My favorite audiobooks and listening experiences of 2020

My favorite audiobooks and listening experiences of 2020

Yesterday I shared my favorite books of 2020. Choosing favorites is hard, and so to make it easier on myself I divided my favorites list into favorite print books and favorite audiobooks.

For me, the mark of a truly great book—and a great listening experience—is that I’m still thinking about the story, even months later. Bonus points to any book that makes me want to run another mile, fold another load of laundry, or sit in my car in the driveway so I can keep listening.

And I’ve been listening, all right! My audiobook enjoyment—both in quantity and quality—continues to increase every year. My changing listening habits are reflected on the blog: click here for all our audiobook posts. We also created a podcast playlist for you: click here for the What Should I Read Next playlist for audiobook- focused episodes.

2020 was another really good audiobook year. I read piles of stellar books, and today I’m sharing my tip-top favorites.

How do I choose my favorites? I track my titles in my reading journal, and put a simple little star by especially noteworthy titles. I also track the format of the books I read, so to compile this list I scanned for “audio” selections. Despite my best efforts at record-keeping, I’m probably forgetting a favorite here, because I always do—but don’t worry, I’ll make sure I tell you about a book I loved, one way or another, whether that’s in a future blog post, podcast episode, or newsletter.

Now let’s talk favorites—and please, share YOUR favorite audiobooks in the comments section!

All books featured here were chosen because I loooove them. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. More info here.

Fiction

Housekeeping

Housekeeping

I thought this was a re-read (a common audiobook habit for me): I was certain I'd read all of Maryilynne Robinson's novels, and downloaded the audiobook version of this first, her 1980 debut, for some familiar comfort reading. As it turns out, I was entirely mistaken—and grateful for the mistake, because I wouldn't have wanted to miss this tale of two orphaned sisters in Fingerbone, Idaho, struggling to find their place in the community and with each other after their mother's death. They're first cared for by a string of relatives, one of whom is named Nona. (This was the dead giveaway I hadn't read this book before. Nona is my grandmother's name, I've never met another, in real life or the pages of a book. This detail would have stuck with me.) Finally, their eccentric Aunt Sylvie steps in, and comes to "keep house" for them. But Sylvie's odd ways disturb the staid members of their little town, and the misunderstanding threatens the little family's stability. I listened to the newly released 40th anniversary edition, narrated by Therese Plummer. More info →
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Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel

Author:
One of our winter book selections for the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club! Last year, I loved listening to Stradal's second novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, so I thought I'd enjoy his debut in this audio format, too, as narrated by Amy Ryan and Michael Stuhlbarg. Please, I beg you, don’t read the jacket copy! I enjoyed it more by not knowing very much going into it. Stradal’s novel-in-stories spans more than thirty years and takes us to half as many kitchens, introducing us to fancy chefs and Lutheran church ladies, portraying the food of a region and the unlikely threads that bind us, with a satisfying, full-circle ending. More info →
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With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High

In our Book Club author event, Elizabeth Acevedo told us that her books are best read in both audio AND paper format so that you can hear and see her poetry. This one is written in prose, but it's just as poetic and vibrant as her novels-in-verse. Liz narrates her own audiobooks with incredible talent and voices seventeen-year old single mother Emoni, who's 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: I was cheering Emoni on as I listened. More info →
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The Happy Ever After Playlist

The Happy Ever After Playlist

Author:
Charmingly narrated by Zachary Webber and Erin Mallon. After an adorable (and extended) meet-cute involving a stray pup, Sloan strikes up a flirty text thread with the dog’s owner, who’s out of the country for work. These texts turn into emails, and then hours-long phone calls; the two haven’t met in person but the connection is undeniable. It’s the first time Sloan has felt excited about anything since her fiancé died two year ago. But can a touring musician make a relationship work—and does Sloan even want it to? You’ll have more context if you read The Friend Zone first, but this novel absolutely stands on its own, and the witty banter made this an absolute delight. Heads up for a steamy open-door scene or two. More info →
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Deacon King Kong

