10/28/07

What Do Couples Like to Read?

Following a recent book discussion (excerpted below), I wrote about what chick lit is, and conversely, what it isn't. Then I proceeded to talk about what books/authors that Steve and I both enjoy reading. The list isn't long. My question is "What Do Couples Like to Read?" My friend, Todd, went home and discussed it with his wife, and he wrote:

"My wife and I talked about what books we both enjoyed, and we came up with James Michener and Thomas Harris.

Otherwise she sticks with her Agatha Christies and various mysteries from the library, and I stick with history and some science fiction."

I have not seen this discussed anywhere else, and I'm curious to see if the answers we get will provide us with new possibilities. Give us your list of authors/books by clicking on the Post a Comment link at the end of this post.

Excerpt from The Last Templar:

"Once we shifted the discussion away from The Last Templar, we got into discussing what is and what is not “Chick Lit.” Because the guys have said that they don’t want to read any of it, Chris and I really wanted their perspective on what is chick lit. We read a variety of subjects and feel that much of the books are not chick lit, so we needed some guidelines.

Here is what we learned about chick lit and what guys don’t want to read about:

• Books that are about relationships and that focus on feelings
• Books that are recommended by Oprah Winfrey
• Books that require handkerchiefs and/or Kleenex
• Books with NO action, suspense, or mystery

If I’ve left anything out, I know the guys will set me straight.

Since our discussion, I’ve looked over some of our books from 2007 (Chris and I are compiling our lists of books read this year), and I realize that some are definitely chick lit: The No Angel series and any of the many Mr. Darcy spin-offs of Pride and Prejudice. I fully acknowledge those as chick lit (they are fabulous, by the way).

Others, though, baffle me. Where do books like Life of Pi, The Reader, and For One More Day, for example, fit in and might they have a place in our discussions? I think many books could fit the criteria above, and the guys still wouldn’t want to read them.

Steve and I have been married a long time, and we have always had books he likes, books I like, and a slim list of those we both read. I would say that even the slim list only exists because of occasions where I cross over into “Guy Buys” (note: new phrase I’ve coined as counterpart to Chick Lit). Ken Follett, Nelson DeMille, Leon Uris, and Stephen J. Cannell are authors Steve and I both enjoy, and I can think of a handful that Steve has enjoyed that I’ve recommended, such as Lamb, but the slim list has stayed pretty slim all of these years. Not a complaint, just an observation.

What books/authors do other couples like to read?"

3 comments:

Dawn said...

Together we read a lot of horror (King, Barker, McCammon, etc), dark fantasy (Gaiman), Anthony Bourdain, and all the Harry Potter books -- actually I read them in book form and he listens to the books on CD. My husband likes biographies more than I do. I will read or at least attempt to read anything I can get my hands on, hence the fact that I am currently reading four different books just this week.

Tyson said...

Sara and I rarely read the same authors. She's a quick reader, I'm more of a plodder, and I think the kinds of books we read tend to feed or influence both approaches. She reads detective, shoot-em-up stories (aka beach reads): Cornwell, Grafton, Patterson. One author we both like that happens to fall into that category is J.A. Jance. And I recently picked up a Robert Crais title that I sorta like. I usually read the non-fiction tomes--history, science--books too long for my plodding approach, or perhaps short attention span. They pile up on the book stand, partially read. Sometimes I won't even finish something I've started (horrors).

Lynn C said...

I say we don't read that much in common. My daughter says her father and I read more books in common than most couples do. A matter of perception I suppose.

That said, we both read spy novels, and we like mysteries - James Patterson, Michael Creighton to name two authors we both enjoy. We read any of the Robert Parker "Spenser" books that come our way. Ditto for any Dick Francis books. I love Sue Grafton's alphabet series, he reads them too, but I don't know if he would choose them if they weren't already there in the house. I love romance novels -- devouring any Nora Roberts book I can get my hand on. He'd rather take a whipping than read one.

We both tend to become disenchanted with the same authors. For example, we both used to love James Michners' earlier books, such as "Caravans" but both agree he later books are way too long or "wordy". I loved all the Harry Potter books, he grew bored part way through the first one. Go figure!

Lynn C.