Don't get us wrong, we absolutely love picking up a book and sitting down for a long session of page-turning. But with life continuously moving, that's not always possible–which is when the convenient joy of listening to audiobooks comes in handy.
From the fantastic work of professional voice actors taking on the mannerisms and notes of our favourite characters to authors reading their own autobiographies–listening to an audiobook is a unique and effortless way to consume content.
We've tried to hit a range of genres to please every ear and offer a listen for every mood. Here are 10 of the best audiobooks you can listen to right now.
A Promised Land
BY BARACK OBAMA
Four years after leaving office, Barack Obama released A Promised Land, the first of his two Presidential memoirs. Best of all, Obama narrates the audiobook himself, with the 44th President of the United States not only being a gifted writer but a gifted orator. Your ears are in trusted hands, considering Obama spent eight years addressing an entire country (and often the world) with grace, charm and poise. We're not saying you shouldn't sit down to read this 768-page epic, but if you needed an excuse to opt for the audiobook version–sheer volume is undoubtedly a fair one. And do we really need to convince you to hang out with Obama for 28-hours? Didn't think so. Listen here.
BY J. K. ROWLING
We realise you probably don't need any encouragement to partake in the most read book franchise in history. But while you may be pretty familiar with Harry's adventures via books or its popular film franchise, we highly recommend giving the audiobooks a crack as well. Whether you choose the American version read by Jim Dale or the British one narrated by Stephen Fry, the books are brought to life in a way that perhaps surpasses a classic read *gasp*. If you're asking us, nothing beats Fry's character range and whimsical energy as we travel the excitements and perils of life at Hogwarts. You can listen here.
Lincoln In The Bardo
BY GEORGE SAUNDERS
Lincoln In The Bardo is the first novel written by well-known American short story writer George Saunders. It follows the imagined purgatory of the recently passed away Willie Lincoln and the grief of his father, President Abraham Lincoln. The book earned Saunders the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2017, and its audiobook form is absolutely worth a listen. Firstly, because it tells an enthralling story, and secondly, because of the way it's told–that is, by an ensemble cast of 166 people. Amongst the voice cast, which includes actors, musicians and some of Saunders' family and friends, are big names like Lena Dunham, Bill Hader, Nick Offerman, Don Cheadle and Ben Stiller, to name just a few. Listen here.
Where The Crawdads Sing
BY DELIA OWENS
Where The Crawdads Sing, a 2018 murder mystery novel by Delia Owens, follows the murder of a young man in the small North Carolina town of Barkley Cove in 1969 and of Kya Clark, the loner "Marsh Girl" presumed guilty. The bestselling novel jumped to fame after making Reese Witherspoon's highly sought-after Hello Sunshine book club in September of 2018, with the actor jumping on to produce the upcoming film as well. But while we wait for that, take in the audiobook version narrated by prolific, award-winning voice narrator Cassandra Campbell, who has lent her skills to over 900 titles. Listen here.
BY MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
On and off the screen, Texan actor Matthew McConaughey has always had a way with words–charming us with heartfelt, hilarious, genuine performances and interview anecdotes. So, you can imagine our reaction when the Academy Award winner released a short memoir in 2020, which is also available as an audiobook. Greenlights follows McConaughey's life, from lucking into the role of a lifetime on Dazed and Confused and his father's death to becoming one of the most prominent actors in the world and the wisdoms he's lived by along the way. All of it told through stories, kept diary entries, poems, scripts and the enviable and enjoyable effortlessness he lives by. McConaughey narrates the audiobook book himself–a worthy added bonus. You can listen here.
World War Z
BY MAX BROOKS
When well written, the atmosphere and scene-building of a horror book can be just as terrifying as any film (just ask Stephen King). So, what happens when you take an excellent horror genre novel and turn it into an engaging audiobook? Listen to Max Brooks' World War Z and find out. The zombie world takeover oral history was made into a 2013 film starring Brad Pitt but is just as engaging in 'The Complete Edition' audiobook, which stars voice acting from the likes of Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Alan Alda and Martin Scorsese. Listen here.
BY MICHELLE OBAMA
Remember earlier, we discussed how lovely listening to Barack Obama stories is? Well, how about the other enigmatic and charming half of one of history's most famous power couples? Michelle Obama's Becoming became an instant hit when it was released in 2018. It recounts how the iconic former first lady went from growing up on the South Side of Chicago and attending Princeton and Harvard Law School to raising a family and finding herself operating out of the highest office in America. Much to our delight, Obama narrates the warm and revelatory story herself. Listen here.
BY ANDY WEIR
Before Matt Damon inhabited the character of Mark Watney, The Martian was a best-selling novel written by Andy Weir and one of the most fun and captivating adventure/sci-fi novels available. It's also, in our opinion, one of the best audiobooks you can strap in for. It follows the survival journey of a botanist/astronaut left alone and presumed dead on Mars. Much of the book takes place between Watney and the reader alone, making it a truly ideal format for an audiobook, as we listen in on the survivor's internal thoughts and audio diary. Voiced by actor Wil Wheaton–plug in and transport yourself to Mars. Listen here.
A Life On Our Planet
BY DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
It's no secret that one of the world's favourite pastimes is sitting down to watch and listen to the great Sir David Attenborough narrating the beauty of our planet and its wildlife. Well, with the release of 2020's A Life On Our Planet, written by the much-beloved broadcaster and narrated by him in audiobook form, you can take Attenborough's iconic voice with you on the go. Just don't let his soothing English accent distract you from the audiobook's content–which reflects on his incredible life's work, the immense tragedy of climate change and steps we can take now to rectify our mistakes. You can listen here.
The Hunting Party
BY LUCY FOLEY
Lucy Foley's The Hunting Party follows a group of seven friends spending New Year's Eve together in an isolated hunting lodge deep in the Scottish wilderness. A perfect setting for an edge-of-your-seat mystery. When one of the friends is murdered, the rest are left to figure out who did it. We assure you this is a classic case of can't put the book (or, in this case, headphones) down. This could be the fastest 10 hours of your life, and at least with an audiobook murder mystery, you're far less likely to feel the temptation to jump lines or peak over the page to find out big reveals faster. Or is that just us? Listen to it here.
Image Credit: lauracatherine.reads