Deacon King Kong

Author:
I initially had a tough time focusing on this one when I started it in March (it was me, not the book), but once I switched to the audiobook version, narrated by Dominic Hoffman, I couldn't put it down. The story begins with a shooting: it's 1969, in the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn; a beloved drunk deacon named Sportcoat wanders into the courtyard and shoots the drug dealer he'd once treated like a son point-blank, in front of everyone. After this jolting beginning, McBride zooms out to show the reader how this violent act came to take place, exploring the lives of the shooter and the victim, the victim's bumbling friends, the residents who witnessed it, the neighbors who heard about it, the cops assigned to investigate, the members of the church where Sportcoat was a deacon, the neighborhood's mobsters (and their families). All these people's lives overlap in ways that few understand in the beginning, and McBride's gentle teasing out of these unlikely but deeply meaningful connections—and the humor and warmth with which he does it—is what captured me. More info →
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Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

The "Gothic horror" label made me a little afraid to dive into this one, as I stay away from the scary stuff. But I needn't have feared: this new novel is deliciously creepy, but not frightening. Moreno-Garcia places situates her novel firmly in the tradition of Gothic country house classics like Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, and even references some of these titles in her novel. When Noemí's father appoints her to see to some business on his behalf, the beautiful, intelligent young socialite agrees to do her duty for the family. Her recently married cousin Catalina has sent an odd, urgent letter to the family, pleading for someone to save her—but from what? When Noemí visits her new marital home High Place, a remote and lavish estate built by ill-treated mine workers, she discovers her cousin's predicament is worse than she feared: her husband is a brute, her father-in-law a terror, the staff deeply hostile, and even the house itself seems set against her—and worse, determined to entrap her. No spoilers here, but if you like the sound of a deeply strange and spine-tingling read about a smart heroine who saves herself, this is the book for you. Excellent narration by Frankie Corzo. More info →
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You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown

Author:
Johnson makes a triumphant debut with her happy and poignant YA novel. Orchestra geek Liz Lighty stays out of the spotlight in small town Campbell, Indiana, and she's totally okay with her wallflower status. She has a plan to escape the Midwest and become a doctor, and it all starts with attending her elite dream school, Pennington College. When her financial aid package falls short, Liz is devastated until she remembers that her school offers a large scholarship for the prom king and queen each year. Reluctant to subject herself to extra attention but eager to win the money, Liz enters the competition for prom queen. The smart and funny new girl in school makes events leading up to prom more bearable, but Mack is also vying for the prom queen title. As Liz develops feelings for her, the competition gets complicated. Narrated by Alaska Jackson. More info →
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The Guest List

The Guest List

Author:
This 2020 mystery puts a modern spin on Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None, setting a destination wedding on a remote Irish island, accessible only by boat, with guests whose lives are connected in ways they never could have guessed. When a magazine publisher weds a handsome reality tv star, she wants her wedding to be magazine-worthy: the designer gown, the atmospheric location, everything perfect to the last detail. But when the guests arrive, including old colleagues, boarding school friends, unreliable family, and untrustworthy friends—things begin going wrong, as long-buried secrets threaten to burst forth at exactly the wrong time. And then they find the dead body. Told in rotating points of view, this was cleverer than I'd expected, and I especially enjoyed the full-cast narration. (I would have appreciated a content warning for self-harm; a murder mystery is certain to have triggers but that one took me by surprise.) More info →
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Binti

Binti

Author:
This Hugo and Nebula winner sat on my To Be Read list for too long before I finally listened to the audiobook edition by much-loved narrator Robin Miles. This novella drops you right into another galaxy where Binti is the first of her people to receive an offer to attend Oomza University, basically an ivy league college. Accepting the offer requires a huge sacrifice and a treacherous journey. I sped through this quick audiobook thanks to excellent narration and a propulsive plot. More info →
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Actress

