10 audiobooks so good you’ll want to fold another load of laundry, finish washing the dishes, or just sit in the driveway for 5 more minutes

I haven’t always been an audiobook listener. But about five years ago, I realized that if I got in the habit and chose my books carefully, I could get more reading in—and I loved the sound of reading more books!

Listening to audiobooks isn’t cheating—to your brain, listening is pretty much the same as reading a physical book. But it differs in that I can listen to audiobooks while doing the dishes, or walking the dog, or driving down the highway at 70 mph.

I don’t listen to just anything on audio. I’m looking for audiobooks that don’t just enable me to read on the go, but for books that are even better in this medium. I don’t want audiobooks that can substitute for the written word, I want audiobooks that enhance it.

For me, that means a good narrative: my Audible library is bursting with good fiction and compelling memoirs, read by terrific narrators. I have friends that love listening to instructive books on audio, and I acknowledge that this works for them, but whenever I try a self-help book on audio my mind wanders. I don’t want plain information, I want to sink into a story.

It’s easy to recognize when an audiobook has captured me, because the signs are always the same: I find myself eager to fold another laundry. I put away every dish, then wipe down the kitchen counters, and the range hood, too. I go an extra mile (or two) with the dog. And the ultimate sign: I sit in the driveway with the engine off, so I can listen to five more minutes.

The audiobooks I’ve shared below earned those “driveway moments.” Please tell me in comments which audiobooks earned your extra car and cleaning time—I’d love to discover a new favorite today!


Audiobooks so good you'll want just 5 more minutes
A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the L'Engle's Quintet, and it makes my readerly heart happy to see it everywhere these days thanks to the new movie. This Newbery winner bridges science fiction and fantasy, darkness and light; L'Engle herself hated when readers tried to shoehorn it into a specific genre. Whether you're reading it again or for the first time, get the version read by Hope Davis. More info →
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These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901

The author based her epistolary historical novel on her own family's diaries, and the result is this fictional diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, a young girl growing up on the harsh American frontier in the late 19th century. The diary opens when Sarah is a girl, and the purposely bad grammar and diction got on my nerves, but don’t give up—the author knows what she’s doing, and it gets better as Sarah grows older. If you are drawn to warm-hearted, likable characters, this one's for you. (Heads up: this narration is great, but particularly slow: if that bothers you, just bump up the speed.) More info →
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I especially enjoy audiobooks read by voices that don't sound like mine. I loved how Adjoa Andoh's narration helped me sink into the story, which takes place in Nigeria, the United States, and briefly in the U.K., and taught me how to correctly pronounce the characters' Nigerian names and cities. The story centers around a smart, strong-willed Nigerian woman named Ifemelu. After university, she travels to America for postgraduate work, where she endures several years of near-destitution, and a horrific event that upends her world. The novel grapples with difficult issues without becoming overwrought. I would not have read this based on the flap copy, but I was hooked from page (or minute?) one. More info →
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This time-travel romance series totally sucked me in—and if you read the words "time-travel romance" and rolled your eyes, you're not alone: I did the same, until I read the backstory. 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—and clean your entire house top to bottom 17 times—by listening to this whole series, 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. More info →
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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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Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

Forget everything you've heard about this being an "important" book. Give this short audiobook a chance: listen to the first two minutes—and then decide. All you need to know is this story is fantastic, and it absolutely comes alive when read by the author herself. In this memoir in verse, Woodson tells the story of her childhood, moving with her family (or part of it) from South Carolina to New York City and back again, sharing her observations through a young girl's eyes with a writer's sensibility. More info →
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The Good House

The Good House

A friend with great taste specifically recommended the audio version and I could not listen to it fast enough—I folded so much laundry and got the kitchen sparkling clean so I could listen to one more chapter, over and over again. Hildy Good has lived all her life in the small town of Wendover, Massachusetts. She's 60 years old, divorced, a successful realtor. And she drinks—a lot, and the situation is getting out of control. Only Hildy doesn't see it that way. A quiet drama with terrific, fleshed-out characters and an entertaining, thoroughly untrustworthy narrator. Read the reviews—the readers who LOVED this book overwhelmingly opted for audio. More info →
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When We Were Worthy

When We Were Worthy

I love Marybeth Whalen, and was over the moon when I found out Joshilyn Jackson would lend her voice to this Southern story: it's perfect. On a small-town Southern Friday night, after the football game, two cars driven by local teens collide, killing three cheerleaders instantly. The only survivor is the driver at fault. Whalen expertly weaves together four voices, of four women whose lives were upended by what happened that night, to reveal to the reader what really happened—and why. Gripping, timely, and hard to put down. More info →
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When a What Should I Read Next? guest raved about this, specifically recommending the audio version read by Meryl Streep, I finally caved and downloaded it. I'm so glad I did. This is a largely autobiographical novel about the breakup of a marriage, and it's way funnier than any book on the subject has any right to be. The foodie angle was a pleasant surprise. If you want to cross a book off your TBR soon, it's also less than 6 hours. (Or less, at my usual 1.5 speed.) More info →
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The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters

Jackson's latest novel, about a complicated Alabama family and the "two Souths" it inhabits, was one of my favorite books of 2017. We read it in the MMD Book Club and I've been recommending it like crazy all year. This is a fast-reading, big-hearted novel that tackles Serious Issues really, really well—while spinning a terrific story. Jackson always reads her own novels, and I've listened to a half dozen of them because her narration—and her stories—are amazing, and the combination is dynamite. It's a cliché, but it's true: I would listen to Joshilyn Jackson read the phone book. But listen to this book instead, it's much more interesting. More info →
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Which audiobooks earned your extra car and cleaning time? Please share in comments so we can find a new favorite (or six)!

