10 favorite audiobook narrators (plus 30 excellent audiobooks they narrate)

10 favorite audiobook narrators (plus 30 excellent audiobooks they narrate)

A talented audiobook narrator makes for a memorable listening experience. Great audio performances elevate and enhance a book and pull you in, going beyond on-paper reading for an immersive event. I feel the same joy discovering an excellent narrator as I do when finding a new favorite author.

After I’ve read a fabulous audiobook, I’m likely to want to read more works by the author—and to listen to more works performed by the narrator. Often, narrators work in specific genres or pair with certain authors, so if you absolutely loved the narrator of your recent audiobook, they’ve likely read another book suited to your taste as well.

If a narrator has a long backlist of titles (books that are already published, or in this case, recorded), there are hours and hours of listening ahead of you. Services like Libro.fm, Audible, and other audiobook services allow you to search by narrator, and I make good use of this feature. Many narrators also have websites listing their notable works or, sometimes, their entire audiobook catalog.

Over the last few years, I’ve come across several exceptional voice performers whose narration will encourage me to pick up a book even if it’s outside my usual taste. I know that I’ll enjoy listening to their voices—and that their performances will enliven the characters, ideas, and settings of any book.

Today I’m sharing ten of my favorite audiobook narrators, plus three audiobooks I recommend from each of their audio-backlists. If you’re looking for a place to start with audiobooks, or if you’re an avid listener in search of your next read, try one of these narrators for an immersive and textured listening experience.

30 amazing audiobook experiences narrated by talented voice performers

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Elizabeth Acevedo

Dominican-American poet, novelist, and performer Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her own work, plus one of my favorite Austen adaptations, Pride by Ibi Zoboi, with passion and skill. I can’t wait to talk with her in Book Club on September 29th (and ask her to do a live reading, of course!).

With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High

Seventeen-year old single mother Emoni has always been told she has a magical touch in the kitchen. She dreams of a career as a chef but she doesn't have the time or money for her school's new culinary arts class, not if she's going to still be able to work part-time and provide for her child. She's torn in a lot of directions but her passion for food is clear. Told in stunning prose, this novel captured my heart—and made me want to bake! Acevedo creates fabulous characters to root for, and you'll be cheering for Emoni as you listen. More info →
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Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land

The Poet X author Acevedo dedicates her new novel in verse to the memory of the lives lost on American Airlines flight 587, the passenger flight that crashed en route to Santo Domingo from JFK on November 12, 2001. Taking this historical event as her leaping off point, Acevedo tells the story of two teenage girls—one in New York, one in Santo Domingo—who are shocked to discover they are sisters in the aftermath of the crash, when the truth of their father’s double life was unceremoniously revealed. The girls tentatively bond as they explore the love—and pain—they share. A lyrical, heartfelt exploration of what it means to discover secrets, to find family, and to discover your own hidden resources in the face of great loss, and surprising joy. More info →
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The Poet X

The Poet X

This is our September Book Club pick as we dig into coming of age-themed novels this fall. Acevedo's first novel-in-verse won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Xiomara finds her voice as she pours her soul into her notebook. Every frustration, every harassment, every triumph and every secret is turned into a poem. When she gets invited to share her work in slam poetry club, Xiomara isn't sure if she can keep her passion secret from her strict family. But she soon learns that speaking up and living her truth is the only way to be fully herself. If "novel-in-verse" gives you pause because you don't love poetry, trust me: the audiobook version is AMAZING. Acevedo is an incredible storyteller and narrator. More info →
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Emily Woo Zeller

The first audiobook narrated by Zeller that I listened to was Loveboat, Taipei. I LOVED it, and it made me want to listen to her entire catalog.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Author:
Kondo is a Japanese personal tidying expert (she doesn’t like to call herself an “organizer”). She originally wrote her decluttering manifesto to help the Japanese clients languishing on her waiting list. This translation has been praised for preserving the quirkiness of her voice. (Which comes across even better on audio.) It's since become a global publishing phenomenon, and now, a Netflix series. I appreciated this book, especially the ability to listen to Kondo's advice as I follow it. More info →
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The Leavers

The Leavers

Author:
One day, 11-year-old Deming Guo's mother leaves for work and never returns home. With no other family to care for him, two white professors adopt Deming and move him from the Bronx to upstate New York, renaming him and reshaping him into their ideal "all-American boy." Deming, now named Daniel, struggles to reconcile his new life with his past, his memories, and his mother's disappearance. Set in New York and China, this book is beautifully narrated and weaves a moving story around themes of immigration, identity, and belonging. More info →
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Loveboat, Taipei

Loveboat, Taipei

Ever Wong is an eighteen-year-old Asian American girl in Ohio, a talented dancer who, unknown to her parents, harbors dreams of pursuing professional dance when she graduates. When her parents find out she's considering abandoning the medical school path they've always dreamt of for their daughter, they promptly put her on a plane to Taiwan to spend the rest of the summer at Chien Tan—an immersive high school program that focuses on language and culture. She does NOT want to go, but when she arrives she's surprised to discover that far from the scholarly summer she expected, the students themselves call the program "Loveboat," because so many long-term relationships begin here, and they have so much unsupervised leisure time. Her roommate has even come in search of a husband. This was a fun listen about a girl traveling halfway around the world to find herself, and maybe find love, too. More info →
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Julia Whelan

An audio fan-favorite, Julia Whelan is a prolific narrator. In 2019, she won the Audie award for her narration of Educated by Tara Westover.

Educated: A Memoir

Educated: A Memoir

Author:
In her bestselling memoir, Tara Westover tells of how she overcame her oppressive childhood: her survivalist family lived in the mountains of rural Idaho and practiced extreme fundamentalist Mormonism; her father's manic depression was undiagnosed and untreated. There was no question that Tara would marry and settle near her family to raise a family of her own, but she found a way out. This is her story of how. Many avid listeners say they love listening to memoir on audio. While this isn't narrated by the author, Whelan does an excellent job striking the right tone for Westover's grim family story and coming-of-age journey. More info →
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Beach Read

Beach Read

Author:
January is a 29-year-old romance writer who no longer believes in happily-ever-after. Demoralized and broke, she moves into the beach house she inherited when her father died, hoping to lick her wounds and finish her current manuscript. But then, in a cruel twist of fate, she discovers her neighbor is the beloved literary fiction writer Augustus Everett, her college rival (and crush), whom she was hoping to never see again. But it turns out Gus has troubles of his own, and so the two make a bet to get their writing back on track: January will try her hand at the “bleak literary fiction” that Gus writes, and Gus will write a romance novel. A warm and delightfully meta take on love, writing, and second chances. More info →
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Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Author:
In the debut novel from Pop Culture Happy Hour host Holmes, a grieving widow and a disgraced Major League pitcher start over after each suffers their own kind of tragedy. Evvie’s husband dies in a car accident, but the truth surrounding his death is painful for reasons her small town community can never know. Dean’s career took a nosedive when he inexplicably developed “the yips”—he can’t pitch for reasons that might be all in his head, but nobody can figure it out. Evvie needs the income a boarder would bring, and Dean needs a refuge, so a mutual friend connects the two. Out of mutual kindness and witty banter, a friendship develops, and then something more … but starting over as a grown-up is complicated. A warm, witty, and satisfying listen. More info →
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JD Jackson

A recipient of the Golden Voices lifetime achievement for audiobook narrators, JD Jackson says his favorite genre to narrate is “a well-written first-person urban crime/detective novel. The grittier, the better. I love getting caught up in an inquisitive mind on the hunt for truth.” 

