A man is reading a book leaning on a bookshelf
A literate, perhaps middle-aged man

About mothers' reading hobby

7.4.2020 10:19
Has the library forgotten middle-aged men?

Middle-aged men have ruined the world. They make decisions harmful to the climate, they are only interested in their own well-being. They don't know how to behave, they don't know how to dress. They are bad at reading books. If middle-aged men read more, they might get over the often very limited opinions and vain prejudices of their generation.

Well yeah. I don't totally sign that, but to get attention on social media, you have to be smart. Moderation is not encouraged on social media.

Originally, I planned my part in the Multiliteracies with Sanataiteella project to deal specifically with middle-aged men's reading. The topic is close, I'm middle-aged myself. I expanded Sanarchistproject to cover the entire adult population, otherwise my book advice and verbal art sessions would have been too few for the public. Middle-aged men are too busy in the career pipeline, in a bar or shepherding the offspring. They don't come to events organized by the library.

Of course, middle-aged men also have readers. I don't have any facts to present about how much they read or haven't read, my opinion is based on my observations in my work: women here borrow the most books, men are more active users of the magazine.

Literary prizes or even the now-mandatory author guests on TV quiz shows don't make us men in our so-called prime age to read. That's why I collected here a few books that our relatives can try to force on us, when the libraries open again.

I met Bagge Men at work is almost too easy to read. It has short, funny short stories whose biggest flaw is that they're all about me. Everything. Or well, almost. I haven't tried to fix my chipped tooth myself, and I'm not too eager to start fixing things with internal combustion engines, but usually everything I do goes wrong. Just like how things always go in this book. I recommend the book to all DIY men.

Hannu Raittila might scare a middle-aged man because he received the Finlandia prize. A collection of short stories Male strength however, it's easy and interesting nerd reading. Male strength too tells about men with cold feet. Of those who, if necessary, roll a boulder into the lake just for fun or walk to their cabin with a straight compass direction. Male strength tells about those men who have a good chance of getting the Darwin Award.

Risto Jussilan King woodcutter: The life of Jaakko Pessinen is a book for those who have read nothing but Iijokiseries.

Roope Chest of Drawers In the yard: the anatomy of a renovation suitable for those men who still can or who can no longer joke about their unfinished construction projects or about moving that stone in the yard to its tenth place.

A middle-aged man may need to develop himself. Not only professionally, but also interpersonally. Marianna Stolbow's work fits that need well The art of loving. It is a practical, thought-provoking book that helps to open up the background of your own emotional functions. It is a kind of map book of love.

If it happens that a middle-aged man wants to read something artistic, the kind that is called quality literature in snob circles, then he should read a novel by John Williams Stoner. It tells the story of a man who became a university professor through a poor and barren childhood and is disappointed in his life, living in a loveless marriage, who does not dare to make the right decision when faced with his greatest love.

Petri Tamminen Other good features is a perfect example of the kind of male literature where the man is not the leading alpha male who fixes cars and builds a house, a summer cottage on the weekend. The man portrayed by Tamminen is a sensitive poet boy, shy, thin and otherwise timid. Still a middle-aged man, but the opposite of a practical ass spy. They too - that is, us, sensitive poets - are needed. I just don't really know where.

A middle-aged man doesn't have to be afraid of poems either, because Lauri Viita wrote them. Viita was a manly man, he wrote manly poems about real life. Yet he was also sensitive, best shown in one of his last poems, which is a description of perfect happiness:

Summer landscape: the bay,
sauna beach and boat
and warm, flashing fish,
child, children, children
and the old happy echo:
Dad, hello!

Reading such a poem will not harm a middle-aged man. He might even have to rub the corner of his eye a little while reading it.

Libraries do a lot of work to encourage children and young people to read. That's great! It is one of our most important tasks, even the most important. However, we must not forget another group in danger of marginalization in writing: middle-aged men.

mika. kahkonenatimatra.fi (mika[dot]kahkonen[at]imatra[dot]fi)
Tel: 020 617 6602