P.S. 10 engaging audiobooks read by their authors, and 15 audiobooks that enhance the listening experience. Click here to browse the complete MMD audiobook archives.

I listen to my audiobooks using Audible (although I keep meaning to investigate libro.fm. If you’ve never tried Audible, use this link two get two free audiobooks and a free 30-day trial.


Leave A Comment
  1. Jeni says:

    You should definitely not miss Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache in audio book form! Both Ralph Cosham, who sadly passed away, and Robert Bathurst, who admirably took over the helm, do an amazing job bringing Three Pines to life!

    • Wendy says:

      This is the series that I was going to recommend. I am now collecting the books, but only because I adore the audio versions. You will fall in love with Gamache – I had a hard time accepting the ‘new’ voice of Gamache. The characters are so rich, the stories compelling. I am now obsessed with visiting Quebec – even though I know I can’t go to Three Pines.

    • pathom says:

      I second this..great books, made even more mesmerizing in audio form, which showcases the frequent French phrases sprinkled throughout.

  2. Lauren says:

    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. For me, it was better listening than reading. I definitely sat in the driveway just to finish chapters with this one!

  3. Annie says:

    Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime is amazing! He narrates and his South African accent and talent are just so pleasing to the ear!!!

    • Jillian says:

      Yes! I loved listening to Born a Crime! There are a several memoirs by more comedic people which are so fun to listen to, Bossypants by Tina Fey is one of my favorites.

    • Kelly schultz says:

      Yes yes yes!!! Loved his story and his audio. I think preformers do great narrating their own memoirs or comedy books!! Loved Bossypants, loved Rob lowes books, loved drew Barrymore, Mindy Kailing. And funny thing is I am really not a big Hollywood person but good audiobook will suck me right in!!!

      • Dr. Ya says:

        I absolutely AGREE. I’m an avid listener of audiobooks and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime is the absolute BEST!! I’ve listened numerous times. My teenagers didn’t want to get out the car when we arrived in DC one time.

        You need to HEAR him read his story; he’s an outstanding performer and you won’t catch the nuisances from his culture without hearing it from his mouth. AMAZING

    • Beth Gentry says:

      Loved Born a Crime on audio! ?I actually do 90% of my reading on audio, so I’m always looking for good ones. The Harry Potter books are my favorite audiobooks, as well, as the Wicked series by Gregory Maguire.

      • Dr. Ya says:

        I see we have similar taste Beth! I love Born a Crime and Harry Potter!! They’re my top two! So I guess I’ll try out Wicked now.

  4. Andrea says:

    I loved- LOVED the audio of “Where’d you go Bernadette” read by Kathleen Wilhoute. Love her raspy voice anyway, but she added texture and nuance to each character’s voice in a way that was just magical. And she sings! Also loved “The Ocean at the end of the Lane” read by Neil Gaiman!

  5. Whitney says:

    A Quiet Life in the Country by TE Kinsey is marvelous on audio! I’ve recommended it 3 times this week. My library does not have the others in the series, so I am planning to use my Audible trial for them. I’ve been holding out for “the perfect choice” before joining Audible, and now I’ve found it!

    • Nellie says:

      I was going to suggest that also! Aren’t they a delight?! I’m not sure I’d ever want to read the physical book because the narrator is just so good!

  6. Amy C says:

    Oh, I agree with Jeni. The Inspectir Gamache books are an instant buy for me. I also recommend News of the World by Paulette Jiles, narrated by Grover Gardner. It’s a fascinating tale, part history, part western, and wholly engaging. The people are appealing as is the plot.
    I also recommend Nevil Shute’s books – A Town Like Alice, Pied Piper and Trustee from the Toolroom are among my favorites.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Some of my favorites on audio are The Martian, 11/22/63, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The One In a Million Boy. I would agree with the whole Outlander series and the Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny too.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Great Alone, is amazing on audio! I didn’t just stall on random tasks to listen to more of it (even though I did ) — I “went to bed” early and then just laid there for the last 3.5 hours of it. Absolutely riveting!

    • Christine says:

      Ooh – this is on my “to read” list, thanks for the suggestion! I’ll have to hold out for the audio version.

    • Cindy says:

      I listened to to the book just before a trip to Alaska this summer. I found myself looking for places that resembled the cabin, the compound, the town… Hannah nailed some of the culture of the state, but she also opened my eyes to this beautiful frontier. Saw a local ‘mountain man’ who could have stepped right out of the pages of The Great Alone. Recommend this incredible audio book!

