19 of the Best Audiobooks to Listen to Right Now
Traffic jams? Flight delays? You won’t mind so much when you’re listening to something terrific.
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It’s Not What It Looks Like
There’s a reason It’s Not What It Looks Like is on the top of our list of best audiobooks. This audiobook, written and read by blinde Youtuber Molly Burke, is somehow both deeply inspirational and still lighthearted, fun, and full of laughs, not unlike the writer herself. Molly Burke is a motivational speaker, Youtube personality, and now author, all at the age of 25. This book covers topics like how and why a blind girl loves makeup and tattoos she can’t see as well as her ideas on the current social model of disability. This audiobook will open your eyes and make you laugh, and it will do it in just ten short chapters. Check out the best ways to listen to free audiobooks (legally).
We’re willing to bet that you’ve heard of one of Margaret Atwood’s books. The Handmaid’s Tale has been turned into an international phenomenon with the Hulu adaptation, and Netflix came out with its own series adaptation of Atwood’s Alias Grace. This collection of nine short stories by Atwood are each read by a different voice actor but each story demonstrates her literary genius and will keep you desperate for more.
If you liked the Netflix movie (or even if you didn’t) you may want to check out the book that started it all, Bird Box by Josh Malerman. This riveting story is all about something you can’t look at without going crazy, and as a result, the narration and characters are all focused on sound rather than sight. Listening to this story rather than watching or physically reading it will help you dive into the narrative and truly experience this literary masterpiece.
Tara Westover’s memoir was named one of the best of 2018 by the Washington Post, the New York Public Library, TIME Magazine, and countless others. If you haven’t read it yet, now is a great time to listen to actress Julia Whelan tell this story of overcoming some of life’s biggest obstacles all in the name of getting an education. If you’re a fan of these best audiobooks, you’ll love the city that is transforming its subway cars into moving audiobook libraries.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden
If you think you know anything about Lizzie Borden, think again. Author Cara Robertson dives into over 20 years of research and newly unearthed evidence into the crime that enthralled the world. This story is hailed as a “definitive account to date of one of America’s most notorious and enduring murder mysteries” by Publishers Weekly, starred review, and allows the listener to act as judge to the infamous Lizzie Borden.
The Silent Patient
This 2019 psychological thriller by Alex Michaelides will have you on the edge of your seat. Unlike many stories of this nature, the author tells you right away “who dun it” but the real mystery here is why. This audiobook ranked number 1 on OverDrive’s list of the best audiobooks of 2019 (so far)
This coming-of-age novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014…and if you haven’t had time to read it, it’s time to change that. Considered one of the best audiobooks ever, the audio lets you take Donna Tartt’s crystalline prose and intricate storytelling to go. Available from numerous online platforms in digital or CD format, The Goldfinch is narrated by actor David Pittu. Here are some of the best debut novels from the past 50 years.
Still Foolin’ Em
Need a laugh? (Who doesn’t nowadays?) The beloved comedian’s bio is just the ticket, as Billy Crystal looks back on his 65 years with humor and hard-won wisdom. Read by the funnyman himself.
The Cuckoo’s Calling
Unless you’ve been trapped in a dungeon at Hogwarts, you know that this detective novel by “Robert Galbraith” was really written by J.K. Rowling. But have you heard it yet? The audio is narrated by actor Robert Glenister. Harry Potter itself, unsurprisingly, is one of the best audiobooks to listen to as a family.
My Story by Elizabeth Smart
The extraordinarily courageous Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped at 14 from her Salt Lake City bedroom and rescued almost a year later, tells her story in her own voice. Check out some more amazing memoirs by women who overcame the impossible.
Life After Life
What if you could live again and again until you got it right? Kate Atkinson’s novel about Ursula Todd, first born in 1910, was a big hit with critics and readers when it debuted in 2013, and the audio version remains one of the best audiobooks of the last few years. The book is narrated by actress Fenella Woolgar.
When We Were the Kennedys
Monica Wood’s memoir about faith, family, and growing up in the ’60s strikes a chord in everyone who reads it. Recorded by the author. Here are some more fantastic memoirs everyone should read.
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
Let’s get snarled in every kind of traffic delay while we listen to these seriously funny stories written, and read, by the deliciously subversive David Sedaris. In fact, we’re kinda hoping for a blizzard at the airport with this one.
The Princess Diarist
Even if you’re not a Star Wars aficionado, you’ll be riveted listening to the late Carrie Fisher chronicle her time spent on the set of the films that changed cinema forever. This Grammy-winning audiobook also features Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who narrates the passages that focus on Fisher’s young life.
Should you listen to a collection of the best detective stories of all time, read by British author and Holmes fan Stephen Fry? Elementary, my dear. This audio collection features eight of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best stories about the genius detective, complete with introductions by Fry. Here are some more classic books you really should have read by now.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
The host of The Daily Show chronicles his turbulent upbringing in apartheid South Africa in this autobiography. This is one of the best audiobooks to listen to if you like an intriguing, thought-provoking story that also sparkles with relevant humor.
This book, the debut novel of now-sci-fi-superstar Neil Gaiman, is one of NPR’s Top 100 sci-fi and fantasy books of all time. Even if this genre isn’t your favorite, this supernatural London-set tale is sure to captivate you while read out loud by the author himself.
If you haven’t read this bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, it’s time to do just that, and the audiobook is a great way to experience it. Just like the story itself, the audiobook is narrated by multiple different women, including Octavia Spencer, who won an Academy Award for her role as Minny in the film adaptation. The funny and poignant 1960s-set story celebrates the power of female friendships to conquer divisions and prejudice. Here are some more of the best books to read with iconic female friendships.
The Undoing Project
Written by Michael Lewis and narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, The Undoing Project tells the fascinating true story of the two Israeli scientists who developed the field of behavioral economics. Despite incredible odds, they published their groundbreaking research, would eventually win the Nobel Prize. This book is as much about the unlikely friendship between the two scientists as it is about the world-changing discoveries they made. Next, check out these other great books that might just change your life.