Monday, April 9, 2012

Musing Monday...Don't Stick No Label on Me!

A bit late for my Musing today..guess I slept in after our Easter celebration and a day spent with a lot of dogs. But that is another story. ... Right now, let's check out this week's Musing from Miz B at  Should Be Reading.
This week’s musing asks…

What do you think are the top 5 books every woman should read? (And for the men who might be playing today: What do you think are the top 5 books every man should read?)

Wow, I found this question very, very easy.
My answer is none.

See, I just do not buy into the idea that somehow woman are some monolithic group that have a significant amount in common, including what books we would..or should...all like. BTW, I feel the same about men and kids and young people or any other 'group'. And honestly, the idea that anybody and their tastes can be pigeonholed is rather distasteful in my mind, dear Huffington People.

You take a look at the lists in the articles this question came from, including the one in the Huffington Post and I would not touch many, if not most of those books with a ten foot, literary pole. OK, many that is harsh. Let's just say that most are not to my taste. I do not read the books of Ms. Blume, I do not read self-help books, I do not read anything that is 'new-age'.

Now yes, there are a number of books on the Huff List that I have read. A number of classics, a number of recent books, that I think many, many people will like, men and woman, young and old alike. The Lovely Bones, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, To Kill a Mockingbird are a few on that list that I think are very good books that everyone should read and I resist the attempt to 'ghettoize' then somehow as woman books. Fear of Flying..Betty Friedan..really? Are people, woman, still reading them.
No thank you.Maybe it is time to move on a bit.

I think a good book, especially fiction, speak to what we have in common as human beings, not what separates us and our particular place in the world. That is why fiction can be so very powerful.
Yes, woman tend to read more fiction than men, but some men, maybe lots of men, read only fiction. So what?
And men tend to read more non-fiction than does that mean woman can't read and enjoy books about science or history? Wow, what does that say to woman, especially young girls, if that is where their interests lie? That those are men's book or they are unusual to like certain books or certain subjects. Or, on the other hand, if certain things do not interest them, are they less of a woman?

If you want to me to come up with a list of the top 5 books everyone should read, I might do that. After I have had my coffee though. Otherwise, I fear we are just taking the labels on these books, which publishers put on them as a marketing tool and which, in my mind, have little real meaning beyond that, way too seriously.
I think books can, and should, at least sometimes, be comforting. Yes, I love my mysteries. They should be the place we can go to relax and wind down. But books should also challenge us a bit, take us someplace new.

Folks, just read!
Read what interests you!
Read what people you trust recommend.
Read what sounds like it may say something new to you.
Read what you, as an individual, find interesting, what you can learn from, what exposes you to new people and new ideas and new experiences and don't let any label stop you.
Even if it might be a self-help book! ;-)


  1. Huh, I've never thought about it like that. You've just gained a new follower :') I do like people who make me think.

    1. that I can think on a Monday morning is a challenge, but thanks for joining up!

  2. LOL. You are absolutely right, Caite, and I can't believe I fell for it! I liked what you said about not falling for the publisher's marketing... That's where I went, "Oh, shoot, that's what I just did!" LOL.

    Oh well, at least it made for an interesting MM question! ;)

    Loved your answer... thank you!


    1. I loved the question...because I love to rant a bit and love to be given a chance! :-)

  3. I absolutely LOVE your answer - thank you for sharing! :)

    Here's mine:

  4. Haha See, I agree with you. In fact my first answer to the question was 'I don't know' because there really aren't any books every woman SHOULD read because not everyone has the same tastes. But I can never pass out a good opportunity to recommend books! :)

  5. Very thought-provoking post --- and I LIKE it! :) I think that some books appeal more to one sex or the other, sometimes based on the characters and their experiences that women or men relate to more. However, I agree - I don't think there is a list of books that just women, or just men, should read --- everyone should read good books. !!!

    Nice post!

  6. Ah, yes, you did this differently as you said on my post. I love it. I felt the same way when I first saw the article and then some of the other books people listed. I chose the ones I did for their strong female narrators, which is as far as I could go with this list.
    This is a very though provoking post and I'm so glad you went the extra step. I couldn't have said this as well as you did.
    I don't like the idea that books are just for woman and other books are just for men. Reading is much more important and strong to stay between our made up gender lines and boundaries.
    Thanks for this post!

  7. I completely agree. I had a bit of a shock when I read this Monday's prompt. I couldn't believe that we are still labeling books according to gender.

  8. Oh! Boy! do I agree with you. I didn't play this week, because I thought, WHAT!! We all read different genres, so what I think would be a fabulous book for everyone to read, they may wonder if I live in another world. Great answer.

  9. I agree - read what interests you!

  10. Good answer.

    I would love a discussion on the differences, though, that wasn't derogatory towards anyone, although, maybe that's not possible. 'Cause there are differences. I feel it when I read and connect to the story in different ways. I had to answer you comment on my blog, of course, since I would never call a book a "mans book" - but I see you've been wonderfully busy, hopping around visiting - way cool. And I was blatantly bold to mention books specifically written by men in my recommendations.

    I agree with your answer, but I do think there's plenty more to discuss there.

    1. I agree that if you look at percentages, yes, certain types of books, even certain author, seem geared toward men or woman or young boys or teenage girls...or whoever. but to we really need to put a label on them?
      I read a response that said Lord of the Rings was a man's book. Then what does that say to this teenage girl who loved it?

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I agree for the most part, that's why I was only able to come up with 4 truthfully, and even then I'd advise men read Vampire Acedemy and Love and Respect as well. Though I do think there are some books more "geared" toward women than men

  12. Great response! I never though of it that way. Here is my MM:

  13. You're kidding, right? LOTR is a man's book???? Tell that to my younger daughter. She loves LOTR to this day, has for years. TBG and I read a lot of the same books. I never say to him, "this sounds like a good man's book"... more like I think you'll like this one.

  14. Your answer made me think--and that's a great thing! I didn't interpret the question the way you did... but I agree with what you're saying about reading anything with no labels.

  15. Caite, I wrote another post, quoting you. I like what you said a lot. And I read this goofy article over the weekend about YA vs. Adult books that just makes me feel like labels are all wrong and actually stop the freedom of discussing what we think about books. We should be able to discuss differences we see, but by labeling things, it makes it much harder. Here's my post!!

  16. I totally agree with you … and I love your advice at the end!!

  17. Hi, I was wondering if I can use your photo Don't Label Me on my campaign of stop labeling with mental illness, bipolar, ADHD, please say my name?


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