20 extra-long audiobooks so you can get the most out of those credits

20 extra-long audiobooks so you can get the most out of those credits

If you’ve started listening to audiobooks in the past year, you are in good company—listenership increased dramatically from 2017 to 2018, and I expect to go up from there. That means if you’re struggling to figure out which audiobook to listen to next, you’re in good company.

A favorite way to answer this question that plagues every reader (and listener) is to choose a LONG audiobook—one that comes in at around twenty hours, or perhaps much more. Decide once, and you can happily listen for a good long time, without needing to visit your library website or peruse an app. And if you’re paying for those audiobook credits through a service like Audible or Libro.fm (where one credit = one book), an extra-long audiobook helps you get the most value out of those credits.

Today I’m sharing my favorite, very long audiobooks. I snuck in two that are a little less than twenty hours because I LOVED them. You’ll see below which ones those are. And I included one I’m eager to read but haven’t yet. Tell me your thoughts in comments?

PSA: Now is a great time to stock your audiobooks “shelves,” because right now you can get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1 from Libro.fm. This deal is just for Modern Mrs Darcy readers. Enjoy!

20 extra-long audiobooks that are (mostly) 20 hours or more

Extra Long Audiobooks
The Likeness

The Likeness

Author:
This second installment in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series stands just fine on its own. This time the plot revolves around detective Cassie Maddox, who takes on a downright creepy undercover assignment to figure out whodunit. She’s a pro who knows how to keep her distance, but this time she gets herself in too deep. Warning: this psychological thriller has great characters, F-bombs galore, and was utterly unputdownable. 22 hours 17 minutes. More info →
Middlemarch

Middlemarch

Author:
Eliot’s hefty masterpiece combines her "study of provincial life" with a close look at several young couples who fall (or think they fall) in love. Who will find lasting happiness, and who won't, and why? By focusing on the narrow disappointments and particular joys of this small community, Eliot cuts to the heart of human nature. A novel about love, happiness, and second chances. I personally loved the version narrated by Juliet Stevenson. 31 hours 33 minutes. More info →
The Lake House

The Lake House

Author:
This is my favorite Kate Morton novel. In 1933, a young child disappeared without a trace. In 2003, a disgraced young detective stumbles upon the cold case and soon discovers its ties to one of England's oldest and most celebrated mystery writer (think Agatha Christie). I absolutely loved reading a mystery novel about a mystery novelist: the pages are filled with fascinating references to the fictional author's writing process and working life. 21 hours 24 minutes. More info →
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The Time in Between

The Time in Between

Author:
Couture, romance, and ... espionage. If you love Casablanca, try this novel set during the Spanish Civil War. I've recommended this nonstop. Sira Quiroga works her way from dressmaker’s assistant to a premier couturier, putting her in contact with the wealthy and powerful. When the British government asks her to spy for them as World War II gears up, she agrees, stitching secret messages into the hems of dresses. 21 hours 44 minutes. More info →
Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Author:
"Happy families are all alike;" begins this classic Russian novel, "every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Fun fact: William Faulkner called this novel "the best ever written." Numerous translations exist; if I had to choose one I'd go with Constance Garnett's, if only because it's narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who calls this her favorite novel and said performing it was one of the greatest accomplishments of her work life. 35 hours 35 minutes. More info →
Outlander

Outlander

As she tells it, Gabaldon intended to write a realistic historical novel, but a modern woman kept inserting herself into the story! She decided to leave her for the time being—it's hard enough to write a novel, she'd edit her out later—but would YOU edit out Claire? I didn't think so. You could happily lose yourself in this series, totaling 300+ hours on audio, which delivers serious bang for the audiobook buck. Davina Porter narrates, and she is freaking fantastic. Heads up for racy content and graphic torture scenes: I made liberal use of my fast-forward button. 32 hours 38 minutes. More info →
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Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose

This enthralling story spanning four generations is based on real events, and offers a fascinating look at both one family's history and the history of the American West. I loved the structure, which invites the reader to come alongside the narrator and examine what makes a friendship or a marriage work—and what may cause it to fail. 22 hours 9 minutes. More info →
The Secret History

The Secret History

Author:
The story begins with a murder, and the lonely, introspective narrator devotes the rest of the novel to telling the reader about his role in it, and how he seemingly got away with it. The setting is a small Vermont college, the characters members of an isolated, eccentric circle of classics majors, who murder one of their own. Strongly reminiscent of The Likeness in setting, Crime and Punishment in plot, and Brideshead Revisited in tone. I finally read this, and now I understand why opinions differ widely on Tartt's debut novel: it's a compelling—and chilling—tale, but there's not a single likable character. Tartt narrates the audio book herself. 22 hours 3 minutes. More info →
East of Eden

East of Eden

This is Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, and in his opinion, his finest work. ("I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.") An epic tale of the Trasks and Hamiltons, two families doomed to reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel’s rivalry across generations. This story has it all: love, poverty, wealth, war, betrayal, abandonment, murder. Set in California’s dusty Salinas Valley, Steinbeck examines class, identity, and what happens when we are denied love. 25 hours 23 minutes. More info →
Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove

This big, fat, Pulitzer-winning novel was on my radar for years before I finally picked it up. It's not the kind of book I expected to love: the story revolves around a 3000 mile cattle drive from a dusty Texas border town to the unsettled lands of Montana in the 1880s, and features a motley cast of characters including illustrious captains, notorious outlaws, ex-slaves, Texas Rangers, sheriffs, and more. Yet I enjoyed it sooo much—all 36 hours and 11 minutes of it. More info →
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Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

In 1967 Nigeria, the Igbo people of the East seceded to form their own nation of Biafra, inciting a bloody three-year civil war followed. This novel from the author of the wonderful Americanah tells the story of that conflict, known as the Biafran War—an event largely forgotten outside Nigeria—through the eyes of five diverse characters: a university professor, his privileged girlfriend, their servant boy, her twin sister, and her British journalist boyfriend. This is a story that will stay with you. The audio version is fantastic. 18 hours 10 minutes. More info →
Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Author:
This is THE definitive biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, author of Washington: A Life. Many readers know it as the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. This well-written biography reads like a novel, the fascinating life story of a fascinating man. 35 hours 38 minutes. More info →
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel

If you’ve watched the TV show, it’s the perfect time to experience the source material. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Harkness seamlessly blends a rich historical backdrop with a world where witches, vampires, daemons, and unaware humans dwell. Harkness explores what happens when a witch and vampire fall in love—against the Convention's rules—with staggering implications for the supernatural realm. The rich characterization and a multilayered plot only continues with the rest of the trilogy. 23 hours 59 minutes. More info →
The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

Meredith surprised me by raving about this on episode 11 of What Should I Read Next, because I'd always thought of it as a dry, dusty classic. Since then I've discovered lots of her fellow readers who adore it. They describe it as a darn good story, about a man thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit and his quest for retribution. 43 hours 52 minutes. More info →
1Q84

1Q84

Bring up this title by the esteemed Haruki Murakami and readers will often say, “it’s long but it’s so worth it.” Set in 1984 Tokyo, a woman enters a parallel universe, while a ghostwriter takes on a project that’s not what it seems. The two storylines converge over the course of the year, exploring fantasy, self-discovery, religion, love, and loneliness. The translation itself has been highly praised. 46 hours 45 minutes. More info →
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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

An essential read about a slice of forgotten American history detailing the decades-long migration of almost six million Black people from the South to the North and West, hoping for a better life. Wilkerson focuses on the stories of three individuals, giving us both an intimate portrayal and Big Picture view of what they experienced and how this changed the country. Spines & Vines and Kate Olson Reads have chosen this for an Instagram buddy read for Black History Month, kicking off January 28, if you want to read along and discuss. 22 hours 43 minutes. More info →
The Weight of Ink

The Weight of Ink

Author:
This one's on my TBR, because it's been highly recommended by readers with great taste. Also because the publisher calls it "an intellectual and emotional jigsaw puzzle of a novel for readers of A. S. Byatt’s Possession and Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book. From Library Journal: "This astonishing third novel from Kadish introduces readers to the 17th-century Anglo-Jewish world with not only excellent scholarship but also fine storytelling. The riveting narrative and well-honed characters will earn a place in readers' hearts." 23 hours 19 minutes. More info →
A Fine Balance

A Fine Balance

Set in India in 1975, the story follows four strangers who are forced to share a small apartment after the government declares a state emergency. In the process, they create a found family, moving from wariness and distrust to friendship and love. A Fine Balance reminds us of what the human spirit is capable of, no matter how trying times may be. 24 hours 24 minutes. More info →
The Heart’s Invisible Furies

The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Author:
Told in seven segments, set every seven years, this novel spans one Irish boy's entire lifetime. This is the story of one specific life, and also the story of Ireland itself, as it grows and evolves over the same time period. If you loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, think about giving this one a try. Set in Ireland in the 1950s, it follows Cyril, a gay man, over the course of his life through all the ups and downs, starting with his unconventional adoptive parents and the way he comes to understand his sexuality is viewed as a threat by his country. He makes sizable mistakes and runs from them, setting him up to ultimately become a better man but his actions still have consequences for him and others. This exploration and the resulting character growth will have you cheering for Cyril, as much as you want to shake him. 21 hours 10 minutes. More info →
Becoming

Becoming

Michelle Obama’s memoir is breaking literary records and it’s easy to see why. The former First Lady recounts growing up on the South Side of Chicago, meeting her husband Barack, and exactly what it’s like to watch your husband run for and then win the presidency. She doesn’t shy away from the hard parts of her story, such as miscarriage and the racism she’s encountered over the years, and reflects on how her experiences have shaped her and the woman she’s still becoming. A moving, inspiring, engaging read. 19 hours 3 minutes. More info →
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How do you feel about long audiobooks? What favorites would you add to this list? Tell us about them in comments!

