There are plenty of advantages when it comes to audiobooks, be it the convenience they offer you or the added auditory stimulation while experiencing a story. But what happens when the authors themselves narrate their books for you? After all, no one knows the nuances and intentionalities of a text more than who wrote it in the first place, right?
Best Audiobooks Narrated by Authors!
We’ve seen some incredible authors who’ve given mesmerizing performances of their books in recent years, creating a personal and immersive experience for you. In today’s piece, I will share some of the best audiobooks read by their authors. While the books are already masterpieces, the narration makes your experience even more worthwhile. Also, all these audiobooks are available on Audible! You can sign up for a free trial now, pick your favorite audiobooks from this list and start listening right away. Let’s dive in, then!
1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
This is more than simply another memoir; it’s a nuanced look at identity amidst oppression and racism in apartheid South Africa. Born as a biracial child in a society divided by racial prejudice, where his mere existence was a crime under the existing laws, Noah pens his experiences of growing up under those circumstances. Through those tales and anecdotes, he makes you re-evaluate your own biases and prejudices. But if you think a memoir like that would be glum and despairing, as it perhaps should be, you couldn’t be more wrong.
With his characteristic wit and charm, he recounts his childhood and the subsequent years with humor and casualness that serves to make his story all the more relatable and remarkable. The audiobook rendition only adds to that. It’s like listening to Trevor on one of his stand-up specials or as a host to a daily show, talking directly to us, the listener, unraveling his life in a way only he can. This audiobook is unmissable whether you’re already his fan or are still waiting to consume his content! You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
2. Mythos by Stephen Fry
Get ready to be transported to a world of gods, monsters, and grand adventures, alongside the enrapturing writing and narration of Stephen Fry. He’s been my favorite for years when it comes to audio narrations, and this production is no exception. Talking of the book, it’s incredible how it makes those ancient Greek texts accessible to the modern reader. Whether you’re well-versed in the stories of mighty Zeus and wise Athena or a stranger to Greek myths, you’ll love listening to this.
He also brings out the recurring themes and symbols of these myths to the forefront, highlighting their relevance and universality for the modern listener. On top of that, he makes it easy for you to remember and imagine the vast number of gods and goddesses in Greek mythology. His narration, as always, is unparalleled, and through his voice, he elevates the drama and humor inherent in his stories. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle’s narration makes her story more authentic and sincere, creating an intimate connection with you throughout this beautiful audiobook. For someone whose life has so closely revolved around politics, you’d think this autobiography would be political, but it’s anything but that. It’s the story of a woman raised in humble surroundings to someone who went on to gain immense success in her life on multiple fronts.
Celebrity memoirs often tend to disconnect with you, the reader, or the listener, but that’s never the case here. She shares her doubts, vulnerabilities, struggles, and triumphs, creating a story that’s all too real and personal. But Becoming doesn’t stop at being a memoir; it’s also a manifesto for personal and social change. It’s a call to change, to pursue your own story, to empower the disenfranchised, and to realize the power of education. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
4. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
This horror classic gains new contours in this production, thanks to the brilliant performance by William Peter Blatty. The MacNeil family is shaken when their young daughter, Regan, starts behaving in mysterious ways. No matter what they do, nothing improves her situation, be it a doctor or a psychiatrist. When Father Karras, and subsequently Father Merrin, enters the scene, the battle between good and evil begins.
It’s a story of darkness, its many faces, and the power of courage and human resilience that has dramatically impacted the horror genre and pop culture. Beyond its horror elements, it’s also a beautiful exploration of the human psyche and the power of faith in the face of insurmountable evil. The atmospheric tone of the novel is heightened through Blatty’s performance and portrayal of each character. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
5. The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steven Peters
All our thoughts, emotions, and fundamental behavior patterns arise from the chimp. The chimp? Yes, the somewhat primitive aspect of our brain, the aspect that is impulsive and instinctive and makes us do things we don’t always intend to act out, and it is this aspect that Peters talks about in this audiobook. He divides our brain into the chimp and human parts and shows how we can better understand ourselves and control our emotional aspects to make more rational decisions.
