Whether you’re a fully converted audiobook fan, or still hesitant to trade pages for headphones, we’ve gathered a host of titles just begging to be downloaded. From heartwarming memoirs to romance novels and detective fiction, these compellingly told and engagingly narrated stories prove that books of any genre and topic can be elevated when the right voice brings them to life.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Narrated by Scott Brick
A radio sensation when it first came out in 1966, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood details the savage real-life murder of four members of the Clutter family in 1959 in the small, quiet town of Holcomb, Kansas. One the most renowned and highly recommended non-fiction books in modern history, in it Capote manages to generate both suspense and empathy for the two individuals who committed the gruesome murders. He masterfully reconstructs the killing, the criminal investigation and, eventually, the capture, trial and execution of the murderers. Whether you’ve read it before or this is your first time hearing about it, Scott Brick’s audiobook narration will make you feel like an expectant radio listener in 1959, hanging on every word.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
A New York Times best-selling phenomenon, selected by Reese Witherspoon for her popular book club Where the Crawdads Sing has sold over seven million copies around the world. No biggie, right? Owens tells the story of sensitive yet brave and intelligent Kya, the ‘marsh girl’ who, abandoned by her parents, survived for years alone in the marsh outside a small town on the North Carolina coast. A page-turner in book form, the audiobook format relies on Cassandra Campbell’s narration and apt Southern accent to turn an already good thing into a superb one.

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry, Narrated by Stephen Fry
Are you a mythology fan? ‘Cause we definitely are! And whether you’re a lover of all things Olympus, or just starting out to crack open that Pandora’s box (all right, we’ll stop), you’re sure to love Stephen Fry’s Mythos, where ancient Greek myths are retold in a vivid, modern way. In the audiobook version, you get to hear Fry himself telling the tales of Athena’s birth, the love affair of Eros and Psyche, the many adventures of Zeus and more. If you’ve ever thought Greek stories were intimidating, or that such an old horse has already been beaten to death, think again – Fry’s tongue-in-cheek tellings will dazzle you and change your mind. Magic, gods, monsters and adventure, what more could anyone ask for?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Narrated by Stephen Fry
Another vote for Fry – this time for lending his astounding voice to Douglas Adams’ hilarious The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A beloved cult classic, the story follows Arthur, who is retrieved from planet Earth by his friend just a few moments before it is demolished to build a galactic freeway (you’ll get it once you read it). Whether you’re a fan of all things sci-fi, or you’re just looking for a galaxy of fun (pun completely intended) in the shape of an audiobook, look no further.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Narrated by Elizabeth Moss
Margaret Atwood has penned many a stellar book – much of them standouts in the dystopian genre – but perhaps the most well-known of her repertoire is The Handmaid’s Tale, following the story of Offred, a handmaid (read: forced reproductive surrogate) in the repressive theocracy of Gilead. Devastatingly ironic and perceptive, it’s one of those powerful stories that can forever alter a person’s perceptions. This audiobook version of Atwood’s novel is narrated by Elizabeth Moss, the Emmy-winning actor who stars as Offred in the TV adaptation of the book.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, Narrated by Tom Hanks
Actor-who-needs-no-introduction Tom Hanks gives vivid life to Patchett’s critically acclaimed bestseller, Oprah favourite, and 2020 Audie finalist – a powerful tale about the bond between two siblings and their lost childhood home. Once you pop those headphones on, you’ll embark on a ride filled with love, nostalgia and forgiveness, so be prepared, and have tissues handy.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah, Narrated by Trevor Noah
If you haven’t seen Trevor Noah’s stand-up comedy shows, you’re missing out. They’re hilarious and clever – and Noah brings that same energy to his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. The audiobook, winner of Audible’s Best of 2016 – Celebrity Memoirs award, follows Noah as he comes of age during the ebb of South Africa’s apartheid, detailing a series of both funny and poignant episodes in his fascinating life. There’s of course no one better to narrate his story than Noah himself, and considering that he is a master of accents and dialects, it’s easy to understand the hype.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Narrated by Barack Obama
Tom Hanks aside, if there’s anyone in modern times who needs no introduction, it’s former president of the United States Barack Obama – which is probably why his presidential memoir, A Promised Land, broke records in its genre and became the bestselling book of 2020. In it, Obama recounts his incredible journey to becoming the leader of the free world, talking in detail about his roots, his ideas and convictions. In addition to Obama’s captivating story and revealing insights, the audiobook features his own iconic voice, as he narrates it himself.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay, Narrated by Roxane Gay
First gaining notoriety with her popular Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay went on to publish a collection of essays, Bad Feminist, and her steady climb to literary stardom has not stopped since. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body deals with issues of self-image, insecurity, food, weight and trauma – and ultimately learning to love and care for oneself. It’s intimate and perceptive, and will resonate with anyone who has ever dealt with body image issues, regardless of age or gender. Gay herself lends her voice to the audiobook version, making her story even more personal and impactful.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Narrated by Rosamund Pike
Before Rosamund Pike scared the boots off all of us in Gone Girl, she was gracing the big screen as the beautiful, kind Jane in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This time around, Pike doesn’t just play a part, she gives voice to the whole of one of Austen’s most beloved works, bringing the British classic to life with her bright voice and energetic reading. The writer’s wit and talent is exalted, and the listener gets to relive the romance once more.