P.S. For the other end of the spectrum, check out these 15 terrific audiobooks you can listen to in 6(ish) hours or (much) less. I also recently shared my favorite listening experiences of 2018, and you can view all audiobook posts here.

133 comments | Comment

133 comments

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  1. Marisa says:

    You left out 11/22/63 by Stephen King. My husband and I listened to it on a road trip from Louisiana to Washington, DC and back and still didn’t finish!

    • Carol says:

      I felt the same way! This audio book is at the top of my list and it was refreshing to listen to the former First Lady tell her own story.

  2. Deborah says:

    add in Bryce Courtenay’s THE POTATO FACTORY: book one of his Australian Trilogy. (and then books 2 and 3) Lengthy, rich story telling, totally absorbing, well written, well read, and …. long. 🙂

  3. Denise Cormaney says:

    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara! Soooo good, and at 32 hours and 51 minutes, you definitely get your money’s worth!

  4. Tory says:

    I’m listening to Kristin Lavransdatter right now and …. I can see why it’s not on your list. It’s not terrible, but 35 hours in (10 to go!) my enthusiasm is waning thin.

    • Felicia says:

      I listened to ALL of Kristin Lavransdattar last year and can confidently say that it does not improve as the story progresses. The characters don’t really evolve and I found the three books very repetitive. Hope that’s helpful.

      • Claire says:

        I’m discovering this now as I read through the books. I’m 83% done with all three books (reading on Kindle) and feel like I’ve invested too much time into it by now to give up on it…

    • Terry says:

      I’m so surprised at these reactions to the book(s). It is one of my very favorites! Just goes to show you – different strokes, different folks! 😉

    • Justine says:

      Oh no! I just finished Kristin Lavransdatter a few days ago and it is absolutely my new favorite book! It was completely worth the 45 hours for me!

  5. Victoria says:

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman, not the sort of book I would normally read but I found myself making every excuse under the sun to continue listening to it!

  6. Shannon Navin says:

    Second 11/22/63! Fantastic book and well read! My husband is listening to it and living it (in my recommendation) and he’s not a reader!

  7. Gail says:

    Thanks for the list! I recognize some favorites here and anticipate finding more. “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” by Ken Follett, 41 and 45.5 hours respectively, are both wonderful audiobooks.

  8. Van Cleaf, Pat says:

    I love long books to listen to, and especially series. You recommend Outlander, remind your listeners and readers there are currently 8 books in that series (all long listens) along with numerous books on specific characters…Can’t wait for book 9 coming in 2019.

    • Lynda says:

      I’m on Fiery Cross -54 hours! I started listening to the books after the first one because I find that reading dialect slows me down. Jamie and Claire seem like old friends now. ?

    • Lynda says:

      I am listening to Fiery Cross now-54 hours! I began listening to the series after reading the first book. I find reading dialect slows me way down, so I enjoy the series much more now. Jamie and Claire seem like family now ?

  9. Sarah says:

    I love long books, audio or print. I listed to Anna Karenina narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal about a month ago and definitely enjoyed it. 1Q84 is waiting in my Audible account, but I haven’t started it yet. I might throw in My Brilliant Friend. It’s not that long, but the four part series reads like one long book, and I was inclined to listen to them all back to back.

  10. Heidi Benson says:

    And if you really, really love Sherlock Holmes, there’s Stephen Fry reading the complete works — 4 novels and 5 collections of short stories (and 9 narrator-written introductions) that come in at a whopping 63 hours… you can, of course, read it book by book, but it definitely gives amazing value per credit.

    • Lynn Everroad says:

      YES! And delightfully read by Stephen Fry. Listened to this this month and loved. Been meaning to reread the entire canon for
      awhile and this was perfect way to do it.

  11. Beth says:

    The narrator is so important to listening when your reading is audible.I am dis-appointed that you didn’t credit the actors in this column. I had to navigate to Audible/Amazon to create my list…I recommend any books narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt, Jim Dale, CJ Critt or Davina Porter as well as George Guidall (often heard on Law and Order.)My all-time favorite BOT was Terms of Endearment narrated by Barbara Rosenblatt.

