Guest Post: It’s not all pink…

A little while back we invited the blogging community the chance to guest blog for us, and today we have our first taker! Please welcome Duncan from Literature for Lads who takes the floor to talk about boys and reading…

Boys just don’t read”.  Is this perhaps one of the most popular myths of contemporary education?  I would certainly argue that the concept of boys being reluctant readers or unwilling to read fiction is not an experience that rings true with me in my role as school librarian at the all-boys school,  Stewart’s Melville College, Edinburgh. Although I have a somewhat captive audience here the sheer number of titles published and aimed squarely at young adult males would suggest that there is a real appetite for fiction amongst this particular demographic.

However something I have recognized in my role as librarian is that despite the popularity (not to mention influence that they can have) there are very few book review blogs dedicated to the discerning male reader.  Apart from the excellent and longstanding Book Zone for Boys, the blogging world can appear as a rather large sea of pink and purple.

There are many excellent book blogs out there ( & are two great blogs which provided inspiration for my own blog) but many are not particularly ‘boy-friendly’.  (Boys are notoriously bad at ignoring anything that can be construed as girly, i.e. flowers, the colour pink, cute pictures of kittens).  In order to try and redress this balance I decided to launch the book review blog, Literature for Lads.

The concept of Literature for Lads was, and remains, a simple one.  Read and review books that I feel boys (and men, as I review across a range of ages from 10+ – adult) would be interested in reading.  In addition to the book review I felt it was important to include some extra information at the end of the review as I feel boys are always keen to be able to explore further.  At the end of each review I include a link to the author and/or book website and also a You Tube video.  The video is usually a book trailer, or if a trailer is not available, a video which links to the story or the author of the book.

Within the site I also feature interviews with authors and sometimes I’m lucky enough to have authors write guest posts.  Each of these appeal to boys as they enjoy finding out about the person behind the books.  The reviews follow the same structure, (book summary followed by approx. 300 word reviews) and I’ve tried to keep the layout as clear and easy to navigate as possible.  Boys are notoriously lazy and easily distracted so it’s important to keep distractions to a minimum!

Literature for Lads was launched in September and I have been overwhelmed with the response I’ve received.  Authors, publishers and fellow librarians have all given valuable feedback and the site does seem to be attracting a regular readership.  (Maintaining this readership whilst balancing my day job can be a tricky balance!)

There have been a number of books published recently which are guaranteed to be a hit with boys and I have been lucky enough to be able read and review some of them. Here are a few of my highlights…
•    May Contain Nuts (The Word of Norm) – Jonathan Meres, “Full of jokes, comedy scenes, and rip-roaring laughs”
•    Socks are not Enough – Mark Lowery, “A hilarious debut novel from Mark Lowery….full of both laugh out loud moments and points where you will find yourself snickering behind your hands.”
•    Blade 1: Enemies – Tim Bowler, “The pace of the book is electric, with suspense and mystery in nearly every chapter”


Thanks Duncan! If anyone else would like to take the floor and blog about a subject of their choice please email me!


7 responses to “Guest Post: It’s not all pink…

  1. beccawearsredwellies

    I always thought ‘The Donut Diaries’ by Anthony McGowern were a particularly good read for boys.. . Something about the comedy of it! But there are so many great boy-friendly books out there, and they’re not all about football! I can’t wait until Insignia comes out and I can start handing it out to boys and men far and wide.

  2. What a fabulous post for Hot Key’s first guest blogger! We love your blog, Duncan. We’ve just borrowed a stack of books from a boy.

  3. Pingback: Lads blog | Mikidogs

  4. For the classics, John Wyndham is a good read for any kid who’s put off by stereotypically “pink” stuff. Killer plants, what’s not to like? For new books, Charlie Higson’s zombie books are ace. Well, the first one, I haven’t read the ones after that cos someone said they’re not as good, and I am easily led. Anything with zombies is inevitably just a little bit awesome however. (My quality control does tend to turn off when zombies are involved). If they’re a bit older and ready for adult books, Game of Thrones is wonderful – epic, thought-provoking but also full of swordfights and wolf sidekicks.

    It’s definitely a very annoying myth that boys don’t read – what message does that send to boys who DO read? That they’re freakish? That they don’t exist? *rage*

    Equally, the idea that only boys will be tempted by awesome and funny things makes girls feel left out when they want to read those awesome and funny things. I think there’s a balance to be struck between appealing to children of both genders…. and not alienating the children who don’t have typical boy/girl tastes… or are sort of dark purplish. 🙂

  5. The Donut Diaries is on the ‘To be Read’ list becca. And like you I can’t wait for Insignia to come out. Sounds very promising!
    Thank you @WeSatDown – so glad you like the blog!
    Loustow – Good point about the impact saying boys don’t read has on those who do. We really must think about the message that sends.

  6. Fab post and it’s nice to see another blog dedicated to books that males might like to read 🙂

  7. Pingback: Guest Post: Do we judge a book by its cover? by M @We Sat Down |

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