Really Nice Book Reviews: Asking, Teaching & Sex Researching

Here are some audio books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to on Audible.

bonk

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

Packed with stories from the early days of established sex research through modern laboratory adventures, Bonk keeps things moving at a well-lubricated clip.

I won’t give away too much, but if you want to find out exactly where a pig’s clitoris is located, or if you’re dying to find out if renowned sex researcher Alfred Kinsey really did insert a toothbrush into his urethra (bristles first), Bonk is the book for you.

natty

The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work! by Tim Gunn

My sister used to watch Project Runway religiously, so most of my PR viewing has occurred by her side. I may have seen as many as six complete episodes over the years — not for lack of appreciation, but more lack of the ability to sit still amidst distraction for any period of time. Anyway, watching Tim Gunn keep it real on PR was always the best thing about the show. He was honest, helpful, sensitive and kind. He didn’t kiss anyone’s ass, and when he gave criticism it was always with the best intentions. He wanted the designers to learn, and he knew he had to be honest with them if this was going to happen.

In this book, Tim explains why he takes the approach he takes. He talks about different teachers he’s known over the years, about teaching techniques that work best and about the ones that leave room for improvement. He discusses his own journey with candor and humor, and I just can’t help but love the guy.

I’m not a classroom teacher, but I write online massage therapy courses and I volunteer with a teen horror fiction writing club. I learned a lot from this book that I can easily apply in these settings. Tim’s tips on providing honest, kind feedback are top notch!

palmer

The Art of Asking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

I wrote a longer review of this audio book for The Young Thumbs, but I’ll highlight some key points here, too.

Amanda (best known for her music, her time in the Dresden Dolls, her marriage to author Neil Gaiman, and her hugely successful crowdfunding campaign with which she produced an album) talks about fear, connection, honesty, vulnerability, art, music, death, illness, depression, meanies, love and life. Her words are accessible and brought me to tears more than once. But you know what makes this audio book version even more kickass?

The narration and music.

To hear Amanda reading her own words is a pleasure, and the songs dispersed throughout her narration are perfectly chosen and span her career. If you sign up for Audible for 30 days just to get your free audio book, make it The Art of Asking.

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Really Nice Book Reviews: Death, Evolution & Bottoming

The Audible app is my new best friend. For $14.95 a month I can work on my smarts while driving to my office or dodging dog poop during my morning walk. If I’m not feeling a recent purchase I can return it through Audible’s website and get a return credit instantly. Additional books cost additional funds, however Audible runs some really great sales on select titles from time to time (I just loaded up on a bunch of pop science gems from a favorite author at $4.95 each, saving a grand total of $45!).

Why the “really nice” part, you ask? Because if I don’t enjoy reading a book I’m not going to finish reading it, and if I don’t finish reading a book I’m in no position to properly review it. This means that the books I mention on hObsessions were an absolute pleasure to read/listen to. I’ve even done away with numerical rating systems based upon red giants and white dwarfs, because I’m too sweet to give anything less than a stellar “5” and we’re sick of that shit anyway.

If you’ve been tuning in to hObsessions for a little while now or if you know me in real life, you probably have a pretty good idea where my interests lie. If you have some book recommendations for me please add them to the comments section below, and I hope you enjoy mine!

smoke

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

I wish this book had been around in 2013 and I had read it then, because I would’ve recognized guilt disguised as overdramatic grief a lot earlier when shit hit the fan last year.

That’s just one of the countless priceless insights death-positive mortician Caitlin Doughty drops on our morbidly curious ears in this fast-paced account of her years as a young, female, Bay Area crematory employee. In an empathic, humble and appropriately humorous tone, Caitlin describes her job responsibilities, challenges, coworkers, clients and personal journey with the honesty and vulnerability of a trusted friend.

Whether you’re interested in peeking in on the less glamorous aspects of the death industry, or if you’re looking to expose yourself to some end of life truths so you can cozy on up to your inevitable impending demise, this book’s for you.

undeniable

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

That’s right! It’s Bill Nye the Science Guy from my youth! And he got into a debate with a creationist dude who lives in Kentucky! And then he wrote this book!

Bill Nye narrates the Audible version of this book, which is undeNYEably enough reason to listen while you dig for trilobite fossils and ruminate on Bill’s impressive cheekbones. His sense of humor keeps things relatively light while he explains evolution to the non-scientists among us; things we kinda already knew, but with the added pizzazz of unexpected dinosaur feathers and fuck racism undertones.

I’m actually surprised I made it through 9 hours and 30 minutes of pretty heavy science talk. I mean, I can barely sit through 5 minutes of most TV shows, and board games? More like bored games, ammirite? Apparently a bow tie makes all the difference.

bottoming

The New Bottoming Book by Janet W. Hardy & Dossie Easton

Oh, it’s sexy book review time!

BDSM isn’t for everybody, but if you have bottoming proclivities, chances are you’re already aware of it on some level. This book (written by two bitchin’ Bay Area broads with years of experience as both participants and educators in the scene) serves as a source of inspiration, education and — perhaps most importantly — validation. It celebrates the power a submissive (my go-to bottoming term) holds in a BDSM relationship while giving insight into the needs of both tops and bottoms.

The authors discuss several important considerations regarding play, safety, manners, kinky social settings and how not to be an asshole. To these ends, I’d encourage curious bottoms and dabbling tops (and especially know-it-all tops and clueless swingers who horn in on and neglect basic BDSM etiquette) to get down with Janet, Dossie, and a solid swat to one’s hindquarters. Before long you’ll all be begging for more!

Until next time…

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(The book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might earn a few pennies, maybe.)