    • Kayla says:

      Thomas Vincent Kelly did an amazing job narrating the YA Ashtown Burials series. I’ll have to look for more of his narrations.

    • Laura says:

      Robert Glenister is amazing for Cormoran Strike! I usually switch between audio and print to speed things up, but I cant stop listening to him!

  12. Amy says:

    I love the idea of listening to classics on audio! I feel like listening to audio books is like free reading time (especially when you can’t read a physical book – I’m a recent convert) so I love the idea of using that for classics that I have trouble normally picking up.

    • Theresa says:

      I’m the same way, Amy. I have been enjoying many classics over the past few years during DIY house projects – Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and now Count of Monte Cristo. Ones I’ve always wanted to get to but would not make it on my TBR list any time soon.

  13. Sandra Varley says:

    Ah, East of Eden. My favorite book. When I was sixteen my Grandma and I read it at the same time and enjoyed deep discussions about family, history, and morality. It holds a special place in my heart.

  14. Renee says:

    I just started The Likeness on audio yesterday and you’re right it’s fantastic! One of my favorite audiobooks is You by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana, one of the best narrators I’ve ever heard!

  15. Jaia says:

    I’m amused by this list since I’m known to listen to an audio book at 1.25x or even 1.5x speed to get through it faster. It’s not that I don’t like (LOVE) long audio books, but I’m always impatient and what to know what happens next! That said, I love the idea of bang for your buck with Audible credits – I must look into some of these.

    • Amy says:

      Unless it’s a heavy accent I always listen on 2x. If it’s much less it sounds like they are dragging out words. I think it’s all in what you get used to.

        • Michelle says:

          Agree to the love of amping up the speed on audiobooks. My book group friends heartily disagree, but rarely do books become unintelligible at 1.5 – try it. (I’m trying to ramp up to 2+)

    • I usually listen to mine at 1.25 or 1.5 (or 2 if it’s super slow reading). But the last few books I’ve listened to have been at 1.0 because it just sounds right- I usually find 1.0 to be unnaturally slow. I’ve listened to Harry Potter 1-3 on 1.0, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen on 1.0 and now The Heart’s Invisible Furies on 1.0. But most other books are sped up. I really like that the Libby app allows you to tailor the exact amount you want it sped up by so you can go to wherever works best for you.

  16. Debra B says:

    Just yesterday I was searching Audible for LONG books to read! Thank you for the list and the reviews. I am currently listening to Becoming, and will be adding East of Eden by Steinbeck and several others from your list. Just in the nick of time.

  17. Christine says:

    I have been listening to The Count of Monte Cristo for 2 months now and still 12 hrs left.ughhh. i will finish it soon
    If for nothing else to say I have read it. I am enjoying parts of it but so many characters and their alias has become confusing at times.

  18. Lyndsey G says:

    I only began listening to audiobooks in Dec 2018. I’m embarrassed to say I used to be an audiobook “snob” – did it really count as reading if I was doing it while I also washed dishes? Three big “ah ha” moments changed my mind. 1. I always assumed I would be too distracted to follow an audiobook. Then I realized I was listening to tons of podcasts and found them engaging, so maybe audiobooks would be the same. 2. This is the most important one. My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia last summer. During my research I discovered audiobooks would be beneficial for her. It was always important for me to model reading in front of our children, and I want my daughter to love it as much as I do. How could I encourage her to listen to audiobooks if I didn’t see the value in them for myself? I needed to show her that reading didn’t have to mean a physical book in my hands. And 3. I read on your blog that listening to books and reading books uses the same parts of your brain. Sold.
    It has literally changed my reading life. The first I tried was The Good Life and fell in love with the narration. Currently I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming and I absolutely love it.
    Thank you Anne, for showing me the value of audiobooks. ?

    • Lily says:

      Just a note about the dyslexia-we listen to a LOT of audiobooks. On our car rides to school (30 minutes) and longer car journeys, we listen to audiobooks. Our dyslexic son follows along with the physical book in the back seat. It works out quite well. Takes a bit of planning to make sure you have both copies ready, but I like to think he is picking up something from the hard copy-how a word looks or is spelled, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraphs, anything. At least it can’t hurt!

      • Lyndsey G says:

        How old is your son? Our daughter is 7 and was diagnosed with dyslexia last summer. I’ve started listening to audiobooks in hope that she’ll enjoy them and it helps her. Dyslexia still feels very new to me but I want to do anything I can to help her. ?

