It’s summertime; that means vacations with long trips to your destinations. Many of us enjoy listening to audiobooks to pass the time and fill our car rides with thrilling adventures, grisly crime scenes, and exciting car chases (that we would rather not reenact ourselves). Not everyone realizes, however, that there are a number of titles that the authors have chosen to read aloud themselves! Check out some of these author-read titles today and listen to the story the way the author intended it to be read:
History buffs should check out David McCullough’s reading of his work, 1776.
“Bestselling historian and two-time Pulitzer winner McCullough follows up John Adams by staying with America’s founding, focusing on a year rather than an individual: a momentous 12 months in the fight for independence. How did a group of ragtag farmers defeat the world’s greatest empire? As McCullough vividly shows, they did it with a great deal of suffering, determination, ingenuity—and, the author notes, luck…the author keenly renders the harshness of the elements, the rampant disease and the constant supply shortfalls, from gunpowder to food, that affected morale on both sides—and it certainly didn’t help the British that it took six weeks to relay news to and from London. Simply put, this is history writing at its best from one of its top practitioners.” – Publisher’s Weekly
Looking for a laugh? Listen to David Sedaris read his works in Live at Carnegie Hall, with the kind of timing and delivery only the author himself could pull off.
“Bestselling humorist Sedaris likes to test out new material on twice-a-year reading tours to get the rhythm and phrasing perfected before he puts them down on the page. This live recording of his October 22, 2002, reading at Manhattan’s Carnegie Hall finds Sedaris performing seven hilarious new pieces and taking a few questions from his audience. As uproarious as Sedaris is on the page, he’s even funnier reading his wickedly jaundiced reflections. With brilliant deadpan timing, Sedaris is a charm, whether being coaxed into purchasing his clothes in the women’s department by his sister Amy (“I’m the guy in a crowded steak house removing a jacket with the label reading ‘Sassy Sport'”) or untangling the Dutch legend of St. Nicholas and his “six to eight black men” slaves/assistants or trying to explain to guests–in French–that his boss has a rubber hand.” – Publisher’s Weekly
If you dream about travel to faraway places (even though you’re currently just planning a trip to your parent’s in Iowa) you may enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s reading of her biography, Eat Pray Love. Fans praise her ‘listenability’ and the excellent voices she creates for the different members of her story.
“Gilbert, author of The Last American Man (2002) and a well-traveled I’ll-try-anything-once journalist, chronicles her intrepid quest for spiritual healing. Driven to despair by a punishing divorce and an anguished love affair, Gilbert flees New York for sojourns in the three Is. She goes to Italy to learn the language and revel in the cuisine, India to meditate in an ashram, and Indonesia to reconnect with a healer in Bali. This itinerary may sound self-indulgent or fey, but there is never a whiny or pious or dull moment because Gilbert is irreverent, hilarious, zestful, courageous, intelligent, and in masterful command of her sparkling prose.” – Book List Review
Those who enjoy more serious fiction will enjoy Khaled Hosseini’s reading of his book, The Kite Runner. In addition to the life he gives to his story through his reading, he also present s the opportunity for those listeners unfamiliar with the Dari language used in that region of Afghanistan to learn the pronunciation of names and places in his work.
“Hosseini’s debut novel opens in Kabul in the mid-1970s. Amir is the son of a wealthy man, but his best friend is Hassan, the son of one of his father’s servants. His father encourages the friendship and dotes on Hassan, who worships the ground Amir walks on. But Amir is envious of Hassan and his own father’s apparent affection for the boy. Amir is not nearly as loyal to Hassan, and one day, when he comes across a group of local bullies raping Hassan, he does nothing. Shamed by his own inaction, Amir pushes Hassan away, even going so far as to accuse him of stealing. Eventually, Hassan and his father are forced to leave. Years later, Amir, now living in America, receives a visit from an old family friend who gives him an opportunity to make amends for his treatment of Hassan. Current events will garner interest for this novel; the quality of Hosseini’s writing and the emotional impact of the story will guarantee its longevity.” – Book List Review
Engaging for the whole family, Neil Gaiman’s reading of his book, The Graveyard Book leaves teens, children, and parents alike on the edge of their seats to find out about the unusual upbringing of the boy named Nobody.
“While a highly motivated killer murders his family, a baby, ignorant of the horrific goings-on but bent on independence, pulls himself out of his crib and toddles out of the house and into the night. This is most unfortunate for the killer, since the baby was his prime target. Finding his way through the barred fence of an ancient graveyard, the baby is discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a stable and caring couple with no children of their own and who just happen to be dead. After much debate with the graveyard’s rather opinionated denizens, it is decided that the Owenses will take in the child. Under their care and the sponsorship of the mysterious Silas, the baby is named Nobody and raised among the dead to protect him from the killer, who relentlessly pursues him. This is an utterly captivating tale that is cleverly told through an entertaining cast of ghostly characters. There is plenty of darkness, but the novel’s ultimate message is strong and life affirming.” – Book List Review