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If you're finding it tough to carve out the time to read these days, consider switching over to audiobooks. These narrated works really make the stories come alive, immersing you in their world and providing the perfect respite from the grind of your daily commute, workout, or house chores. Get your lit fix with these 17 best-selling audiobooks.
Pro tip: Instead of paying upwards of $20 for one-off purchases, sign up for Audible (the first month is free!) and select a new audiobook to enjoy every month. At $15 a month, it's far more reasonable for avid audiobook listeners, and you get to keep all of the books you download, whether or not you stick with your membership.
This critically acclaimed novel is touted for its layered prose and rich, scenic descriptions. It takes place during World War II, following the lives of a German orphan boy and a blind French girl as they deal with their disparate circumstances in a war-torn world. Actor Zach Appelman animates this intricate, multifaceted plot through his narration, making it a riveting companion piece for a long car trip or plane ride.
The horror master is back with one of his most chilling and gruesome tales yet.
Stephen King's The Outsider details life in a small town, where everybody knows everybody. When a little boy's body is found in a town park, the police and townspeople immediately point to only one person — his Little League coach. A combination of narration and police interview transcripts weave a complicated, unbelievably compelling story that's even more chilling to listen to on audiobook.
David and Julie had a short, misguided marriage, managed to part as friends, and allowed their lives to completely diverge. Decades later, they both find themselves teetering on the cusp of a midlife crisis, with Julie seeking David out for help in tutoring her daughter. Their reconnection rekindles something more complicated than romance — it's more of a fractured friendship that'll never quite look the way it once did.
This humorous, yet melancholy read comes to life through George Newbern's sardonically upbeat delivery.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz-Age classic is always worth a reread. This audio version of The Great Gatsby is brought to life by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, and it makes for lush, haunting auditory entertainment.
Neil Gaiman's beloved novel American Gods is a thriller with a mystical slant, shimmering with subplots and sumptuous detail that's dynamically narrated by a full cast.
It follows Shadow, a newly released ex-con whose hopes for a new beginning with his wife Laura are shattered when she dies in a car crash before they are able to reunite. Feeling hopeless, he takes a job with a mysterious stranger called Mr. Wednesday and becomes his bodyguard and driver, where he slips into a different kind of underworld life.
A Gentleman in Moscow is a lush, highly descriptive novel that begins in Russia in 1922, and spans over 30 years. It follows Count Alexander Rostov, an "unrepentant aristocrat," sentenced to house arrest in an attic room in a luxury hotel, as he watches from the inside all of the political change and turmoil going on around him. Nicholas Guy Smith's narration of the audiobook pairs perfectly with this compelling story.
This page-turner from author Liane Moriarty (narrated in audiobook form by Caroline Lee) is just as addictive as its HBO screen adaptation. Big Little Lies is all about the hidden lives of residents in an affluent Australian beach town, where dark secrets are glossed over by wealthy and privileged facades.
Mothers Madeline Mackenzie and Celeste Wright take new-in-town mom Jane Chapman under their wing, causing tensions within a community that's already rife with rumors.
If you can't help but roll your eyes at the phrase "self-help," Mark Manson's best-selling, straight-talking book dispenses practical advice, sans any sugar-coating — listening to it as you go about your morning routine or commute to work is a pretty great way to begin the day, too.
The audiobook, narrated by Roger Wayne, makes the argument that putting a good spin on the pitfalls of life is belittling and ineffective. He advocates toughening up, understanding that failure will happen to you, and getting intimately familiar with your shortcomings so you can focus on what you truly want to excel at.
Those picking up Kevin Hart's memoir will probably expect a lot of laughs and crazy stories, but they may not be prepared for the profound depth and poignancy that it delivers. Growing up in a rough North Philadelphia neighborhood with an unstable, difficult family life, Hart illustrates his upbringing and how he developed mechanisms for coping through comedy and looking for the blessings in every situation. His audiobook narration is just as energetic as one of his stand-up sets, even as the subject matter veers into serious territory.
This feminist-dystopian novel, narrated by a full cast (including Claire Danes), depicts the brutal fate of living under a totalitarian theocracy — a world called Gilead in which women are subjugated and have virtually no rights, valued only for their ability to procreate. It follows a handmaid named Offred who lives under this dictatorship, clinging to pieces of the past and the shreds of her former humanity that she's allowed only in secret.
America's sweethearts Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper are adored for their modern-farmhouse aesthetic, their sweet and humorous rapport, and that they're so much more than just another TV couple. This charming joint biography (narrated by the couple!) is a look at their humble beginnings, from their first home renovation projects together to their burgeoning success and eventual stardom.
Born to a white father and a Xhosa mother in apartheid South Africa, Trevor Noah was not, according to the government, supposed to exist. He was born a crime, and was essentially kept hidden away by his mother for most of his childhood. This funny, and at times difficult, memoir (narrated by Noah himself) tells the story of his "coming out" as legal tides turned in South Africa, his fiercely important relationship with his mother, and his subsequent journey to the desk of The Daily Show in Manhattan.
This upbeat adventure novel hits on a lot of fandoms — video games, '80s culture, and virtual reality (with even a whiff of The Matrix in its theme). It takes place in the bleak year 2044, where the virtual reality world, OASIS, provides a glorious but all-consuming respite from everyday life. Users can go to school, earn money, and interact with other avatars through the program.
Protagonist Wade Watts, who in the offline world lives in poverty, learns that the deceased creator of OASIS left Easter eggs in the program that if collected, would grant the finder his massive inheritance. The audiobook, narrated by actor Wil Wheaton, follows Wade as he hunts down the remaining keys, solving the intricate puzzles and battling rivals along the way.
This gripping book from Nora Roberts (narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) centers around a family-owned Montana resort and a long-lost aunt who returns under violent and mysterious circumstances, completely shaking up the family's worldview. The narrative goes deep, exploring themes of trauma, trust, and the bonds of family.
Already lauded as a modern classic, this debut novel from Angie Thomas takes on the issue of police brutality from the perspective of a 16-year-old black girl who's been touched by a tragedy.
Starr Carter witnesses her best friend, Khalil, get fatally shot by the police while he's unarmed, and she suffers the devastating aftermath of the media portraying him as a thug. This nuanced, powerful book, narrated by Bahni Turpin, speaks to the current landscape of racial tensions and the need to rally for justice. This is one book you definitely need to enjoy before the movie comes out.
This endearing book is another one to add to your listening queue. It's told from the perspective of Ove, a cranky curmudgeon who shuns social invitations and has endless complaints about the world, though his cranky exterior is only a facade to hide his true feelings of sadness and loss. Ove is gradually warmed over time by an unlikely friendship forged with his neighbors.