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Marc Maron: How can a mean streak be so empathetic?

For the last nine months I’ve been listening to audiobooks during my weekly commute between jobs in Ohio and Iowa. I get hours of entertainment and companionship, but sometimes I'm frustrated with the audiobook form. It’s a recording, meant for the ears rather than the eyes. So why not take better advantage of that form, and use it to do things the printed page can’t do? If the audiobook is nonfiction, why not allow some of the real-life characters deliver their dialogue in their own voices? Why not use a little music? Why not play with the sonic texture of the thing?

On commutes like mine, the natural competitor of the audiobook is the podcast, and more than once I’ve turned off an audiobook in favor of “WTF with Marc Maron,” the twice-weekly podcast in which the stand-up comic and former Air America radio host interviews other comics, actors, musicians and writers. Maron now has a new memoir, "Attempting Normal," and naturally, the audiobook version cracks the form wide open, with features the hardcover can't match.

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