The Nickel Boys: A Novel

The Nickel Boys: A Novel

Colson Whitehead brings Jim Crow-era Florida to life through the real story of a reform school in Tallahassee that claimed to rehabilitate delinquent boys and instead abused and terrorized them for over one hundred years. Elwood Curtis is bound for a local black college when an innocent mistake lands him at The Nickel Academy instead. Elwood finds comfort in Dr. Martin Luther King's words and holds to his ideals, whereas his friend Turner believes the world is crooked so you have to scheme to survive. All this leads to a decision with harrowing repercussions for their respective fates. This was a tough read emotionally, but such a good one, especially as narrated by award-winning audio performer JD Jackson. More info →
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Bluebird, Bluebird

Bluebird, Bluebird

Author:
As a Black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews has an intricate understanding of racial tensions in East Texas. He’s proud of his roots and his family, but when his loyalty lands him in trouble, he agrees to get out of town and investigate a crime for a friend. He drives up Highway 59 to the town of Lark, where a recent murder has stirred up hatred and history. Atmospheric and timely, and terrific on audio. It ends on a cliffhanger, so you might want to queue up the second book, Heaven, My Home, right away. More info →
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His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

When he was 25 years old, John Lewis marched in Selma, Alabama and was beaten nearly to death on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This was only the beginning of his lifelong fight for justice and equality. From an early age, Lewis practiced nonviolent protest and the call to love his neighbor as himself. In this intimate portrait of one of our nation's greatest leaders, Meacham draws on decades of interviews with Lewis, sharing stories from his early childhood to his final days. This is sure to be an inspiring listen, out on August 25, 2020. More info →
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Joshilyn Jackson

One of my favorite authors AND narrators, Jackson’s theater background opened the door for her to narrate her own novels. She considers herself a novelist first, so when she reads other people’s work, it’s kind of a big deal. You’ll usually see her audio credits in southern fiction.

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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The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter

Every family has secrets...and this literary truth makes for absorbing audiobook listening. Lena Donohue reinvented herself in New York City after she was betrayed by her sister on her wedding day. She rarely returns to her small Southern hometown, until her father's worsening Alzheimer's calls her back. As she and her siblings work together to preserve his failing memories, a secret from his past emerges. Lena will have to decide whether she has the strength to forgive in this absorbing story. More info →
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The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters

One of my favorite Jackson novels is about a complicated Alabama family and the "two Souths" it inhabits. It begins when Leia is summoned home to Alabama to clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and while she's there, she has to break the news to her conventional Southern family that she's pregnant. But Leia can't share her own secret before other powerful, long-buried family secrets start to pour out—her stepsister's unraveling marriage, her grandmother's worsening dementia, and a shocking secret hidden in the family attic. Jackson almost always reads her own novels (and other authors' novels as well—she's that good). More info →
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Scott Brick

I got hooked on Brick’s narration while listening to This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Krueger himself had great things to say about Brick’s narration, and I can’t wait to listen to more of his work.

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Author:
Many readers recognize this as the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. It's also THE definitive biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, author of Washington: A Life. This well-written biography reads like a novel, and makes the fascinating life story of a fascinating man spring off the page. Clocking in at nearly 36 hours, you'll get your audiobook credit's worth with this well-narrated tome. More info →
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This Tender Land: A Novel

This Tender Land: A Novel

I'm so glad I discovered William Kent Krueger: recommended by a reader as good for someone who had run out of Louise Penny (whose books are also excellent on audio). This tough and tender coming-of-age story focuses on four Minnesota kids during the Great Depression, whose respective situations become ever more impossible due to human cruelty and circumstance. After a tornado demolishes the last of life as they know it, they realize no one is going to save them—and so they make a plan to save themselves that starts with escaping down the river. This is one of my husband Will’s favorite books of the year. A great story, beautifully told. More info →
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The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

Author:
Ashley and Brent put this on my radar as on of their favorites on Episode 155 of What Should I Read Next. Perfect for readers who are leaning into pandemic-related reads during this time, Brick narrates the definitive account of the 1918 Flu Epidemic. With deep research and a model for handling modern outbreaks, Barry writes with authority and narrative skill. A sobering and timely read, but a propulsive one. More info →
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Bahni Turpin

Turpin’s name is always top-of-mind when asked about my favorite audiobook narrators, and my interest is automatically piqued when I see she’s narrating a new title. She’s been narrating books for a long time, and the last few years have brought her acclaim with titles like The Hate U Give and The Underground Railroad.

So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race

Author:
I usually listen to Turpin's fiction narration, but her reading here is perfection. Drawing on her personal experience and years of work and research, Oluo thoughtfully engages complex issues like micro-agressions, cultural appropriation, police brutality, affirmative action, the model minority myth, the n word, and more. She dismantles myths, exposes often-unseen narratives that govern our actions, and gives advice to those who want to do better. I know I'll be listening to this one again. More info →
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On the Come Up

On the Come Up

Author:
I listened to this audiobook on a road trip down to Memphis, and it made the miles fly by: I was engrossed in the story of 15-year-old Brianna, who is confident in her dreams—and has a chance of making them come true—but first has to navigate a whole slew of pitfalls, both the ones forced upon her and the ones of her own making. If you appreciated The Hate U Give, add this to your TBR immediately. Bri is an aspiring rapper, and rap battles feature prominently in the plot: for that reason I'm so glad I listened to this instead of reading it on the page. Bahni Turpin's narration is exceptional. More info →
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American Spy: A Novel

American Spy: A Novel

This fascinating and multi-layered spy thriller is told from the perspective of a black woman, recruited by the CIA in the all-white, boys' club-era of the 1980s for an important African mission. Her assigned task is to fall in love—or pretend to—with Thomas Sankara, the president of Burkino Faso, known as "Africa’s Che Guevara." (Sankara is a real historical figure and I was so curious about how Wilkinson would handle his story.) The book's epigraph is from Ralph Ellison: he refers to being "a spy in enemy country," and I'm grateful this work inspired me to learn more about the rich literary history of African American spy novels and the theme of double consciousness. This worked so well on audio. A rewarding listen on so many levels. More info →
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George Newbern

I recognized Newbern’s voice from my audiobooks before seeing his face on TV and putting the two together. Now I know him as Charlie on Scandal and a fabulous narrator.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

Author:
I couldn't get into this as a hardcover but then a friend with great taste suggested I give the audio a try. I started again from the beginning, and this time this grumpy old man story hooked me. Don't you love when that happens? A great narrator can truly make or break the reading experience. George Newbern's accents—especially for Ove—are fantastic. I laughed and cried and couldn't stop listening. But do yourself a favor: don't even think about finishing this novel in a public place, and consider removing your mascara first. More info →
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Strike Me Down

Strike Me Down

Author:
Newbern features among a full cast for this audiobook experience. Forensic accountant Nora Trier has devoted her life to finding and prosecuting fraud. She’s flattered and surprised when the co-owner of feminist fitness empire Strike comes to her with a problem: he needs Nora to find a missing twenty million dollars, and find it fast. The #1 suspect is his co-owner—and wife—Logan Russo. Nora knows she should say no: Logan is her trainer, and her idol. And worse, Nora once had a one-night-stand with Logan’s husband, before she knew who he was. But Nora can’t resist. As she investigates, it’s clear something strange is going on with this case—and Nora soon realizes it’s personal, and goes beyond just business. This is a matter of life and death. A thrilling, gritty psychological suspense with a fascinating setting. More info →
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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Newbern's narration brings this true story to life. Before Hillenbrand got a hold of Louie Zamperini's story for Unbroken, she was an editor at Equus magazine, having fallen in love with horses as a kid when she began reading Come On, Seabiscuit! over and over again beginning at age eight. In this true story that reads like a novel, Hillenbrand takes her reader on a remarkable ride, masterfully weaveing together the stories of a knock-kneed racehorse and the three men who made him a champion: a bookish half-blind jockey, an eccentric trainer, and a limelight-loving owner. An incredible tale, and not just for horse lovers. More info →
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Adjoa Andoh

I fell in love with Americanah and wanted Adjoa Andoh to read me books forevermore. Fortunately, she’s read some incredible titles over the last few years (but Americanah will always stand out as a favorite).

