Headphones over a sky with clouds background and the text "Biographies that are better listened to."

Biographies That Are Better Listened To

Sometimes it is just better to hear someone’s writing from their own voice. Even better when it is the well-oiled delivery of a comedian, the dramatic inflection of a beloved actor, or the crooning of a mellifluous accent. Delivery can elevate the words and galvanize the meaning. Get all the perks from these “read by the author” favorites.

Cover of The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

The argonauts / Maggie Nelson

This story, which includes Nelson’s account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.

Nelson’s lyric verse read in her textured voice will ground the listener for an engaging experience, even when the more academic theories float over their head. Recommended for fans of gender studies, autotheory, and experimental writing techniques. Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

Cover of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood
/ Trevor Noah

In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born illegal — the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father’s servant in the brief moments when the family came together. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

Dear girls: Intimate tales, untold secrets & advice for living your best life / Ali Wong

Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero) cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.

The listener will feel like they are at a hilarious, yet heartfelt, extended comedy show. Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry / Augusten Burroughs           

At the request of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab. When Augusten is forced to examine himself, something starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life — and live it sober. Told in Burroughs’ satirical tone, this is equal parts heartbreak and humor. Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

Cover of Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story: Remaking a Life From Scratch by Erin French

Finding freedom : a cook’s story : remaking a life from scratch / Erin French

Erin’s experiences with deep loss and abiding hope, told with both honesty and humor, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Finding Me by Viola Davis


Finding Me / Viola Davis               

In this memoir, award-winning actress Viola Davis shares her story, in her own words, from her coming-of-age in Rhode Island to the present day. Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald


H is for Hawk / Helen Macdonald

An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive and hoopla.

Cover of Happy-go-lucky by David Sedaris


Happy-go-lucky / David Sedaris

Another set of satirical, witty essays written and read by a master of his craft. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Hello, Molly!: a memoir by Molly Shannon


Hello, Molly! : a memoir / Molly Shannon

At age four, Molly Shannon lost her mother, baby sister, and cousin in a car accident. Held together by her father, she was raised in a house that would allow her to become a renowned comedic actress. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive and hoopla.

Cover of How Y'all Doing? Misadventures and Mischief From a Life Well Lived by Leslie Jordan

How Y’all Doing? : Misadventures and mischief from a life well lived / Leslie Jordan

How Y’all Doing? is an authentic, warm, and joyful portrait of an American Sweetheart— a Southern Baptist celebutante, first-rate raconteur, and keen observer of the odd side of life. Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just kids / Patti Smith

In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City: the denizens of Max’s Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner’s, Brentano’s and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe–the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius. Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

Cover of The Library Book by Susan Orlean


The library book / Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to the beloved institution of libraries. This is technically not a biography, but libraries exist in the hearts of those who love them, so I would argue it is biography adjacent!

Cover of More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys

More myself : a journey / Alicia Keys

More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her.  Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive.

Cover of Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming

Not my father’s son : a memoir / by Alan Cumming

Actor Alan Cumming unravels family secrets when he agrees to be on the popular genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? Cummings Scottish accent and distinctive dictation make this a joy to this to. Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

Cover of Rememberings by Sinéad O’Connor

Rememberings / Sinéad O’Connor

From the acclaimed, controversial singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor comes a revelatory memoir of her fraught childhood, musical triumphs, fearless activism, and of the enduring power of song. Another powerful voice narrated in a beautiful accent! Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

Cover of Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny beautiful things : Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar / Cheryl Strayed

For more than a decade, thousands of people have sought advice from Dear Sugar—the pseudonym of bestselling author Cheryl Strayed—first through her online column at The Rumpus, later through her hit podcast, Dear Sugars , and now through her popular Substack newsletter. Tiny Beautiful Things collects the best of Dear Sugar in one volume, bringing her wisdom to many more readers.  Available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive and hoopla.

Cover of We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story by Simu Liu


We were dreamers : an immigrant superhero origin story / Simu Liu

An immigrant who battles everything from parental expectations to cultural stereotypes, Liu is determined to carve out a path for himself that leads him to not only succeed as an actor but also to opening the door to reconciling with his parents. Also available as an audiobook on Libby/OverDrive and hoopla.

Cover of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Wishful Drinking / Carrie Fisher

In Wishful Drinking, adapted from her one-woman stage show, Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” coming-of-age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and becoming a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen. Available as an audiobook on hoopla.

November 2023: AI