11 Awesome celebrity memoir audiobooks read by their authors

Audiobooks are a great way to get more books into your life. They let you read while you’re doing chores, walking the dog or even commuting to work — just keep your eyes on the road, please!

I’ve learned a few things about audiobooks in nearly five years of reviewing them on my book blog, The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness:

  • The experience of reading an audiobook is strongly affected by your response to the person reading it to you
  • The writer is often not the best person to narrate his or her own work
  • The exception is when the writer is also an experienced performer telling his or her own story

More: Lauren Bacall’s memoir is an Oscar-worthy read from a silver screen star

When I hear about an autobiography or memoir from a celebrity who interests me, I’ll usually seek it out in “read by the author” audiobook form, and I’d like to suggest 11 of these “star audiobooks” — plus one little cheat on the genre — for your reading and listening pleasure.

1. Just Kids

by Patti Smith

Image: Amazon

Poetry, photography and punk rock in early-1970s New York City surround the National Book Award-winning story of Smith’s love and friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe (Amazon, $13).

2. American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

by Craig Ferguson

Image: Amazon

Stories of his experiences as a musician. comedian, actor, writer and talk-show host — and of addiction, recovery and immigration — are all enhanced by being told in Ferguson’s thoroughly charming Scottish accent (Amazon, $13).

More: 10 Must-read celebrity memoirs from stars you already love

3. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography

by Rob Lowe

Image: Amazon

The tales of a former teen idol who survived the Brat Pack to sober up, settle down and work steadily in show business for more than thirty years make for amusing, revealing listening (Amazon, $4).

4. Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

by Steve Martin

Martin takes a serious look back at his development into the biggest comedy star of the 1970s for the first time since he quit doing stand-up. The audiobook includes banjo performances by the author between chapters (Amazon, $4).

5. Then Again

by Diane Keaton

Image: Amazon

Award-winning actress Keaton’s attempts to understand herself by paralleling her own personal narrative with her mother’s take the narrative form in fascinating and unexpected directions (Amazon, $8).

6. Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll

by Ann and Nancy Wilson

Image: Amazon

In a dual autobiography that reads like oral history, the sister act that founded and fronted the band Heart trades off the telling of their story of being hard-working women in a hard-rocking man’s world (Amazon, $13).

7. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of ‘The Princess Bride’

by Cary Elwes

Image: Amazon

The actor who portrayed “The Man in Black” in the popular film rounds up its creators and co-stars to recount and reflect on the labor of love that went into making it, in an audiobook that features an all-star cast (Amazon, free).

8. Yes Please

by Amy Poehler

Image: Amazon

Poehler’s take on the memoir/essay hybrid approach popular with women in comedy becomes a delightful — and collaborative — piece of performance art in its audio version (Amazon, $13).

9. Born With Teeth

by Kate Mulgrew

Image: Amazon

At her mother’s recommendation, Mulgrew chose a career in acting over one in writing, but her own reading of her forthright, emotional memoir suggests she’s more than capable of combining them (Amazon, $13).

10. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star

by Judy Greer

Image: Amazon

These funny, down-to-earth personal stories from a steadily working actor who’s rarely headlined anything — and is frequently recognized anyway — portray a strikingly “real-life” Hollywood life (Amazon, free).

11. Boys in the Trees

by Carly Simon

Image: Amazon

Singer-songwriter Simon has been telling many of her own stories in three-to-four-minute snippets for decades. Her memoir expands upon those and shares many more, accompanied by original music (and some old favorites) in the audiobook (Amazon, free).

12. Someday, Someday, Maybe

by Lauren Graham

Image: Amazon

This list ends with the “cheat” promised at the beginning. Graham started writing a memoir, but turned it into a semi-autobiographical novel about a young actress bumping up against her self-imposed deadline for success in New York City in 1995. (Amazon, free)

Autobiographies and memoirs read by the author feel especially personal, and that sense is enhanced when they’re the stories of people we feel like we already know.

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