15 Audiobooks Narrated By The Author, Including Barack Obama, Tiffany Haddish, And Anthony Bourdain
There's something incredibly magical about hearing an author read their own work. If you love listening to audiobooks, you know that some of the best audiobooks are the ones that are narrated by the author. Don't get me wrong, voice actors do some incredible work, but when an author does their own narration, the results can be simply astounding.
Whether it's fiction or a memoir, hearing an author tell you their story has a certain electricity to it. It feels like you've simply invited the author over for tea, and they're telling you a story over a cup. Imagine Neil Gaiman sitting at your kitchen table, spinning out a fairytale. Or Mindy Kaling leaning back in her chair and telling you all about her beauty routine. An audiobook narrated by the author usually doesn't feel like a performance; it feels like a conversation. By reading you their stories themselves, these authors are inviting you to go even deeper inside the work.
Plus, some of the world's most famous authors have narrated their own audiobooks. On this list you'll find books written and narrated by Tiffany Haddish, Roxane Gay, Jacqueline Woodson, Anthony Bourdain, and even President Barack Obama.
So, no matter where you are or what you're doing, pop in your earbuds and let one of these authors treat you to a story, straight from their mouth to your ears.
'Why Not Me?' by Mindy Kaling
I feel comfortable saying that you probably need more Mindy Kaling in your life. In her second memoir, Kaling gives you an inside look at her life as an actor, writer and, showrunner.
'Brown Girl Dreaming' by Jacqueline Woodson
This beautiful book won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2014. Told through vivid poems, Brown Girl Dreaming is the story of an African American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, and hearing author Jacqueline Woodson narrate it is a powerful, unforgettable experience.
'I'm Just a Person' by Tig Notaro
Within the span of four months, comedian Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a disease called C.Diff, lost her mother unexpectedly, went through a breakup, and was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. In this unforgettable book, Notaro finds the humor in her incredibly unlucky circumstances.
'The Princess Diarist' by Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher's death was an enormous tragedy, and it's incredibly moving to hear her voice come alive again through the audiobook of her memoir. In this book, Fisher uses the diaries she penned in her youth to tell the story of the years spent filming the Star Wars franchise.
'Year of Yes' by Shonda Rhimes
The creator of hit shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, Shonda Rhimes is a television goddess. In her memoir, Rhimes recounts the years she said "yes" to everything. Listening to this will make you feel like you can do anything — just say "yes."
'Stardust' by Neil Gaiman
Possibly the only thing more enchanting than reading Neil Gaiman book is hearing the Neil Gaiman read a Neil Gaiman book. This modern fairy tale follows Tristan, an ordinary shop boy whose life takes a strange turn when he ventures over the wall into a magical land in order to find a shooting star to give to his crush. But it turns out that the star is in fact a girl, and Tristan is in for one wild adventure.
'Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body' by Roxane Gay
In this collection of essays, Roxane Gay meditates on her relationship with her body, including the devastating impacts of her sexual assault.
'Lab Girl' by Hope Jahren
For Hope Jahren, being a botanist is about so much more than studying trees and flowers. In this book, she writes about her life as a scientist and reflects on the relationship that grew between her and her lab partner.
'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain
If you've watched the late Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown or No Reservations, you know that Bourdain has a talent for storytelling. In this memoir, Bourdain recounts his time coming up in the restaurant industry, or in his own words "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine."
'M Train' by Patti Smith
Legendary poet and artist Patti Smith has written some of the most beautiful memoirs of all time. In M Traim, Smith ruminates on her life in New York and on the road. Hearing it all in her own voice will give you shivers.
'Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood' by Trevor Noah
In this exceptional book, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah writes about his South African childhood and candidly discusses his experience growing up the aftermath of apartheid as the son of a white man and a black woman. Noah is a gifted storyteller, and this book is an especially moving tribute to his plucky, fearless mother, who raised him as a single parent.
'Florida' by Lauren Groff
Lauren Groff's new short story collection is one of the buzziest books of the year, with good reason. These stories are strange, and wild, and political, and personal, and weird, hearing Groff narrate them only makes the experience more profound.
'The Mars Room' by Rachel Kushner
The Mars Room is the story of Romy Hall, a woman who has just begun the first of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility.
'The Last Black Unicorn' by Tiffany Haddish
Actor and comedian Tiffany Haddish is one of those people who brings light into every room. Haddish's memoir is laugh-out-loud funny — even more so when she's the one reading it to you.
'The Audacity of Hope' by Barack Obama
If you're missing President Barack Obama, it's definitely time to listen to him read you his book. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama calls for a brand of politics that will bring people together. Though he wrote this book before being elected president, his optimism is even more inspiring today.