I’m a big fan of audiobooks. They keep my brain from turning to mush when I’m trying to get stuff done, and some of my favorites are read by the author. Even if a professional speaker could have done a technically better job, there’s a certain charm to a book when it’s read by the person who fussed over every turn of phrase.
The Death of Bunny Munro is my favorite by far. It’s the story of a lecherous beauty product salesman whose wife commits suicide, and the salesman’s response is to take his young son on the worst road trip ever. I don’t know if I’d like it in print, but author Nick Cave is quite the musician and brings his performance talents to bear in an audiobook so hilariously depressing it could ruin your month.
Ian McEwan creates his characters in meticulous detail, and On Chesil Beach is handcrafted to make you squirm. In the early 1960s, two newlyweds with a lot of hangups struggle through their honeymoon in southern England. The author brings a gentle matter-of-factness to his reading, which makes the intimate details all the more uncomfortable.
You can tell you’re in for a treat with Consider the Lobster when author David Foster Wallace elaborately explains why his footnotes sound the way they do. The essays are thought-provoking, covering everything from porn to patriotism, and you can hear the author’s thoroughness all the way through.
When you hear authors read their own work, you get a small glimpse of what they were thinking as they wrote, which is all I need to keep me listening late into the night.