Americanah

Americanah

I loved how Adjoa Andoh's narration helped me sink into this sweeping 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. A highlight: Adichie seamlessly weaves Ifemelu's blog posts—about race, national identity, class, poverty, and hair—into the narrative. I was hooked from page (or minute?) one. Page-turning, moving, incredibly well done. More info →
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Stay with Me

Stay with Me

Author:
A powerful, emotional story about love, family, and fidelity set against the backdrop of the turbulent political climate of 1985-2008 Nigeria. The story begins with Yejide's mother-in-law arrives at her door with a guest in tow: her husband's second wife, that she didn't know he'd married. What follows is an unforgettable novel about sacrifice that sticks with me to this day. Andoh perfectly gives voice to the characters; her narration adds to the compulsively readable nature of this literary fiction debut. More info →
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Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters)

Author:
Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, this rom com is laugh-out-loud funny. Andoh makes the witty banter between the heroine, Chloe Brown, and her landlord, Redford "Red" Morgan crackle and spark. After a near death experience, Chloe comes up with a to-do list to help her "get a life," including things like "ride a motorcycle," "go camping," and "do something bad." When she enlists Red to help her accomplish the list, their flirtation quickly escalates as they learn more about each other. Readers, take note: this book is charming, delightful, and VERY steamy. I recommend listening via headphones (I still couldn't help blushing). More info →
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Adam Verner

I got to learn all about what it’s like to be a narrator behind the scenes on What Should I Read Next Episode 31: Lifetime favorite books and reading for a living with Adam Verner. Since then, I’m always on the lookout for his work—and especially excited he’s reading Jack, one of my most-anticipated fall releases.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

Author:
Currey lays out the daily routines of 237 writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists. Listen straight through, or parse out each artist's daily rhythms like individual podcast episodes. Take inspiration where you find it, and return to listening again and again when you're feeling stalled or stymied in your work. Learn how Octavia Butler wrote, when Nina Simone rehearsed, and where Frida Kahlo painted—and take heart—because for every artist who works in bitter isolation, there's also one who does his best work after he drops the kids off for school in the family minivan. (I'm looking at you, Charles Schultz.) More info →
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The Terrible Two series

The Terrible Two series

This zany series is perfect for fans of Dogman. Two young friends and rivals try to one-up each other in a good-natured series of escalating pranks. Adults may not choose to read these solo, but the wisecracking banter makes these excellent family audiobook experiences with kids as young as 6. My own kid loves this series, and we've all enjoyed the characters' goofy antics, as narrated by Adam Verner, on road trips or during chores. More info →
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Jack

Jack

Robinson returns to the world she created in Gilead—a world I can happily spend time in. Her books contain some of the most beautiful sentences ever put to paper. In this, the fourth novel, Robinson tells the story of John Ames Boughton and his romance with Della Miles. A prodigal son and a brilliant teacher, John and Della face struggles as an interracial couple in segregated St. Louis. I'm thrilled to listen to Verner narrate what is sure to be another stunning work in this series. More info →
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Do you have a favorite audiobook narrator? Please add to our list in the comments.

P.S. Get hooked on a new mystery series with these 10 addicting audiobooks and my favorite audiobooks of 2019. New to audiobooks? Try these 7 ways to discover your audiobook style.

295 comments | Comment

295 comments

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    • Kathy Rose says:

      Simon Vance is awesome. I tried reading “A Tale of Two Cities” and just wasn’t getting into it. But when I started listening to Simon Vance’s narration of the story, it came alive.

  1. Meredith says:

    I love that you did this list! I have started to search our library’s audiobook offerings by narrator and I have found so many good books this way, and ones I wouldn’t normally have come across. I enjoy Cassandra Campbell, Jim Dale and Kate Reading, along with Scott Brick.

    • Carol says:

      My Dear Hamilton and America’s Second Daughter narrated by Cassandra Campbell were fabulous. I was shocked when she spoke without a Southern at the accent end of America’s First Daughter. She sure had me fooled though I am a NYer who went to school in Boston and live in CA ☺️.

  2. Tami Spence says:

    You’ve given me new ones to listen too and several I already have. One I’ll add was The Dutch House. Read by Tom Hanks. So good!

  3. Derek says:

    Dutch House read by Tom Hanks is a dream. And all of Brad Meltzer’s books are narrated by Brick – he’s a fantastic reader!

  4. Susan says:

    I have several favorites: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, narrated by Jim Broadbent, and any of the Strike Cormoran series by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert Glenister, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, narrated by Jim Dale, and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, narrated by Simon Prebble.

  5. Juliet Stevenson is one of my favorite narrators. I even prefer her version of Jane Eyre (aka, my favorite book) to the one by Thande Newton. She’s also done a bunch of Jane Austen novels, Wuthering Heights, Once Upon a River, and a lot of Shakespeare.

    I also keep banging the drum for the versions of the Wolf Hall trilogy narrated by Ben Miles. He played Cromwell in the stage version in London and on Broadway, and his voicings for all the characters are distinct. It’s really brilliant and filled with life.

    • Anne says:

      I love Juliet Stevenson! I don’t know if I would have made it through Middlemarch without her. 🙂

      And DULY NOTED on the Wolf Hall trilogy. I suspect I’ll cave one of these days and give it a listen, because I know you’re not gonna stop recommending it to me!

    • Elisabeth M Tissiere says:

      I completely agree about Juliet Stevenson…I fully expected to NOT enjoy her reading of “North and South”, but she really voiced all the characters wonderfully!

      • Ros Powell says:

        If you liked Juliet Stevenson and North and South you would love Northern Rain by Nicole Clarkston, read by Stevie Zimmerman.

  6. Cori Sanders says:

    Thank you for this list, Anne! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into these audiobooks!

    Here are three of my favourite audiobook narrators: Juliet Stevenson who narrates many classics (https://www.audible.com.au/search?searchNarrator=Juliet+Stevenson); the multi-award winning Barbara Rosenblatt who narrates the wonderful collection of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Mysteries (https://www.audible.com/ep/narrator-barbara-rosenblat); and Jim Dale who narrates the Harry Potter books. (https://www.audible.com.au/search?searchNarrator=Jim+Dale) The Night Circus is one of my favourites by Jim Dale.

  7. Tracy says:

    The Louise Penny Gamache series read by Ralph Cosham has been a delightful distraction for me the last several months.

  8. Lia Carruthers says:

    Khristine Hvam is amazing. She did The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I loved it. Funny, when I looked her up, she’s done so many more and I need to grab some from my public library…

  9. Jennifer T says:

    Will Patton and January LaVoy are my favs. Will Patton narrated the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and does a lot of Stephen King books including The Mist. He’s an excellent actor who brings great life to his voice. January LaVoy is also an actor. The Diviners series by Libba Bray is an amazing young adult series that she narrated and must use 50 different voices to bring life to each character big and small. Both are just amazing narrators.

    • Lynne says:

      Also praising Davina Porter. She has a voice for everyone’s character so you know who is speaking. That series, Diana Gabaldon’s books, were riveting. But at least 50% of the credit goes to Porter.

    • Christie says:

      I will second this! I have listened to all of the Outlander books – most of them a few times & Davina Porter is absolutely incredible. It amazes me that she can pull off Scottish men in Gaelic, British, French & best of all – she doesn’t sound “like a woman” when she is narrating for a man. Sometimes I will put on her books in the background, she has a soothing & inviting voice that sucks you right in!

    • Lori Inouye says:

      I enjoyed Davina Porter’s narration of the William Monk series by Anne Perry. Unfortunately, there are only 5 of the earlier works available on audio-book.

  10. Allison says:

    Rebecca Lowman is one of my favorite narrators. She has read a lot of Rainbow Rowell books, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, and a lot of others. I love her voice, and I think she often picks the right books, that match her style.

    • Monique says:

      YES! I was going to recommend Rebecca as well. If I discover a book I’m interested in reading is narrated by her, I don’t bother with the physical book, LOL!! She’s that good, IMO. 🙂

    • Claire says:

      We love Rebecca Soler narrating the Upside Down Magic Books. I went and looked for more books listen to a few years ago but they were all too mature for my child. I’ll have to check again.

  11. Meagan Maher says:

    My absolute favourite audiobook of all time is Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. It’s extremely rare that I reread books but I have listened to Wildflower three or four times now. Drew Barrymore’s narration of her own life stories is so heartfelt and passionate. The chapter in which she talks about her dad passing away and she starts to cry while telling it gets me every. single. time. Ugh. I love this book and I love Drew! Now that is a woman who has seen shit.