        • Lily says:

          Our son is 12 (very young emotionally though). We started out just listening to books (back when they were cassette tapes), and have made several graduations-now listening on audible and him following along in the backseat. He was diagnosed probably when he was 8 (can’t recall any longer). He still doesn’t pick up too many books voluntarily, other then Diary of a wimpy kid, or required school reading, but does devour a weekly kids’ newspaper he receives in the mail. At least he can participate if his peers talk about Harry Potter, or any of the Roald Dahl books, or other popular kids’ books. All we can do is model the behaviour and encourage.

  19. christi mcbride says:

    Loved Lonesome Dove on audio. I, too, did not know if I’d really enjoy a western novel, but thought I’d give it a try on a road trip to visit family in Texas. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it (in fact Gus is now one of my favorite literary characters), but we drove 14 hrs and back and still didn’t finish it until a couple days after we got home. It is western, but so much more. Great on audio despite being long.

  20. Lauren says:

    I just bought a doorstopper in the form of a gorgeous, Les Miserable Penguin paperback. Having been a francophile and Victor Hugo and Les Mis fan for over twenty years now, I decided last week that it’s time to tackle the novel. I think audiobook will be the best way to do this, too! I chose the 60 hour version narrated by George Guidall and am looking forward to listening very soon.

  21. Janeen Pizzo says:

    The Stand by Stephen King – the narrator is so good and the plot is really fast paced. At 47+ hours and over 1100 pages – it is well worth the credit. I am almost a book snob in that I wasn’t going to read it, but a friend received it for the holiday and we started it together. King’s characterization is spot.on. I highly recommend it!

  22. So funny you mention THE LIKENESS because this is an audiobook I was totally hooked on…and it disappeared from my Overdrive account at a critical point in the story! I had to wait a few months to get it back but in the meantime encouraged my gym teacher to listen, too.

    A long series I took months to finish (and many rechecks from the library) was Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE. I’m still not sure if I loved it or not. I was definitely involved. How many times did I announce to my family I was off to listen to my viral vampires? Who can say?

    I wanted to thank you, Anne, for introducing me to Emily Giffin. I’ve had a lot of fun the last few weeks listening to her books. I’m on #3 right now. Also, I spent last weekend with my childhood best friend and I told her about your blog, (she asked where I was getting my book recommendations from) and now she’s signed up!

  23. Nancy B. says:

    My favorite long audiobook is Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Roughly sci-fi, on what might happen if the Earth were suddenly not livable, good science, good plot, well written. Another by Stephenson, Reamde, a high-tech global adventure story. I liked them so much, I listened twice!

  24. Maria Ontiveros says:

    Just about to start The Big Green Tent, and it’s 23 hours. Last summer I thoroughly enjoyed Angle of Repose from audible.

  25. Anne says:

    When I saw this in my inbox my first thought was, “I hope The Count of Monte Cristo made the list!” It did! Yay! It’s quite possibly actually my favorite book. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to ONE favorite book, but if I had to, it might well be The Count. 🙂

  26. Whitney McCollum says:

    I had literally just signed into Audible to hunt for a long book to use my last credit for before (again) canceling my membership. Thanks!

    Also, HUGE recommendation for BECOMING, which is amazing.

  27. Theresa says:

    I am listening to the Count of Monte Cristo right now, and I think it will clock in above 43 hours because the narrator is doing incredibly realistic French and Italian accents for each character. I am loving this complicated story and seeing many interesting parallels and contrasts between Jean Valjean and Edmond Dantes.

    Also- The Weight of Ink begs to be read, not heard. It’s right there in the title! 🙂 It’s a beautifully written novel that seemed to me a tribute to the seduction of the written word. I’d encourage you to read it the old-fashioned way… though I’m sure you will love it either way.

  28. opal cocke says:

    I just finished listening to Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese….I also read the book first, so hearing the story added so much detail and emotion to the story. We drove from Seattle to Los Angeles over 2-1/2 days…and then the return trip up 101. I’ll estimate the length about 30 hours or more. A long drive made all the better for this fabulous story unfolding mile by mile. It is my favorite book of 2018. Thank your this comprehensive list. I can’t wait to start reading another long story.

    • Diane Johnson says:

      I listened to this book in 2013, and it took forever, so it seemed. Perhaps the longest book I’d ever listened to. It was very good, and although I don’t remember details about it now, I remember the hold it had on me, and how invested I became in it. At the time, I had a CD player in my car, and would find any excuse to drive. I may have to give it another listen now, after being reminded of how much I enjoyed the story!

  29. Jenny says:

    RE: The Count of Monte Christo: if you can get the audiobook read by John Lee, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever listened to, and I’m an avid audiobook listener. You won’t be disappointed.

