As a fervent believer in the “So Many Books So Little Time” school of thought, I can add to my scarcely allotted and woefully inadequate reading time by listening to audiobooks. I can get more books “read” by using commuting time, exercise time, household chore time (except vacuuming does not work too well) and time wasted playing Solitaire on the computer to listen to books. My current obsession is to listen to books that are read by the authors themselves. It is amazing to me that these writers not only write such wonderful books but they can perform their work beautifully as well.Here are some of my absolute favorites:
Barbara Kingsolver reads her historical novel, The Lacuna. She uses her musical voice to lure us into a fascinating span of time and across two continents as she describes the time of artist Frida Kahlo in Mexico and the terror of McCarthyism in the United States.
Frank McCourt reads his Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, Angela’s Ashes. His reading of his desperately poor childhood is a masterful performance that makes you laugh and cry.
E.B. White narrates his masterpiece Charlotte’s Web. His serious voice with a New England twang reading this classic transports me back to the magic of reading this book for the first time as a child.
Anything that author David Sedaris reads, I will listen to. His voice alone makes me laugh but the voice works perfectly with his sometimes twisted and hysterically funny view of the world.
Sherman Alexie reading his autobiographical novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a gem of a performance and transports you to his childhood in Eastern Washington.
These audiobooks can be found at the library in either a CD or digital downloadable format. They are described in the catalog as “read by the author” or “performed by the author.” And you can search these terms as keywords and find both versions of these books. Happy listening!
~Molly H., West Seattle Branch