What men like to read

Apparently I appeal to men. Let’s just leave you to think about that for a moment.

Ok, while I enjoyed that little ego boost, what I was actually talking about was my writing. Although I DO appeal to men. Honestly. I did when I was younger and didn’t have children bags hanging off me. Once those things were called boobs. And I did manage to attract Mr Boxer Shorts, and he’s not half bad. In fact, he’s quite dishy. Very Simon Baker-like when he needs a haircut, which I definitely fancy. Although should Simon Baker come knocking I might… Nah, it’s never going to happen.

This article is the result of my one male reader pointing out that men like to read what women write under certain criteria. The first being that it’s funny. One of the criteria that I think was missing was perhaps discussion of boobs, but I suspect that means the perky upright style of boobs!

I apologise for the abundance of boobs in this, now that I’ve said the word three times, I’ll try and refrain from any more boobing. Sorry.

So in order to research this post, I decided to google “what do men like”. I forgot to include the word “read”. So the results were eye opening at best. Certainly a lot of sexual context within that list. Scattered between the debates about bushy or shaven were some less raunchy relationship tips. That wasn’t what I was searching for, but I looked anyway, because it might even be useful!

Apparently men want love, trust, beauty and someone to settle down with. I’m sorry, did someone mislabel this article? Sounds more like what a woman might want. The dating tips go on to include femininity, support, a challenging personality, but not sexually adventurous. Eh? Who wrote this? I’ve never met any of those men! Mr Boxer Shorts excluded of course, since he fits the persona perfectly. Oh no, not the sex bit though, because he won’t talk to me for a week if I were to allude to personal preferences like that in public. I’ve said too much already. Bum. He’s hawt.

Apparently men don’t like women who shout. I can dig that. I think Mr Boxer Shorts puts up with that because of all my other oustanding qualities. Like erm… my undying love, my ability to iron his shirts somewhat and occasionally, and my excellent first base prowess.

Another article I staggered across (if you can stagger while in google, which I believe is difficult, but not impossible) was of the opinion that men like emotional stability. Also very understandable, knowing what we women are like in that department. It swings straight off the shouting clause anyway. I am known for wild and completely irrational mood swings at times. (Very rare, honest.) Mr Boxer Shorts tends to roll his eyes and walk off, which has the net result of turning me into a banshee. I really must have some amazing other qualities I think!

From that article, with their listing of essential, important, and desireable characteristics from both male and female perspective, it would appear that men and women want the same thing as a priority. Mutual attraction and love, Dependable character and Emotional stability.

But that was a digression on my real mission. I was actually looking for what guys like to read. So I regoogled with some alternate keywords. Got a few hits.

According to author Ben Mezrich ”I don’t think men want to read about dating and relationships,’They want to read about money, sex and people beating the system.” 


Without shoe-horning entire swathes of authors into forced genres, does that mean that men would prefer to read male authors because they steer away from the emotional side of writing? There are not too many men who write books about the intricate world of relationship tangoing. The Bridget Jones novels don’t tend to emanate from the male stable of writers. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t – I read a book by Matt Dunn that had me giggling like a girl once. I bet all his readers are female though… 

Even if most men do want action and adventure (with sex and money) in their fiction, surely some women cater to that genre. But according to Esquire, the top 75 books that men should read only contains ONE single female author.

How does that validate women writers? And as a male magazine, the list must be biased. But then the whole point of this exercise was to find out what men like to read, so a biased list is the right list to refer to. But to have just one woman author recommended seems outrageous. Surely there are more women who appeal to men’s reading tastes.

Are men writers better than women? Or is it just the vast difference between the genders that perpetuates the differnce in writing style, and therefore appeal? It’s a long standing argument, and one that has been debated for many years. 

“Critics have maintained that women writers narrow their concerns to the intimate and familial while men gravitate toward grander, epic themes”

Virginia Wolf, as a pre-eminant femanist rallied the cause for women writers, and recognition of their work. How can you define the importance of a book by the setting or the characters. Surely the value of the book is the message and lessons that it imparts to you. Whether set on a battlefield, or in the drawing room of a victorian home, the writing and the meaning behind it is what makes it a great novel.

Somehow all this seems a bit more cerebral than my little blog, where I am just trying to be little bit funny. And by the way, Mr Boxer Shorts thinks he has the worst name, and wants to be something else. Suggestions welcome.

Oh, and one final note – boobs. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Categories: the male enigma


  • Jaysen says:

    Awww, come on. Give us guys a break. Do you really think that Mr BS is the exception? Might it be that the published ideas regarding men are as incorrect as the published ideas of women?
    I think it is these stereotypes that have built the chasm between the XX and XY crowds. I think (a dangerous activity) that men and women desire the same things from life and mates. It is the way we obtain those things were the differences are biggest.
    As to what we read, you need to differentiate the pleasure read from the occupational read from the technical read. Occupation and technical reads will be relative to need. Need to fix a computer, update a management philosophy, figure out what is wrong with my communication method etc. These will be disproportionately authored by men. Once we move over to the pleasure side of things change. Subject matter, recommendations of friends, reading lists all come into play. I know I read pretty close to a 50-50 split.
    But then again, boobs do make thing more interesting.

  • alison says:

    Well, Mr BS doesn’t read at all, so it’s hard to use him as a control. I always thought that comedy should feature high on the reading agenda of most men. Women as well – because something that lifts the mood and makes you feel good is surely addictive. And this is a legal way to do that!
    I don’t really think that technical manuals should count in the comparison though.