Quickie audiobook reviews

This is a sort of quick review of two audiobooks. They have nothing to do with each other, other than being audiobooks, and me not reviewing them right after I listened to them, so this is what I remember. They are also non-fiction, which is a very tenuous connection.


Yes Please by Amy Poehler, read by Amy Poehler and guests

The book
This is Poehler’s autobiography, so obviously it’s about her life. It’s about how she starting the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, working on SNL, doing Weekend Update, and doing Parks and Rec. It’s also about her life, and her growing up and meeting her husband, and having a kid, splitting up with her husband, and moving on, I guess. And also her being a badassador. It’s read by Amy Poehler, and she has invited friends to both write and read chapters. I can’t remember all of them, but Seth Myers, her parents, Mike Schur who created Parks and Rec, and probably some others I’m forgetting.

Here’s the thing. I don’t actually have any relationship, or connection to Poehler. I don’t watch SNL because I’m not a huge sketch comedy fan, and I suffer from second hand embarrassment when other people see no reason to be embarrassed. So I can’t watch it. This is why I didn’t watch The Office, or Modern Family for a long time. Which is also why I don’t really watch Parks and Rec. I’ve seen some episodes. I think I’ve watched the whole first season, but it gives me anxiety. I can’t explain or justify it, it just does. I also haven’t got any relationship to Tina Fey, Amy’s best friend. So why did I choose to read/listen to this book? What I have seen of Amy Poehler I love. I like her hosting the Golden Globes, I like her joking around with Tina Fey, Mean Girls is awesome. And she just seems so cool. And also, a lot of people said that it was amazing. So I just thought, eh, what the hell?

It’s really funny. Amy has a great voice, both literally and a great literary voice. It’s basically like she’s just telling the story of her life and having conversations with her friends. I think that’s part of what makes it feel very honest as well. It isn’t like she’s lived a Keith Richards level rock and roll life, but she’s had good times and she’s not afraid to talk about it, or to be honest about it. She’s also very honest about her relationships and why they worked out, or didn’t.

I loved how dedicated she was to her work, and how she does her best and to also create opportunities for others with things like UCB, and just being awesome. I loved the story of, I think it’s her first kid, where she basically works up to the day he’s born, and calls SNL from the hospital going; hey, giving birth, can’t do Weekend Update, and the SNL people tell her to stop being an idiot, hang up, and focus on the birth.

It was fun to get a lot of different people telling stories of how they know Amy, and seeing Amy from different perspectives. It was a bit like them just having a conversation about Amy and who she is and what she does. I thought it was fun, and while I don’t know that Parks and Rec is necessarily the thing for me, because it makes me anxious, I really love Amy Poehler. I’m a convert.

What if?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe, read by Wil Wheaton

The book
Randall Munroe is a NASA engineer who quit to write the web comic XKCD. In 2013 he set up a new feature on the site; What if? Where readers could send him impossible questions and he would do his best to answer the questions. So this is a book of some of the best questions and some new ones that he hasn’t answered on the website yet.

I really liked it. I thought it was hilarious. I really like science, but I don’t have attention span to pay attention to like… proper science, I prefer sort of weird science. It’s fun. So I really liked that. Anyway.

I liked the way it was structured where he did one question a chapter, and he had some chapters with shorter questions with short, simpler answers. It was really nice. I think I probably missed some stuff, because as far as I know there are illustrations in the regular book. The way he writes and explains are relatively simple, I felt like I understood a lot of it. I’m not a scientist. I’m sort of relatively clever, but I studied social anthropology and library science, I’m not a physicist or scientist, so some things went right over my head. But it was always funny, because of how he writes it’s funny and it’s entertaining anyway.

The narration was great. Wil Wheaton has the sort of perfect voice for it. I’ve never watched original Star Trek, I know Wil Wheaton because of the Big Bang Theory, for which I apologize, and Leverage, and I never apologize for that. His voice is sort of snarky and nerdy and that works for a nerdy book like this. So I really loved that. It was fun. I want more weird science, preferably read by Wil Wheaton, or other science fiction/science nerds, Brian Cox maybe, or Joss Whedon.

These are two of the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year. I feel like I’ve found the kind of audiobooks I like. So that’s nice. Looking forward to more audiobooks. Yeah.