Books For Boys

On Monday night I attended a Road Show put on by Random House to let us know about the books that will be hot for the fall season. Some are out now and some will be in demand items at Christmas. I am generally very genre specific in my reading so I find these types of events extremely useful during the crazy busy Christmas season when customers need book recommendations.

What excited me most last night was seeing two of my favourite reads for boys being promoted. I often hear that the choice for boy books is very limited. Stop for a minute the next time you are in the teen section and just look at the shelves. I guarantee you will see many facings of books from the teen paranormal genre looking appropriately dark and dramatic. This makes it seem as though the boys have been left out. Where are the books that will appeal to them?

I could tell you that publishers make (and that book stores buy) what sells and that what sells is primarily books for girls because you start to lose male readers around the age of 9 and all kids around the age of 12. To some degree there is a lot of truth in that but what I want to concentrate on is what is out there.  Believe me, it’s there, if you know where to look.

One of the things you hear as a book seller is that boys don’t want to read books where the lead character is a girl. This is especially true in middle school however a well written story is a well written story no matter the main characters gender.

You also hear that the kids want to read about kids like them. Meaning that a lot of white parents think their kids don’t want to read books about kids who are Asian, Muslim, African or anything else. This is not completely true. We all want to read things we can identify with, sure, absolutely,  but we also learn many  life lessons through reading about different cultures, different places and people who live differently then we do, even if that means living in the country instead of the city or vice versa.

Ok I got off track there for a moment. What I was trying to say is that there are some really great reads for boys of all ages and in all genres out there if you know what to look for. A couple of authors want to help you in your search and have made websites specifically dedicated to helping find books that boys will WANT to read.

Guys Read was started by author Jon Scieska to help make reluctant boys into lifelong readers. You can search book by group  or age. You can suggest books, check out different authors or download and print bookmarks and bookplates as well.

Read Kiddo Read came about because author James Patterson had a reluctant reader of his own at home. This is an extremely well laid out website with tips for parents as well as amazing suggestions for all ages and reading levels. If you are looking for books that will interest boys in your home, check out these two incredible websites for information. Or talk to your local librarian or bookseller, by asking the right questions we can often find a great match for any reader.

As to the books I was excited to hear about last night may I present:

Both of these books are for teens 13 and up. The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to The Maze Runner Trilogy, a fantastic journey through a devastated world while Call The Shots is the third book by Don Calame which tell the tales of three teen boys dealing with their struggles and triumphs in everyday life. I often equate it to the life lessons girls learn in Judy Blume books.

Some other great boy reads  are:

All of these books I’ve listed are located in the teen section of our store but some of them would be appropriate for younger readers as well.

Do you have a favourite book to recommend to boys?


When a Great Book Just Won’t Let Go

This picture was posted recently on facebook by Mary Balogh one of my favourite Historical Romance authors and I just had to share it.

Anybody who calls themselves a reader knows this feeling. When you’ve read a story and it touches something inside you, so much so that you can’t stop thinking about it.

This happened to me in March when I read the Chaos Walking Trilogy which as anyone who knows me can tell you they are thoroughly sick of hearing about at this point. I went into it with a ‘this is something to read mindset” and it completely blew me away. It’s a difficult thing trying to explain what it is that struck me so forcefully. I find it really well written because it not only  flows so very smoothly but the descriptive phrasing puts you in the thick of things.

It was also unlike anything I had read before, sci-fi without the sci-fi. It has all the elements that make a great story into a phenomenon. A read that both sexes can enjoy, an epic quest adventure leading to the ultimate showdown between good and evil. A romance without all the “I hope he likes me, why doesn’t she see me, kissy kissy” stuff.  And of course a lesson, a morality tale if you will about how we treat each other and the world around us. How one person no matter their age or size can make a difference if they believe in themselves.

After thinking about it I realized that most of the books I’ve read that leave me feeling, as the pictures seems to state, wrapped up in them have all had those elements. Whether it be a classic like Anne of Green Gables or Little Women, Danielle Steele’s Palomino (which I read as a teen), Harry Potter or Meridian (both of which are books aimed at the teen market yet I read them as an adult) or The Poky Little Puppy and Bread and Jam for Frances ( books I loved as a child), they all have those same attributes that made me feel as though I had been immersed in the story, made friends with the characters and had managed to stop something bad from happening in order to save the world or at least a small part of it.

What more can you ask for?

What stories have stayed with you long after you’ve read them?