  12. Cathleen Jackson says:

    David Tennant! He reads both of Cressida Cowell’s series and it’s unbelievable.
    E.B. White reads Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan. It’s like having your grandpa read to you. Kind of magical.
    Stephen Fry is another great one. I’ve listened to A Boy Called Christmas and the first two books in the Paddington Series.
    There are so many good ones it’s hard to pick a few.

  13. Julie says:

    I was so impressed by how amazing Mary Beth Hurt’s reading of The Good House just made that story. Loved every minute and thought I knew her character because she was able to convey the emotion even down to tiny flutters of emotion so well. Worth listening as a story but the performance was just as worthy of the time.

    • Kristy says:

      Katherine Kellgren, she reads Austenland and a lot of the Rhys Bowen Her Royal Spyness books. She’s perfect. Plus Dan Stevens and Richard Armitage, I could listen to them all day

  14. Lauren says:

    I just listened to The Woman Before Wallis read by Mary Jane Wells. I didn’t love the book but I stayed for the incredible narration. She has a super talent for accents! Her website also says she narrated the two memories that inspired Downton Abbey, but I’m not sure what those are.

    • Mary says:

      I just discovered Mary Jane Wells, and love her. Currently reading mostly historical romance as I need something funny and entertaining with a guaranteed happy ending. I’ve especially enjoyed the Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas😊

  15. Brecklyn says:

    My three faves:
    Jayne Entwhistle is fantastic in the Flavia de Luce novels and The War that Saved My Life.
    Susan Duerden is hilarious.
    Rosalyn Landor has the most versatile voice.

  16. Kirby Heyborne. I’ve listened to books just because he narrated them. I found him because he narrated My Sunshine Away by MO Walsh.
    And of course I totally agree with the mention of Joshilyn. 🙂 I’ve listened to her read all of her novels except one that I read. (And I’m excited to say that she’s narrating my next novel!! Such a dream come true for me.)
    Loved this post as audiobooks are a favorite subject of mine, as you well know. 🙂

  17. Rachel says:

    Another GREAT audiobook narrator is John Lee. He has read most of Ken Follett’s books, which are complex with numerous characters and nationalities. He does an amazing job with accents and giving the many characters distanct voices. He is a prolific narrator, but other notables are 100 Years of Solitude, The Count of Monte Cristo, and he was one of the voices in The Lovely War.

    I already love many of the narrators you mentioned. Another book narrated by Julia Whelen is My Oxford Year, which was a great listen.

  18. Taylor says:

    My absolute top is Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s fabulous readings of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London” series. The books are a wonderful mix of police procedural mixed with a little fantasy/magic, told from the perspective of Peter Grant, constable, who has a great sense of humor. Holdbrook-Smith as the audiobook narrator does a masterful job of playing all the characters with different accents. He truly has a gift. He also has a successful career in TV, movies, and theater.

    • Amy says:

      I am listening to these novels right now! It is a joy to hear Holdbrook-Smith perform all those characters, and he remains true to each one in subsequent books in the series.

  19. Jenn Martino says:

    I think you have to include Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid in this list. It was probably the best audio book I have ever listened to! Because it’s a documentary style story, read with a full cast, it’s almost a different level of audio book. Absolutely listen to this one!

  20. Anne with an E says:

    I loved Perdita Weeks’ narration of Circe, and Davina Porter does an amazing job of the Outlander books, all 350+ hours!

    I listened to “The Girl with the Louding Voice” and it was one of my favorites this year, mainly due to the wonderful narration by Adjoa Andoh.

  21. Cheryl Feik Ryan says:

    Ron Silver for The Plot Against America, and Lin-Manuel Miranda for The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Glad to see Bahni Turpin on the list (The Hate U Give). I agree with others about Tom Hanks (The Dutch House).

  22. Janna Steele says:

    I enjoyed Stephen Shanahan’s reading of “The Lost Man” by Jane Harper. I love when male narrators can do female/children’s voices without being too cloying (I think I have HSE… Highly Sensitive Ears…). Plus, he’s Australian, so… you can’t beat a wonderful Aussie accent!

    I am so happy to see Adjo Andoh on this list! I loved her performance of “The Girl With the Louding Voice.” It was a memorable, wonderfully written story that I might not have been able to get into otherwise.

  23. Sally says:

    Therese Plummer narrates books by Katherine Center and does an excellent job! I agree with the earlier comment about Richard Armitage too!

  24. Anne Groo says:

    I like the narrations done by Simon Prebble for English mysteries. And Kate Winslet does an outstanding job narrating “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. She gives each character its own style of voice and attitude. This kids’ book is enjoyable for any age!

  25. Robin Jillson says:

    I also really enjoyed Tom Hanks’ narration of The Dutch House. That said, most “celebrity narrators” do poor jobs, IMO. And one of the greatest narrators, Frank Muller, is sadly no longer with us. BIG faves of mine are Barbara Rosenblatt (read many of Lisa Scottoline’s earlier Rosato & Associates novels) and Lisette Lecat, who reads the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency books.

    • Debbie Stevens says:

      I am so glad you mentioned Frank Muller, Lisette LeCat, and Barbara Rosenblatt. These three, in particular, were some of the first narrators I remember loving as much [or even more] than the books themselves.

  26. Brooke says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I love listening to audiobooks while doing mundane chores. A narrator definitely makes or breaks the book! I am so excited to check out some of these new recommendations!

  27. Aimee says:

    One of the most perfectly cast audio narrators has to be Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones on Beth O’Leary’s book, The Switch (a five star read/listen for me this year!). They were perfection! My professional work has involved working with voice talent for many years. When I first started, I was shocked at how much they made. I now believe they earn every penny they make – or at least the good ones do!

  28. Edie says:

    Mark Bramhall. His deep voice is responsible for many driveway moments. He narrates portions of The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (which is a must-read!) and Grant by Ron Chernow but my absolute favorite book he narrates is A Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkle. That book is one I will listen to over and over for his voice and the fascinating story of Christopher Knight, who lived as a hermit in Maine for 27 years.

  29. Jamie Freeman says:

    I enjoy all the ones you mentioned, plus Cassandra Campbell, Wil Wheaton, January Lavoy, and others I probably can’t think of right now.

  30. Sharon says:

    I never was much of a fan of audio books till I listened to Mary Beth Hurt narrating “The Good House” by Ann Leary. It was like she was sitting across from me, sharing all this juicy gossip, over a glass of wine, of course!
    (I love your emails, by the way. Changed my reading life!)

  31. Emily Murphy says:

    Surprisingly, I don’t see Katherine Kellgren listed in the article or the comments (though I may have missed it in the latter) and she is amazing with Kid’s and Middle Grade literature. She also did Austenland and My Lady Jane, though I haven’t listened to them yet. My favorite of hers is The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. The voices she can do!!! It’s amazingly well done.

  32. Jennifer says:

    I listen to a lot of children’s books so we can listen as a family in the car.
    Absolutely wonderful narrators are:
    Brendan Fraser
    Jenna Lamia
    Kate Rudd
    Becky Ann Baker

  33. Susan James says:

    I have 2 narrators I particularly love: Grover Gardner does a wonderful job narrating Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles. I also enjoy listening to the versatile George Guidall who voices both the Longmire series (Craig Johnson) and the Gabriel Allon series (Daniel Silva).

  34. Amanda says:

    Some of my favorites are on your list, but my very favorite is missing: Simon Vance. His work on Black Beauty and The Tao of Pooh is exquisite.

    Some new discoveries I’d listen to other audiobooks by: Marin Ireland (Nothing to See Here) and Lee Horsely (Lonesome Dove).

    Celebrity-read audiobooks I loved: Maggie Gyllenhaal’s narration of Anna Karenina and Colin Firth’s narration of The End of the Affair.

    • KT says:

      Other celebrity readings that I recommend all the time:
      Tim Robbins, Fahrenheit 451
      Rachel McAdams, Anne of Green Gables —this might be my all-time favorite
      Anne Hathaway – The wizard of oz. I’m not usually a Hathaway fan, but she did an incredible job with all of the voices. My kids were mesmerized!

