I've interviewed four college students in the past few months about books and reading. I asked them what they read now, what they read as children and in high school, and what they think about Young Adult Fiction. I'll be continuing this series again in November, but this month I wanted to step back for a moment and think about what I've learned from speaking with these young men. Here goes:
1. If we base anything on four interviews, the first thing I've learned is that there is no "guy reader" demographic. When asked "what are you reading now?" two students responded with novels, and two with non fiction. Granted the readers of fiction are both English majors, but still..we can't really say "guys like non fiction."
2. Young Adult fiction is not something that touched the lives of these four students when they were in high school. One student equates Young Adult with romance novels, and the other three see it as a section in the library or book store. With the Golden Age of Young Adult fiction upon us, I expect this will change, but I still found their answers interesting.
3. While College Guys read broadly and have different reading preferences, they do share similar tastes in comfort reads. They like to go back to what they read as teens when in need of a break. Fantasy is popular (Garth Nix, Ursula LeGuin, Terry Goodkind), as is Historical Fiction (Patrick O'Brian) and Stephen King.
4. Three of the four students mentioned Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials as an important series for them in Middle School.
So, there you have it. I've learned there is no such thing as a typical "guy reader," something that surprised me. How one markets books to teen boys, I'll never understand.