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One of the Lisas (Christie) recently doubled down on using Libby - a superb app from our local Norwich Public Library that allows access to ebooks and audiobooks (and probably much more she has not yet discovered). As a result, her drives around New England for her son's hockey games and other events are currently narrated by a wide variety of voices. Her only complaint about this service -- the wait times for materials -- a problem she has subverted by filtering for only currently available titles. As a result of this filter, she found herself listening to Matthew McConaughey and his recent memoir/self-help book Greenlights. Is this a book she would normally read? Probably not (although she did pick up People in the doctors office in pre-Covid times, and spending time in her car with Matthew McConaughey's fabulous Texas drawl on all speakers was very fun and diverting). Her moments with Mr. McConaughey reminded her of time spent two decades ago with Michael J. Fox and his first autobiography, Lucky Man while driving Vermont starting Everybody Wins! That thought about Lucky Man reminded her of time spent with Andre Agassi's memoir Open, which led to memories of Caitlin Moran and Amber Ruffin. So here you go -- a post inspired by 'car dates' with famous men and women. We hope it inspires you to listen to them and others. Enjoy!
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey (2021). Listening to this memoir or advice book - it's honestly a bit of both - means you can sort of pretend you are on a date with the actor; and it feels as if very few people would have a problem with that. His Texas drawl is reassuring, familiar, and warm as he tells you about his childhood, his early career, his erotic dreams, and his married life. Thus, for the duration of this audiobook you can pretend you have a wealthy friend and maybe pick up a few creative ideas or adopt one of this many, many mantras Greenlights offers along the way. Is this the best book of today's selection? Perhaps not, and it still has me thinking about what he said and the time spent with his Texas accent in my ear. ~ Lisa Christie
Lucky Man by Michael J Fox (2002). This is the first celebrity memoir I ever listened to. I still remember how fun it was to drive across Vermont decades ago (yikes!) establishing Everybody Wins! in many schools with Micheal J Fox's familiar lilt in my ears. Lucky Man, his first of four memoirs, covers his boyhood in Canada, his fame from TV's Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies, a few career flops (who knew?), his marriage to Family Ties co-star Tracy Pollan, and a frank look at his alcoholism. Throughout, his struggle with Parkinson's disease, provides context and clarity. Honestly one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to - or at least the most memorable. ~ Lisa Christie
How to be A Woman by Caitlin Moran (2016). We were introduced to this memoir years ago by our favorite comic - Cindy Pierce, and we thank her to this day. In How to be A Woman, Ms. Moran offers pointed observations on life with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own trials and tribulations. Some specific topics she tackles include workplace drama, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, and children. Her British accent is a bonus. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar (2021). We have reviewed this before so will just repeat that previous review now, with the recommendation you listen to this book as Ms. Ruffin's comic timing is more apparent when she narrates than on a written page. Ms. Ruffin is a comedian and writer (the first Black woman writer) on Late Night With Seth Meyers. She is funny. She also is blessed with a sister who still lives in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska and has CRAZY things happen to her with regularity as a result of being a petite Black woman in there. Luckily, Lacey calls Amber to talk about each incident. Luckily for us, they decided writing down these conversations was a great idea. This book was also reviewed on the Book Jam by best-selling author KJ Dell-Antonia. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Open by Andre Agassi (2009). I knew little about Andre Agassi before I listened to this memoir and what I knew I did not especially like. He seemed petulant, a bad sport, and well rude. And by the end, I wanted to befriend him. Unlike most books about sports - this memoir is not about the love of the game conquering all. It is about how the game shaped the man, for good and for bad and frankly is often about how much he hated tennis. He and his ghost writer spend a lot of time, as the New Yorker reminded me, deconstructing "the mythic image that the media created during Agassi’s many peaks and downfalls. At various points in his career, he was written off as a jerk, a fame whore, or a brat. But the reality, as explained in “Open,” was different: his signature mullet was not a statement of rebellion but rather an attempt to conceal the fact that he was going bald at a very young age." All of this paints an engaging portrait of an intriguing man. Note - I misremembered it as being read by Agassi -- he wasn't. The narrator is Erik Davies; and despite that I still thought we should include it here. ~ Lisa Christie