  35. Jessica says:

    I’ve never given that much thought to liking one specific narrator over another. I’ve definitely tried getting through audiobooks which less than ideal narrators and remember it being a struggle. Earlier this year I listened to Delicious! by Ruth Reichel and loved the story but it dawned on me about halfway through that I really did like the narrator as well. I went onto listen to Far From the Tree by Robin Benway and got immediately sucked into the story. Something sounded so familiar about the voice too so I actually looked it up and realized that it was Julia Whelan, who also narrated Delicious! I can clearly see why she’s a fan favorite. I’m also a huge fan of memoirs and I’ll never forget how much I loved listening to Anythony Bourdain’s voice through Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw.

  36. Elisabeth M Tissiere says:

    Scott Brick does a fantastic job with one of my top ten books, “Atlas Shrugged.” Will have to check out your recommendations with his narrations!

  37. Cynthia Daniels says:

    Daisy Jones and the Six is a great audiobook! I love when audio’s have different people read different characters in the book. It makes the book come alive!

  38. Meg says:

    As an avid audio reader I will pick books based on the narrator sometimes. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer are wonderful, Jim Dale is always top notch (even when I didn’t like the book I can appreciate the book and beauty it was written in.) Susan Duerden was a couple chapters to get used to but now I love her in The Eyre Affaire and The Rook and was disappointed when she didn’t read the sequels.

  39. Hannah says:

    I love Juliet Stevenson. I most recently listened to her read Middlemarch and loved it. She also did Once Upon a River and many Jane Austin books!

  40. Christy says:

    Perdita Weeks, narrating ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller, should DEFINITELY be added to this list. Her voice is like Butter. Thanks for this!!

  41. Dale Ann Serena says:

    I agree with the comment about Jim Dale – besides the Harry Potter series he does Around the World in 80 Days and The Night Circus (one of my favorite audio books). Would also add to the list of amazing readers Joan Walker – My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and the Britt- Marie books; Will Wheaton – Ready Player One and Locked In; Hillary Huber – the Neapolitan novels; and if you are ever able to find a copy of Siobhan Redmond reading of Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (BBC production) grab it! The last version I saw of it was on cassette and sadly I don’t think it has ever been available for download

  42. Danielle Diehl says:

    I don’t think she’s done much, but the woman who did the audio for Circe was TOTALLY AMAZING!! She completely transformed the book for me.

  43. Stacey Chin says:

    Aoife McMahon is wonderful if you love Irish accents! I loved her narration of Normal People by Sally Rooney, and I’ve heard she’s great on the The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

  44. Sarah says:

    Wow! My audible wishlist just got so much longer. Thank you!
    My favorite narrator is Wil Wheaton! His ready player 1 is fantastic, and I refuse to watch theovie because I’ll be disappointed it’s not starting Wil. He also did the Martian and several others.

    You can’t leave out Nick Pohdel who narrated the Name of the Wind and a Wise man’s fear! He does so many different voices, it’s like listening to a full cast dramatization. So good!

    But my most recent obsession is Outlander, read by Davina Porter. Her accents are perfect and truly a delight.

  45. Annie R says:

    Katherine Kellgren was my absolute favorite. She sadly passed away a few years ago, but her beautiful narrations live on! I especially loved her narration of the Her Royal Spyness series, and if you have a middle grade reader she also narrates the Enola Holmes series (soon to be a Netflix show).

  46. Laura Newton says:

    I am listening to Murder on the Orient Express narrated by Dan Stevens and it is excellent. He really does a good job; sometimes male readers make women’s voices sound ridiculous, and he doesn’t at all. I am really enjoying it.

    • Mary Jane McNeill says:

      “And Then There Were None” (Agatha Christie) read by Dan Stevens was awesome!! He probably voiced close to 13 characters, and I never got them confused at all. He switched back and forth between characters effortlessly. It was amazing!

  47. Cherilyn Barringer says:

    I listen to about 3 audio books a week. The narrator is so important! I love any narrator who has a rich accent. And can go between accents effortlessly. For those reasons, I love Caroline Lee. I don’t think I would have liked 9 Perfect Strangers had I read it. She also narrates Kate Morton’s books. I also just finished American Dirt and it was very engaging as well.

    • Christie says:

      Yes! Thank you for mentioning Caroline Lee! Her Australian accent is just dreamy, I listened to all of Liane Moriarty’s books that she narrates. She is the reason my Siri speaks Australian!

    • Steph says:

      I also love Caroline Lee and the Kate Morton books! If you can find Lynn Redgrave reading The Thirteenth Tale or Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice, they are totally worth it!!

  48. Chelsea Caivano says:

    I love listening to Edward Herrmann. He narrated The Boys in the Boat and his voice is so compelling yet soothing. Sadly, he has passed away but he narrated several books before his death.

    • Debbie Stevens says:

      He also narrated Unbroken – these two books are among my favorite non-fiction titles, due in no small part to his captivating voice.

  49. Connie says:

    I am really enjoying Julia Whelon reading The Giver of Stars by Jojjo Moyes. She gives every character a very distinct voice.

  50. Allie Smith says:

    I LOVE this topic! And we could also talk about the ten worst, right:)?

    Julie Whalen is hands down my favorite. I highly recommend her narration of her own book, My Oxford Year.

    A close second is Susan Bennett! She’s incredible, and my all time favorite narration of a book is The Ex-Debutante, by Linda Francis Lee. Bennett nails every character. Honestly, I listen to the book at least once a year. I’m not sure if it’s for Lee’s story or Bennett’s narration. She’s the first narrator that I searched on Audible to see what other books she reads. She’s the Narrator of Bird by Bird, believe it or not – and it’s excellent.

  51. Ann Beck says:

    Definitely Barrie Kreinik! I loved The Mother-in-Law and then listened to The Mother’s Promise and still need to listen to The Family Next Door.

  52. Alison says:

    A favorite for YA that I didn’t see mentioned is Michael Crouch. I loved his narration of Heretics Anonymous, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and Goodbye from Nowhere.
    Emily Woo Zeller is a new favorite for Love and Other Consolation Prizes. I’m definitely listening to more of her.

  53. Kelly says:

    Roy Samuelson reading The Bomb by Steve Sheinkin hooked us on audiobooks as a family. Nonfiction YA book that reads like fiction and one the whole family can enjoy! (And Jim Dale….oh how we love him!)

  54. Gwen says:

    My favorite audio book narration is the book “The World We Knew” by Alice Hoffman, read by Judith Light. Her interpretation of it was amazing, it added so much to the story.

  55. Kim says:

    I loved Circe written by Madeline Miller, narrated by Perdita Weeks. The story is captivating and Perdita made it come alive. I think I would listen to anything narrated by Perdita Weeks.

  56. ChristinaH says:

    I completely agree with everyone saying Perdita Weeks reading Circe. I just finished it a couple days ago and I honestly think her narration is a huge part of why I loved it. She sounds so other-worldly.

    I also agree with everyone saying Stephen Fry, Jim Dale and Dan Stevens. Jonathan Cecil is another favorite for his reading of the Jeeves and Wooster books, but when I think of my favorite audiobook narrators, the name that immediately springs to mind is Barbara Caruso and her wonderful rendition of the Anne of Green Gables books and Little Women. Sadly, I don’t think they’re available digitally, but when I read any Anne books I hear them in her voice.

  57. Rachel P. Vaughn says:

    I love Kate Reading. She reads a lot of fantasy (she narrates Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives with her husband, Michael Kramer), but I really loved her reading of The Lady Sherlock books and The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (I am not sure I would have enjoyed that book on paper, but she made it fabulous).

  58. Mary K. says:

    Hands Down, Saskia Maarleveld! (The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart, Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini, etc.) Next is Orlagh Cassidy, who narrates the Masie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg, and the upcoming Because You’re Mine by Nancy Tillman!

  59. Sam says:

    You know you listen to a lot of audiobooks when you have heard at least one book by each of these narrators already. I agree, they are all fantastic!

  60. Donna says:

    I am new to Audiobooks – my first was “A Gentleman In Moscow”, narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith and I am now hooked! How wonderful to hear correct pronunciations of all those Russian names! I’m now partway through “Anna Karenina”, (another Russian theme with pronunciations even “Hooked on Phonics” wasn’t helping!!!)….a novel I felt too daunting to read, but am thoroughly taken in….driving the long way home or spending an extra hour in the garden!! Narrated by David Horowich – such a pleasing voice to listen to!

    Now the debate is do I make a cup of tea and spend an hour reading, or, should I go for a drive!! Thanks for the recommendations in this post!!!

    • Pearl says:

      Just wanted to say I had the same experience. I was never a “books on tape” person, then I had a free trial on audible and listened to A Gentleman in Moscow and was hooked!😬

  61. Rachel Perkins says:

    My top three – Robert Glenister (Cormoran Strike Series), Ralph Cosham (Armand Gamache Series), and Jim Dale (Harry Potter)!! These are the ones I return to over and over again.

  62. Holly Bier says:

    I just finished my fourth audiobook narrated by JULIET STEVENSON. If you want to read Jane Austen and other classic British authors, she’s the perfect narrator!!

    • Terry says:

      Oh, I haven’t listened to her doing Austen. I’ll have to try it out. I thought Rosamund Pike did a great job with Sense and Sensibility.

  63. Courtney says:

    I absolutely love Jeff Woodman reading ‘The Westing Game’ by Ellen Raskin. He does voices for all of the different characters, and it is extremely entertaining.

  64. Liza says:

    The only audiobooks I’ve enjoyed were read by Fiona Hardingham and/or Steve West. The first one I ever finished was read by them. The next one I tried was also by them (I didn’t know that until I realized their voices sounded familiar). Since then, I haven’t found any that I’ve enjoyed as much as them. Except Neil Gaiman, whose voice I could listen to forever and never get tired of it.

  65. Tina says:

    Jonathan Cecil is probably my favorite audiobook narrator of all time. He does a brilliant job reading P. G. Wodehouse novels. I’d also listen to literally anything narrated by Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry. I also love to hear Hugh Fraser narrate any of Agatha Christie’s novels. I’ve recently started listening to the Lady Hardcastle series by T. E. Kinsey, and the narration is wonderful. My other two favorites are Katherine Kellgren for middle grade and Hugh Bonneville, who reads the Paddington Bear series.

  66. Amy says:

    Jenna Lamia was mentioned earlier. She was excellent in Kate DiCamillo’s novels, but where I enjoyed her the most was voicing Sarah Grimke in Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings.” The other narrator was Adepero Oduye. Together they made a book I couldn’t get through in print a favorite listening experience.

    • Nancy Meyers says:

      If you liked Jenna Lamia, you’ll love “The Book of Polly” by Kathy Hepinstall Also “Looking for Me” and “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” by Beth Hoffman. I just adore her narration.

  67. Teresa Allessi says:

    Anne,
    Thank you for helping me to read out of my “box”. I love Bahni Turpin and Julia Whelan. I would also add to the list – C. J. Critt, especially the Janet Evanovich “Stephanie Plum” series.

  68. Dana says:

    Imogen Church is superb! I listened to all of Ruth Ware’s books because of her voice and skill. Also Caroline Lee did a wonderful job with several of Liane Moriarty’s books.

  69. Meg says:

    I’m not an audiobook reader, but my kids love them. We listened to Bahni Turpin read The True Meaning of Smekday (this was adapted into the movie Home) and I thought she was great! Glad to see her on your list.

  70. Jo Yates says:

    Lisette Lecat’s narration of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith is wonderful. She varies the voice and even the accents (even an American one) of the different characters. She is from South Africa I think. I’m also thoroughly loving The Bookshop on the Corner, read by Lucy Price-Lewis.

  71. Kelsey says:

    Davina Porter and Jim Dale. So soothing to listen to them! Davina Porter could read the phonebook and I would gladly listen!

  72. Linda Kay Smith says:

    Favorites that come to my mind are Rene Auberjonois (Agent Pedergast series), Dick Hill (Jack Reacher series), Johanna Parker (Benni Harper series), and Will Patton. There are many others I appreciate but these are at the top of the list.

  73. Sally says:

    One of my favorite narrators is Lorelei King, I smile every time I hear the voice of Lula in the Stephanie Plum series. I agree with the late Ralph Cosham, who in my opinion, will always be the voice of Armand Gamache in the Louise Penny books.

  74. Maureen says:

    So many excellent narrators mentioned and a few new to me ones as well. Katherine Kellgren who narrated the Bloody Jack series and Royal Spyness series is amazing. Great fun! Bloody Jack is a great family listen since it appeals to all ages. Sadly, Katherine Kellgren was taken too soon in 2018. The world lost a very gifted artist.

    • Heather says:

      I was coming to add Katherine Kellgren to the list. I didn’t realize she had died. She is really wonderful to listen to!

    • Sue says:

      Maureen, you are the first person I’ve ever seen to mention the Bloody Jack series and Katherine Kellgren!! She was so excellent! Thank goodness the series ended before she died.

  75. Helen Daniels says:

    I’m listening to the Southern Bookclub’s guide to slaying vampires narrated by Bahni Turpin and she is FANTASTIC! I can’t imagine they could have chosen anyone better to read it.

  76. Heather says:

    These may have already been mentioned but are so good, they’re worth mentioning again:

    Robin Miles who narrated (among other things) The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    Mozhan Marno – narrated The Stationery Shop, a few Chris Pavone books, After Anna, and many others. She’s SO good.
    Frazer Douglas – narrated The Song of Achilles
    Emily Gray – reads MOST of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
    Cassandra Campbell – narrated Where the Crawdads Sing

    • AmyS says:

      Thank you, Heather! I can’t believe I had to scroll so long to find someone mention Robin Miles! She’s absolutely amazing! The way she can switch between multiple accents/languages (Irish, Jamaican Patois, British, American South, and French to name a few) is incredible! She can voice 5 different characters in one scene and you can tell the differences between all of them. She does a lot of Antebellum Fiction such as Jubilee, Cane River, A Million Nightingales, and my personal favorite, The Book of Night Women. She’s so talented!

  77. Michelle Wilson says:

    Before listening to With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land, I did not think I could do fiction on audio but Elizabeth Acevedo’s narration seems to hit that sweet spot for me. I am looking forward to our September Poet X pick. And BONUS-three books by same author without even trying or thinking about it!

  78. T Estrada says:

    My favorites are Kate Reading,and Michael Kramer reading The Wheel of Time books,and Jayne Entwhistle reading the Flavia deluca mysteries. Brian Jaques is wonderful, too, reading his Redwall series.

  79. Terry says:

    Timothy West narrating ANYTHING by Anthony Trollope. Huge, huge fan of both.

    Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, narrating Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. He simply *is* Peter Grant in my mind and Aaronovitch himself says that when he writes Peter Grant, he hears Holdbrook-Smith in his head saying the words. That’s high praise.

    And, of course, Jim Dale and Simon Vance.

  80. Linda O'Donnell says:

    Anything by Will Patton or Neil Gaiman. Agree with whoever said they could read the phone book and I’d listen to every work. Also recently enjoyed Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer with David Morse. Perfect voice for such a heart-breaking work.

  81. Nicola Jesse says:

    It was a very light read. Charringham Series. But the reader was
    Neil Dudgeon (from Midsummer Murders fam!). I felt like he was just
    sitting next to me so much fun . Could image being in the Cotswolds.
    Fun when reader is a actor we know well… marvelous voice and presentation.
    Nice thing too-he did not do a “squeeky voice” for the female like some readers do! Jeremy Irons is another good reader.

  82. Jessica Duch says:

    I couldn’t agree more with everyone suggesting Neil Gaiman and similarly Michael Sheen! He doesn’t narrate he straight up performs ❤️ Sheen orates both Book of Dust books by Phillip Pullman and they are the BEST audiobook I‘Be ever listened to! Just do yourself a favor and listen to it

  83. I’ve now listened to 2 books Michael Beck has narrated. Both John Grisham books. You sense you are in the South and walking along with him as the story unravels. Inflections in his voice for other characters is sheer genius.

  84. Kim says:

    I love Richard Armitage. His transition from Jekyll To Hyde was absolutely beautiful. I choose so many of my audiobooks because he narrated.

  85. Leslie says:

    Can’t let The Dutch House read by Tom Hanks be missed and I just finished and enjoyed The Victory Garden read by Saskia maarleveld who also reads The Alice Network and the Huntress (both excellent) . All of the artists who read The Book of Lost Friends were also fabulous

  86. Liz says:

    I just listened to my first audiobook read by Nadia May and her narration was fantastic! She did American, Scottish, and English accents well and really set the scene for an Agatha Christie mystery (The Secret Adversary). She has done some Austen novels as well which may be my next listen.

  87. Nanette Stearns says:

    Saskia Maarleveld who narrates Kate Quinn (The Alice Network, The Huntress). Mary Beth Hurt narrating Ann Leary’s The Good House. Tom Hanks narrating the Dutch House (I didn’t care for the book but loved his narration). Robert Glenister narrating the Cormoran Strike series. I love the narrators for Tana French’s books but I noticed there isn’t a consistent one. Caroline Lee who narrates most of Kate Morton’s books (though Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey did The Clockmaker’s Daughter and I really liked that too).

  88. Gregory Nicholls says:

    Greg Wagland’s voice is smooth as silk and soothing as a cat’s purr. If you have trouble sleeping, as I do, listen to him reading a story.

  89. Heather Buentello says:

    I love Kate Winslet’s narration of Matilda SO. MUCH. Makes me wish I was Kate’s kid so she could read to me every night.

    Scott Brick also did an amazing job narrating A.J. Fikry and Jurassic Park.

    Bahni Turpin’s narration of The Hate U Give brought every single character to life! I can’t wait to listen to On the Come Up.

    I also recently listened to Allan Corduner’s narration of The Book Thief which was A+!

  90. Kitty Balay says:

    Nicholas Guy Smith – A Gentleman in Moscow
    Caroline Lee
    Cassandra Campbell
    Jane Entwhistle – The Flavia Series – I would enjoy the series if I read them in print, but Jane makes them SPARKLING, and DELIGHTFUL!
    Julia Whelan
    Heather O’Neill – The Likeness
    Tom Hanks, of course
    And so many more…
    And special mention of Ralph Cosham who will always be the voice of Inspector Gamache for me. After his death, I had to switch to reading Louise Penney in print. No one can take his place.

    Anne, thank you for this post. As an actor, I’m particularly interested in the quality of the narration. I’m also keenly aware of the time, work, talent, and SKILL that it takes to create something that feels so alive and personal, yet also seems effortless. In this “Great Pause” it is the work of artists that so many people turn to whether it’s on our screens, in our hands, or in our ears. Artists, art institutions, and the training of young artists are embarassingly undervalued and underfunded in our society. Artists are the people we turn to to elevate pivotal moments in our lives, to turn the ordinary into something transcendent: weddings, funerals, memorials, celebrations of all kinds. Their work is what we turn to make us feel more human, more connected, more alive as we feel numbed by quarantine and bad news. Movies, tv, music, books, and audiobooks are all created by artists. A tiny percentage of them are celebrities, but they are all Artists, and they make our lives better.

  91. Pearl says:

    Juliet Stevenson❤️❤️❤️
    Richard Armitage
    Simon Vance
    George Guidall
    Peter Capaldi’s narration of Watership Down was outstanding!

  92. Christine Botti says:

    Ari Fliakos is a voice from heaven… I listen to books I would never pick up just because he’s the narrator

  93. Beth H. says:

    I cannot wait to listen to these – I just used a few credits on Audible for them! My most favorite is Katherine Kellgren. Sadly, she passed away young, but did read several titles. If you’re able, she’s an absolute treat!

  94. Robin says:

    Bahni Turpin! I will listen to her read anything. She just sounds fun and friendly, even when she’s reading a serious topic. I also like Kate Rudd, Marc Thompson who is amazing on the Star Wars books, and Santino Fontino’s performance of You. And Neil Gaiman could read a phone book and I’d listen.

  95. AprilS says:

    I fell in love with Christina Moore’s reading of The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I have gone on to enjoy her readings of the Kopp Sisters series the first of which is Girl Waits With Gun.

    I’ve now created a watch list for her from my library so I get an email any time a book narrated by her is added to the catalog.

  96. Anna Yoder says:

    Robert Bathurst is an excellent narrator! He took over reading the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny after the original narrator, Ralph Cosham, passed away.

  97. I love Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries, most recently Glass Houses. And the narrator, Robert Bathurst is excellent.

    I have a personal dislike for Scott Brick as a narrator – sorry.

  98. Gina House says:

    Thank you for this helpful list! I would 100% recommend Hugh Fraser (who is the actor that played Captain Hastings in the Poirot series). I love all Agatha Christie books and he makes the audiobooks come to life. They’re incredibly soothing to listen to and I almost like to listen to him in the background while I do chores or exercise. Yay!

  99. Sue says:

    Love Judy Kaye who read the Sue Grafton books! As well as Nicholas Guy Smith from A Gentleman From Moscow, and Lisette Licat who reads the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. And A Man Called Ove is divine, I forget the reader.

  100. Jay Salam says:

    Hi, I am Jay Salam of The Audiobook Team.
    I am the editing and mastering engineer part of the team.
    We are a young business, but I have narrators that will be great favorites in years to come.
    I will draw your attention to one book that is pending. Demon Hunting in Dixie. It is narrated by Alexandra Ralph and the author, Lexi George, sent this note to us.
    “If there is any justice in the world, you will win an award for your stellar narration of this book.”
    This is honestly the funniest audiobook I have ever heard and I include early Stephanie Plum books narrated by Lorelei King which were brilliant.

  101. Courtney Hague says:

    My favorite audiobook narrators is Soneela Nankani. She narrates the Aru Shah books, all of Sandhya Menon’s YA romances, and apparently at least one of Somali Dev’s Austen adaptations. I’m really excited to add some of your favorites to my reading list. I always know when I really dislike a narrator but I don’t have a solid list of ones I love.

  102. Shana says:

    I really loved Shayna Small for The Vanishing Half. Her voice is smooth like honey and I don’t know if I would have loved the book near as much without her.

    For fun, I enjoyed Anne Hathaway for Wizard of Oz and Rachel McAdams for Anne of Green Gables. I have heard Neil Patrick Harris is delightful in Beverly Cleary books.

  103. Cady says:

    Also – Resistance by Owen Sheers, a beautiful book anyway but made completely unforgettable by Richard Coyle’s reading.

  104. Melissa says:

    Jefferson Mays of the Expanse Series by James SA Corey

    RC Bray of The Martian and Expeditionary Force and many others

    And Stephen Fry of Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and others

    • John Z says:

      I’m amazed that RC Bray was barely mentioned! His narration of The Martian is what got me hooked on audiobooks.
      My personal favorites are:
      RC Bray
      George Guidall
      Jim Dale
      I’ve bought and listened to several books just because one of these three were the narrator.
      There are many many great narrators but these are my definitely my all-time favorites.

  105. Joy King says:

    What a great post. My favorite narrators are Richard Armitage and Stevie Zimmerman. His voice is like silk and her characterization is beyond excellent.

  106. Michelle says:

    I adored Dutch House read by Tom Hanks, and I especially loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine read by Cathleen McCarron. She has a lovely Scottish accent which really adds to the story!

  107. Pm Weizenbaum says:

    Moira Quirk is the narrator who sucked me right into the hilarious Parasol Protectorate universe of novels by Gail Carriger.

  108. Robert says:

    And…thank you for instigating a new “controversy”. Along the lines of, well, the best center fielder of all time! Where of course, all are great. As will your list stimulate such wonderful names.
    I have laid down (Should say, shut down) some very good books where the reader was…not very entertaining (awful?), only to (Shane shame) turn to book form!

  109. Nancy Meyers says:

    Jenna Lamia
    George Guidall
    Julia Whelan
    R.C. Bray
    Nick Pohdel
    Caroline Lee
    Cassandra Campbell
    Michael Crouch
    Xe Sand
    George Newbern (“Boys Life”)
    Barbara Caruso
    Stephen Fry
    Bahni Turpin
    Will Patton
    David R. Lewis (the Trail series)

  110. Victoria says:

    Timothy West reading Anthony Trollope is sublime! I never got on with Trollope until I started listening to these, now I’m hooked. They’re funny, clever and a pleasure to hear.

  111. Halie says:

    I agree, she’s one of my faves! She seems to have narrated all of Ruth Ware’s novels. I first listened to “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware, and then continued with all her others, not only because I liked the book, but also because I loved the narrator!

  112. Nikki says:

    Great list! Although I’m surprised to see Richard Armitage is missing from it…he’s amazing and could read anything with that voice!

  113. Heather R says:

    I agree with Elizabeth Acevedo narrator her books–I adore her written verse but listening to her read her novels is on a whole other plane. Thanks for featuring her!

    Another narrator recommendation is: Edward Herrmann who narrated “Unbroken” by Lauren Hillenbrand and “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.

  114. Liz says:

    David Tennant narrated the How to Train your Dragon series (the British books, not the U.S. movies). He gives every character a different voice and is our all time favorite family road trip companion. Even when my 10 year old son is an adult, we’ll probably still listen to these books on road trips.

  115. LH Floyd says:

    Kath Kellgren, she got me hooked on the Enola Holmes and Rhys Bowen series. She has, sadly, passed on but I still enjoy listening to anything she narrated. Luke Daniels is another amazing narrator. 😊

  116. Catherine Kushner says:

    Kathleen Early is an amazing narrator! She narrated the recently released book, “The Silent Wife” and I was enthralled with the range of the voices she used. This book is an excellent suspense read (but not for the faint of heart) and Kathleen does a fantastic job as the narrator. Highly recommended.

    • Candice Hope says:

      I just recieved an advance readers edition of this book. I love to listen and read Back and forth so I will check out the audio version too!

  117. Jen says:

    Upon one of your previous recommendations, I listened to “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.” I absolutely adored the story, but I also appreciated the narrator. She made it easy to stay engaged in the story. I highly recommend it!

    The hardest part of the pandemic for me has been not being around people enough. I am highly extroverted, so I have really struggled with loneliness.

  118. Candice Hope says:

    Julia Whelen is fantastic! And Patti Callahan Henry is one of my favorite authors so I will definitely check out the audio recommendation for her book listed here. Audio books are like theater and the narrator truly makes all the difference! Lucy Price-Lewis, Steve West and Cassandra Campbell are also fantastic narrators.

  119. Suzan says:

    George Guidall. I believe he has been the narrator on all of Daniel Silva’s books. Hands down – I actually will search for”Guidall” in Audible – then author.
    And for anyone with young children – Jim Weiss – he is an AMAZING storyteller. I used his tapes when my children were young to help them fall asleep, end their day with beautiful visualization or stories.

  120. AnneHH says:

    I have enjoyed reading this post and the comments so much but have to weigh in with my favorite narrator since she hasn’t been mentioned. Jenny Sterlin narrates the Mary Russell series by Laurie R King which is exceptional. As much as I love these books and wait so eagerly for the next one, I always listen rather than read them because Sterlin is absolutely fantastic. I am shocked that she hasn’t been mentioned multiple times here.

  121. Ellen Cole says:

    I love John McDonough reading The Mitford Books by Jan Karon. When this topic comes up, my husband always raves about Barbara Rosenblat’s narration of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series.

  122. Candace H says:

    Wow, what a fantastic post and amazing list generated by comments. Now I need a spreadsheet! I highly recommend Jacqueline Woodson reading her own works, especially Brown Girl Dreaming.

  123. Carol says:

    I always have such a hard time picking an audiobook and frequently DNF, but there are others that I have loved. I definitely second Cassandra Campbell (My Dear Hamilton), Julia Whelan (Educated) and Bahni Turpin (The Hate You Give). I also loved the narrator of Katherine Kellgren (My Dear Jane) who sadly passed away.

    I plan to make a list from all these comments for future listening.

  124. Annie says:

    Steve West is my absolute favorite narrator. Particularly Megan Whalen Turner’s series – Queen’s Thief (amazing books!!). He’s a household name for us because I have such a voice crush on him.

  125. Alise says:

    What a great article! I listen to audiobooks all the time and have returned a lot of books because I couldn’t bear listening to the terrible narrator. It’s really distracting. I have returned a lot of audiobooks without finishing them because I couldn’t bear to listen to the narration any longer.
    My absolute favourite narrator by far is Jenna Lamia. I’ve actually listened , and quite enjoyed, some books that I would have never picked up. I looked for a list of things that she’d narrated and worked my way down the list. She’s a very talented lady.

  126. REBEKAH COWAN says:

    Robert Glenister for J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series. I’ve listened to most of them twice through the quarantine.

  127. Erica says:

    The first narrator I listened to and wanted to search their backlist was Amy McFadden. Easy to listen to and multitask audiobooks are my favorite. Really enjoyed The Overdue Life of Amy Bylar by Kelly Harms, Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences & Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagan.

  128. Lori Inouye says:

    I thought Angele Masters did a wonderful job with the Deanna Raybourn Veronica Speedwell series. I flew through all 5 audiobooks in record time.

  129. Amanda Gelber says:

    I highly highly also recommend listening to Richard Armitage! He plays Thornton in North and South 2004. He has recently been recoding a few audiobooks!

  130. Hugh Fraser who played Captain Hastings in the Piorot mysteries has the best narrator voice – very soothing. Also I think Martin Jarvis is amazing with the multiple voices for PG Wodehouse books. Thanks for compiling this list!

  131. Alicia says:

    I have been using Libby since Covid lockdowns, but just started using it for audiobooks. Such a better experience than the radio to get to work. Poet X was my first. But I have to mention that Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars herself) narrates The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and does each character uniquely. Very entertaining.

  132. Debbie says:

    Adding to the list:
    David Tennant
    Jim Dale – especially Harry Potter!
    Scott Brick
    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Tom Hanks
    Perdita Weeks – (Circe)
    Stacey Glemboski

    Author I love who should never read her books… Lisa Genova… and she only did it once

  133. Gina H. says:

    I would 100% recommend Hugh Fraser for many of the Agatha Christie books! His voice is so soothing and he also gives lots of life and interest to every one of the characters that he narrates.

  134. Maria Biros says:

    Bill Bryson reading his own books is oddly soothing to me 😁. Also Robert Glenister who reads the Robert Galbraith series is chefs kiss.

  135. I totally agree with Bahni Turpin. I listened to the Yellow Crocus trilogy and her voice brought me to that time period; I was living the story alongside the characters.
    I also love Susannah Jones who narrates The Vine Witch and The Glamourist (book #2 of the Vine Witch trilogy), her voice is so elegant, classy, can’t get enough of her.

  136. Kara Middleton says:

    Sarah Zimmerman can read the phone book to me. Her voice takes me out of myself, which, in 2020, is saying something. Most recently, she narrated Red Mistress, a historical fiction novel about a Soviet spy in Paris. 10 stars.

    My other all time favorite narrator is John Lee, with his narration of Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series. It is just brilliant. I get lost in those 45+ hour stories, which, again, is really helping me this year.

  137. Jenn says:

    The best narrator I have heard so far is Adepero Oduye! She narrates a couple different pieces by Oyinkan Braithwaite like my personal favorite “My Sister the Serial Killer.” Since the book takes place in Nigeria I know I would have butchered a lot of the pronunciation so it was great to listen to the audio version!

  138. Janice Hoaglin says:

    If anybody mentioned Robin Miles I missed it. She does such a fantastic job reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. And John McDonough is the voice of Father Tim for me in Jan Karon’s Mitford series, starting with At Home in Mitford. I have many other favorites, but most of them have already been mentioned. I could listen to George Guidall read anything, I think, but really love him in the Craig Johnson Longmire series, as well as the Wally Lamb book I Know This Much is True.

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