Annie recently mentioned a bright but book-averse 13-year-old, and now a survey for Pearson indicates that 70% of boys can’t make it beyond the 100th page of a book. It’s suggested that the fault lies with the choice of set texts, but since the books singled out for criticism include Macbeth (violence and skulduggery that make the Bourne series appear rather tame, and a hero who’d fit in quite nicely on The Apprentice) and Of Mice and Men (doomed, dysfunctional bromance, plus violence), I can’t really see it; in any case, neither of them is particularly long.
So should we tinker with reading lists, and include more books that will engage the attention of pubescent males? And if so, which books? Or should we just accept that, as long as they’re functionally literate, plenty of people – not only boys – are happier in a book-free world?