  9. Sophie says:

    I really enjoyed Farewell to the East End on audio. Call the midwife tv series is based on it. Had a hard time. Also Traveling With Pomegranates was really lovely, read by the author, Anna Quindlen and her daughter, who co-workers the book.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Mine are more at the YA end of the spectrum, but the audiobooks for Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle are SO GOOD. Will Patton’s narration is magical.
    I also love the Harry Potter audiobooks, read by Jim Dale. He also reads The Night Circus, which I haven’t listened to yet but I’ve heard great things about the audiobook.

  11. Megan says:

    I don’t listen to a lot of audio books because I have such a huge list of podcasts on my to-be-listened to list (including What Should I read next, one of my favorites). Just as there never seems to be enough time to read all the books I want to read, there is never enough time to listen to everything I want to listen to. But, I have been thinking more and more I should try to find a way to work audiobooks a little more into my routine.

  12. Nichole says:

    Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan really comes to life as an audio book. Though one of my neighbors read it as a physical book and also really enjoyed it. I also loved The Girl with Seven Names in audio book. I think it may have become tedious to read, but listening to it was fascinating.

  13. Amy says:

    It should be a crime not to listen to Frank McCourt read Angela’s Ashes, and Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier was spookier on audio than I think it would have been to read it. Also, I second Born a Crime.

  14. Tory says:

    I had a hard time with Americanah. The narrator’s American accents (especially Baltimore, where I live) are so, so terrible it was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. The rest of it was great though, especially the ‘blog post’ interludes.

  15. Jeannette Wiggins says:

    I’m going to add, that the Harry Potter Series is family friendly and a great listen on audio. I actually prefer it to reading the books. And, as in most cases, the books are far superior to the movies. They are worth a listen and a great way to get the family involved, or horde them for yourself. I have a hard time tearing myself away. I’ve also enjoyed The Fountainhead on audio book as well.

  16. Page 1 Books says:

    Lincoln in the Bardo with Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullaly, (Did you know she is Nick Offerman’s wife? I didn’t!) and so many more. It’s truly outstanding.

    Shameless plug…did you also know there are Indie options for audiobooks? We partner with Libro.fm to bring you great audiobooks! http://bit.ly/Page1audio

    • Sara says:

      It really is! I’m always leery to recommend the book if I know the person will read it in print because I’m uncertain it will have the same magic as the audio did.

    • susan says:

      I’m in love with both the book and the movie, but I did not know it was in audio! Will be looking for it, thanks!

  17. Lissa says:

    Eddie Izzard’s Memoir “Be Brave” on audio is narrated by Eddie Izzard. He goes off tangent from the written word a bit but it is funny and worth the listen.
    Also, if you can get your hands on it, the audio of the Harry Potter series narrated by Stephen Frey. It is amazing and (in my humble opinion) far better than the US version.
    And I loved Neil Gaiman’s “Ocean at the End of the Lane” and “The Graveyard Book”. It is so interesting to hear him read his own work. You get a sense of the emotion and emphasis he intended in the work.

  18. Mary Kay says:

    I second the comment about “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. Mr. Noah reads the book himself, and is brilliant with all the different accents in South Africa. Unlike most celebrity memoirs, this is not a story about becoming famous. Mr. Noah shares memories of his child during the fall of apartheid and tackles big issues- like race, class and violence against women and children. His stories are also hilarious, and the ending had me on the edge of my seat (listening even as I arrived at my office and really needed to get to work).

  19. I agree, Anne, the great thing is there are books that are even better on audio due to accents or just fantastic narrators. My favorite so far is The Essex Serpent. A marvel on audio. Also Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. And Of Mess and Moxie, read by the author, Jen Hatmaker, who is so warm and funny. And This is How It Always Is. And The Invention of Wings. So many good ones!

    • Kara Middleton says:

      I definitely second Eleanor Opliphant. It’s simply wonderful, and the narrator has the perfect voice for Eleanor. Just like I imagine her sounding. This is perhaps the best audio book I’ve ever read, next to Harry Potter.

  20. Amy says:

    I’m listening to Furiously Happy. The author’s take on her struggles with mental illness are affirming and hilarious at the same time.

  21. Chris says:

    Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter series! My husband and I were so thoroughly hooked that we listened all the way to Europe on the plane and in bed every evening.

    • Shirley Ikemeier says:

      Listening to Jim Dale read the Quittich matches was THE BEST!!! I was laughing out loud driving down the highway to work. My all-time favorite.

  22. pathom says:

    I deeply enjoyed “Year of Yes” read by the author, Shonda Rhimes. Leaves you convinced that this is a woman you want to sit down with and share a bottle of red wine.

  23. Cara says:

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and ingeniously narrated by Wil Wheaton is one of my all time favorites, along with The Martian by Andy Weir and narrated by R.C Bray. Even people who don’t normally like science fiction (my 80 year old mother, for instance) have absolutely adored The Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold and narrated by Grover Gardner. They are witty and full of adventure and the characters are just so wonderful. For this series, I always recommend starting with the first Miles Vorkosigan book, which is The Warrior’s Apprentice, and then going back and doing the earlier books. The earlier books are great, too, but just trust me, ok?

    • Sandie says:

      Ready Player One is my all time favorite audiobook, too. It’s really not my genre but Wil Wheaton’s performance is literally and figuratively pitch perfect.

  24. Kim says:

    I loved Bossypants by Tina Fey, who also read it. Her stories were super funny, but she also shared insights that she has learned.

  25. Linda says:

    The Nightingale, The Goldfinch, and Life After Life were fantastic. They all kept me in my car after arriving at my destination! Recently I have listened to An American Marriage, and I am currently listening to A Man Called Ove. Both are excellent.

  26. SassyApple says:

    The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor is fantastic to read, but narrated by Zara Ramm takes it to a whole new level. I also love the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood in all forms. Stephanie Daniels is the narrator, and I am in awe of her talent.

  27. Danielle says:

    The End of the Affair, read by Colin Firth is fantastic! And my boys (8 and 9) and I just listened to Anne of Green Gables read by Rachel McAdams. SO good!! I also loved Being Mortal. The many stories in the book lends itself to audio, and the narrator sounds like Keanu Reeves (but alas, is not).

    • Susan says:

      I loved all three of those you listed. Anne of Green Gables was so good! I also enjoyed Being Mortal and The End of the Affair. I recently listened to When Breath Becomes Air and that was really good.

  28. Kathi says:

    I am listening to A Mother’s Reckoning written and read by Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold who participated in the Columbine High School shooting. Heartbreaking! Well-written.

  29. Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale was a joy to listen to, more delicious because of its length. Related is Suite Française, by Irène Némirovsky. Stunning and sad.
    I also love to listen to light series books as I grocery shop or clean. My faves are M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth mysteries.
    I’ve stopped listening to self-improvement books on audio because I have to keep stopping to write things down. I say those for Kindle.

  30. Heidi says:

    I LOVE the audiobooks of Terry Prachett’s works, read by Stephen Briggs. They’re funny books on their own, but Briggs makes them sparkle.

  31. Pam says:

    Anything read by Dan Stevens – And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, just started The Odessey. He does does different voices. So good.

    The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series read by Rob Inglis. So many different voices and he sings all of the songs. I could never really get into reading the books but I REALLY enjoyed listening to them.

    As others have mentioned – Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter Series. I will need to find others read by him.

  32. C. Smith says:

    Ditto on the Inspector Gamache series. ALso the Bruno, Chief of Police series.
    I LOVE listening to The #1 Ladies Detective series on audio. The accents are musical.
    Also the 44 Scotland Street series.
    The Shadow Divers was a driveway moment for us.

    • Susan says:

      Hooray for the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels on audio!! They really interested me in the books more than the books themselves. Somehow the accent, and the cadence, tell you so much about the way of life in Botswana (besides helping you pronounce the names!) It makes it authentic and it’s incredibly well read by Lisette Lecat. Now, when I read the books, I can hear the voice…

  33. Libby says:

    Behold the Dreamers! OH! It is so good. If you haven’t experienced it on Audiobook, go give it a listen. The narrator is perfect and masters all the different accents and songs. Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

  34. Megan says:

    The Girl on the Train & Into the Water, which I’m reading now, both by Paula Hawkins, are great on audio because they are both read by several different people with accents different than mine. They really make the stories come alive. Lincoln in the Bardo is also fantastic on audio.

    I love the narration of the Inspector Gamache series, but I struggle to follow the audio version because the chapters are broken up into tiny segments and flip quickly back and forth between different scenes. The narratation doesn’t pause long enough for me to catch the scene break, especially if I’m distracted, so I get easily confused. However, if I happen to be listening as a passenger on a long car trip & can follow along in hard copy, I’m a fan!

  35. Shawnna says:

    The Maisie Dobbs series is wonderful on audio. And In Farleigh Field, by Rhys Bowen was so wonderful, I didn’t mind making dinner!

  36. Kayla says:

    I’m loving books by Fredrik Backman. A Man Called Ove is my favorite, I’ve listened to it several times and it still makes me laugh and cry. Britt-Marie Was Here is also excellent.

    • Sandy says:

      I’m loving books by Fredrik Backman too. 🙂 Another good one, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, it’s sort of a prequel to Britt-Marie Was Here.

  37. Kayla says:

    If you love excellent YA fiction, The Ashtown Burials series by N.D. Wilson is enthralling and the narration by Thomas Vincent Kelly is ahhh-mazing! He does at least 40 distinct character voices with a variety of accents.

  38. Kim says:

    A Man Called Ova, Britt-Marie Lives Here, Mr Punumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Tatoos on the Heart

  39. Alison M says:

    I love listening to Stephen King’s newer books on audio. Most of them have Will Patton as the narrator and he is so good! I also love the Nightingale on audio.

  40. Susan says:

    Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry was a perfect audiobook. Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In by Louis Zamperini (of Unbroken fame) and David Rensin was another good one.

  41. Sarah Shakespeare says:

    The audiobook that made realise that they could be cool was I before you. I watched the movie and wanted to read the book. I wanted to listen to something other than music on my long drive, so gave this audio book ago. Ended up taking the audiobook to bed so I could finish sooner.

  42. Nicky says:

    I absolutely loved listening to Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief read by Allan Corduner I believe it was. It was mesmerizing and it added so much to an already great book. Definitely recommend this one.

  43. Maureen says:

    Eleanor & Park, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Lovesong of Queenie Hennessey. Anna and the Swallow Man.
    Just loved The Bright Hour. I cried and laughed and sometimes just stood still and listened.
    And so many already recommended.
    I am pickier about audiobooks and more willing to stop listening.
    Looking forward to listening to some of these recommended titles!

  44. One of my faves on audio is Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Ryan Stradal. You’ll especially love it if you are from the Midwest and/or a Foodie. I love how the story comes together and both narrators are great with the accents and character voices!

  45. My favorite audiobook has been Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I think it’s better than reading the book because Noah narrates it himself and he does a fantastic impression of his mother, which I’m sure only he can do. Plus he’s able to pronounce all the words in the various South African dialects perfectly. On another note, I love the Lonesome Dove series so much that my husband and I named our third child Augustus (Gus) after Augustus McCrae. I never thought about reading it as an audiobook!

  46. Bethany says:

    Dark Matter, Ready Player One, The Night Circus, Harry Potter, Goose Girl and its sequels. The Divergent series. The Hunger Games Series.
    I’ve just been reading down the comments, placing holds on Overdrive through my library…so excited to listen to some of these!

  47. Megan Kovacs says:

    Of course, the Harry Potter series as read by Jim Dayle is a must read on audiobook. One of my favorites is definitely the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear. My favorite book of the series is the first one, as read by Rita Barrington. The rest of the series is read by Orlaugh Cassidy. And whatever you do, DO NOT listen to the second book in the series, Birds of a Feather, on audiobook, as read by Kim Hicks. It is absolutely terrible and it will make you want to stop reading/listening to the series altogether. Thankfully I plowed through the book in paperback form and continued on with the audiobooks, beginning at book three when a new narrator took over. Orlaugh is great; however, Rita will always be my favorite.

  48. Diane says:

    I agree with you how listening is nice for learning correct pronunciations of names and places–except when they are not. I’ve ditched a couple of audio books because they did not pronounce place names in Washington state correctly. It’s so jarring. A little research before recording would have been nice.

  49. Linda Gilmore says:

    While maybe not strictly an audiobook. Cabin Pressure was a BBC radio series starring Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, really), Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, and John Finnemore (who also wrote and created the series). It’s about a one-plane charter company and their adventures and is absolutely hilarious. It’s also generally family-friendly. It was only on a few years but all four seasons (6 episodes each), plus a Christmas special and the final double-length finale are on Audible. Each episode is less than 30 minutes so you can listen during short drives, but it’s hard to listen to only one. 🙂

  50. Torrie says:

    I tend to only listen to audiobooks of books I’ve read first, but a few I thought were particularly well-done were Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (pretty cool how there was music woven throughout, as it’s such an important part of the story), and I thought the audiobook of Memoirs of a Geisha was pretty well done, too. The Help was brilliant on audio (though I suspect a lot of people already know that), and of course…Harry Potter. I never get tired of them!

  51. Kialynne says:

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and read by Lin Manuel Miranda is an incredible experience. It’s YA LGBT and written so starkly and carefully. The narration is top notch and enhances everything about the story.
    In a similar vein, Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman is read remarkably by Armie Hammer. I was taken by surprise by the utter care taken in the reading. It’s delicate and fond but visceral when needed.
    There are plenty of audiobooks I’ve enjoyed (Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Artemis by Andy Weir, etc,) but these are the ones where I just had to keep going.

  52. Kam says:

    Has anyone listened to Radio Theatre’s The Hiding Place?
    During the occupation of Holland, a brave Dutch family creates a secret room in their home and uses it to help Jewish people hide from the Nazis. The story itself is gripping but the audio, recorded in the ACTUAL HOME in Holland where the events of the book took place, is beyond words. The sound effects are amazing.
    The mark of a great audiobook: Me, sitting in my car in our garage, unable to stop listening. Don’t miss this one.

  53. Laura says:

    Elizabeth Gilbert’s Signature of All Things; George Saunders’ Lincoln In the Bardo; and the audio version of Station Eleven!
    Anne, would you do a WSIRN episode about audio books??

  54. Sue says:

    I highly recommend Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It is about an Australian who goes to live in a Mumbai slum and becomes drawn into the community there. I have listened to many audiobooks but this is one that has stayed with me.

  55. Laura says:

    I’m totally enjoying Cold Sassy Tree on audio now! It’s so funny and the southern accent makes it perfect.

  56. I’ve been meaning to read Heartburn for ages…and glad to hear it’s great on audio b/c I’m likely to get to it a lot faster that way.

    My #1 audiobook of all-time = Tiny Beautiful Things read by Cheryl Strayed

  57. PennyM says:

    My most favorite book of all time is the audio version of Gift from the Sea read by Claudette Colbert. I owned it back in the cassette days and bought the 50th anniversary edition on cd. I can listen to that over and over. I love to color in my adult coloring books while listening to audiobooks. Thanks for a great blog about books.

  58. Pam says:

    I appreciate narrators who elevate the story with amazing performances: Kate Mulgrew’s narration of NOS4A2 (Joe Hill), Cathleen McCarron’s reading of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman) and Bronson Pinchot’s amazing performance (using an accent for the entire book!) of The Child Thief (Dan Smith) are my favorites.

  59. Katy says:

    I enjoyed 11/22/63, The Great Train Robbery, Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, The Austin Family Chronicles by Madeline L’Engle, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and Anne of Green Gables read by Rachel McAdams.

  60. Sarah Dailey says:

    The first book I read (listened to) by Kristin Hannah was The Nightingale and I didn’t wait very long to read another…I just finished The Great Alone and it was absolutely fantastic! So obviously, now I’ve got to listen to or read them all!

  61. Kelly schultz says:

    I am self proclaimed audiogirl!! Obsessed is a word that would probably be appropriate!! 😉

    Here is a list of some of my all time favorites …. Fangirl or Eleanor and park by Rainbow rowell really can’t go wrong with. RR!! Art of hearing heartbeats!!Big Girl Small! Flat water Tuesday!! the Poisonwood bible!!! I am Charlotte Simmons!!! The power of One!! We are Liars!!! The memory of running!! —-Tell me to stop… I could go on and on… 99% of my books are in audio so my list is very long!!!

  62. Jennifer says:

    In my opinion, any book with foreign characters are incredible in audio versions. My favorite by far is A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles. Other favorites include Winter Garden by Kirsten Hannah (or any Hannah book!) and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. When books are narrated in the intended accent, its absolutely beautiful!

  63. Jamie says:

    These series are greatly enhanced by their narrators:

    Harry Potter (Jim Dale)
    Flavia de Luce by Alan Bradley
    Molly Murphy by Rhys Bowen
    Lady Hardcastle by TE Kinsey
    Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

    David Sedaris and Neil Gaiman are wonderful narrators of their own books.

    The Help, A Man Called Ove, Out of My Mind (by Sharon Draper), Anne of Green Gables (read by Rachel McAdams), and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, are pretty awesome too.

  64. Bonnie Desai says:

    Just finished “What Alice Forgot” read by Tamara Lovatt-Smith. I listened to the last chapter while sitting in my garage. The narrator did a beautiful job with all the different voices. None felt forced or fake. Highly recommend.

  65. Marie says:

    Anything Hope Davis reads is amazing, especially State of Wonder by Anne Patchett. I couldn’t stop listening and was sad when it was over. I also highly recommend the full cast recording of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. So, so good.

    • Lisa says:

      I second both Hope Davis and State of Wonder. Really wonderful audiobook, I could picture the jungle. And the tree eating scene was fantastic.

  66. Ma says:

    I particularly enjoyed listening to The Martian by Andy Weir. I don’t recall being who the reader was, but he did a great job & kept me awake on a drive thru the night trip across the country.

    • Cara says:

      I love this one, too. The narrator is R.C. Bray. He does an amazing job with all the accents of the characters who work at NASA.

  67. Courtney Sheffield says:

    I am loving “Scrappy little nobody” by Anna Kendrick. She reads it herself and it is hilarious. I ask liked one on a completely different end of the spectrum “Ready player one” read by Will Wheaton. That kept me totally engaged!!

  68. shar y says:

    I have been an audio girl for over 10 years. I love love love audio books! Recently finished Karolina’s Twins by Ronald Balso. One of the best. (Anything by him.) Also, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.

  69. Sara F says:

    I enjoy biographies on audiobook the most! The best is when the author can narrate themselves. I suggest these: “My lucky life in and out of Showbusiness” by Dick Van Dyke, “Not Dead Yet” by Phil Collins (you will then understand the situations behind all those great songs), anything by Miranda Hart, and I am now listening to ”Up From Slavery” by Booker T Washington and loving the history and unbelievable work ethic shown. As for non biographical, I suggest “The Miniaturist”, for the different voices and accents. Can’t wait to try your suggestions!

  70. Erin says:

    I’m not typically one to listen to audiobooks; my mind wanders, I can’t keep the characters straight, I lose track of the story. Ugh! Then I listened to Refugee by Alan Grantz. The story is amazing and it’s narrated in different voices. I couldn’t wait to listen and didn’t want to shut it off. I highly recommend!

  71. Linda Rodgers says:

    The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo is a children’s story, but my book club loved it. Juliet Stevenson is absolutely brilliant reading the various characters.

  72. Bobbi says:

    I am a huge fan of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series as narrated by Michael Prichard — I’ve collected most of the series that’s available as audio and listened to many of them more than once.
    I am always recommending *Born a Crime* written and narrated by Trevor Noah — I think I would have enjoyed reading it but was absolutely enthralled listening to his musical South African accent.

  73. Susan says:

    I second the books already recommended:
    The Help–different readers including Octavia Spencer
    The Flavia de Luce novels–great young Flavia voice!
    What Alice Forgot–the accent is mild Australian, very pleasing, and becomes addictive!
    The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency—-SOOOO excellent. Makes the series.
    The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society—wonderful.
    And, I would add: the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley–I loved the book, because I love horses, but this reading enriched it so….it became a classic in the reading out loud. Soooo impressed.
    Nobody’s mentioned two good old standbys—-Sue Grafton, and Dick Francis. My family has a collection of both of them, and listen to all of them over and over, never get tired of our old friends.
    For YA books, PLEASE try out the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. Katherine Kellgren does a superb job of voicing young cockney Jacky Faber, and what a ride! Old and young love these books.

  74. Liz Erdmer says:

    Gone with the Wind (which I had never read), Stoner by John Williams (don’t let the title fool you, a great classic), and I feel Bad About my Neck written and read by Nora Ephron are all great audiobooks.

  75. Jules says:

    I would add The Help – so good on audio! I was laughing while walking in the park. People must have thought that I was crazy.
    I would also include Girl Wash Your Face. I just listened to this one & it was amazing. It was like having a best friend sitting next to you & having a good talk. I think I’m going to buy a hard cover book so that I can now make notes in it. I’ve been tempted to borrow the audiobook again from Hoopla.

  76. Laura says:

    I listen to audiobooks during my daily hourly commute, so I’ve listened to tons of them. My absolute favorite: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

  77. Laura says:

    I loved “Big Magic”on audio, even after already reading the hardcover. It’s read by the author Elizabeth Gilbert and she makes it so engaging and inspiring.

  78. Amy Rymer says:

    I’ve read all the Mitford series by Jan Karon and have just about finished book one via CD. It’s been so long since I’ve read book one that I don’t remember the details but oh, how I have enjoyed starting over again in Mitford. I usually don’t like “being read to” but the different voices just add a richness that I have been able to savor. Thank you for reminding me about audio books!

  79. ohamanda says:

    Have you listened to Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan? It might be my most favorite audio experience ever. It is a Middle Grade (quite lengthy) and centers around 3 kids…and a harmonica. Each child is surrounded by music so you HEAR all the music in the story. It is breathtaking. I listened to it and then immediately made my kids listen to it (meaning I listened to it 2x in a row!) An absolute must listen!

  80. Kristina says:

    I read this and immediately used and Audible credit on Heartburn and am laughing all the way through my commute this week! Thank you!

  81. Raela says:

    I’m yet another audiobook fanatic! I trained for a marathon last year and got through SO many audiobooks over the course of those months (and, let’s be honest, THEY got me through all those months of running all. the. time.)

    Some of my favorite audiobooks and/or narrators not mentioned (I think):
    As You Wish by Cary Elwes
    When Dimple Met Rishi
    Rebecca Soler (who narrates The Lunar Chronicles and Marissa Meyer’s others)
    The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir (for fans of Guernsey!)
    The Bookshop on the Corner (by Jenny Colgan)
    Steve West and Fiona Hardingham in the Sabaa Tahir books
    Caroline Lee reading Kate Morton and Liane Moriarty’s books
    Mindy Kaling
    The Chaos Walking series (author Patrick Ness)

  82. Mariah says:

    Where’d You Go, Bernadette was a driveway-extra dog walk book. I am also feeling similarly about Today Will Be Different’s narration, although I don’t love the main character.

    Chernow’s Hamilton on audio is phenomenal. Long, but truly amazing.

    I downloaded News of the World after you recommended it here and loved it as audio.

    I tend to like Jojo Moyes’ books on audio.

    Both of Mindy Kaling’s books are laugh out loud funny and I imagine some of that is because she’s the one reading them.

  83. Christine says:

    Thank you, Anne, and everyone who’s commented – love this long list of recommendations!
    Because I haven’t seen them mentioned yet:
    The Good Nurse (whoa, suspenseful in audio form!)
    Missoula (really enjoyed the narrator; somehow made it easier to get through this depressing – yet awesome & important – book)
    Sounds Like Me (Sara Bareilles sings at the beginning of each chapter!)
    Yes Please (enjoyed Amy Poehler – and guests – even more than the wonderful Bossypants)
    This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (was surprisingly pleased by how much I adored Ann Patchett’s voice)
    Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen reading in his gravely rocker voice really elevated the book for me)

    Andddd, full disclosure, this might just be because I loved the book so much, but the Bright Hour. It felt like my best friend talking to me.

  84. Marla says:

    Hi Anne and All – I need permission to stop listening to a book on Audible!! Does anyone else struggle more with stopping an audio book vs putting down a book? I’m trying to listen to The Lord of the Rings and I just don’t love it. I feel it’s credit wasted if I don’t finish it.

    As for Anne’s recommendation of These Is My Words – Amazing on audio! One of my favorites.

    • Carolyn says:

      If you are an Audible member, Audible offers a great listen guarantee. You can return or exchange an audiobook within one year of purchase if you don’t like it. There’s more details on the Audible help center page, but maybe this will help. I agree there are too many great audiobooks to listen to one you don’t like.

  85. Christine says:

    Hi Maria – I’m happy to give you permission! Your time is valuable and there’s simply too much to read to struggle through something you’re not enjoying (unless you’re learning a great deal in the process – thinking of textbooks especially – and it doesn’t seem like you are).

    I struggle with this too, but have found that if I have another book queued up, it’s easier for me to let something go (perhaps because it feels more like turning toward something I really want to read than abandoning something I don’t). CloudLibrary and OverDrive (courtesy of my library) have been amazing resources in allowing me to do that!

  86. Brittney says:

    I love all these comments! I think I’m actually starting to prefer audiobooks, gasp! Some of my favorites have been: Ready Player One, and the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle was phenomenal as an audiobook experience.

  87. Diane says:

    I have listened to all the Maisie Dobbs series on Audible or cd. The British accent and the ability to speak life into many different characters makes Audible a must for me.
    Also Flavia de Luce series with British narrator Jane Entwistle, is terrific.

  88. Jennifer Halm says:

    I loved All The Light We Cannot See…. ooh, And Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, which she reads herself.

  89. Lisa says:

    I can’t recommend highly enough The Poisonwood Bible. The characters come through so well on audiobook. I absolutely loved it and keep going back to audiobooks because of how great that one was. I recently re-listened to it – a first for me on audio though I’m a chronic re-reader – and it was just as good, maybe better. So many parts have stuck with me for years.

  90. Elaine Dewey O'Malley says:

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Cathleen McCarron, Narrator, is spot on with her accents and delivery. Loved it!

  91. Rose Ann Moon says:

    Absolutely anything read by Kenneth Branagh, especially Murder on the Orient Express and Shakespeare!! He makes The Bard so easy to understand. Then anything read by Will Patton. I highly recommend the Dave Robichaux series by James Lee Burke. Anything written and read by Rick Bragg. Audiophile for life!

  92. Ann R. Waddle says:

    I recently listened to books by Elizabeth Berg – they were read by different narrators – but each reader was perfect for the book! I plan to listen to others.

  93. Mya Kubik says:

    My grandmother, an audiobook junkie, turned me on to narrator Frank Muller. I listened to a version of Pat Conroy’s Beach Music narrated by Muller and its beauty moved me. Also written by Conroy and narrated by Muller is The Prince of Tides, another breath-taking American family saga. Both are very long…although abridged versions are available, I think the full-length features are worth every minute 🙂

  94. Anne S says:

    I have literally just discovered your blog, so my comments are late to the party, but several of my faves in audio have been: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (wonderful), Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (he’s an excellent mimic – some of his impressions of actors he worked with were so spot on I laughed out loud). Reconstructing Amelia was great in audio. The Singing Bone by Beth Hahn (fictional recreation of Manson family) was also.

  95. Pam says:

    Listening to I’ll be your blue sky by Marisa De Los Santos right now. It is late and I should go to bed, but it is so good I don’t want to.

  96. Heather says:

    The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child; narrated by Dick Hill. Not a series I thought I was going to like, but was consumed by it for weeks as I ran through everything available to me on overdrive. SO MUCH BETTER than the movies.

  97. Jose says:

    Good choices of fantastic audiobooks you compiled here. I was amazed how you dug deep to a choice outstanding audiobooks from the web. A Wrinkle in Time, The Good House, Heartburn and The Almost Sisters are my personal favorites. I have completed it listening. I really loved those.

  98. Lauren D says:

    Thank you for this list! I also sing the praises of “Stay with Me” by Adebayo as an audiobook whenever I can. I have already listened twice! I know it’s on your “Literary Fiction page turner” list, yet I have to sing the praises of it as a “listen”, also. Absolutely stellar story and flawless audio performance!

  99. Linda says:

    Late to the party here but want to put a word in for an Audible book I finished a few days ago and could NOT stop listening to: Circe by Madeline Miller, read by Perdita Weeks. So good I went on Audible to see what else Ms. Weeks has read! I plan to listen to it again — it was that good.

  100. Claudia says:

    Coming from another country and not growing up on American literature, I’m finally trying to catch up,ironically at times reading the same books as my older daughter who’s a junior in HS. Anyway, East of Eden has got to be my favorite audio book. Despite the length, I never felt that I was listening to a book but as if I was sitting on a floor at my grandpa’s feet listening to him tell me a story. Circe was another absolute fav as an audio book. I’ve also found that listening to books narrated by the author brings a different experience. I listened to a sample of Michelle Obama reading Becoming and knew instantly that I wanted to listening to the audio book rather than reading it myself. Braving the Wilderness was another one. I love Brene Brown and I don’t think anyone else could have translated her character. The Nightingale was a beautiful audio book as well. Cold Mountain read by Charles Frazier himself though, was one of the worst audio books I listened to. He’s is totally monotone the entire time (and it’s a super long book). The Zookeeper’s Wife was equally as disappointing. People of the book was an audio book I enjoyed as well as The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.

  101. Corie says:

    Agree with so many of these!! Outlander and Born a Crime were some of my favorites I read last year! I enjoy most of my books through audio thanks to the library. Lately I’ve been enjoying a lot of romance by Christina Lauren and Colleen Hoover. Their books are so well written that the audiobook just pulls you in and you need to know what happens next! Also The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ❤️❤️❤️ probably one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever listened to that I found myself rewinding and relistening to some chapters, then I bought it so I could listen to it again lol!

  102. Danielle Diehl says:

    Tom Hanks reading The Dutch House; Rachel McAdams reading Anne of Green Gables; and Circe on audio. I don’t know who read Circe, but she was amazing. I couldn’t get into the paper copy, but once I started listening, it was totally transformed!

  103. Michelle says:

    The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, performed by Tom Hanks resonated with me for many days after listening.
    Also, Boys in Trees, a memoir read by the author Carly Simon. No words.

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