I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs in audiobook version through the fall and winter and got to thinking: are the memoirs I’m listening to better because they are on audiobooks?
By nature, memoirs are exceptionally personal. They recollect and tell the most personal life experiences through the author’s own voice. I get the distinct impression that the authors are sharing a piece of their heart with the reader.
The added impact of hearing these personal memories is strong. This is amplified 10 fold when they read the book to me in their own voice, and not mine in my head or another narrator. I very much enjoy the sensation of having a heart-to-heart with the author. More connected. I get the words poured lovingly into my ears for me alone to hear and respond.
My personal interpretation is excluded when the authors narrate their own stories. I truly enjoy the experience and feel immersed.
Some examples of audiobook memoirs I’d recommend that are read by the author:
- Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
- The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
- A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I am brimming with questions for which I have no answers.
How must it feel to share your soul in a book? How must it feel to read those words aloud years after the events have unfolded? I recognize the bravery of these authors.
What would you be willing to tell publicly? How would you respond to those who have heard your words? Do the authors feel a release once the words are spoken?
How would this compare to a TED talk? A live discussion?
Why would an author choose not to read for their audiobook? Would I narrate my own memoir if I would write one?
What percent of authors read their own audiobook?
My least favorite genres for audiobooks are fantasy and sci-fi. These are my two favorite genres overall though. I think I like to savor the story and the magic by reading the words in my own head. In my own voice. It allows me the chance to envision the fictional characters as I want them to be. Fiction is meant to be written for the audience to interpret within their own experiences and that’s part of what I love.
An exception might be listening to the audiobook after the movie version has been released. Once the physical aspects of the characters and their tone of voice are more established and consistent between readers.
Besides memoirs, my favorite genres to listen to are self-help books and historical fiction. Self-help can be a bit like memoirs in that they are personal advice from the author. Sometimes the advice they give blurs the line of the genre when they recap how they used their own experiences to write their book.
Are memoirs better on audiobook?
I think so. It eliminates the reader’s personal bias. It creates a connection between writer and listener.
Not only are memoirs the best type of audiobook, but they are also better on audiobooks.