These celeb audiobooks make the best last-minute gifts: Mariah Carey, Barack Obama, Dolly Parton, more
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Have Celebrities Read You: You can get started with Audible for just $ 5. (Photo: Amazon)
Memoirs offer a special kind of literary pleasure. They put us in the minds and hearts of people - usually people we love and admire (and sometimes people we loathe or who are just too interesting to ignore). The thing is, they take us out of us, not just into another world or time in history, but into someone else's psyche.
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At least that's what the good guys do, and 2020 has seen an abundance of inspiring, fun, touching, and insightful self-stories. And of course, audiobooks read by the prominent memoir writers themselves add extra intimacy to this connecting experience. Hey, if nothing else, when we're heading home on a particularly isolated and lonely year, who doesn't long for someone else's voice in their head?
Audible, Amazon's audiobook arm, makes it easy to venture into deep listening with great deals on books and memberships - these are great last minute digital Christmas gifts too. Find a book below that you know your best friend (or brother or daughter) would love - a few clicks and it's yours, delivered by email.
Do you feel particularly generous? Sign up for a subscription - Audible Premium Plus is offering 40 percent off for a limited time. Get the first four months for just $ 8.95 per month. That's $ 24 in savings, and you can cancel at any time.
Audible Premium Plus gives you access to thousands upon thousands of audiobooks, a free premium audiobook every month (which you can keep by the way) and an additional 30 percent discount on the list price of premium titles. Here, pick an Audible plan that suits you and loved ones.
Flip for some of the most rewarding, interesting, and funniest titles of the year, each of which has been read by the author (and some with special guest voices). What are you waiting for? These won't listen to themselves you know ...
Dolly Parton, Song Plate: My Life in Texts
Dolly brings us the stories behind the songs. (Photo: Amazon)
The performer, composer and feminist Dolly is also the living embodiment of the term national treasure. As for this melodic journey back in time, the subtitle says it all, as it is essentially a long-awaited conversation with Dolly about her greatest talent, songwriting.
Dolly revisits the stories behind nearly a hundred of her most famous and / or powerful compositions, including "Coat of Many Colors", "9 to 5" and of course the devastating "Jolene", which reveals surprising inspirations and revelations to new depths.
"I discovered that your texts are so fresh and uncomplicated - without metaphors, allusions, allegories or claims - without deceit," enthused one enlightened reviewer. "I come from a different generation, a different genre (I grew up with punk, new wave, metal and rap, followed by hard rock and metal from the 70s) and a different time, but I realized that dolly is timeless. "
Shop it: Song Plate Audiobook, $ 22 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
Alicia Keys, More Myself: A Journey
Who is cooler than Alicia Keys? Photo: Amazon
Another New York born and raised success story, Alicia Keys, started her journey to the top especially early. As a classically trained pianist, she composed at the age of 12 and signed her first recording contract at the age of 15. As the title suggests, the discovery of the self and the absent father of her childhood is the theme here.
Thanks to the magic of the audiobook, she spices up her story with excerpts from her most enduring song ... and comments from a few friends including Jay-Z, Oprah and Michelle Obama. "The powerful effects of this book are not easy to express," said one very satisfied customer. "What an amazing, talented, and generous woman."
Buy it: Mehr Myself Audiobook, $ 25 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
Rachel Bloom: I want to be where the normal people are
The crazy, wise, absolutely wonderful Mrs. Bloom. Photo: Amazon
You know Rachel Bloom as the multi-talented star of the brilliantly stupid musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend by WB. As groundbreaking as the show (which she helped create), Bloom's Memoir (in audio form) is surprising and innovative with a high craze factor.
There aren't many performers who would dare deliver dirty re-collections of an inopportune youth, a life of fear, and the difficulties of show business in good-natured songs (as well as poems, essays, Hogwarts fanfiction, a chapter out of their POV) Dog, even an amusement park card!) And almost no one who could make it with Bloom's panache.
"I adore Rachel Bloom and this book is as authentic as she is," said one fan. "This book is hilarious and honest and raw and hopeful and utterly ridiculous and heartwarming and sad and uplifting." Makes a great gift.
Buy it: I want to be where the normal folks are Audiobook, $ 21 (or acoustic credit), amazon.com
Colin Jost, A Very Beatable Face: A Memory
True stories from the co-host of the SNL Weekend Update. Photo: Amazon
Hilarious and heartwarming is the magical elixir that makes for fond memories, and Jost (AKA Mr. Scarlett Johansson) does it great. Like his Saturday Night Live predecessor Tina Fey, Jost justifies his broken observations with a shot of self-obliteration (literally: look at this title).
At the same time, the chapter on his mother, a first aid worker in the 9/11 attacks, brings love and life lessons to the table. Says one five-star reviewer, "Come for the self-deprecating humor, stay for the great stories."
