armchair audies audiobooks read

Audiobooks I Read While I Wasn’t Blogging: Audies Edition

I don’t usually do the “bite-sized book reviews” thing here. But after four months away, it’s probably the most efficient way to catch up! I’m updating my 2017 Book Review Index and reading record with these collected mini-reviews. 

Granted, I didn’t do a TON of reading while I was gone. However, I did read too many books to write individual posts about each one. I don’t have the time–or quite frankly, the memory of some of those books–to do that. 


This was probably not the best year for me to volunteer as a judge for the Armchair Audies. I made the commitment before I made the job change, though. Fortunately, I’d already read one of the nominees in my category. Also fortunately, Jennifer manages this project with a very easy hand, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure.

The 2017 Armchair Audies: Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

Four of the five Audies finalists in this category were “celebrity memoir” of some form. The degree of celebrity varies, but most of the authors are known for some activity other than writing. My Armchair Audies choice to win was the only finalist that wasn’t one of these.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, read by the authors

Journalist Anderson Cooper initiated an email conversation with his mother on her 91st birthday. Gloria Vanderbilt–heiress, actress, lifestyle designer–had been famous since long before he was born, but he realized he might not have much time left to really know who she was. The e-mail exchange lasted a year, until Vanderbilt’s next birthday. The Rainbow Comes and Goes collects these emails. The audiobook literally shifts voices back and forth as Cooper and Vanderbilt each read their own emails aloud.

The earlier sections of the book feel much like an interview, as Cooper sends Vanderbilt questions to answer. This is intentional–the journalist is approaching his mother professionally. Vanderbilt responds as a storyteller–her responses are filled with vivid detail and feeling. As the exchange continues across the year, it becomes more of a dialogue–a revealing, enlightening bonding experience for mother and son.

Although I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Rainbow Comes and Goes, I liked it very much. I was fully engaged in hearing Cooper and Vanderbilt grow closer to each other. I appreciate that they wanted to share the intimacies they exchanged with a wider audience.

Around the Way Girl  by Taraji P. Henson with Denene Millner, read by the author

Actor Taraji P. Henson’s memoir was published shortly before the release of Hidden Figuresthe Oscar-nominated 2016 film in which she portrayed NASA scientist Katherine Johnson. She discusses this role and others, including her Emmy-nominated breakout as Cookie Lyon in Empire, in the context of her experiences as a Black woman in Hollywood. But before Hollywood, there was Washington DC, where Henson was raised to value working hard and women supporting one another. Around the Way Girl makes clear that Henson still lives by those values.

I’m not familiar enough with Henson’s acting work to have sought this out, but I enjoyed it. I did think the later chapters were more fragmented and occasionally repetitive. I find that not unusual in celebrity memoirs, but here, the material sometimes felt very “as told to” Henson’s collaborator. (That may well have been the case.)  But actors often make excellent audiobook narrators, and Henson’s reading enhances the book’s conversational, plainspoken style.

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart, read by the author and Judy Young

I’m not well-acquainted with Taraji P. Henson’s work, but I really don’t know Hannah Hart’s at all. My knowledge of YouTube content and its creators tends to stop at the “awareness” level–I just don’t watch much of it. Buffering likely wouldn’t have crossed my radar without the Audie nomination.

I’m trying to get away from thinking that one needs to have lived a certain number of years to be “entitled” to write a memoir. Memoir and autobiography are not entirely the same thing, for one thing. For another, if one has perspective and insight on the life-shaping experiences they’ve had prior to age thirty, why wait to write about them? Hart writes with compassion, humor, and hope about fragmented families, economic instability, mental illness and sexual identity. She has the experiences and the perspective.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,420 other subscribers

BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah [Book Thoughts]

BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah [Book Thoughts]

Born a Crime Written by Trevor Noah Audiobook read by Trevor Noah Published by Random House Publishing Group on November 15th 2016 ISBN: 9780399588174 Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Essays, Performing Arts Pages: 304 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of […]

Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking With the Shockaholic Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking With the Shockaholic Princess Diarist

The Princess Diarist Written by Carrie Fisher Audiobook read by carrie fisher, billie lourd Published by Blue Rider Press on October 18th 2016 ISBN: 0399173595 Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs, Popular Culture Pages: 257 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened […]

BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen–The Book!

BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen–The Book!