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by Charlton Griffin
Audiobooks were made for detective stories. It’s true. And what better example than Arthur Conan Doyle’s quintessential Sherlock Holmes stories. A fan favourite, his stories have bewitched and enthralled readers for more than a century – and they’re not bound to stop any time soon. Doyle’s complete Sherlock works are perhaps best enjoyed in audiobook form, giving voice to crisp Mr. Holmes, his enthusiastic partner, Watson, and Doyle’s bevy of interesting characters.

Beloved by Toni Morrison, Narrated by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison was a professor at Princeton University and the first Black female editor at Random House, as well as the winner of the National Book Award, a Pulitzer prize and a Nobel prize. We could keep going, but honestly, do you really need another reason why you should listen to her very own narration of Beloved, one of Morrison’s most famous works? That’s what we thought. A towering tale of slavery and sorrow, filled with poetry and suspense, this is a story by turns harrowing and beautiful – and who better to tell it than the illustrious writer herself.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Alex Jennings, Michael York, Lynn Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Northam and Patrick Stewart
Talking lions, fauns, witches and monsters, not to mention precocious children, have all lived within the pages of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia for generations, and still today, readers of all ages keep their own copies of Lewis’ books on their shelves. If you’re feeling a tad nostalgic, and wish to revisit the magical realm of the Pevensie siblings and Prince Caspian, tune in to this audiobook version and listen as a host of talented actors read you one of your favourite childhood tales.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Narrated by Grover Gardner
We’re sure you’ve heard of Hamilton the musical (if not, you may want to rethink your news subscriptions). As it happens, Lin-Manuel Miranda based his groundbreaking, award-winning Broadway show on Ron Chernow’s extensive and detailed biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of the so-called ‘founding fathers’ of the United States (as well as an architect of the country’s financial system). You wouldn’t think a finance guy could inspire such a pop culture behemoth, but here we are. If you’re curious about how that went down, a good place to start is the audiobook version of Chernow’s work.

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen, Narrated by Pearl Hewitt
Far from irrelevant, historical novels can be some of the most exciting books you’ll ever read. And just wait until you’ve listened to your first! Consider Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart; first published in 1938, the book follows the piercing story of Portia, an orphan who finds herself stranded in her wealthy half-brother’s home in London during the interwar period. The book deals with love, betrayal and the cruelty that can often be found hidden in conventional society, and the story is told with such humour that you’ll find it hard to put down. (Or, rather, pause.)

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci
In our opinion, Stanley Tucci elevates every single project he touches, from The Devil Wears Prada to Julie & Julia, The Lovely Bones and, of course, his own latest book, Taste: My Life Through Food. Yes, some people really are that talented. An instant New York Times bestseller, Tucci’s memoir revolves around his life, both in and out of the kitchen, told with the passion of a man who hails from an Italian-American family. Get your headphones on, and be prepared for a walk through many delicious recipes and the stories behind each of them. A book you can both hear and taste? You’ve hit the jackpot.

Everyone You Hate Is Going to Die by Daniel Sloss, Narrated by Daniel Sloss
Yikes, you might think, what an… optimistic title? No need to fear, though, Daniel Sloss’ Everyone You Hate Is Going to Die is an absolute hoot. Transgressive and comedic, the book tries to grapple with dysfunctional relationships of all sorts (lovers, exes, parents, friends, your children, even your country), and it might just be the wake-up call you didn’t know you were looking for. If you’re too sensitive, it might be best to skip this one; if not, you’ll roar with laughter. Trust us.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Narrated by Bahni Turpin
As if it’s not enough to be the winner of the National Book Award in 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017, Colson Whitehead’s epic novel was recently adapted into an Amazon Prime Video limited series. The story follows Cora, a slave on a Georgia plantation during the pre-Civil War era who eventually escapes to the North when Ceasar, another slave, tells her about the Underground Railroad escape route – rendered in the book as an actual, physical underground railroad with tunnels, tracks and trains. Cora’s harrowing journey takes her not only through the US, but also through time, with Colson revealing the injustices dealt to Black Americans not only in the past, but also the present. A gripping story that will at times bring you to your knees – no doing the dishes during this one.

The Future of Medicine by James Temperton, Narrated by Jot Davies
If you’re curious about what’s coming next for the world of health and medicine – which, given the pandemic, who isn’t – this audiobook is for you. The Future of Medicine, by WIRED journalist James Temperton, explores the current medical revolutions that are changing the face of healthcare, and which will shape all of our futures. From newfound therapy methods, to medical ethics and the science behind genetic engineering, as well as life-saving advances in research and technology, it’s all here. Most importantly, Temperton tries to give an answer to the question of whether technology can become so advanced we are able to slow or even stop ageing. Sounds interesting, right?

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, Narrated by Matthew McConaughey
Readers around the world have described Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey’s memoir Greenlights as life-changing and inspiring. We agree 100%. In McConaughey’s own words, this book is “an album, a record, a story of [his] life so far.” It’s filled with over 50 years of harsh truths, brutal lessons, prayers, beautiful poems and photographs. Whether you’re a fan of the Interstellar actor or not, this one’s a worthwhile listen. Plus, he voices it himself, and we’ll admit to a few swoons just because of that…

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