Actress

Author:
After retuning this book to the library, unread, a reading friend told me it was fabulous on audio, so I downloaded it in that format instead. This reflective and often pained retrospective examines a complex mother-daughter relationship. Daughter Norah's musings are prompted by a graduate student who comes calling, seeking insight into the life of her mother, the brilliant Irish actress Katherine O'Dell. The style is almost—but not quite—stream of consciousness, as Norah examines her mother's early years as an actress, her sudden and enduring fame, and then her encroaching mental illness. I loved this book for its voice: Norah is a remarkable narrator of her mother's story, and I loved the sly way she lets her own story slip into the frame. Anne Enright is equally remarkable: very few novelists narrate their own audiobooks, but Enright reads hers here in an incredible performance. More info →
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Monogamy

Monogamy

Author:
Miller is a prolific writer, but this was my first time reading her work. It's a sad, wistful, reflective literary story about marriage, happiness, and family. Graham and Annie have a strong 30 year marriage. Graham owns a bookstore, and this is a fun thread throughout the novel because much of the couples' life revolves around bookstore events (they meet at an author event!). Early in the book—this is not a spoiler—Graham suddenly dies. This prompts Annie to reflect on their life together, and in the process she trips over new information about him and their life together, causing her to question the very foundations of their relationship. Read by the author. More info →
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Songs for the End of the World

Songs for the End of the World

Author:
This book moves back and forth in time and between perspectives as it follows a first responder in New York, a pregnant singer, and an author, all living through a global pandemic (yes, you read that right.) I avoided all pandemic-related books for a while, but this story of resilience and hope struck just the right notes for me. Narrated by a full cast including Alex Payton-Beesley, Amelia Sargisson, and more. I listened to an early copy, but the audiobook isn't available to U.S. listeners anymore. For mysterious reasons, the U.S. publication date on this book is now on hold. It is available in hardcover for Canadian readers (or readers willing to pay international shipping). More info →

Nonfiction

This list is shorter because I don’t typically listen to non-fiction, partly because it doesn’t keep my attention the same way a story does and partly because I like taking notes and sticking book darts in my non-fiction reads. But I do love story-driven memoir on audio, and these two were delightful in that format.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Author:
This genre-blending book was a delightful—if quiet—surprise. May defines "wintering" as "a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, side-lined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider." She takes this single subject and turns it, chapter by chapter, considering different events, aspects, incarnations, and inciting events of a winter season, guiding the reader through scenes of her life and inviting them to join her on adventures to explore what it means to winter—heading to Stonehenge, to Iceland, to ice-bathe, to sauna. I appreciated the multidisciplinary approach; May builds the narrative around events of her life, but draws from health, psychology, spirituality, religion, science, nature and more to tell her story. This was lovely on audio, as narrated by Rebecca Lee. More info →
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Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South

Author:
Rick Bragg has become pure comfort listening for me: I especially love to listen to his stories while I'm cooking. This new collection compiles magazine essays from his decades writing for Garden and Gun and Southern Living. Some are piercingly poignant, like his tales of Harper Lee, Pat Conroy, a talented photographer, and his Aunt Jo (everyone needs an Aunt Jo). Others are laugh-out-loud funny, like his one about Tupperware, or what precisely is wrong with country music these days. While his books would make beautiful editions to any coffee table, I think I will always listen to Rick Bragg. More info →
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What Should I Read Next favorites

It is SO HARD to pick favorite episodes of my own podcast—much harder than picking the above favorites, and that was brutal! I’m choosing a combination of episodes that stand out in my mind and those that would be a good introduction to the show. If you’re not a regular listener, you can truly jump in anywhere.

These are in chronological order:

1. Episode 225: What your neighborhood should read next with Elizabeth Barnhill & Alison Frenzel. Every week on What Should I Read Next we do a little literary matchmaking. In this episode, we discuss how I inadvertently became a bookstore matchmaker—and that’s how Elizabeth landed her dream job in Waco, Texas. Not-so-fun fact: this is one of a tiny handful of episodes that we had to record twice due to lost audio.

2. Episode 230: Don’t overthink your reading life: LIVE at The Strand! This delightful episode, recorded at what my second—and, as it turns out, last—book tour stop for Don’t Overthink It, is ALL ABOUT What Should I Read Next; I reflect on the show in a way that I really haven’t done publicly anywhere else. Then I’m joined by a Strand bookseller to do some on-the-fly literary matchmaking for our live audience.

3. Episode 232: Really good fiction is about EVERYTHING with Jud Ashman. My guest is both co-founder of the Gaithersburg Book Festival and mayor of the town, so we give readers an insiders’ look at what goes into the planning and establishment of those community book events we’ve so enjoyed in the past and that WILL happen again. Plus we discuss everything from westerns to middle grade fiction to historical nonfiction to a book Jud describes as JAW DROPPINGLY GOOD.

4. Episode 236: What SHOULDN’T I read next? with Karla Osorno. When I thought back over my favorite episodes of the year, Karla’s sprang immediately to mind. She responded to our Patreon query about readers’ owned-but-unread books and said her 600+ precious unread books were weighing down her reading life. Could we help? This episode is the result. Countless readers found this bibliotherapy session incredibly helpful AND so much fun to listen to.

5. Episode 244: You love to read—don’t ruin it with Elizabeth Cooper. My guest came to us looking for brain candy—her delightful term for books that are FUN, with a killer premise, pages that practically turn themselves, and totally satisfying endings. This episode generated perhaps the most reader mail we’ve ever received from an episode, because you all could NOT believe how Elizabeth has been choosing her next read and just had to share your reaction with us!

6. Episode 246: Does your reading life need a mid-year checkup? with Courtney Wallace. This episode was inspired by Courtney’s “mid-year book freak out,” which launched a wonderful conversation about reading life tweaks and course corrections.

7. Episode 251: I love books and books love me back with Grettel Castro. Grettel loves backlist books, or as she says, older novels that have “simmered” for a while—so I recommend three great books with literary staying power. We also dig into the hows and whys of literary awards. But the part that made me laugh out loud with pure bookish joy was when Grettel began describing the pleasures and perils of walking around campus with an open novel in her hands. Readers, she’s got tips if you want to try it!

8. Episode 254: A plethora of political-ish book recs with Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers. In this evergreen episode, my friends at Pantsuit Politics pay us a visit to discuss fiction and nonfiction recommendations that have shaped our understanding of politics, history, and what it means to be a human in this world. We’re each sharing books we personally love and often recommend, because they are fascinating, thought-provoking, and sometimes surprisingly page-turning. 

9. Episode 255: Spine-tingling reads for a confirmed scaredy-cat with Valencia Taylor. We heard from so many of you that this is your favorite episode of the year! (Though honestly, someone says that about every single episode.) Valencia is looking for compelling stories that teach her something new about the world, as well as more spine-tingling reads, a category that is definitely new to her. As a fellow book-pusher, I have plenty of recommendations and practical tips to share—in fact, I couldn’t help but share a few extra titles that I think Valencia will love. 

10. Episode 260: A little free library with a life of its own with Sara Jones. Sara wrote in with a new-to-us request: can we help her stock her Little Free Library? She has it has a personality all its own, and she wants to fill it with books that will get her neighbors reading! We do exactly that, discussing selections that range from charming picture books to unputdownable contemporary fiction. Plus, if you’ve ever strolled by a Little Free Library and wondered how it works or how to start your own, this episode is for you

Stand-out podcast episodes

Readers are often surprised to hear I don’t listen to a ton of podcasts—but I did just love these episodes, listed roughly in the order I listened to them.

1. Chadwick Boseman on Off Camera with Sam Jones. I don’t know much about Hollywood, I don’t watch a ton of movies—but I love this show about creative artists and how they came to be that way. This was a standout episode.

2. What Rockstars And Sober People Already Know About Quarantine on Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale. The show’s quarantine-inspired episodes this year have been excellent. (When Will and I travel together—which we didn’t do much of this year, but we did go camping a few times—Off Camera and Death, Sex and Money are our go-to shows for the road.)

3. Inside the Writers Studio with Charlie Lovett: Modern Mrs Darcy/Escaping Dreamland. Charlie joined us this summer for our Stay at Home Book Club Retreat that we hosted for MMD Book Club members, and we had a thought-provoking and (to some) surprisingly poignant conversation about his new book Escaping Dreamland. It was such a good conversation that Charlie asked if he could share the audio with his audience on his show, and I was delighted to say yes.