The human mind is a complex model, and through his straightforward yet practical advice, Dr. Peters sets out to simplify that for us. He gives tips and tools that help you develop resilience, grow self-awareness, deal with stress better, and improve your life. In his performance, he shares all his knowledge and advice in a reassuring voice, creating an engaging experience for you and seamlessly conveying the information. No matter your life stage, this audiobook will undoubtedly help you understand yourself a little better. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
6. Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis
A memoir like this deserves an emotional and personal performance, and Davis narrating it herself does just that. One of the most successful actresses in the history of Hollywood, Davis’ life hasn’t always been glamorous and thriving. The memoir charts her journey through poverty as a child, also a victim of systemic racism around her, and the numerous other obstacles that lie in between the path to her dreams.
Through her voice, she perfectly captures the highs and the lows of her journey, how she overcame each hurdle in her life, and most importantly, how she found herself. While talking about her journey, she also raises her voice against the issues she faced that still permeate society and must be eliminated for a more inclusive world. She’s an inspiration, an icon, and this audiobook only serves to exemplify that. From her vulnerability to her voice, everything in this audiobook touches and resonates with you as a listener and fellow human being. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Many self-help books refurbish the same content repeatedly, but not Atomic Habits. It’s a book focused on one aspect of our lives- habits- and shows how to manage and use them to improve your lives. He uses his expertise in behavioral science to create an easy and practical guide to making long-lasting changes in your life. He dissects the mechanisms behind successfully instilling habits and how tiny or “atomic” changes amount to more significant ones over a more extended period.
By shifting our focus from making significant changes in a shorter time to making little changes over an extensive framework, he offers the listeners a new perspective that’s both achievable and inspiring. Clear’s narration gives it a personal touch, holding your attention throughout this audiobook and guiding you through the various lessons and guides of the book. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
8. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
There are no two ways about the fact that Stephen King is one of the most successful writers of our time. And this non-fiction classic has been narrated by the man himself, offering an instructional and candid listening experience. Whether you’re a writer looking to improve your craft or a reader trying to understand the writing process of one of the most prolific writers. But it’s not just some instruction manual for writers; it’s also a memoir through which King shares the struggles and triumphs of his writing life.
He talks holistically about the writing process, not just limiting himself to the technical details of the craft but also urging the readers to find their unique voice, unleash their creative potential, create a supportive environment, and harbor a healthy mindset. His personal stories make this audiobook a lot more entertaining and relatable and help you understand his writing process a lot better. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Another memoir on our list! The acclaimed comedian and actress Tina Fey shares her life in this fun and delightful memoir. With lots of self-deprecating comedy and her characteristic wit, the audiobook provides an intimate glimpse into her life and career. You can see her sharp observational skills in how she describes her life and those around her, and her self-awareness makes it all the funnier and relatable. And to top all of it off, her narration infuses more life and laughter into the narrative, creating an engaging listening experience for you.
But it’s not all fun and laughter, for she also talks about working in an industry primarily dominated by men, the challenges that come with it, the difficulty in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and other absurdities of life. Her commentaries on different aspects of our society and the entertainment industry are intelligent with a healthy dose of satire, forcing you to revisit and question your personal beliefs and biases. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
10. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
There are few figures in modern literature as universally admired as Neil Gaiman, and not without reason. Whether it’s his books or his narration, he creates an enchanting experience that’s hard not to get drawn into. Gaiman collects the world of Norse mythology in this audiobook in one place. Fans of Marvel comics or their cinematic universe would already be familiar with the stories of Thor and Odin and Loki.
But here, you get to read their original stories re-written and narrated by Gaiman himself. While staying true to the original myths, he looks at the deeper themes in those stories while bringing them alive for the modern audience in vivid detail. It’s a great introduction to Norse mythology for beginners and an excellent perspective for those already well-versed in these stories. Gaiman brings his flair to create a literary gem that stays with you long after you’ve stopped listening to them. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
11. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
A gift to music lovers worldwide, this audiobook is a close look at one of the biggest icons of rock and roll. Written in an honest and vulnerable style, he shares his rise to fame and his struggles to overcome to reach there. He also shares his creative inspirations while growing up and the different stories each of his songs contain. It’s a classic story of reaching out for your dreams and overcoming every obstacle while staying true to yourself and your goal.
Narrated in his deep and raspy voice, the audiobook is a delight to listen to, particularly for his fans. It heightens the emotions and intimacy of the story, making you feel like he’s opening up his life while sitting beside you. It’s a hopeful story of persevering through the lows of your life and doing what you love the most in the world. Whether you’re an admirer of his music, or someone looking to listen to a hypnotic autobiography, this is the story to tune in to! You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
12. Hunger by Roxane Gay
Women have always been treated and judged harshly by society, no matter what aspect of their lives we’re talking about. And nowhere is it more apparent than the way women’s bodies are treated. This audiobook follows Roxane Gay, an author and social commentator, and her experiences with body image, trauma, food, and self-worth. Written with courage and openness, the narrative brilliantly showcases the intricacies of societal pressures. It offers a perspective on how it feels to own a body that doesn’t conform to social standards and is constantly scrutinized by those around you.
Drawing from this, she talks about her trauma and how it shaped her relationship with food and her identity. But it’s not just a personal memoir; it’s also a call to action and a sociocultural criticism of how body image issues are treated and how different aspects of society, from the media to the world of advertising, play a role in perpetuating these oppressive systems. Her narration makes this memoir more powerful and eloquent as she communicates her ideas and experiences. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
13. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Perhaps one of the most precise and essential feminist texts ever written, We Should All Be Feminists, remains as relevant and striking today as it was when first published. The narrative is personal and emotional, directly speaking to you and effectively inspiring change. Despite how far we’ve come as a society, feminism remains one of the most misunderstood and abused words. Adichie takes ownership of that word and shows how it’s still required in all parts of the world.
She sheds away many misconceptions that stray around the movement, making complex ideas and philosophies simple enough for anyone to comprehend. Her narration makes this book-cum-manifesto even more effective and creates a transformative listening experience. Through this book, she takes out feminism from academic circles and closed debates and makes it an open conversation for everyone to participate in. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
14. Just Kids by Patti Smith
One of the most iconic singers and songwriters of the last century, Patti Smith, takes you to the world of the 1960s and 70s through this beautiful audiobook. There’s a sense of nostalgia that pervades this memoir as Smith takes you to a time of artistic experimentation and different cultural movements taking place at the same time. You’re transported to the New York of that era through her atmospheric narration that keeps you hooked until the end.
It’s a love letter to the artistic community of that bygone era, populated by legendary artists. It presents a close look that would be fascinating for history and music lovers alike. She also talks about her formative years, her journey with Robert Mapplethorpe, their friendship, and creative collaboration, and offers a detailed sketch of her rich and dynamic life. Be it her prose, her narration, or the beautiful storytelling, Just Kids is one hell of an audiobook that you must not miss out on. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
15. Beloved by Toni Morrison
A modern classic without a doubt, Beloved is the story of Sethe, a formerly enslaved person residing with her daughter, Denver, in post-Civil War Ohio. But when a mysterious young woman comes into their lives, the past is bare, and everyone comes crashing. Morrison’s writing is haunting as she paints a graphic image of that era. She explores the physical and psychological scars left behind by slavery through this story and how your past never really leaves you.
She creates iconic characters in this novel who embody the trauma and ghosts of slavery as she exposes the brutalities inflicted through that institution. This is a moving and heart-wrenching story of love, resilience, cruelty, and hope in the face of never-ending pain. This masterpiece of a novel is made even better by her powerful narration, and her performance keeps you glued to your seats till the last chapter is not over and that last word has not been uttered. You can get the audiobook here! 🎧
You can sign up for a free trial now on Audible and start listening right away! These are the list of best audiobooks narrated by the authors. We will update this list as we read/listen more. Do let us know in the comments which is your favorite one. Happy listening!
Part-time freelance writer, full-time chemistry graduate student, Amritesh loves everything books. Gift him a book if you chance upon him, and he’ll love you forever.