John Irving is the bestselling author of The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, and most recently Avenue of Mysteries.
1. Do you think men don't read fiction any more?
I never said men don't read fiction anymore. I've said, many times, that women have always read more fiction (and better fiction) than men read. I'm not talking about college students; at that age, I observe that the interest in literary fiction seems to be shared pretty equally between men and women. But women, as they grow older, continue to live more in their imaginations than most men do. Women are the ones I see reading good fiction; men mostly read nonfiction or bad novels. I can't tell you why. I just see this all the time—to the degree that when I do see a grown man reading good fiction, I have to restrain myself from hugging him in surprise and gratitude. Women readers are supporting quality fiction. I'm not alone in this observation. Ask Ian McEwan.