  30. VERA WEBB says:

    On one of your podcasts, your interviewee recommended doing both the audio book and reading along to Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings, because the Caribbean dialect was wonderful to listen to. How long is the audio book?

  31. Lindsay says:

    Becoming by Michelle Obama is so good! I pre-ordered it on Audible, started it on its release date, and finished it in December. It’s long, but I’m glad I got to hear Michelle Obama read her own story.

  32. Alice says:

    When my next credit becomes available soon, I will be reading Don Quixote, translated by Edith Grossman, and narrated by George Guidall (whose voice I just love). It is 39 hrs long. Looking forward to it!

  33. Amy says:

    I listened to both The Weight of Ink and The Count of Monte Cristo on audio and was so pleased that I did. I had tried each in traditional form and could not make progress; the audio just made the experience easier! I also adore Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk on audio…. worth the investment of time!

  34. Terry says:

    John Adams by David McCullough was a gem on audio. 30 hours. Not a minute wasted.

    Currently I am “rereading” the Harry Potter series via audiobook. Taken as a whole, very long indeed!

  35. Stefanie Schulenberg says:

    You have recommended Lonesome Dove once before, and that was why I bought it. I loved it so much; these somewhat weird or Special characters really get to you! 1Q84 is great, too. Looking Forward to sampling the rest of the list; I can definitely also second Outlander and The Secret History. Thanks for this compilation!

  36. Megan Anne McCuen says:

    The Julie Stevenson Middlemarch is magnificent! It took me months to finish, but it was so beautiful. I’m glad it made the list.

  37. Judy says:

    So glad you listed Lonesome Dove! And such a good narrator. Also suggest The Stand (Stephen King) at 47 hours and Dune (Frank Herbert) at around 21 hours

  38. Laura Bredesen says:

    America’s First Daughter: a Novel, and The Prince of Tides are two great and lengthy books that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

  39. Courtney says:

    I have to offer honorable mentions for the Harry Potter series books, not only are the latter books quite long Jim Dale does an immensely amazing and satisfying job making the characters and story come alive. Also the Inheritance Cycle books by Christopher Paolini are also great and range from 16 hours to 31 hours.

  40. Judy Wittman says:

    I may or may not have complained when a friend chose Warmth of Other Suns in our book group. I went to pick it up at the library and scoffed that it was over 600 pages- but I really enjoyed it on audio, and was sad when it was over. Great choice.

    What about The Goldfinch, also by Donna Tartt?

  41. Mary says:

    I was so surprised to see “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry on your list, but it’s one of my favorite novels. I read it in paperback, from the library. I couldn’t put it down, including reading in the bathtub! Sure enough, I dropped it, the only library book I have ever damaged. The paperback was of course cheaper to pay for! Now I want to re read the audio version. I love your list, many I have read or listened to, and some are already in my audible library, or in my overdrive wish list. I’m addicted to audiobooks and have one audio, one print going at all times!

  42. Helen says:

    Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” is unmatched. I’m in the midst of it now (having done “Anna Karenina” earlier this year), and it’s wonderful. Highly recommend this one, too.

  43. Rachel says:

    I’ve listened to seven of the suggestions on this list (The Warmth of Other Suns, Becoming, The Count of Monte Cristo, the Lake House, Half of A Yellow Son, Hamilton, and A Secret History) and will have to check out the others. These were all fantastic listens. I just finished the Warmth of Other Sons and found it horrifying and fascinating – another piece of our country’s history that has been swept under the rug.

    Other long listens that I would recommend…
    – The Far Pavilions. I kind of remembered this mini-series from when I was a kid adn the book did not disappoint. This logs in at 48 hours and 45 minutes! Talk about bang for the credit!
    – Beneath a Scarlet Sky – almost 18 hours. Wonderful true story of an Italian during WWII who ended up the driver of a high ranking Nazi.
    – Kane and Abel, by Jeffrey Archer. Another book from the 80s (I think). This book flew by and was a lot of fun.

  44. Tanya says:

    I am currently listening to The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson (21 hours) and throughly enjoying it. I wanted a long book for a trip and found this fantasy read by my favorite narrator, Scott Brick. There are two more in this trilogy.

