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November 19, 2021

International Men’s Day

Strong, reliable, confident, and protective are the standard terms we use to describe men. However, sometimes
 these descriptions may hold men back from being vulnerable, and emotional which can be very rough and heart-breaking.

The books we read, the movies we watch, or what we saw in our house influence us one way or another. This Men’s Day, we like to reinforce a good representation of the men who will inspire and empathize with you to be better versions of yourself and see men in a new light other than what we’ve been accustomed to seeing of them.

So this International Men’s Day, we have come up with a list of books that celebrate and help us learn to redefine the role and character of men. 

1. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by Bell Hooks

The Will to Change

Bell Hooks is a cultural and feminist theorist who does not abandon males on the journey of teaching feminism. The main crux of her teaching in this book is that to “create loving male, you must love males.” 

She not only focuses on half of the world's population and talks about how patriarchy destroyed the females but also explains how we also need to empower and cherish men by loving them and caring about them. Whether you are a male, female, gender-neutral, or non-binary, this book is for all. You can find the book here.

2. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

My Princess Boy

My Princess Book is an adorable non-fiction picture book for kids that narrates the story of a four-year-old boy who likes wearing dresses, all things pink and sparkly, and loves a tiara. The story is told from the point of view of a mother who struggles with his son's identity.

It is a good introduction for any kid who has developed a love for reading and learned that positive male roles do not just confine them to wearing boy clothes, playing boy games, or being masculine and aggressive in general. Perfect gift for your baby boy to celebrate this International Men’s Day! You can find the book here.

3. The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and A Crisis of Our Own Making by Jared Yates Sexton

The Man They Wanted Me to Be

It is a memoir and a social gender analysis laid down by a white male author who explains how he was a sensitive boy at the beginning who later turned out to be aggressive because of the toxic masculinity he experienced in his house and everywhere around him. 

He also puts forward a racial understanding of gender and how society expects a man to be a certain way. His honesty and thought-provoking examples with his experience make it an even compelling read to spread awareness about toxic masculinity on this International Men’s Day. You can find the book here.

4. The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens

The Elected Member

This Booker Prize Winner book talks about what many don’t - men's mental health. This story revolves around Norman Zweck, who was once a prodigy. As an adult, he becomes a barrister, but his career is shown to go down in the dumps with him when he eventually becomes a drug addict, and the hallucinations caused by them make him even more estranged. 

It talks about the complicating character arc of each member of the estranged family. However, it mainly introduces the fact that many people ignore how violence and constant aggressiveness can act out as the inability to express one’s emotions and emerge from the burdens of the family while trying to numb the pain of it all in the face of staying strong. You can find the book here.

5. Boys Don’t Cry: Why I Hid My Depression and Why Men Need to Talk About Their Mental Health by Tim Grayburn

Boys Don’t Cry

"Boys don’t cry" is something we get to hear all the time, and while people think they are telling boys to be “like boys,” they are just pushing them into this pit of pity, doubt, and the inability of being a communicative person when it comes down to their problems. This is the story of Tim, who was told not to cry. This is also the story of self-discovery, depression, and finding love. 

It talks about the problems that many men face, one of which is their inability to express their issues because they think it would bring them shame. Because boys don’t cry. With an uplifting yet honest account of his own story, this would be a perfect companion for you to read this year because being manly is not just about being heroic and strong all the time but also about being vulnerable and caring. You can find the book here.

6. How to Raise a Feminist Son: A Memoir and Manifesto by Sonora Jha

How to Raise a Feminist Son

Sonora Jha believes in changing the world by helping one boy at a time. In her memoir, she discusses her personal 101 guidelines on how to raise a feminist boy by teaching about consent, the importance of being vulnerable, and being in touch with one’s feelings. 

She helps counteract problematic colloquial phrases people use every day that have proved to be toxic for both men, women, and people who belong to the other categories. This is, by default, one of the best men’s books as it proves to reinforce what a positive male role model is supposed to be like. You can find the book here.

7. After the Shot Drops
by Randy Ribay

After the Shot Drops

It is a heart-pounding book about compassion and brotherhood. It is the story of two boys, Bunny and Nasir. When Bunny gets the opportunity to be a part of the cool kids' group, he embraces it, making Nasir feel betrayed and lonely.

Now, he only has Wallace, who is getting evicted. When Wallace places a bet against Bunny, Nasir must make an impossible choice. A great story about friendships, falling out, basketball and brotherhood. You can find the book here.

8. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder book

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity, but he doesn’t want his face to define him. He just wants to be like any other ordinary kid, but the people around him don’t let him get past that. It will be a beautiful read for anyone who picks this book at this time as this story mainly focuses on being accepted the way you are, which is something again that a lot of men suffer from, be it because of their looks or with the way they treat others - that is to say, aggressively or kindly. 

It also talks about having insecurities about yourself and having remarks made about it which is another factor that many men suffer from, but they say nothing about it. You can find the book here.

9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

It is a famous story about a grumpy old man who just misses his dead wife, but his neighbors won’t stop interrupting his aloneness. This book, in a way, breaks this stereotype that men are emotionless human beings because deep down, as a reader, you see Ove, who still remembers causing happiness to his late wife because of his kindness, so he keeps that portion of him alive still. 

This story talks about love, loss, family, friendships, and their risks and rewards. It talks about the power of compassion and how it can heal the unlikeliest of curmudgeons. Perfect for fans of the famous Disney Pixar movie, Up. You can find the book here.

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