Born to Run Written by Bruce Springsteen Audiobook read by Bruce Springsteen Published by Simon and Schuster on September 27th 2016 ISBN: 9781501141539 Genres: Nonfiction, Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Music Pages: 528 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> “Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer […]

TV (THE BOOK) — The Audiobook

TV (THE BOOK) — The Audiobook

TV (The Book) Written by Alan Sepinwall, Matt Zoller Seitz Audiobook read by Alan Sepinwall, Matt Zoller Seitz Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 6th 2016 ISBN: 9781455588206 Genres: Nonfiction, Television, History & Criticism Pages: 352 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad? Is Cheers better […]

HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly [Audiobook Thoughts}

HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly [Audiobook Thoughts}

Hidden Figures Written by Margot Lee Shetterly Audiobook read by Robin Miles Published by William Morrow, HarperCollins on September 6th 2016 ISBN: 9780062363596 Genres: Nonfiction, History, African American Studies, Space Science Pages: 368 Format: audiobook Source: public library via Overdrive The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, […]

ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow [Audiobook Thoughts]

ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow [Audiobook Thoughts]

Alexander Hamilton Written by Ron Chernow Audiobook read by Scott Brick Published by Penguin on 2004 ISBN: 9780143034759 Genres: Biography & Autobiography Pages: 818 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man […]

THE FORTRESS by Danielle Trussoni [Book Thoughts]

THE FORTRESS by Danielle Trussoni [Book Thoughts]

The Fortress Written by Danielle Trussoni Published by HarperCollins on September 20th 2016 ISBN: 9780062458995 Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs Pages: 336 Format: ARC Source: publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of Falling Through the Earth and Angelology returns with this much-anticipated memoir of love […]

The Book Bridge August 2016 Edition: Books Other Readers Think You Should Read!

The Book Bridge August 2016 Edition: Books Other Readers Think You Should Read!

The Book Bridge August 2016 Hello, and welcome to August 2016’s edition of The Book Bridge! We’re here to connect each other with the books that we were most excited about reading last month. I’m happy to welcome a few new contributors this month, and I’m very glad to see that some of the readers who joined us for our very first Book Bridge in July are back again! Here’s the main thing, though: I’m always […]

The Book Bridge July 2016 Edition

The Book Bridge July 2016 Edition

This is The Book Bridge July 2016 edition—we’re connecting each other to great reads! I’m thrilled to bring this to you, and so excited that some of you were excited to share the books you were most excited about last month. This is our first time here, and I hope it won’t be the last! We have a mix of brand-new and backlist books, fiction and nonfiction, and a couple of audiobooks to talk about, so […]

DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker [Audiobook Thoughts]

DEAR MR. YOU by Mary-Louise Parker [Audiobook Thoughts]

Dear Mr. You Written by Mary-Louise Parker Audiobook read by Mary-Louise Parker Published by Scribner on November 10th 2015 ISBN: 9781501107832 Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Entertainment & Performing Arts, Personal Memoirs Pages: 240 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> A wonderfully unconventional literary debut from the award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker. An extraordinary literary […]

ALL THE SINGLE LADIES by Rebecca Traister (Audiobook Thoughts)

ALL THE SINGLE LADIES by Rebecca Traister (Audiobook Thoughts)

All the Single Ladies Written by Rebecca Traister Audiobook read by Candace Thaxton Published by Simon and Schuster on March 1st 2016 ISBN: 9781476716589 Genres: History, Social Science, Women’s Studies Pages: 352 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America, this […]

Open Books: What I’m Reading

I’m in a weird place where I’m not reading anything on paper. I’m currently working through two e-books from the library, an audiobook, and the first graphic novel I bought to read in the Comixology app. Aside from the last, I’m strongly leaning toward nonfiction these days. Here’s a quick look at what I’m reading. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister, audiobook read by Candace […]

THE CAPED CRUSADE by Glen Weldon [Audiobook Thoughts]

THE CAPED CRUSADE by Glen Weldon [Audiobook Thoughts]

The Caped Crusade Written by Glen Weldon Audiobook read by Glen Weldon Published by Simon and Schuster on March 22nd 2016 ISBN: 9781476756691 Genres: Social Science, Popular Culture, Media Studies Pages: 336 Format: audiobook Source: purchased This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> A witty, intelligent cultural history from NPR book critic Glen Weldon explains Batman’s rises and […]

(Audio)Book Thoughts: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates, read by the author

(Audio)Book Thoughts: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates, read by the author

Between the World and Me Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates Audiobook read by Ta-Nehisi Coates Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group on July 14th 2015 ISBN: 9780812993547 Genres: Nonfiction, Social Science, Essays Pages: 176 Format: audiobook Source: public library via Overdrive This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.> “This is your country, this is your world, this […]