Spotlight: Audiobook Memoirs of Actors Read by the Author

Is it hard for you to listen to audiobooks? Well, I propose that memoirs might be an easy way to hook you into the wonderful world of listening to books. I really enjoy how easy memoirs are to listen to. Unlike an intricate literary novel, when I’m listening to a memoir,  I don’t feel stressed if I miss a few paragraphs while listening, especially since I listen to audiobooks while driving and distractions can often happen. Memoirs provide a low-pressure storytelling experience. Yes, sometimes many of these authors aren’t amazing authors, but they do have really interesting stories about their experiences in Hollywood.

For this weekly spotlight, I decided to select not just any audiobook memoirs, but those written by actors and actresses. If you are fans of any of their tv shows, comedy acts, or movies, you may enjoy hearing about the behind-the-scenes experiences. Plus, I’ve only selected audiobooks that are actually read by the authors – it provides even more of an authentic storytelling feel when they are talking directly to you about personal experiences.

Take a look at this list, and feel free to add any that I’ve missed in the comments section!

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

storiesionlytellmyfriends“A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood’s top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood.” – Summary

  • duration: 9 hrs
  • Lowe is coming out with a new memoir entitled Love Life, releasing April 8, 2014.
  • Genna’s note: I’ve listened to this and really enjoyed hearing about his experiences growing up with the Sheens, his first big movie role on The Outsiders, and experiencing the great success of The West Wing.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

bossypants“From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.” -Summary

  • 2011 Won Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
  • 2012 Won Audie Award
  • duration: 5.5 hrs
  • Genna’s note: It was really inspiring hearing about her struggles working a day job in Evanston while going to improv classes in Chicago at night, her experience impersonating Alaskan governor Sarah Palin on SNL, as well as the crazy all-nighters that she and her staff pulled for her show 30 Rock.

Then Again by Diane Keaton

thenagain“To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. And so, in a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother, Dorothy. Diane went through thousands of pages of her mother’s journals to create an unflinching portrait of her mother, as well as her entire family.”-Summary

  • duration: 8 hrs

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J Fox

alwayslookingup“Michael J. Fox shares his personal outlook on maintaining the positive attitude that has lifted him through the difficult times. Fox shows us how to live a more appreciative and fulfilling life by recognizing the things we already have.”- Summary

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt

zombiespaceship“Combines a memoir with humorous essays that share the comedian’s observations on such topics as Edgar Allan Poe, paying dues in the stand-up comedy circuit, and the inevitable milestones of young creative minds. Read by the author with Michael Penn and Michael Stipe.” – Summary

  • duration: 3.5 hrs

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

wishfuldrinking“Carrie Fisher, forever immortalized by her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, reveals her turbulent life, from her superficial Hollywood upbringing to her addiction to alcohol. With scathing humor, Fisher chronicles her declining acting career and subsequent tribulations, including mothering the child of a gay man.” – Summary

  • duration: 3 hrs

Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin

kathygriffin“With her trademark wit, the feisty comic settles a few old scores, celebrates the friends and mentors who helped her claw her way to the top, and shares insider gossip about celebrity behavior–the good, the bad, and the very ugly.”- Summary

  • Of local note: Kathy Griffin graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School.
  • duration: 6.5 hrs

Seriously–I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres duration: 3 hrs

ellendHer audiobook differs slightly from the print book – she changed the words so as to sound as though she is speaking more directly to the listener, and added an extra chapter just for the audio edition. From the author: “I’ve experienced a whole lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. So I hope that you’ll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I’ve put together for you in this book. I think you’ll find I’ve left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I’m saying is, let us begin, shall we?”

  • duration: 3 hrs

If You Ask Me: (And Of Course You Won’t) by Betty White

bettywhite“A personal account by the popular actress shares stories from her decades in Hollywood while offering her lighthearted perspectives on topics ranging from sex and aging to animal welfare and television.” – Summary

  • duration: 2 hrs

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza

tonydanza“Tony Danza had it good. He was a successful actor, well liked, with several hit shows to his name. But he’d always had a nagging doubt–was this all there was? Could he be doing something more meaningful, could he go beyond getting laughs and actually make a difference? What if he became, of all things, a teacher? It seemed a little far-fetched, true. He had little training and no experience. He was ready to learn. So how hard could it be, really? Well, as Tony discovered over a year teaching English at Philadelphia’s Northeast High, hard. Really hard. But also rewarding, infuriating, inspiring, terrifying, and, ultimately, life-changing. Teaching was in fact the best and most difficult thing he ever attempted, and this book relives the amazing story of what happened.”- Summary

  • duration: 7 hrs

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

iseveryonehangingout“Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door–not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.”- Summary. Read by the author, with additional voices by BJ Novak, Mike Schur, Brenda Withers.

  • duration: 4.5 hrs

Katie’s October Recommendation

official book club selectionOfficial Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin by Kathy Griffin

“This is not my usual choice for a book. I expected this book to be all laughs and no seriousness but that was surprisingly not the case. This book dealt with hardships, had some laughter but overall was an interesting read. Kathy Griffin also grew up in Oak Park so it is interesting to hear her discuss this area in her memoir….”

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