Giving Books Away

Interesting piece by Ian McEwan about what happened when he tried to give away books to strangers in a park near his house.

Every young woman we approached – in central London practically everyone seems young – was eager and grateful to take a book. Some riffled through the pile murmuring, “Read that, read that, read that …” before making a choice. Others asked for two, or even three.

The guys were a different proposition. They frowned in suspicion, or distaste. When they were assured they would not have to part with their money, they still could not be persuaded. “Nah, nah. Not for me. Thanks mate, but no.” Only one sensitive male soul was tempted.

So why do men dislike reading? Do they see reading as a challenge to their masculinity or something? Or do they like reading, but are just reluctant to take books from strangers?

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