10 Books That Men Love

One of the funniest scenes in the history of cinema occurs in Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle, when Suzy (Rita Wilson) grows weepy with sentiment as she describes the end of An Affair to Remember to her brother (Tom Hanks) and husband (Victor Garber). The two men roll their eyes, then Hanks pipes up. “I cried at the end of The Dirty Dozen,” he says. “Jim Brown is throwing these hand grenades down these air shafts.” Hanks starts choking up. “And Richard Jaeckel and Lee Marvin are sitting on top of this armored personnel carrier, parachuting down behind the Nazi line.” By now both men are fake crying. That pretty much sums up what I thought was the emotional capacity of men for literature (or, in this case, film). How wrong I was. Since The Boys was published, I’ve been getting a steady stream of emails from men who want to report the deep impact the book had on them. Many are in their 60s, in the midst of reckoning with their lives. Others, much younger, tell me they related to the book’s main character, who’s in his 30s. Few just say, “Great story.” They go on at far greater length than do any of the women I hear from. There’s a church scene, in particular, that seems to resonate with a special poignancy, even for men who tell me they aren’t religious. One told me he sobbed. For real.
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