I haven’t done a ton of reading so far in 2015, but I have finished up two separate audiobooks, and both of them were memoirs by pretty funny people, read aloud by the author. I love audiobooks because they are a great way to get some reading in while cleaning or skating, so I usually have one in progress. If you are looking to try out an audiobook, or just pick up the hard copy instead, I highly recommend both Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris*.
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I never watched Saturday Night Live, or Parks and Recreation (although I want to now!) so I was totally sold on Yes Please by Amy Poehler because of things I’d heard about it online. It’s a memoir but it’s also a bit of a self-help guide filled with great advice and honesty. The audiobook is read by Poehler, as as you’d expect for somebody with an acting and comedy background, the reading is excellent. There are also some fun cameos in both the book and the audiobook.
What I really enjoyed about Yes Please is Poehler’s mix of humour and truth, so that it is both easy to relate and a refreshing reminder about what is important in life. Poehler’s shares what her life was like growing up as well as her struggle to turn comedy into a career. I was less interested during the slightly lengthy bit on Parks and Recreation since I haven’t seen the show, but I can appreciate it might be more interesting to people who go into the book as Poehler fans.
In spite of being a memoir, Poehler actually skips over major parts of her life like her divorce because she doesn’t want to be too personal. What I ended up really getting out of Yes Please were the self-help bits, which was honestly a surprise to me, but good reminders without being preachy. Poehler shares about a time she was wrong and when she finally admitted it, and also how you should “care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.”
One final observation from Poehler before you go read Yes Please for yourself:
“Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works.”
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Over the however many years my boyfriend and I watched How I Met Your Mother, my favourite part was always Barney Stinson, and despite realizing that his role was actually scripted, it definitely lead me to be pretty excited about an autobiography from the man behind the character, Neil Patrick Harris. Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris is an incredibly unique take on the traditional memoir, which is instead told in the second person and allows you the opportunity to flip between different parts of Harris’ life, depending on what journey you want to follow. There are also some pretty traumatic endings!
Although I listened to the audiobook, I also own a hard copy of Choose Your Own Autobiography, so I was able to compare. The story is specially adapted for audiobook, which means in general it was read straight through, and although it wasn’t always precisely chronological, it was still easy to follow. I think the format is cool and quirky and unique–but I liked that the audiobook took all the work out of it for me! Plus, Harris’ is predictably a great reader.
I was a little surprised and impressed by Harris’ openness in Choose Your Own Autobiography, which tackles not just his rise to child stardom, but also his struggles with his sexuality, and the ultimate happily ever after with his husband David Burtka. Harris gets quite emotional, talking about the surrogacy that lead to their children. If you are interested in knowing more about the man that seems to host every awards show, or just a clever, funny and honest read, you should definitely choose Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris.
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Do you read celebrity memoirs? Although I honestly know nothing about her, I am really interested in picking up Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, which is supposed to be really good. Let me know if you have any recommendations!