Sunday 3 October 2010

THE FORCE OF BOOKS: 10 things boys want to read about

By the time they got to me, their reading habits were carved in marble, more difficult to remove than limescale on the wrong side of the u-bend.

With a broad-spectrum array of fiction (published anywhere between 1719 and the present day) my formidable arsenal was complete: fantasy, adventure, historical, science-fiction - I had the lot and I knew how to use it.

Like a gunslinger -- light from the rising sun, behind me, fingers flexing, ready to sling texts in their direction – I could inspire-the-reluctance out of the boys who fidgeted in their seats, and turned pages during reading time.

But, when most crumbled before the might of books targeted at their interests, every year there was the hard core: the (usually) three, unreachable boys. 

“Ha! Do your worst, for I will do mine!” they said... although that might have been the Count of Monte Cristo.

If the enemy will not crumble under the rub of endless works of fiction, in every genre, what can you do? You discuss what is missing.

Minus the dancing, which I will include somewhere else: STAYING LOST has it, the ‘what-other-things’ they want to see in books :
1 sports
2 motorbikes
3 shoot outs   'like my game - yeah, sick!'
4 fit women
5 friends  ‘but not too many ‘cos you know where that goes’
8 Maps and places that aren’t here – ‘Not here like in school, ‘cos everyone has to go there -- but like HERE, can’t books go some where different: cities and s**t?’
9 Not funny   ‘That stuff is for when you’re young. More real action than that.’
10 Music, dancing and phones – ‘all the same: what you do when you're out!’

Anthony Horowitz was the closest I could get.

“Shorter, already. I’m not spending my life in that book.”

Have fun. It’s what I did when I was writing STAYING LOST with the boys who will not read. Now, if we can just junk the three kinds of video games they all have at home, we could get all boys to read more.


  1. It's so true - there are always a few boys who get that defiant look on their face as if to say - I'm never gonna love reading & you can't make me!

    Most of the time I think we can :)

  2. Hi Jemi
    Usually, we can to them :)