The last year and a half has been memorable for just about every reason under the sun – and that includes some unmissable autobiographies, especially those read by the author. As a big fan of non-fiction, there’s something uniquely special about hearing an author read their own work, adding emphasis and emotion in exactly the right places.
The following are a few of my stand-out favorites from the last year (and a bit):
Year Book – Seth Rogen
This audiobook felt like a comfortable chat with an old friend. Within the chapters are humorous tales of awkward adolescence, a fax machine, and becoming a target of North Korea. Rogen even enlisted his friends and family to illustrate the stories, which made listening to this book a lot of fun.
The coming of age stories will ring true to pretty much everyone who spent their youth in the late 1980s and 1990s. Later in the book, his account of Hollywood life manages to feel relatable and funny. This well-crafted and quick-witted book made time fly by. It was a welcome companion during my morning coffee and afternoons at the gym. You’ll enjoy this if you could really do with a good chuckle and an empathetic groan.
Greenlights – Matthew McConnaughey
Listening to this book was exactly what I hoped it would be. There are stories of growing up in Texas and becoming Hollywood’s leading man studded with philosophical musings of life and purpose that could only come from McConnaughey.
Some of his memories made me wonder if they could possibly be true, but the feeling faded quickly as I found myself right back in the midst of the tale. It didn’t matter if McConnaughey had a creative interpretation of events, I wanted to believe him. Hearing his Southern drawl and unique manner of storytelling, it made this audiobook feel more like a theatrical performance that you’re more than happy to attend.
Eat a Peach – David Chang
If you’re a foodie in America, you’ll know David Chang. He’s the host of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious and owner of Momofuku restaurants but his autobiography goes beyond bao buns and noodles. Yes, the book is about his journey through the conception and development of Momofuku but what I found most interesting were the nuances around the restaurant empire. He speaks plainly about his long-term struggles with mental health, recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and reflects on how his perspective on kitchen hierarchies has evolved.
At roughly 10 hours long, this is a great audiobook to pick up if you’re interested in the inner workings of the American restaurant landscape, a deep dive into men’s mental health experiences, or the evolving conversations around food cultures in America.
Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner
This book is an emotional look at the often complicated mother-daughter relationship. Zauner’s stories focus on the realities of growing up in America with a Korean mother. And that’s what makes this story so poignant. Throughout the book, her perspective of being living and between two cultures seems to evolve from angst and grief to comfort and solace.
Already slated for a film adaptation, this book is an emotional one. Toward the end, I found myself listening to this book at home where I could shed the occasional tear without concerned looks from fellow commuters. Any son or daughter will find pieces to connect with, and yet the author also beautifully illustrates her own unique life experience.
What have been your favorite autobiography audiobooks read by the author from the past year?