I just finished listening to the audiobook Townie by Andre Dubus III which I downloaded from MyMediaMall (the library's downloadable lending site). I was prepared to not like this book. I only checked it out because I was waiting for another title to become available. Something about the book made it sound less appealing. Perhaps it was that it was a memoir of an already famous person. Or perhaps I thought it sounded disingenuous. Andre Dubus III is the author of House of Sand and Fog which received a lot of acclaim. He is also the son of respected author Andre Dubus II and Townie is the story of growing up in rough streets of Boston. My preconcieved notion was how rough could it have been growing up as the son of a successful author (he goes in depth into his disfunctional family his relationship with his father in the book).
But since I have a long commute, I decided to give it a try. Within five minutes I was captivated. It is a really well-told story. But what I loved was the narrators's distinctive voice with a thick Boston accent. It sounded more like some fella at Boston bar telling of his life than a well articulated audiobook reader. When I got home I looked it up and discovered that it was read by the author. A-ha! It made for a much more intimate telling of the story and it made a huge difference here.
That got me thinking and I realized I LOVE audiobooks that are read by the author. In fact 3 of my favorite audiobooks were read by the author. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier was read by the author and it also made the story much more intimate. And surprisingly the history book 1776 by David McCullough was also author-read and this nonfiction is enhanced by it. Several of Neil Gaiman's books are also read by the author, including Coraline and the Graveyard Book.
I decided to do a quick search in the catalog under the term "read by the author" and got close to 1000 returns. And here I thought all of our audiobooks were read by George Guidall. Who knew there were so many and that it was searchable. Now I know how I will be selecting my next batch of audiobooks.