Audiobook Review, Nonfiction, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club, Self Help

Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand AloneBraving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We’ll keep this review short because… well… the book is short.

I snatched this audiobook from the library in my quest to read all the Reese Witherspoon Book Club picks. This is her pick from January of 2018.

Don’t let the title or the cover deceive you. I thought this was going to be a book about a woman out in the wilderness trying to survive. Wrong. Well at least not in the literal sense.

Braving the Wilderness is about the quest to belong. What does that really mean? The author would tell you, “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” And Brown take us on a quick journey through her research surrounding this topic.

While I didn’t find this book awe-inspiring, it did give me a lot to think about. About my thoughts and actions and how I respond to people. Why our society is so divided, particularly in the political realm. This book does have lots of political undertones (although I would not say it is overtly political in nature). And I think it applies to folks on both sides of the political fence and everything in between. How can we be nicer to each other? How can we take opportunities to listen to understand rather than listen to respond? How do we bridge the enormous divide in our country and stop judging those who aren’t in our “political corner?”

You may not agree with everything Brown presents in this book, but I guarantee you will walk away with at least a few ideas for improving yourself as a human being. And at a short 4 hours on audio (a little over 200 pages in print), it is an extremely quick read you could tackle in one afternoon.

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Self Help

Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex LifeCome as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Calling all women! All women to the table please!

(Caveat: In this context, by women, I mean exclusively cisgender females… as the author herself specifies in the introduction for this book)

Okay, listen. To say that “self help” is not my genre of choice would be a huge understatement. I rarely choose self help for myself because I tend to not really care for people giving me their subjective opinions of how I should live my life. That being said, this book was chosen by my Nashville Badass Babes Bookclub, and of course I wanted to be able to be part of the conversation, so I read it.

O.M.G.

This book spoke to me on so many levels.

Let me stop quickly and just comment on the cover. If I saw this book on a shelf at the store, I would probably NEVER pick it up just because of the cover. I tend to stray away from book covers that resemble vaginas (or as this author would have you clarify, “vulvas”). But I’m so happy I didn’t let the cover deter me.

Come as You Are is so much more than a book about sex. I mean… yes.. it does have a lot of reference to sex. It has a vulva on the cover for crying out loud. But, so much of the content was relatable to other elements of life and translatable to many different scenarios. Communication. Body Image. Loving Ourselves as We Are. Being Kind to Ourselves. Working Through Problems. Just So Many Good Moments of Personal Reflection!

And it was funny. Emily Nagoski found a way to put scientific subject matter in relatable, conversational words. She inserted humor and some snarky attitude. I felt like I was reading a letter from one of my girlfriends, joking around about various sexual topics. For anybody who reads and enjoys The Skimm (a semi-snarky, quick-witted daily newsletter targeted towards women), this had a very similar tone and vibe.

I don’t do this often, but I would highly recommend purchasing this book in print. I’m usually impartial to whether I listen to a book or rent it from the library… and tend to not purchase a lot of books because… well… $$$. But in this case, I think the purchase is entirely worthwhile. There are activities throughout the book after several chapters where the author encourages you to self-reflect and jot down some personal notes. And I found the activities really meaningful and worthwhile. I took the time to complete them, marking up the pages in red pen for my own reference at a later date. I would encourage anybody who reads it to do the same.

I guess that about sums it up. This book is a “must read” for women everywhere. If nothing else, just to hear the words:

You are normal.

You are beautiful.

Women aren’t broken versions of men; they’re women.

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