4. The Business of The Popcast 2020. This is the most recent episode listed, as it just released this month. Knox and Jamie spend darn close to two hours going into how they make money, hire team members, pay their people, make business decisions, and how 2020 through them for a loop. Funny and informative.

What are your favorite audiobooks of 2020? What did you love to listen to this year?

P.S. My favorite listening experiences of 2018 and my favorite audiobooks of 2019. New to audiobooks? Try these 7 ways to discover your audiobook style. And don’t miss my favorite books of 2020.

Favorite listens of 2020

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63 comments | Comment

63 comments

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  1. Liz Snell says:

    Super excellent on audio: Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. A must for any parent, any age.
    Also: inspirational Megan Rapinoe’s, One Life. Tells of her growth into an activist who makes a difference with her celebrity.

  2. Liz Wright says:

    If you liked Deacon King Kong, you have to listen to The Good Lord Bird. It was so much fun and the book is much more detailed than the Showtime series so the long running jokes work much better.
    Also, check out Allen Esken’s Nothing More Dangerous. A great coming of age novel that reminded me of William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace.

  3. Cassie says:

    I love the podcasts where Ann is helping multiple people find books to read together!!
    Otherwise, I’m only listening to audiobooks with my daughter but we love babysitters club!

  4. Rachel says:

    One of my favorite listens (and overall books) of 2020 is The Girl with the Louding Voice. The main character is charming and so unexpectedly strong. The narration was amazing and so impactful – the narrator had an African accent (I can’t place it) and it made the story all the more impactful as it really sounded like i imagined the voice of the main character would be.

  5. Marcia says:

    My favorite audiobooks of 2020 are: Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz,
    The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal, and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottleib.

    • Tracey Mitchell says:

      Thanks for sharing this! I had some Libro FM gift credits that I’ve been overthinking how to use. I didn’t know Caramelo was on there and I’ve wanted to read it for a long time but my library doesn’t have it in audio or regular book so I checked and there it was! I snapped it up right away after reading your comment!

  6. Amy Squires says:

    I adored Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House read by Tom Hanks. It was the perfect balm for the beginning of quarantine for me. Untamed by Glennon Doyle was fantastic as was The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. I had a rough reading slump year but audiobooks helped tremendously! I just downloaded 2 of your recommendations from this list, Anne!

  7. Jara C. says:

    My great-grandmother’s name is also Nona! It’s her first name, though, and she goes by her middle name in day-to-day life, but still – what a coincidence.

    I tend to listen to non-fiction instead of fiction, and definitely listened more the first half of this year. I especially loved “Seriously… I’m Kidding” by Ellen DeGeneres, “Dear Girls” by Ali Wong (both of these titles had me laughing out loud), “To Catch and Kill” by Ronan Farrow, and “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates.

  8. Heather says:

    I really liked The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires on audio, read by Bahni Turpin. The story was creepy but she did a great job with all the different voices.

  9. Tracie R says:

    I listened to a LOT of audiobooks this year. I just love reading with my ears, ever since the days of cassette tapes 🙂

    A few standouts, that I think I enjoyed more because they were audio:

    Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Joe Jameson is OUTSTANDING as the narrator of this book that I adored. I re-read it in print and it’s great in that format, but the audio elevates it to the highest levels!!

    The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I listened to all 3 of her books this year, and this was my favorite. So powerful to hear her perform her own words.

    The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. This book put Robin Miles at the top of my favorite narrators list. She is amazing at bringing this book (and many others) to life.

    So many by Louise Penny, read by Ralph Cosham. I read all of Louise Penny’s books this year! I listened to them all until the narrator switched. I didn’t care for the new narrator, so after listening to one book performed by him I switched to print. All of them were 4 or 5 stars for me, but the two that stand out in audio are Bury Your Dead and How the Light Gets In. Heartbreaking, heart-pounding… I was entranced. Definitely walked faster and longer to listen to those. And I’m still thinking about them.

    Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed this in print, but listening to the author read was so engaging. Who knew that I would cry at a non-fiction book?! I highly recommend this on audio.

    The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This is interesting because I really DIDN’T like the voice the narrator used for Arthur. But the rest of the voices and the story were so great that I was able to overlook that. I had a hard time getting into the print version for some reason, so listening to this book allowed me to experience the joyful, hopeful, warm hug that is this amazing story!

  10. Lynne LaFalce says:

    Please listen to “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garret M. Graff. There’s a cast or around 28 actors reading the book. It takes you to 9/11, in a beautiful yet haunting book. This book truly has stayed with me. I think it should be a must listen to for those born 2002 and earlier.

  11. Mary H says:

    My two audio favorites this year are backlist:

    The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

    I was sold on this one when I learned the narrator is Stephen Hogan, the man who gives voice to Tana French’s Broken Harbor.

    Emma by Juliet Stevenson.

    Stevenson plays Mrs. Ellton in the 1996 movie version so her voice is dead on for this character as well as all the others. Really enjoyed this one.

    • RuthAnn Stagg says:

      I read a lot of audio books this year (well a lot for me around 50 or so) and Trevor Noah “Born a Crime” was one of my very favorites. The Girl who smiled beads and lonesome dove were also very very good.

  12. Margaret Angarella says:

    Thank you Anne for so many great recommendations in 2020! These are a few audiobooks I’ve recently enjoyed: The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal), The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

  13. Jill Jessen says:

    I just finished Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher – narrated by Jilly Bond. It’s my favorite audiobook – wonderful story and well narrated.

    • Sharon Batkin says:

      I really picked up my audiobook game this year! Loved Conversations with RBG. Although not the actual people, narration between make and female made it a great listen. Loved The Best of Me by David Sedaris. My first read of his. He narrated and some of the stories were from his live shows.

  14. Sue Baum says:

    My husband and I both enjoyed listening to Squeeze Me by Carl Hiassen, read by Scott Brick. If you like satire, you will find this hilarious!

  15. Julie Grigg says:

    I listened to your book and it’s in my top 3 nonfiction for 2020. Your voice is calming but absorbing. Absolutely loved it.

  16. Vicky Stedman says:

    A few of my favorites on audio for 2020 …
    *The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan
    *Nothing to See Hear by Kevin Wilson
    *Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
    *The Switch by Beth O’Leary
    *Leave Only Footprints by Conner Knighton (tells of his visits to all the
    National Parks)
    *Anything written and read by Rick Bragg

  17. Cliff Cullen says:

    I discovered a new audiobook narrator that I love this year, Xe Sands. I’ve listened to two audiobooks they’ve narrated, “Wonderland” by Zoje Stage and “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey. Both were really great, kind of creepy, engaging stories and Sands’ narration fit perfectly.

  18. I enjoyed listening to a book called, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World A Weirder Place. There were laugh out loud moments, a dawning understanding that AI has a worm-sized brain, and how it’s contributing to the weirdness of the world. I heard about it on NPR and they were right. Again.

  19. Susan says:

    Another great bookish podcast is “Strong Sense of Place”. The hosts choose a location for each episode. They talk about it and choose five stories set there. Excellent website as well.

    • That’s so nice! Thank you for the shoutout and for listening to our show. We’re happy you’re enjoying it because we’re having a really good time putting it together. — And big love to Anne for having us on WSIRN. MMD4eva!

  20. Wendy Barker says:

    Some of my favourite audiobooks this year have been mentioned by others (like The Stationery Shop and The Lager Queen of Minnesota) so because I’m Canadian I’ll mention a couple that are by Canadians and might not have as much attention south of the border. Aria by Nazanine Hozar is set at the same time period as The Stationery Shop but because it deals with a wider gamut of religions and economic characters it felt more real. Then for non-fiction I recommend Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer (he is also the narrator). Rick Mercer hosted a TV program for 15 years but decided to give it a rest. Fans still miss his insightful and funny take on current events so it was great to listen to this audiobook in which he talks about his life and reprises some of his best rants from the TV show.

