Do Labels Help or Hurt?

Between my work schedule and my kiddos, I barely have time to read for fun, but I somehow managed to read The You I Never Knew by Susan Wiggs in just two days. This was the type of book that had me sneaking pages any chance I could get. Last night I caught myself sitting on the edge of the tub, holding the book in one hand and washing my kids’ hair with the other. I sometimes feel guilty when a novel takes my attention away from my motherly duties, but I figure that if reading is my biggest vice, my kids have gotten off pretty easy.

My hubby’s grandma gave the book to me It wasn’t until I finished it that I realized the word ROMANCE across the binding.

Yes, it was a love story, but I was surprised to see it categorized at romance. In my mind, it is a book about relationships, and a novel that would appeal to a lot of fiction readers—not just those who favor romance novels. In addition to being a great novel that made me feel like I was at a ranch in Montana (even with Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Wash dripping down my right hand), the book made me think about how books are labeled.

As a writer, I realize that publishers and booksellers need to put books in nice and neat categories. I also know that as I reader I gravitate to the sections of the bookstore that house the types of books I like. But those very tools that are meant to help us find what we want can also keep us from discovering great reads we’d love.

Had it not been given to me, I likely never would have found The You I Never Knew. That would have been my loss as I really loved this book. Susan Wiggs kept me entertained and made the characters and places in the book come alive. Now that I’ve finished it, I plan to go back through and try to figure out how Wiggs worked her magic. I am also going to branch out a little more often and check out books that aren’t necessarily my type. You never know, science fiction could totally be my thing and I don’t even know it yet

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