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.
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD BIO 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.
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.
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.
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD 598.944 MAC
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD 814.54 SED
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD BIO 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.
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.
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD 027.4794 ORL
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!
AUDIO BOOK/CD BIO 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.
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.
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.
AUDIO BOOK/CD BIO 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.
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