  21. Tamara says:

    I highly recommend Finding Chika by Mitch Albom as it features audio clips from their daily life.
    I also enjoyed celebrity memoirs read by the author like Rob Lowe’s, Stories I Only Tell My Friends and Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up.
    I listened to the whole Ender Series by Orson Scott Card usually read by a small cast of 2-4 narrators.

  22. Cherilyn Barringer says:

    I’m going to disagree about Mexican Gothic. I thought the narrator was horrid. Definitely sounded like she was just reading it. I tried listening 3x. I’m going to go back and read it as I like Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s other books.

    I listen to about 3 or 4 books a week so I’ve added a few to my TBL list now. Thank you. I tend to love narrators with accents. This is why I love Lisa Jewell’s and Liane Moriarty books on audio.

    My audiobook of 2020 could be When All is Said by Anne Griffin. This was so fabulous on audio. I highly recommend.

    • Sally Shughart says:

      I thought the Mexican Gothic narrator was awful too!!!! Wish I would have had time to just read it myself, but had to get through it in time for Book Club.

      I’ve loved all of the Rosamunde Pilcher books on audio. Especially Shell Seekers. Winter a solstice came in second.

      Nothing To See Hear was laugh out loud and the narrator was perfect.

      Also loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek read by Katie Schorr – total feel good book.

      Another one was Wolf Hall read by Simon Slater. Absolutely loved this one.

      It’s an eclectic list, but I bounce around a lot.

  23. Suzanne C says:

    My favorite audiobook of the year was His & Her’s by Alice Feeney. I can’t imagine that book being nearly as good in print.

  24. Tamara says:

    Code Name Helene-probably would have enjoyed equally as a book book, and Fannie Flagg’s Last Reunion of the All Girls Filling Station-narrated by Fannie Flagg who did a great job with different voices for a rich cast of characters.

  25. Jennifer Geisler says:

    I’m out of sequence, but wanted to share that the 12/13/20 NYTimes had a terrific article about puzzles, including recommendations for some brands I had never heard of. For example, Ravensberger now has “escape room” puzzles. I tried to order some for Christmas – all sold out on several puzzle sites!

  26. Heidi says:

    I’m probably a little late to the party, but the Flavia DeLuce mysteries, narrated by Jayne Entwistle, are absolutely charming. For years, though, I’ve loved listening to Steven Briggs read Terry Pratchett, and Jonathan Cecil read P.G. Wodehouse.

  27. Susie says:

    Had seen the movie, but not read the book, so the audio version of “The Secret Life of Bees” is just heaven. The reader is Jenna Lamia, who also read “The Help”! Perfect voice.
    My other favorite was the audio, “American Dirt”—I loved hearing the Spanish flavor and the Spanish words pronounced correctly, it added to the story for me.

  28. Janna Steele says:

    I discovered author Penny Reid and her Winston Brothers’ series this summer while looking for something light and fun. Smart romance that made me walk an extra mile and find new tasks around the house so I could continue listening! (Open door warning)Narrated by Angela Dawes and Chris Brinkley. Fun Escape for 2020….
    Also …
    *The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare’, narrated by Adjoa Andoh – best audio experience for me this year
    *The Dry by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan
    *Circe by Madeline Miller, narrated by Perdita Weeks

  29. Janice Hoaglin says:

    My favorite audio books so far in 2020 have been: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins; The Guest Book by Sarah Blake; Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout; Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks; The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett; and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

  30. Rebecca Hayes says:

    I look forward to your favorites lists and refer to previous years as well to expand my to be read list. I would like to make a suggestion since you have shared how much you enjoy reading cookbooks (so do I!): a favorites list of healthy cookbooks to help us with our resolutions in the new year. I have many cookbooks with wonderful recipes that I have inherited from family members but the recipes do not focus on healthy food choices. I need to build a collection of newer cookbooks that focus on building and maintaining good health through nutrition. Just a suggestion…
    Thank you for your dedication to inspire us to keep reading! Merry Christmas!

