Check out this interesting essay, Why Hemingway is Chick-Lit about the alleged gender gap in fiction-reading. I shouldn’t say alleged because it seems to be a fact that women read fiction and men don’t. Women make up 88 per cent of readers of general interest fiction and top men, though not so dramatically, in genres like science fiction and mysteries. The question, of course, is why this is so, and what it means for fiction writing. I was surprised by these figures, though they are certainly borne out in my immediate family. The girls read fiction and the boys read non-fiction. The essay surveys lots of explanatory theories, but I think what’s more important is not what this means for gender relations or even what it means for fiction reading/writing/marketing, but what it means for boys. Not reading fiction surely must stunt you somehow. I’m not being coy; I really think you walk around the world with a great gaping deficit in your soul if you eschew fiction.