Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to.
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Today’s pick is a difficult read that I am so incredibly grateful to have read.
Anna Sale is the host of the Death, Sex, and Money podcast and this book is an extension of that show. Sale wants us to have those conversations that we are avoiding, sometimes even for years. As you can imagine, content warnings for a bunch of hard things, especially around death including infant death.
The author’s argument is that we all go through these particular hard things and by avoiding the conversations that could actually help us and our relationships, we end up isolating ourselves and maybe even making things harder to deal with than they already are. The book is divided into five big buckets of “hard things” by chapter: Death, Sex, Money, Family, and Identity.
The bulk of the book is actually stories upon stories not only about the author but folks she has interviewed for the Death, Sex, and Money podcast about the hard conversations they’ve had in their lives or that they wish they had in their lives and how that experience of having (or not having) the conversation has affected them. In the introduction and at the end of each chapter, which, again, is full of stories, Sale offers up what she has learned about how to have such conversations. She does such a phenomenal job of acknowledging not only that these conversations are hard but also how they are hard and then the importance of having them anyway.
Personally, I am remarkable at avoiding conversations, especially around and with family as well as conversations around death. One quote in the book was, “Family is where we tend to lose our maturity” and wow, that hit close to home. I can’t say that after reading this book I was excited to have all these conversations, but recently I have been unexpectedly forced to have some of them. I am deeply grateful to have read this book a couple years ago because I felt like I had a bit more support and bravery around these incredibly hard conversations and topics.
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