    • Maureen says:

      Check out Gina Homolka from skinnytaste.com. She has a number of wonderful cookbooks and is my favorite healthy recipe bloggers. In January I am going to try to take one of her cookbooks and prepare her recipes cover to cover.

  31. Alice says:

    One of my favorite audiobooks of the last few months was The Binding by Bridget Collins. The story was engaging and the narrator excellent. I saw this book mentioned by a reader in the comments section of an earlier post on your site, and I am glad I took her recommendation.

  32. Carol Kubala says:

    Beyond a doubt my favorite audio experience this year is
    The House in the Cerulean Sea Author- T.J. Klune Narrator-Daniel Henning
    A disenchanted case worker who must decide whether to keep an orphanage of seemingly misfit children open is surprisingly delightful. I’m not much of reader of fantasy or magic but this story captured me in its web. The children are, well, different. There is “sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus”, each brought to life with such showmanship by Henning. There may be some that would not appreciate Hennings voice but I was entranced. Each character is distinctive and so well portrayed. I can still hear their voice. In case the Antichrist is bothering you, remember these are children. Though the focus is these children, the adults have important roles to play.
    Out of the ordinary for me, this book made me laugh out loud, made my eyes tear, was uplifting and at book’s end my heart was full. This is due to the skill of the author, Klune, and the ability to bring the scene to life by the narrator, Henning.

  33. Julie says:

    This year was the first year j really started loving audio books! I loved As You Wish by Cary Elwes,
    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah,
    The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe, Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor,
    and currently LOVING Wintering, which is on your list already! I did listen to Seinfeld’s “Is This Anything?” but just didn’t find it as funny as he was on the show. I chuckled a bit, but I realized I don’t love his straight stand up—plus there was lots of profanity, which surprised me. My kids and I listened to The Mystwick School of Musicraft twice, The Unteachables, The Willoughbys, The One & Only Ivan, The One & Only Bob, and the first two Harry Potters. It was certainly a different year, not being able to grab books from the library, but we sure grew to love audio books while doing puzzles! 🙂

  34. Dana says:

    I’m listening to and absolutely loving “The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress” by Ariel Lawhon and read by Ann Marie Lee. Three different perspectives, 1930’s setting, drama, history, showbiz glamour, and the women living and surviving in a world where their power is limited. The narrator nails the accents, and I’m flying through it.

  35. Alicia says:

    I don’t think I would have ever gotten into audiobooks if it weren’t for posts here and for Libby. I love listening now. I am loving the Armand Gamache series and am bummed to learn Ralph Cosham stops reading them. I absolutely LOVED Harry Potter. I have read the entire series but not seen any of the movies. The audio was just a fabulous experience. I keep telling my nephew to get the Libby app and listen to it already. I am also highly enjoying the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones, read by Lorelei King.

  36. Shannon DeSantis Gile says:

    I read mostly YA. My top 5/6 listens were Stamped: A Remix by Jason Reynolds, Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis, Clap WhenYou Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, and the first two books in the CurseBreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer: A Curse So Dark and Lonely and A Heart So Fierce and Broken.

  37. Deb says:

    Some of my favorite audiobooks this year were The House in the Cerulean Sea, Code Name Helene, and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I love listening to Elizabeth Acevedo — With the Fire on High was so good. Another standout was Tana French’s Faithful Place. I also really appreciated Shrill and The Witches are Coming read by author Lindy West, and The Story of More by Hope Jahren. I posted my favorite audiobooks of the year here: https://thebookstop.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/2020-my-year-in-audiobooks/

  38. Leslie says:

    One of my most favourite audiobooks is Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The cast of narrators, who do such an amazing job, makes this a must-listen.

  39. Tracey says:

    I’m very late to this party but wanted to mention these that I don’t think were mentioned yet for any other latecomers:
    Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb
    Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
    Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous
    High School by Tegan and Sara

    These are all ones that were significantly enhanced by the audio experience. And I second The Dutch House, Poet X and The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

  40. Jocelyn says:

    My first audio of the year was ‘The Martian’ and I loved it. I wondered how I would cope alone on a planet trying to kill me … Then came covid. Hahaha. The irony.

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