Authenticity in audiobooks can be key to the listening experience. The best narrators make you believe in the characters and the story. Sometimes the author as narrator is exactly the right choice. While authors often read their own memoirs — think Tina Fey or Michelle Obama — authors of fiction sometimes take a star turn too. Here are a few of the best new author-read audiobooks.
Garth Greenwell’s superb narration makes a powerful case for authors reading their own work. This bleak, honest novel is about the impossibility of knowing all the complicated truths of a person. Though the novel includes dialogue, Greenwell doesn’t alter his voice as he shifts between characters, a choice that adds to the intensity and power of the first-person point of view. | Read Review
National Book Award-winning and bestselling author McCann narrates this blending of the fact and fiction of a Palestinian and an Israeli father who both lost children to the Middle East conflict. McCann tells this complex and heartbreaking story with compassion and empathy for people strafed by the worst thing that can happen to a parent, the loss of a child. | Read Review | More Audiobooks by Colum McCann
Hell and Other Destinationswritten and read by Madeleine Albright | Harper Audio
For Madeleine Albright, her tenure as U.S. secretary of state was not the end of her career; it was just one stop in a life of continual service. This memoir covers her life after leaving government service in 2001. It’s an intimate portrayal, made all the more so when delivered by the author herself. Her narration is polished and engaging. She nearly laughs out loud along with listeners during humorous episodes and all but cries with them during heartrending ones. | Read Review |More Audiobooks by Madeleine Albright
Man Booker Prize winner Anne Enright’s delivery of her heartrending novel ranks with the best of author/narrator performances. Growing up with a beautiful mother is hard for any girl, but when her mother’s a famous, unpredictable actress, the psychological complexities are stunning. Written with heart and intelligence, the story will carry listeners on a deeply emotional voyage. | Read Review | More Audiobooks by Anne Enright
Glennon Doyle’s voice is strong, honest and brave as she opens her heart to listeners. The bestselling author, motivational speaker and philanthropist describes realizing that society had “tamed” her by forcing her into proscribed ways of being in the world and recounts how she finally broke free. Hearing her passionate words, listeners will begin looking into themselves to discover ways they are forced to conform. Powerful and vivid storytelling. | Read Review | More Audiobooks by Glennon Doyle
Break Shot written and read by James Taylor | Audible
It seems like a simple thing to ask for in a musician’s memoir, yet few have accomplished what Taylor has: enhancing his life story by telling tales with a guitar in hand. Interspersed among his stories of coming-of-age, family madness and meeting The Beatles are performances of relevant music. By the time the listener hears “Fire and Rain,” the song takes on new meaning and reinforces Taylor’s introduction of himself as a professional autobiographer. | Read Review
Something That May Shock and Discredit Youwritten and read by Daniel Mallory Ortberg | Simon & Schuster
An AudioFile Earphones Award Winner
Fans of Ortberg will welcome his signature wit in this impossible-to-classify audiobook. Though newcomers may feel slightly adrift, Ortberg’s narration is undeniably powerful. He combines memoir, Biblical exegesis and trans retellings of fiction and myth into a book about gender and transition unlike any other. His narration is multilayered and alive. Every moment of this audiobook is a joy to listen to. | Read Review
This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile.
AudioFile (www.audiofilemagazine.com) is the magazine for discovering more about audiobooks. It reviews and recommends the best listening, most interesting performances, and what audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks per week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters and a blog, and podcasts daily recommendations on "Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine."