It’s been a tough week and I think it’s only going to get tougher. The Kavanaugh allegations have been somewhat triggering for me and, because I can’t stop myself, I keep getting in fights with jerks on Twitter about it, which is not helping the situation.
Sponsored by Oasis Audio, publisher of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR: THE LIFE AND WORK OF FRED ROGERS, written by Maxwell King and narrated by LeVar Burton.
If you’re riding the wave of Mister Rogers nostalgia with the rest of America, don’t miss The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers.Maxwell King has written the first-ever full-length biography of Mister Rogers himself, tracing Fred’s personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work.
And who better to voice the story of a PBS icon than LeVar Burton? Best known as the host of Reading Rainbow, LeVar was personally mentored by Fred. Between LeVar’s undisputable knack for storytelling and the depth of King’s content, The Good Neighbor audiobook is an exceptional listening experience
So, in order to give us all a break from the heavy-duty issues, and inspired by the Emmys this week, I thought I’d put together a list of audiobooks that are fun, lighthearted, and decidedly unbummery. So if you, for whatever reason, need a break from Very Intense Things, feast your ears on the following audiobooks. You’ll notice that a lot of them are by female celebrities/comedians and that’s no accident. These ladies are smart and funny and I’ve listened to at least one of these audiobooks several times because I enjoyed it so much.
Unless otherwise attributed, the publishers’ descriptions in quotes.
So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know written and read by Retta
I can’t believe I haven’t listened to this yet, considering I am Officially Parks and Recreation’s number one fan (as decided by me). But I have it on good authority (AKA Rioter Jessica) that it’s “delightful.” And how could it not be, with a description like this, “Whether reminiscing about her days as a contract chemist at GlaxoSmithKline, telling ‘dirty’ jokes to Mormons, feeling like the odd man out on Parks, fending off racist trolls on Twitter, flirting with Michael Fassbender, or expertly stalking the cast of Hamilton, Retta’s unique voice and refreshing honesty will make you laugh, cry, and laugh so hard you’ll cry.” Actually, I’m gonna add it to my cart right now. There! I’ve convinced myself, if no one else.
Rioter Jess (not to be confused with Jessica) says that You Can’t Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain) written and read by Phoebe Robinson is “still the funniest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, and it’s been like three years.” Robinson “explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is ‘Queen. Bae. Jesus’ to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, to the top spot on iTunes.” Released in 2016 to critical acclaim, You Can’t Touch My Hair earned a spot on Glamour’s Top 10 Books of 2016 and was featured on Refinery 29’s list of “Best Books of 2016 So Far.”
You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir written and ready by Parker Posey
I’m listening to this one right now, for the second time. I’m listening to it for the second time, not just because I love Parker Posey (which I do, very much) but because Posey’s voice is so delightful and almost hypnotic, that I know I spaced out while listening and want to go back and listen to certain parts again. The conceit of the memoir is that you’ve found yourself sitting next to Posey on an airplane. This is perhaps the only plane scenario in which I wouldn’t spend the entire flight picturing the plane plummeting to the ground in a fiery deathball (I am a little afraid of flying) but I digress. The audio is particularly delightful for this because the producers have added small sound effects every so often: a dink cart rattling by, the pinging of the flight attendant call button, etc. Plus, it’s written and narrated in this stream of consciousness quintessential Parker Posey way. It’s wonderful.
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee written and read by Sarah Silverman
This one is a personal favorite of mine but comes with a caveat: if you’re not a fan of Sarah Silverman’s stand-up, especially her raunchier stuff, this is not the audiobook for you. But if you like that kind of thing, I love this book. And it’s not all raunch. She’s got some very sweet stories about her family, growing up, working through depression, all that good stuff. There’s also a lot about pee and other bodily fluids. Booklist puts it well, “Silverman takes readers on a tour of the underground tunnel that is her mind, and believe me, it is as full of muck as the sewers of Paris. Only funnier….[A]n absurdist’s delight.” I suppose that makes me an absurdist, because I find this audiobook delightful.
Rioter Jamie suggested these two, saying that both are “fun, entertaining, and let her unplug.”
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang; narrated by Carly Robins
30-year-old Stella Lane doesn’t have as much experience in the dating department as she’d like. “It doesn’t help that she has Asperger’s and that French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish.” Deciding that the only way she’s going to get the experience is practice, so she hires a Vietnamese-Swedish escort Michael Phan to help her out. “Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses but also to crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges convinces Stella that love is the best kind of logic…”
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson; narrated by Rebecca Soler
I don’t know how you pass up a book with this description: “Veronica Mars meets The Craft when a teen girl investigates the suspicious deaths of three classmates and accidentally ends up bringing them back to life to form a hilariously unlikely – and unwilling – vigilante girl gang.” Like, I don’t have to tell you anything more about the book, do I?
Rioter Carina suggests Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas for a laugh-out-loud story about growing up Iranian in America. She also says that Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime about growing up in the final years and aftermath of apartheid-era South Africa “is probably the funniest book I’ve ever heard.”
(I try to respond to all emails but even if I can’t get to a response, I promise I read and cherish all of them!)
Until next week,