Read More Fiction, Men!

A good article appeared earlier this week on the Art of Manliness blog concerning men’s reading habits. Apparently men make up just 20% of fiction readers in America. This figure isn’t too surprising to anyone who is familiar with the demographics of English majors in universities (overwhelmingly female).

The article lists a number of reasons why men  should consider adding fiction to their regular reading:

  1. It improves cognitive functions that help you function well in social situations.
  2. It strengthens your theory of mind.
  3. It makes you more empathetic.
  4. It increases your creativity.

Since I resumed my reading of fiction several years ago, I’ve experienced the effects listed above, so I’m inclined to believe this.

Of course, if you’ve been keeping up with this blog’s Great Books Project, you’ve been getting a steady diet of fiction for more than a year now. You have been, haven’t you??

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About Dr. J

I am an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Faulkner University. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy.
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3 Responses to Read More Fiction, Men!

  1. grammer ain't so harrd says:

    I’m reading All the King’s Men, have finished Gone With the Wind and Lytle’s short stories; will take up Sound and Fury and Look Homeward Angel. What am I leaving out? Is there a Canon of 20th Cent. Southern Fiction?

    How about 19th Cent.?

    • Dr. J says:

      You’ve certainly made a great start. I don’t know if I’d make The Sound and the Fury the first Faulkner novel I’d read; it’s pretty tough. Clyde Wilson really likes The Unvanquished, and I defer to him on Southern lit. Zora Neale Hurston is great. Eudora Welty is popular, although I don’t care quite as much for her stuff. Flannery O’Connor is a must.

  2. I saw that article and also coincidentally watched this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOCUH7TxHRI (Ted Talk: How We Read Each Other’s Minds) which in conjunction drives home some additional points. Reading fiction quite actually strengthens the empathetic part of our brain.

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