they take common situations and cultural acceptances that we deal with every day, and by simply placing them into a sci-fi or fantasy setting, reveal how these every day occurrences and phenomena truly grind against our inner common sense.

I'm all about the sci-fi/fantasy genres. I am also a secret and somewhat guilty subscriber to the Black Library series of books which I always tell Lindsey is my "Nora Roberts" of man books.

B: Do you discuss the books you read with others (other guys, your spouse etc.)?

Guys don't discuss anything ever. We still have an inner 12 year old that thinks books are for nerds. Sorry ladies it's how it is. Exceptions can be books about surviving in a jungle on grit and steely manliness, and books about The Zombie Apocalypse.

Discussing books with Lindsey is not often particularly rewarding as she cannot find the simple beauty in genetically engineered space marines fighting for the glory of the Imperium of Man and I cannot understand why she would give a damn about sparkling angst-filled vampires.

B: What's the biggest misconception about men and reading?

Generally men tend to read about stories containing elements of conflict, strife, and vengeance as overall themes. We like stories that often focus on big ideas and the conflicts that arise from them. We like stories on a grander scale and not so much focused on one person or a personal story. While women often like stories around romance, love, forgiveness and acceptance. Men use these elements as simply a part of the overall story and not as the central element of the story itself. It still doesn't explain why she is on Team Jacob though.

Go Team Jacob! No, just kidding. I'm team Eric from True Blood. Hello! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this Q&A. Adam, you're a funny dude! OK, so this is a pretty poor wrap up so I'll just tell you that we have 11 year old Nick with us tomorrow. Be there or be octagonal.


Rob in Victoria said...

"Guys don't discuss anything ever. We still have an inner 12 year old that thinks books are for nerds."

Hmm... is there a line being drawn here? Is this where the distinction lies between men of a literary bent and "guys"?

B.Kienapple said...

Or perhaps it has something to do with books being one's "business" vs. a hobby. If one is discussing books because they happen to be in the trade then perhaps this is not perceived as being nerdy whereas reading books solely for pleasure is.

August said...

Yeah, get any two bookish men together and you'll get at least five opinions, but get two 'regular dudes' together and we don't really talk about anything.

Okay, not entirely true. My best friend and I talk about TV, software, video games, movies, the awesomeness of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, World Cup prospects, career prospects, and girlfriends. (Well, he's allowed to talk about his girlfriend; I currently have no partner and have been banned from talking about exes, violations being punishable by acts of minor violence, such as assault with a toy lightsaber.)

Lindsey said...

There is something rubbing me the wrong way about the comment,

"Hmm... is there a line being drawn here? Is this where the distinction lies between men of a literary bent and "guys"?

I think there are men with a "literary bent(meaning they like to discuss what they read)," "men who don't read," and ""guys" with a literary bent who simply don't discuss it."

I don't think having a literary bent and being a "guy" is mutually exclusive.

B.Kienapple said...

Thanks Lindsey for your comment. I wonder if men who love literature who don't work in publishing etc. freely discuss their favorite books.

I remember that men's book club being profiled in the Globe and they did discuss fiction but it was super butched up - it took place in a pub etc. Not that I'm not glad that they have their club BUT it seemed like a rare thing, I'd never heard of an all-male book club before.

I'd better save some of my comments for my wrap-up post. ;)

Rob in Victoria said...

I forgot that I had commented on this.
Lindsay - your aversion to my point was precisely the point I was making: I don't think reading and "being a guy" are mutually exclusive. And they shouldn't be.
B - I see your point with the business thing, and that's very true, but August's description of what he and his best friend talk about rings true to me as well -- though I would sub in The Hold Steady and The White Stripes for Zep and Sabbath --, but the conversation also includes books.

Basically, it's a big ol' goofy world.

On your last point, B -- I was a guest of the Mooks this week. They're a bookclub made up of Victoria professional men: there's an architect, a professor, a teacher, a radio program director, etc. And yes, they met in a pub. But I don't think I would characterize it as EITHER effete, or butched-up. It was just guys, sitting around. We talked about a botched hot water tank install, a trip to Vienna, and books. Mine, for starters.

Folks is folks, and yeah, it's a big ol' goofy world.

Lindsey said...

LOL that it is. I think "we" as humans are adaptable and talk and act according to the situation we are in. I agree with B regarding how "we" are all conditioned to act in different social situations. I honestly think that if Adam were around like minded men with a "literary bent" he would find himself contributing and discussing books at length (I don't know if its necessary to point out that Adam is my husband lol).


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