  45. The length of a book or audiobook is not an issue for me, as long as it’s well written. I’m currently listening to The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, that’s over 22 hours long. I listen to audiobooks as soon as I have a minute doing chores: cooking, doing the dishes (get rid of your dish washer, you’ll be amazed how many audiobooks you’ll get to read), cleaning the house (fire your maid, you’ll be amazed how much you love dusting and vacuum, as long as you can listen to your book at the same time), ironing (good bye to dry cleaning), gardening, etc.
    In 2017, I listened to 16 audiobboks, with an average of 28 minutes per day, see in my yearly stats: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/01/02/year-of-reading-2018-part-2-statistics/. You will find links there to see what my favorite audiobooks were as well

  46. Katie T. says:

    There are so many fantasy books to add to this list! The Mists of Avalon clocks in at 50 hours and 50 minutes, The Wise Mans Fear at 43 hours and Storm of Swords at 47! Great penny per hour value 🙂

  47. dumbledad says:

    Two to add: A Tale of Two Cities and Vanity Fair. Both are enormous and fantastic. For the Dickens I recommend pageing through the editions until you get to the one narrated by Andrew Sachs, he doesn’t ham it up. (P.S. I really couldn’t cope with 1Q84, what a nasty book. Perhaps it gets better, I put it aside quite quickly, even after using my Audible credit.)

    • dumbledad says:

      I’ve just checked and I am misremembering the length of A Tale of Two Cities, it is only 14 hours long. But Vanity Fair (narrated by Georgina Sutton) is comfortably over 20, it’s 32 hours long.

  48. Mary says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Sarah Waters. Her earlier novels “Fingersmith” and “ Tipping the Velvet” are gothic historical dramas, great stories and narrated by Juanita McMahon (aka Davena Porter) and weigh in at 23 and 21 hours. Her most recent novel, set in the 1940s, “ The Paying Guests” is 21 hrs. Looking forward to whatever she does next!
    Really enjoying this topic, I’ve been an audio addict since they were on cassette tapes 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      I have to second Fingersmith, which is one of my favorite books. I liked all of Sarah Water’s other books, but haven’t listened to them on audio. I like her Victorian titles much better than her ones set later. Are Juanita McMahon and Davina Porter not different people?

      • Mary says:

        Ooops! I get Davena Porter and Donada Peters mixed up. Donada records under multiple names, one is Wanda McFaddon, which I then got confused with Juanita McMahon. So, Davena Porter & Juanita McMahon are indeed different people. Sorry for the confusion 😉

  49. Karen says:

    Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth read by John Lee is excellent – all 40+ hours worth. Stephen King’s The Stand read by Grover Gardner is well worth it. I do a lot of driving for my job and LOVE long audiobooks! Definitely adding some of these to my list.

  50. Janean says:

    I’m an avid audio book listener. I read 75-100 books a year, with the majority read via audio due to some visual issues I have. The longer books definitely give you the most value in terms of cost, however, I’d encourage those of you new to the format to choose a shorter title. I found that when I was just getting started listening to books vs. reading them in print, it was easier to follow the book if it was short and less complex. With long sagas, you can forget the early portions and you can’t refresh your memory via a quick flip through of the early chapters. It’s easier to retain a story if you just heard the early portions a few days or weeks ago. Complex structures can be challenging via audio as well if you’re not used to retaining the info audibly. Books that bounce from one time period to another, shift perspective or have multiple points of view are more challenging. They’re not something to avoid outright, as sometimes the audio can complement these features, such as with Lincoln in the Bardo, but I wouldn’t suggest starting there. I find the easiest audiobooks to follow are memories narrated by the author. It feels like someone is simply telling you about themselves and they have a familiar conversational flow. Consider starting there. Educated, When Breath Becomes Air and Born a Crime are excellent choices. If you want to start with fiction, consider a re-read of a favorite title or a sequel of a series you’ve already enjoyed. This way, you’ll already be familiar with the characters and the cadence of the author.

    My biggest tip is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to the entire audio sample to see if:
    1. You enjoy the voice of the narrator. Some will just bug you. Some people like a good accent, while others are frustrated with having to listen more carefully because of it. Some people prefer one gender over another. It’s very subjective. You’ll learn what you like and don’t like over time.
    2. You pay attention and are motivated to keep listening for the whole 5 mins sample. If your mind wanders and you have to keep repeating sections or you don’t care to keep going, this probably isn’t a good choice for you. Something isn’t clicking.
    3. Regular Audible listeners are speaking favorably of the narration. Read some of the Audible reviews (or wherever you get your audio), focusing not on the content of the book, but on what reviewers are saying about that audio format.
    Also, keep in mind that, with Audible, you can return books that you start but decide just aren’t for you. Lastly, listening to books is a skill and you will get much better at it over time, so have patience with yourself. I was terrible at it at first because I’m a very learner, but now I am quite good at it and enjoy it immensely. ?

  51. Libby says:

    Maybe these will convince me to make the leap into a paid subscription–I do audiobooks all through my public library, and I usually have to check them out several times (sometimes with a wait in between!) to finish. On the other hand, I’ve used audiobook listening combined with text reading to get through some chunkier books (including Anna Karenina, which I loved).