Buy it: An audiobook with a very punchy face, $ 25 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
Barack Obama, a promised land
It's good to see you, Mr. President. Photo: Amazon
Oh yeah, that other Obama brought out a new book too, and boy do we need it? The man who advocated "the boldness of hope" in his 2006 memoir returns with a booster shot of this essential virtue. His cheerful face and wise reflections are a tonic in these nerve-wracking times.
Perhaps this reviewer said it best: “President Barack Obama writes the way he speaks: deliberate, thoughtful, and entertaining. This book provides the reader with a much-needed dose of decency and intelligent thinking in a time of fear and stupidity. "
Buy it one: A Promised Land, $ 40 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
Megan Rapinoe, One Life
The soccer star for life, love, justice and more. Photo: Amazon
Most of us had never heard of the name Megan Rapinoe until her dazzling heroics during the 2011 World Cup. Then, of course, she did it again as co-captain of the US women's soccer team at the London 2012 Olympics. Here she shares how she fell in love with the game as a California teenager.
Perhaps more importantly, though, we learn how their upbringing made them appreciate the pursuit of justice and meaning in the world around them, as demonstrated by their activism for gay rights and marriage equality. "Such an incredible and inspiring story," said one reviewer. "I loved watching Megan's journey, but hearing the background made what it stands for even more powerful."
Shop it: One Life Audiobook, $ 22 (or an Audible credit), amazon.com
Mariah Carey, The Meaning of Mariah Carey
Mariah finally clears the record. (Photo: Amazon)
"When I was 12, my sister drugged me with Valium, offered me a small nail full of cocaine, inflicted third degree burns on me, and tried to sell me to a pimp." Then, if you don't need to reach for your credit card to take this jam-packed, mind-boggling journey into the past, then perhaps the racism, child neglect, domestic violence, spouse abuse, and mental illness that shape Mariah's story will seal the deal.
Do you want romance? There's her marriage-kidnapping to former Sony Music President Tommy Mottola, her relaxing relationship with Yankees icon Derek Jeter ("Just like his position on the team, our relationship was a brief stop in my life.") And her illness-fate second round at the altar with Nick Cannon. Oh yes, there is music when she tells the story of her career - after all, she has achieved more number one singles than any solo artist - and the excerpts she sings from her spectacular repertoire.
Shop it: The Meaning of Me Audiobook, $ 30 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
Andre Leon Talley, The Chiffon Trenches: A Memory
The life of the icon in Vogue magazine and beyond. Photo: Amazon
I know what you're thinking - you've seen "OLD" on America's top model, heard his withering, hilarious comment, and think his latest book is going to be a nerve-wracking, back-stabbing tell-all. Well, let's let this Amazon customer make it clear to us, "I came for the fashion gossip but got an amazing education in fashion history." And what story.
Talley has been in the game for half a century, being a kind of Zelig, rubbing his shoulder and working with everyone from Andy Warhol to de la Renta, Halston, Lagerfeld to Vogue High Priestess Anna Wintour. Of course, it's not all that drops the name and characterizes the story, as another reviewer put it: "Talley has knowledge and passion, and a soul that seeks the beauty and love around him."
Shop it: The Chiffon Trenches Audiobook, $ 25 (or an Audible credit), amazon.com
Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights
We could honestly hear that voice all day. Photo: Amazon
What better time to look back than to close the hottest decade of his career? At the age of 50, McConaughey set out for the desert with his diaries and found them in their “poems, prayers [and] recipes” - not the fuel for a midlife crisis, but a surprising self (re-) discovery .
The title of this keystone for the “McConaissance” of the 21st century refers to the metaphor “catching the green light” on your path to the realization of your own destiny. McConaughey says the key is "knowing how and when to deal with life's challenges - how to be relative with the inevitable". Good advice ... and there's a lot more where that comes from. To an admiring listener, it's much more than okay, okay, okay: "He's one of those people who just knows how to live an interesting life."
Shop it: Greenlights Audiobook, $ 20 (or an Audible credit), amazon.com
Diane Keaton, brother & sister
A poignant family story of love and heartbreak. Photo: Amazon
It doesn't often happen that we hear the stories of family members who fail to become famous, of those who are left behind in one way or another. In this “brave” tale of family tragedy, comedy legend Diane Keaton puts aside the cute hats and Hollywood glamor to tell the tragic story of her troubled younger brother Randy.
The two were inseparable as children. But adult life and Diane's fame would lead the siblings to part ways and Diane watch helplessly as Randy went from eccentricity to "the other side of normal" to debilitating mental illness. She records everything with heartbreaking memories, poems, letters, journal clippings, and loads of love and insight. A "haunting, beautifully written, and intimate portrait," said one reviewer. "I couldn't take it off."
Shop it: Brother & Sister Audiobook, $ 15 (or Audible credit), amazon.com
The reviews cited above reflect the latest versions at the time of publication.
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