Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
MR had me laughing from the very start and went by fast. If I have one complaint, it's that Aziz cracked jokes about listeners being lazy (for not reading for real...?) a few too many times, but otherwise, it's a delightful auditory experience. If you've watched some of his stand-up, or even his show Master of None, you know some of what's in this book because his comedy and writing usually have a lot to do with relationships and the way we communicate and meet new people. On its own, though, it's eye-opening and informative. Aziz teamed up with a sociologist and they did their research, and he even went to a few other countries to get some comparisons between the way we form romantic relationships here in the US and the way people do in, say, France. And Japan. Good narration, good info, and overall respectful dialogue with lightheartedness made this a fun read, even when the truth stung a little.
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
After her sister made a pointed comment about how she's always saying no, no, no, Shonda made a decision to have a "Year of Yes," in which she says yes, yes, yes, to literally everything. Suddenly she's making speeches and attending galas, and doing all kinds of things she never bothered with before. And along the way, she makes all kinds of discoveries about herself, and even improves her life in other areas, like at home with her children. Of course, her version of Year of Yes doesn't apply to everyone, and she definitely checks her privilege, but she does emphasize there are things we can and should be saying yes to now. Yes to being happy, yes to your body, yes to saying "no" when you need to, and weeding out the people who can't stand to see you happy. She makes some great points, and listening to this book was a lot like listening to a friend.
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
This memoir is a little bit difficult to listen to at times, but not in a bad way. Janet talks about her childhood as a male, the experiences leading up to her sex confirmation, and all of the rest. Some of it is hilarious, and some of it is heartbreaking. Depending on the topic, she drops in some up-to-date (at the time this book was published) statistics and insight about how many people struggle with coming out, with abuse, with all kinds of atrocities because they're at-risk or because they don't conform to what some people think they should. But mixed in with all that, she talks about joyful moments in her childhood, about positive friendships she's formed, beautiful Hawaii, and all the good that has come of her decision to be herself. She speaks her truth, in her own voice, and in her own words. This book is for everyone, and anyone could benefit from listening to her story.