  52. I bought The Heart’s Invisible Furies over Christmas (on sale, I think?) after seeing it on bookstagram a ton. I had just finished my last audiobook (The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, what a wonderful book!) when I saw this post and it inspired me to start Heart’s Invisible Furies. I’ve listened to it pretty much all day today and love it. Thanks, Anne!

  53. Jennifer says:

    I love the Outlander series. I read all the books first, and then listened to them on audio because I wanted to re-read them but didn’t want to interrupt my TBR pile. Davina Porter spoiled me and it’s been hard to listen to anyone else, because she is SO good. I second the recommendation of the Robert Galbraith novels…Glenister does an excellent job. Thanks for the deal!

    • Laura says:

      I’ve just gotten into the series after avoiding it for years and then swearing just to read the first book. Davina Porter is amazing and I became immersed in the story about halfway through. I’m on book 2 and have a feeling I’m plunging down a long Outlander hole. The rest of my TBR will have to wait! Glenister is wonderful too.

  54. Franci Henderson says:

    Thanks for all of the great suggestions! Right now I’m listening to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte for one of my book clubs. It’s considered one of the first feminist novels and was hated by her sister Charlotte. I’m really enjoying it. It’s about 20 hours.

  55. Jennifer Abe says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions! I would add the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series by George R. R. Martin and narrated by Roy Dotrice. My absolute all-time favorite narration! Also, the main books in the series are all over 30 hours each. I read the physical books and then listened to the audiobooks long before the HBO series and I had to postpone watching the series for a few years because the actors just didn’t match with Dotrice’s versions of the characters dancing in my head and I had to wait for them to fade a bit in order to enjoy the adaptation.

  56. Alison says:

    The Count of Monte Cristo was my favorite read of 2018. It was engaging from page 1. I had my doubts it would be able to keep up that pace throughout the entire book but was pleasantly surprised.

    Just finished a book I heard about on your podcast (“Team of Rivals”) and loved it! Thanks for all the good recommendations.

  57. Francys Duniven says:

    I really like audio books because it allows me to do needlework while also “reading”. My two favorite past times. But one book I really wish was on tape, and would fill up many pleasant hours is And Ladies of the Club and it is not on audible. Such a shame and waste

  58. Shelley says:

    One of my favorite books is “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova. I read it first and loved it. Then I listened to it and it was superb! 26 hours
    In the same vampire theme, Dracula (Audible Edition) performed by Alan Cumming and Tim Curry terrified me! 15 hours

  59. Tammie Murri says:

    Great list! I’ve enjoyed several of these books and looking forward to adding many more to my audible wish list. But…where is my all time favorite Audiobook – “Gone With The Wind”? It’s a whopper but I was completely drawn into the story and the narrative. I had never seen the movie before, but once I started listening I don’t think I turned on a tv, radio or podcast until I finished it.

  60. Cynthia says:

    I’ve never listened to an audio book. On what device do you listen, anyone? And doing what? Obviously in the car on a road trip but where else do any of you listen to an audio book? I have visions of doing this while cleaning house, maybe? I’m afraid if I were to listen sitting still I would fall asleep? Will you share with me please?

    • Mary Ellen says:

      I listen on my phone, but you could download the book to other devices that play mp3 or use your computer. Where do I listen? While doing housework, driving around town, on road trips. I actually enjoy a good audiobook when I’m too sick to read, but not sick enough to sleep. It’s like having someone sit by your bed and read to you. Lovely! A great novel while doing a long project can be phenomenal! You can use an app like Libby to check out audiobooks from your library or you can buy them from places like Audible or the libra.fm (I may not have that right). It’s a wonderful way to devour more books!

  61. Kimbah says:

    I was so glad to see this list because I completely agree that is is a waste to use a credit for a short book. I echo many of the recommendations above, which I loved including: Game of Thrones and Outlander books; Eragon books; A Little Life; Pillars of Earth (and the following books); A Discovery of Witches trilogy; The weight of Ink, The Heart’s Invisible Furies and the Kingkiller Chronicles. Others (all over 20 hours) not listed above that I highly recommend include: The Priory of the Orange Tree; New York: the Novel; The Kingdom of Copper; The Nix; Acts of Faith; The Brothers K .

  62. Mary Ellen says:

    I think the Black Count was only 33 hours, but I loved it in an audio format. Having those French names read by someone was very helpful! I learned so much about the French Revolution through this engaging book, which is the story of Alexander Dumas’ father, who was the life he based many of his stories after.

  63. Shereef Singab says:

    I’m not sure you like listening to fantasy but I’d say the stormlight archives is one of the top out there with some of the books breaching the 50hr mark.
    Definitely worth listening to if you have the time. (Rated above 4.6)

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