Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time whether you're in the car, at the gym, on a walk, or doing chores. If you’re new to audiobooks, or you’re a veteran of this versatile format, this list will have you covered. Check out some of the titles below to start listening, and don't forget to try JMRL's downloadable audiobooks from Overdrive.
THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery
In this story, an apartment concierge in Paris and a precocious 12-year-old girl come together through the help of a wealthy Japanese gentleman. The audio captures the voices, wit, and charm of the main characters superbly. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and Cassandra Morris. Duration: 9.5 hrs Award winner. Also available on Overdrive.
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
Audio is a great way to experience this dystopian classic in which books are forbidden objects. Choose from a variety of narrators, including Ray Bradbury, Scott Brick, Michael Pritchard, from the catalog, or Stephen Hoye on Overdrive. Narrators listed above. Duration: 6 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
WORLD WAR Z: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR by Max Brooks
As an oral history of the fictional zombie wars which almost wiped out humanity the world over, the audiobook truly captures the testimony of survivors in this cast ensemble performance. Narrated by a full cast. Duration: 12 hrs. Award winner. Also available on Overdrive.
THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon
A Jewish escape artist flees Nazi-occupied Prague and with his cousin he works on comic books, which are drawn from their own lives. Chabon’s characters and language flourish in this excellent reading of a novel of love, friendship, and escapism. Narrated by David Colacci. Duration: 9.5 hrs. Award winner.
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman
Brilliant storyteller Neil Gaiman narrates his own tale in which a grown man reminisces about the strange and magical events of the summer he was seven years old, when he befriends an odd girl who lives at the end of the lane. Narrated by the author. Duration: 5.75 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman
The narrator expertly captures young magician Quentin Coldwater’s voice in this dark coming-of-age novel, influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Narrated by Mark Bramhall. Duration: 17 hrs.
THE SERPENT OF VENICE by Christopher Moore
A bawdy mix of Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, this outrageous tale will have you laughing out loud. The skills of Broadway actor Euan Morton allow listeners to feel as if they were listening to an onstage production. Narrated by Euan Morton. Duration: 10.5 hrs.
THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
The magic of the Night Circus comes to life in this dark story where not all is as it seems. Jim Dale’s voice will pull listeners in as two young magicians seek to outdo each other with dangerous consequences. Narrated by Jim Dale. Duration: 13.5 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
ONE MORE THING by B.J. Novak
TV writer Novak’s short humorous stories are told by himself and a cast of his friends including Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Julianne Moore, Emma Thompson, and more. Narrators listed above. Duration: 7 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
This classic satire is satisfying on audio, as it captures the sardonic tones and mannerisms of the animals who lead a rebellion on Mr. Jones’ Manor Farm. Narrated by Patrick Tull (CD); Ralph Cosham (Overdrive). Duration: 3.25 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield
A reclusive writer, known for her missing thirteenth tale in a famous collection of stories, requests a biographer to record her exceptional life. The dual narrators embody the voices of the main characters, seizing on the air of mystery in this story within a story. Narrated by Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner. Duration: 15.75 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer
This historical narrative set in the German occupied Channel Islands in 1946 is told through letters, cables, and notes, which comes to life on audio as each character is distinguishable by their accents by this well-suited cast. Narrated by a full cast. Duration: 8 hrs. Also available on Overdrive.
CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith
This political mystery-thriller will keep listeners on edge as a serial killer targeting children reigns terror in post-WWII Stalinist Russia. Soldier Leo Demidov is the man sent to stop him, but must keep his capture quiet. The narrator does an award-winning job of encapsulating the chilling nature of the story, and makes the characters more compelling and empathetic. Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris. 12.5 hrs. Award winner. Also available on Overdrive.
BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter
This story alternates between the past and present, as an Italian innkeeper seeks the Hollywood star he fell in love with when she washed up on his shore 50 years earlier. This is an eloquent performance by actor Edoardo Ballerini, who expertly pairs the audio and plot. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Duration: 13 hrs. Award winner.
The right narrator can make or break the success of an audiobook in the same way that the right actor can make or break a film. Below is a list of award-winning narrators for more great listening.
- Scott Brick
- Orlagh Cassidy
- Jim Dale
- George Guidall
- Simon Jones
- Katherine Kellgren
- Rosalyn Landor
- Robin Miles
- Stina Nielsen
- Barbara Rosenblat
- Simon Vance
Also look for these talented authors who narrate their own books:
If you want to check out a larger list of award winners, try some of the following links: