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Audiobooks from Barack Obama, Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey and more

The celebrities read for you: Only $5 gets you started with Audible. (Photo: Amazon)

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Memoirs provide a specific kind of literary pleasure. They put us inside the minds and hearts of people – usually people we love and admire (and sometimes people we hate, or just too interesting to ignore). The point is that they take us outside of ourselves, not just into a different world or time in history, but inside the psyche of another.

At least that’s what good people do, and we’ve got inspirational, funny, touching, enlightening self-stories to recommend. And, of course, audiobooks — read by the celebrity memoirists themselves — bring added intimacy to this connective experience. Hey, if nothing else, as we head toward the home stretch of a particularly untouched and lonely year that isn’t craving someone else’s Voice in their head?

Audible, Amazon’s audiobook arm, is making it easy to venture into deep-listening territory with great deals on books and subscriptions—that also make great last-minute digital holiday gifts. Find below a book you know your best friend (or brother or daughter) will love – a few clicks and it’s theirs, delivered by email.

Feeling extra generous? Sign them up for a subscription — Audible Premium Plus is 60% off For a limited time. Get the first four months for only $5.95 per month. This is a $24 savings and you can cancel anytime.

With Audible Premium Plus, you get access to thousands of audiobooks, one free premium audiobook every month (that you keep) and an additional 30 percent off the list price of premium titles. Choose an audio plan that suits you and your loved ones here.

Scroll through for some of this year’s most rewarding, interesting, and hilarious titles, each of them read by the author (and some featuring special guest voices). What are you waiting for? They don’t listen to themselves, you know…

Artist, musician and feminist, Dolly is also the living embodiment of the word National treasure, For this tuneful trip down memory lane, well, the subtitle says it all, because it’s essentially a long-awaited conversation with Dolly about her greatest talent, songwriting.

Dolly revisits the stories behind nearly one hundred of her most famous and/or powerful compositions, including “Coat of Many Colors,” “9 to 5,” and of course, the devastating “Jolene.” In the process surprising inspirations are revealed and new depths of insight.

“I found her lyrics so fresh and direct – without metaphors, allusions, accusations or pretense – without offense,” said one enlightened reviewer. “I’m from a different generation, a different genre (I grew up on punk, new wave, metal and rap, followed by ’70s hard rock and metal) and a different time, but I’ve realized that Dolly is timeless. ”

A New York-born and bred success story, Alicia Keys began her journey to the top particularly early. A classically trained pianist, she was composing by age 12 and signed her first record contract at age 15. As the title suggests, discovery – of himself, and of the absent father of his childhood – is the theme here.

Thanks to the magic of audiobooks, she intersperses her story with excerpts from her most enduring song … and commentary from some friends including Jay-Z, Oprah and Michelle Obama. “Words don’t come easy [on] What a powerful impact this book made on me,” said one very satisfied customer. “What a wonderful, talented and generous woman.”

You know Rachel Bloom as the multi-talented star of The WB’s hilarious musical-comedy series crazy ex girlfriend, As groundbreaking as the show (which she co-created), Bloom’s memoir (in audio form) is surprising and innovative with a high wackiness factor.

There aren’t many artists who would dare to let awe-inspiring memories of a misfit adolescence, a lifetime of anxiety, and showbiz travails into heartwarming song (as well as poems, essays, a chapter of Hogwarts fan fiction, POV). of her dog, even a map of an amusement park!), and almost nobody who could do that with Bloom’s Pancake.

“I adore Rachel Bloom and this book is so authentically hers,” said one fan. “This book is hilarious and honest and raw and optimistic and totally funny and heartwarming and sad and uplifting.” a great gift.

pleasurable And Heartwarming magic is the elixir of what makes a good memoir, and Jost (aka Mr. Scarlett Johansson) brings it big time. Like her Saturday night Live Predecessor Tina Fey, Jost grounds her torn remarks with a dash of self-deprecation (literally; see that headline).

Plus, the chapter on her mother, who was a first responder to the 9/11 attacks, brings love and life lessons to the table. As one five-star reviewer puts it, “Come for the self-deprecating humor, stay for the great stories.”

oh yeah he others Obama also has a new book out, and boy, do we need it. The man who advocated ‘the audacity of hope’ in his 2006 memoir returned with a booster shot of that essential quality, his calm face and wise reflection a tonic in these nerve-wracking times.

