Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Virtual Book Club: The Achilles Effect

The best thing about blogging? Learning from other people online!

Crystal Smith commented on my "Helping Boys in a Sex-Soaked Society" post. Like many of you, she's concerned about the messages our boys receive from the popular culture. So concerned, in fact, that she wrote a book about it.

The Achilles Effect: What Pop Culture is Teaching Young Boys About Masculinity looks at the ways media, pop culture and popular perceptions shape boys' beliefs and self-concept. Like me, she was inspired by a disturbing comment made by her young son:

The "woman's seat." That is the name my son assigned to the passenger seat of our car when he was just three years old...

Given the popularity of my "Helping Boys" post, I now know I'm not the only parent who has been surprised by the influence of subtle, mass-market messages on my sons. I know that other parents also want to know how to raise strong, healthy, respectful boys in a society that often espouses a very narrow view of both masculinity and femininity. So this month, my virtual book club pick is The Achilles Effect.

Want to join us? Head over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy. (If you want to read the e-version, but don't have an e-reader, consider downloading the free Kindle app for iPhone/iPods, Android devices or your computer.) Don't want to buy a copy? Win one! Crystal has generously agreed to give a copy of her book to one Blogging 'Bout Boys reader. To be entered in the drawing:
  • Leave a comment. Tell us why you want to read along.
  • Spread the news! Mention the giveaway and virtual book club on your blog, Facebook page or Twitter. Each mention equals one entry. (Come back here and include a link in the Comments section. Only one mention per blog, FB or Twitter per day, per person.)
The contest will run through 8 am CST this Friday, May 11. The winner will be drawn at random via and will be announced here on Blogging 'Bout Boys this Friday.

Get ready to read!


  1. I'm so thrilled to see this book being discussed as a book club pick! I'm a recent college grad who's passionate about media literacy's role in aiding young people to grow into men and women of character, and I found out just two weeks ago that my first child is going to be a boy!

    The news threw me for a loop at first, as I had gotten a bit psyched into the thought of raising a girl - a thought that was partially influenced by the severe imbalance of child-directed media literacy initiatives. So little is focused on young boys, and I feel that I may have a role to play in changing that.

    I applaud BBB and Crystal Smith for their work, and I look forward to seeing how their efforts blend in this book club!

  2. Also, promoted this on FB!

    1. Thanks for spreading the word, @Cathlene! And congrats on your pregnancy. Boys are a lot of fun.

  3. Quick note to say I'm in on the book reading! How does it work? Do you have a post-based discussion? Off to see if the book is available at my library. Thanks, Jennifer.

    1. I'm so glad you're in! At this point, my plan is to post a post about the book this Wed, and I'll encourage you readers to post comments and questions as well. We'll do an author Q & A later in the month, and there may even be a Twitter chat.

      Do you have any other ideas? The Virtual Book club is a new thing here, and we're still working out details, and very much open to great suggestions.