Over the course of this blog we’ve reviewed a bunch of indie-made dildos and I’ve reviewed a fair few books. Today I’m reviewing my first indie-published book, Open Bobs BB volume 1. There were some small challenges in reviewing Open Bobs BB—I’ll just call this OBBB from here on out—that I think are useful to go over. I was asking questions that didn’t have obvious answers, as I typically review from the point of view of the self-help genre with questions like, Who is this book for? What use is it? What’s the value proposition? We’ll be covering answers to those questions where they’re appropriate, but OBBB isn’t strictly, nor is it billed as, a self-help item, it’s a collection item which happens to contain some self-help segments.
Let’s start straight away with one of the most obvious things in need of an answer, what does that title mean? Funny enough, you won’t find that answer in the book, I think there’s an assumption that anyone reading the book will be familiar enough with the blog already to know. Well, I hope that changes, because I think more people should own a copy, but we’ll get to that later. So the short of it is, “Open Bobs BB?” was the first message performer/sex worker/author/more Tawney Seren received when she started working in the sex industry. You can learn more here. I do wish OBBB mentioned that in the introduction though.
From there we work our way through a curated selection of works from the Open Bobs BB blog itself. The formatting of this book really shines here, credit to Harper the Fox. The text is easy on the eyes, the breaks feel natural, and the design lends a sense of flow to the reading, which is very nice to see in a collection type book. As I alluded to earlier, the content itself runs quite a wide gamut of topics. There’s serious practical advice for removing cum stains but also interviews with mothers about their sex lives and body image and how they’ve coped after children, a topic that really hits home here and that I’ve written on at length. There’s windows into the lives of sex-workers and fetish practitioners. It’s not really possible to convey the range of topics here without kinda spoiling the contents in their entirety, so I won’t, let’s just say I found the change of pace from piece to piece enjoyable but formatted in a way so it wasn’t jarring. My favorite bit was the interview with the moms though, for the record.
So, there’s a good question some of you may be asking right now and it’s one that deserves an answer. Why would I buy a book that contains a collection of blog posts I can go read for free? Glad you asked, because while there are some answers to that question that are easy, there’s one I came up with that I found pretty surprising, and all of them fit into a general theme of the benefits of a physical item, though a digital version is available. One of the easy answers is as a show of support that gets you something a little more concrete than a thank you. I also have a thing for physical media, always have, I’m biased towards it, but that’s because of things like the next reason. This is a great book for what I normally consider to be a book graveyard, the coffee table, but this time we’re using it to start conversations instead of to sit unused. My self-help books really don’t accomplish this well. Many people avoid the self-help section of book stores specifically because being seen there means, to many people, that there must be some large flaw with them or something wrong with them, and maybe that’s true, but it’s a tough thing to admit in public for anyone. Draping that on your coffee table comes with similar concerns over the message you’re trying to send. Why would I keep She Comes First on my coffee table? What message would I be sending? Not too keen on telling my guests that I might just have an oral edge over them.
But let’s say I’m really high in openness and really need to be explicitly told borders early in a relationship of any kind. Let’s also say for a moment that people who have low openness are really terrible at communicating things like that. If I leave OBBB on the table, odd title and all, with that cover—getting to that soon—I’d find that to be a more subtle and at their own pace way of getting to know someone’s limits. It’s a world apart from sending them a direct link to the blog via text or something, that would be me shoving the conversation on them, but when you enter my house it would be hard to object to seeing the material there, this is my space. So yes, I’ve finally figured out a use for the coffee table as something other than a place where unwanted magazines go to die. Thanks OBBB.
So about that cover. Despite it’s usefulness in the prior scenario I have to give it the same minor ding I give the rest of the books I review that have the “I will never read this is a coffee shop” cover. I should call this the e-reader award honestly. Damn me and my need for physical items that cover sex but that I’d also like to read in public, or at least away from my utterly lovable but very distracting family.
Let’s get into another use for putting this sort of thing into a collection piece and the value that can bring. Another artifact of doing a lot of book reviews on sensitive topics, and being as in the IT biz as I am, is that a lot of this stuff is not safe to link to or from work. Networks are increasingly monitored and even if you’re on a personal device you may be on monitored wi-fi. Your workplace, if it isn’t already, is getting increasingly invasive into your browser habits for reasons both good and bad. Passing someone a physical book removes these considerations.
I’ve spent a lot of time so far weighing on the pros and cons of physical versus electronic media, where that could have been it’s own post, and maybe it will be, but in light of what this product is, it seemed the right and necessary time for that topic to be covered. Also, this book is a short and quick read if you’re going to be doing it cover to cover style. I managed it with child distractions in about 2 hours, 137 pages.
So would I recommend Open Bobs BB volume 1? Absolutely, but excepting rare cases, my recommendations always come with a few caveats in the form of “if you are looking for X”. Let’s start with a recap of the stats. OBBB is a collected works style book with a great format, layout, a short length that lends it to casual reading or busy lifestyles without much opportunity cost for your time, and is inexpensive. Aside from my specific boundary probing scenario above, this book also serves the purposes of anyone who is even passingly curious about the lives of online sex workers, fetish practitioners, or people who are just curious about sexuality and the forms it takes in general—that’d be me. This is also the time to get some disclosures down. I normally have some boilerplate for these reviews, as I’m typically never tied in any way towards the source of the content. The ties here are really loose, but need disclosing. I have had some of—one actually, as of this writing—my content featured on the Open Bobs BB website and intend to submit more. I purchased this book to read out of my own volition and curiosity and Tawney was blindsided by the news that I’d be reviewing it. So there you go.
If you’d like to pick up Open Bobs BB volume 1 you can get a physical copy like I did—the most recommended option—but you can also pick up the digital version, both are available here.