Casting Out Pearls: Men and Reading Fiction

I wrote a piece for CBMW on why men should be readers of fiction. It was published this morning. Here’s an excerpt:

An explanation (or excuse) for this piece can be found in a certain truth, which seems to me very obvious, but which I have seen under attack: that men should be readers. And by readers, I do not merely mean readers of car manuals, the Internet, or those instructions on the backs of microwaveable meals. I mean readers of books, and especially, in this case, readers of stories.

This truth, I say, is under attack. It isn’t that men are lining up with protest signs or writing polemics or having bonfires. It is much more subtle than that. Ray Bradbury’s observation is apropos: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” To bring the discussion into narrower focus: there are worse crimes than abhorring good stories; one of them is not reading them. Continue —->

13 thoughts on “Casting Out Pearls: Men and Reading Fiction”

  1. “What I do not love is a reading pile that makes no room for stories about magic rings and an Earth that isn’t quite Above and isn’t quite Below but is very comfortably in the Middle. If you have no use for Elfland (as Chesterton calls it), do not take it as a reflection of your mighty intelligence; take it as a reflection of your lack thereof.”

    A friend and I have toyed with this a little, and I’d like to delve into it– the theological and biblical justification for fantasies such as LOTR. I’ve not watched the movies or read the books (which makes it rather amusing that I’ve been known to draw pictures of Frodo and call myself Sam), but I’m very interested in establishing a justification for it or against it. Is the use of magic and sorcery and whatnot acceptable? To what degree is using fantasy appropriate in conveying Biblical truth?

  2. Great post! Have you ever read The Importance of Fairy Stories by C.S. Lewis? You probably have, based on your other references, but if not, check it out! Fiction grabs us differently than non-fiction. If you read Lewis’ The Abolition of Man followed by That Hideous Strength (a fictional version of the truths in Abolition), you experience the truths much more deeply. Or if you read Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, rather than simply her essays on women and work (Are Women Human?), the truths are felt and not only intellectually understood.

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