Sara Mills

Sara Mills lives in Alberta, Canada in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She is freelance writer, wife and mother of three. Her passions include collecting swords, raising Golden Retrievers and hosting a house full of hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles and puppies. Aside from animals and swords, Sara loves film noir, Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon. Miss Fortune is her first novel. You can visit her website at

Book Desegregation - Equal Rights for Awesome Books

It’s the smell that gets me first. Freshly printed pages and coffee. I walk into my local chain bookstore and am torn in two directions.

Should I line up for coffee first or should I go straight to the fiction section and simply luxuriate in the thousands and thousands of choices that surround me?

It’s not even a contest. I skip around the coffee bar and head straight for the oh-so familiar shelves. Running my fingers along the spines, I just enjoy this moment of anticipation.

And now the true fun begins. Where to start? There are books that I’ve been meaning to buy, but of course I don’t have a list started and the sensory overload of the shelves has made me forget all their titles. So I browse.

Now here is the question. How am I going to find what I’m looking for?

Every bookstore chain seems to take a different approach to shelving Christian fiction. Some shelve all religious titles together. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever. If it has the word Jesus in it, it goes on the religious shelf. I’m not a big fan of this method as the religious shelf isn’t very big. It almost guarantees that there will only be a handful of novels, most of which I’ve probably already read. It’s like a Christian commune of books. All huddled together, kept away from any secular books that might sully their shelves, or perhaps herded together and contained, kept away from the other books so that no one might accidentally pick up a Christian novel and be offended by the word Jesus.

Goodness, we wouldn’t want that.

Other book stores take a more machine gun style approach to shelving Christian novels. They go by genre, mixed in amongst the secular books, sometimes hard to find. It takes critical thinking skills to uncover these books. Now was that book I wanted more of a mystery or a romance? Would it be shelved under literature or science-fiction? How is a person supposed to find a Christian title mixed in with all of the “heathen” ones?

I suppose that’s what the little computer kiosk is put there for, giving a customer precise instructions on how to find the book they’re looking for. But that doesn’t suit me, I see myself as an explorer, searching for brand new worlds amongst the bookshelves. And to be honest, I feel a little spark of joy every time I find a fabulous Christian title sitting next to some tired old Zombie Erotica novel, because it makes me wonder if, just by chance, some other explorer of the shelves stumbled to the exact same place I’m standing.

Someone who wouldn’t in a million years look at fiction on the religious shelf, they just might just pick up that amazing novel shelved next to the Zombie Erotica and read the back cover. And maybe that little ray of light, shelved amongst so much darkness, will reach out to them. Can you imagine it?

And that’s why I’m willing to search. Why I love that my local bookstore scatters Christian fiction throughout the fiction section.

How many people are wandering those aisles, looking for something, anything to occupy their mind for a few hours? Can you imagine them picking up a book that ends with hope? That struggles with the world the way it really is, but that offers more than despair in its pages?

I can. And I do. Every time I walk through a bookstore.

So I say let the Christian novels mingle with their “heathen” cousins. Release them from the shackles of the religious shelf. Set them free and stop the segregation. Sure they may be harder to find, but think of it as a treasure hunt. And if all else fails check the computer.

Miss Fortune