Perhaps this reviewer said it best: “President Barack Obama writes as he speaks: deliberately, thoughtfully, and entertainingly. This book provides the reader with a much-needed dose of decency and intelligent thought in an age of intimidation and idiocy.” Is.

Most of us hadn’t heard of Megan Rapinoe’s name until after her mind-boggling feats during the 2011 World Cup. Then, of course, she did it again as co-captain of the US women’s soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics. So sure, here she tells how she fell in love with the sport as a California teenager.

Perhaps more important, though, we learn how her upbringing led her to search for justice and meaning in the world around her, as evidenced by her activism on behalf of gay rights and marriage equality. “Such an incredible and inspiring story,” said one reviewer. “I’ve loved watching Megan’s journey unfold, but it’s even more powerful to hear behind-the-scenes footage.”

“When I was 12, my sister drugged me with Valium, gave me a pinky nail full of cocaine, gave me third-degree burns, and tried to sell me to a pimp.” If you don’t have a credit card to take you on this jam-packed, jaw-dropping trip down memory lane, maybe the racism, child neglect, domestic violence, spousal abuse, and mental illness that pepper The story is that we will make the deal.

you want romance? her aborted marriage to ex-chairman Sony Music Tommy Mottola, her rekindled relationship with Yankees icon Derek Jeter (“Like his position on the team, our relationship was a small phase of my life.”), and her ill health. . Second turn at the altar with Nick Cannon. Oh yeah, there’s music, too, in a recap of the rags-to-riches story of her career — she has, after all, scored more number-one singles than any other solo artist — and the part she takes from her stellar performances. sings.

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve seen ‘ALT’ on America’s Top Model, heard his snarky, hilarious commentary, and are thinking his latest book is going to be a gut-wrenching, back-stabbing . Well, we’ll let this Amazon customer put you straight: “I came for the fashion gossip but walked away with an amazing education about fashion history.” And what history.

Talley’s been in the game for over half a century, during which he’s been a sort of Zelig, rubbing shoulder and collaborating with everyone from Andy Warhol to de la Renta, Halston, Lagerfeld, and of course, the trend High Priestess Anna Wintour. Of course, it’s not all name-dropping and history marking, as another reviewer put it: “Tally has wisdom and passion, as well as a soul searching for the beauty and love all around her.”

What better time to look back than at the end of the hottest decade of one’s career? At age 50, McConaughey headed out to the desert with his diary and recorded his “poems, prayers, [and] prescriptions”—not fuel for a midlife crisis but a surprising self-(re)discovery.

The title ‘McConnaissance’ of this capstone for the 21st century is a reference to the metaphor of “catching the greenlight” on your way to realizing one’s destiny. The key, McConaughey says, is “knowing how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges—how to be relatable with the inevitable.” Good advice…and that’s where a lot of it came from. To an appreciative listener, it’s a lot more than fine, fine, fine: “He’s one of those guys who just knows how to live an interesting life.”

It’s less often that we hear stories from family members who don’t become famous, those who are left behind in one way or the other. In this ‘brave’ account of family tragedy, comedian Diane Keaton eschews the cute hats and Hollywood glitz to tell the tragic story of her troubled younger brother, Randy.

The two were inseparable as children. But adult life, and Diane’s fame, would separate the siblings’ paths and leave Diane to helplessly watch as Randy evolved from eccentricity to debilitating mental illness “on the other side of normal”. She infuses it with heartwarming memories, poetry, letters, journal excerpts, and truckloads of love and insight. A reviewer said, “haunting, beautifully written and intimate portrait”. “I couldn’t put it down.”

The reviews cited above reflect the latest versions at the time of publication.

We’ve got your holiday shopping list covered. Find the experts’ picks on the best tech gifts on Engadget, the best gift ideas for car lovers on Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for everyone else on your list (moms, dads, ) , teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s Holiday Gift Ideas section. And on AOL, you’ll find gift ideas for the whole family—from your adult children to your grandchildren.

Originally published.