Before I begin today’s post, I’d like to share with you all that I recently talked to Infinite House of Books about Here Lies Love. You can read the interview here – go on, you know you’d like to. I talk about my writing ideas and what advice I would give to wannabe writers looking to get involved in the industry.
I’ve also had a press photo taken to promote my latest release and donating books to my local library. And, in fact, there are two copies now available in my local library. If you visit your own library often, you can request the book by simply talking to the librarian.
Do Men Read Romance and Chick Lit?
I guess the first instinctive answer from probably 99% of male readers would be no. Is that because they actually don’t read these female-heavy genres, or simply to avoid the embarrassment of admitting to reading these female-heavy genres? Put yourself in a man’s head for a moment – don’t go rooting through there too much, you won’t find anything too interesting, trust me. In today’s metrosexual (yes, I did just use the word ‘metrosexual’) culture. Men do take care of themselves, do their hair, have skin regimes to look more youthful and attractive, and yet, despite these often seemingly feminine behaviours, would it not be too far to admitting about reading romance novels? Would we not be ridiculed? Mocked?
I think it would be fair and true to say that male friends would most certainly mock and criticise their buddy for reading this. Would women too find it a little odd, and put them off too? Men should be MEN, no matter how long they take to do their hair nowadays, shouldn’t they? MEN should be reading John Grisham novels, Jack Reacher heroes to be a manly figure to look up to, as well as Andy McNab soldier stories. Action, thriller, suspense, guns, testosterone! *Flexs muscles and roars*
In a recent interview with UK author Jaimie Admans (Author of chick lit novels) I asked her the question: Books shouldn’t be gender orientated, but it can’t be denied that in reality, they are. Do you think that romantic comedies can appeal to the male reader, and if so, how?
Jaimie admitted that she would be surprised if a male reader wanted to or enjoyed one of novels as they are aimed the female reader. She suggested that a strong male protagonist may be needed to appeal to male readers.
I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Perhaps you may have some to name?
I have read a chick lit book myself. A good while ago, after being persuaded to, I read The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. I wanted to know if it had something for men to enjoy. I was left utterly underwhelmed. It didn’t grip me, I thought the storyline was unsubstantial at best, and the so called ‘romance element’ was undeniably unrealistic and with not enough chemistry. I’m not talking about sex here, which I know some readers may assume that that is all men think about. Andrea Sachs was a ridiculous protagonist; what I’d call ‘wet’ and I even found it hard to see why women would enjoy this book, never mind men. And yet, there was something to enjoy inside the book. The antagonist for me, although slightly stereotyped, was entertaining. I awarded the book two stars **
Not straight after, but I did venture into the realms of chick lit once more. Although, you could argue it isn’t exactly ‘chick lit’. With the hype of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series taking the world by storm, I did read the first novel. I wish I hadn’t though. Fantasy romance isn’t necessarily chick lit granted, but it is aimed more for female readers. I absolutely hated this book – and yes, I know hate is a strong word. I honestly think that this book could put off readers who are just beginning to widen their reading choices. The first person narrative was awful – a young American tween who is suddenly compelled to fall in love with a vampire – I hated the point of view and I often found myself wanting to throw the book at the wall.
It is not all doom and gloom though. As a self-confessed fantasy lover, I fell in love with Deborah Harkness’s first novel A Discovery of Witches and later devoured the second book in the trilogy Shadow of Night. Described by some critics as ‘Twilight for adults‘ let me tell you that it certainly isn’t. Deborah Harkness commands her readers with brilliant and captivating historical storylines and mixes them up with the fantasy elements of witches and vampire and daemons. The pace is perfect, the characters aren’t wooden and the development of everything is spot on. And yet, this series is romance orientated – a witch falling in love with a vampire. I am a male reader and I love these books.
I guess you could say then, yes! Men do read romance novels, with elements of chick lit thrown in to boot. Admittingly I don’t go out to buy the next Marian Keyes book, or Danielle Steel or Sophie Kinsella for that matter. I guess men need more substance than just a book about two people falling love.
So, here’s a challenge for you – especially pointing at any male readers – although I strongly advise all my female readers to do this too. My good friend Sharon Atkinson has just released a short romance novel called One Last Dance. She’s so nice that she is giving away two copies over on Goodreads. All you have to do is enter. Go on, you may win and surprise yourself.
Another of my good friends, Holly Martin‘s latest offering is One Hundred Proposals, published by Carina UK and is having a sale on Kindle! Just 99p in the UK. For laughs, romance and wooing, grab yourself a copy before it goes back up to full price.
Happy reading everybody, and I’m going to leave you with the enlightening picture to inspire you all. Until next time *
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