Fun fact about me: when going on trips, especially drives, I like to listen to books and podcasts. Weird fact about me: I dislike listening to fiction, or really any book presented like, well, a book. I don’t know why that is, maybe it’s just that the act of keeping all those character’s voices separate from the crazy voices I already have gives me a headache. I’m not a doctor; I don’t know the reason why that sort of book doesn’t agree with me. What do I listen to then, if not the usual fare of books? Well, I have discovered a love for biographies, especially autobiographies, and Audible has kept me swimming in them as I’ve traipsed about and run errands through DFW traffic.
Today, I’m celebrating the fact that Fred, the Vampire Accountant’s audiobook is available for pre-order by sharing my favorite three audiobooks with all of you. Maybe pick one up, if you’ve got a long journey ahead, or just hate sitting in traffic with nothing to hold your attention.
3. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
I was actually looking forward to this book’s release before it was ever even announced, purely on the hope that she would write one. Amy Poehler is one of my favorite actresses working today, and I consider Parks & Rec to be a modern day classic. What’s more, as I listened to biographies by Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Mindy Kaling (told you I went through a lot of them) I consistently found that the stories about Amy Poehler were some of my favorite parts. She’s renowned for being fearless, fierce, and comedically gifted; all of which shines through in the book.
Aside from just the stellar tone, I greatly enjoyed most of her accounts of the path her career took; winding its way through UCB, SNL, and ultimately culminating in her own show at its current end. She also talked a fair bit about her family and some insights to her personal life, which was interesting, but not quite as enthralling as the other parts. All in all it’s a great listen written by a wonderful author.
2. Tough Shit by Kevin Smith
Yes, that Kevin Smith, the guy who made comedies about foul-mouthed slackers and just did one about a man being forcibly turned into a walrus. Some of you are probably not fans of his movies, at least a couple of them, but that has no bearing on how much you’ll enjoy the book. Despite his silent alter-ego on the big screen, Kevin Smith is a very verbose man, and he wields words with unexpected proficiency. He can, and does, talk at length about many topics including his family, life, philosophies, career path, and plans for the future. Every topic is treated with a sincere passion that blasts boldly through the speakers.
All of that said, this probably wouldn’t rate as highly for me if I weren’t an independent artist. But, because I am, I loved so many pieces of this work. Indie writers (self-publishing if you want to be a dick about it) take a lot of guff from the mainstream channels, and even when we know we’re doing good work it’s easy to feel like second class creators. Kevin Smith was probably the first person I ever heard blow the horn for true indie pride; not because we had a more viable long-term economic model than the big guys in this shifting digital landscape, but because we could be better than them. We could take risks they wouldn’t, dare to make projects that might only spoke to a hundred people, but in a voice that would echo to their soul. Then, a few chapters later, he talks about what it’s like to be with the big guys, to see dozens of artists working together to try and create something they could all be proud of.
Kevin Smith celebrates artists of all mediums and venues, as well as reminding the listener at every turn that you have to create most of the big opportunities for your own advancement. Take big risks. Go in weird directions. Just create, and refuse to be ashamed of anything that you feel was worthwhile.
1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Y’all, there’s no big philosophical reason or career connection why I love this. The book is just god damned funny. I actually read this a few weeks after it came out, then one day was looking for something on Audible before a big trip. This was super discounted since I owned the book and I figured it had been a few months, I might not remember some parts. It turned out I remembered a great deal of the book. It also turned out to be a whole different experience hearing it that reading it.
LPTNH is a memoire style book about the stories of growing in a small town in rural Texas, which okay yes I do have some understanding of but that’s not the point. The stories are hilarious on their own, but hearing Jenny tell them in her own voice adds another layer of enjoyment to the experience. I’ve had to pull my car over because I was laughing so hard I thought I would have a wreck. Yet, stirred in amidst the stories of an amateur taxidermist father, angry geese invading school, and weird tales of HR departments, are honest tales of the tragedies and challenge she’s faced through life.
It’s a beautiful, enthralling, still fucking hilarious, novel that I keep on my phone at all times. Because when I can’t find anything else that suits my mood, I pick up the book and know it will keep me entertained.
There you go folks, enough material to keep you appeased until Fred appears to tickle your eardrums!