Best Audiobooks for Adults

Best Audiobooks for Adults

I love audiobooks!  I do read a lot of physical books too, but I love how audiobooks allow me to get through more books and make menial tasks more enjoyable while I listen.  I wrote a post all about why I listen to audiobooks and what programs I use to listen to them (many of them free!) here: A Guide to Audiobooks.  The post also contains my favorite narrators, so even if the plots of these books don’t appeal to you, you could search by narrator for some new ideas.

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links. I get a small commission if you purchase an item from an affiliate.


Here is the list as separated by genre:


Contemporary Fiction


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

It was really fun having an Australian narrator for this Australian book because it just seemed to add charm!  I couldn’t stop listening to this book and was so sucked in! I loved the insights into human behavior, the light mystery element as I tried to put all the pieces together, the emotional rawness while also mixed with humor, and Alice’s relatable character. It was a highly entertaining read, but also provided depth through its insights into relationships.  The only thing I didn’t love was the amount of language. If you’re sensitive to content be aware that there is language and sexual references spread throughout, but no explicit sexual content.


Historical Fiction


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, narrated by five different narrators

I loved listening to this one with all of the different narrators for the different letter writers, because I was able to hear the letters read with the British charm they were intended to have. I wasn’t sure how I would like a book made entirely of letters but it actually worked really well. I really enjoyed this sweet story and loved hearing the stories of all the interesting people on the island. I also liked learning more about this part of World War II history that I haven’t heard much about.



Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, narrated by multiple narrators

If you’ve already read and loved Guernsey, this might be a great choice for you!  It is also made up of letters and is set during war time.  It is a beautiful story of love blossoming in the midst of World War I and I loved watching the characters journey and receiving a better understanding of life during that time.  Just like Guernsey, it made a wonderful audiobook hearing the letters read by the multiple narrators.




The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright, narrated by Simon Vance

I really enjoyed this novel based closely on a true story.  His journey was very intriguing and the story would be a great choice for a book club discussion.  The narration was very well done as the narrator effectively changed his voice for different characters and was enjoyable to listen to.



Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, narrated by Will Damron

Wow, what a story!  The fact that it is very closely based on a true story makes it even more incredible.  I learned so much about what Italy was like during World War II.  There are some really heartbreaking things that happen as you get slapped with the realities of war, so it may not be for everyone.  The narrator performed it well and I got through the long book pretty quickly!


The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

Mary Bowser was such an amazing and inspiring person and I loved reading about her! There are not a lot of facts of Mary’s life recorded and so the author had to take liberties and make surmises, but I thought her interpretation was wonderfully depicted and felt plausible and honest. I thought the characterization and weaving of the story were beautifully done and narration was excellent.



There are several classics that have been recorded by well known actors/narrators so if there’s a classic you want to read, it’s definitely worth looking into the audio version!  Here are a couple classics I read for the first time as audiobooks and thought they were very well done:


The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, narrated by Stephen Crossly or this version narrated by Wanda McCaddon

My friend and I both listened to this audiobook around the same time and were both saying how we enjoyed the narrators, but when we said something about the narrator’s gender we realized we had listened to different versions!  And it looks like there are several more versions available as well.  I listened to the one narrated by Stephen Crossly and thought he did a great job with different voices for different characters.  My friend really enjoyed her version by Wanda McCaddon and from the audio sample it sounds like one I’d enjoy as well.

I really loved the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel and was excited to hear that there are sequels as well.  Unfortunately, there were no audiobooks for them available through my library and I haven’t got to them in physical print yet.  It looks like Audible does have some of the sequels, but not all of them.  I did not find this to be a dry or boring classic at all!



Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, narrated by Richard Allen

This is obviously a very heavy story and not one I’d want to reread all the time, but I was really glad to be able to read a book that made such an impact on history.  I expected the writing to be more dry or difficult to get through, but it wasn’t.  Having such a skilled narrator that used all the different dialects made it a great choice to listen to as audio.  I think it was even more powerful listening to it than it would have been reading it.


North and South by Juliet Stevenson

I highly recommend Juliet Stevenson for any audiobooks of classics!  She masterfully captured all the dialects in this classic story that has been described as a more gritty Pride and Prejudice.  I really enjoyed this story!




Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, narrated by Dan Stevens

The characters in this famous mystery novel are of all different nationalities and Dan Stevens did a great job with all the accents!  I thought it made the story especially entertaining listening to it in this way.  This was a clever and unpredictable (but still plausible) mystery


Need to Know by Karen Cleveland, narrated by Mia Barron

As I listened to this one I kept looking for more chores I could do because I didn’t want to stop listening!  It was so intense in all the right ways! The story felt more unique in the way that it was a psychological spy thriller rather than an action/fighting story and it had a heavy family/motherhood aspect.




Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, narrated by Edward Herrmann

This amazing story is one of my favorite books.  I was blown away by the story of Louis Zamperini and all that he endured physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It is a really inspiring book, because although the story was full of so many disturbing things, the author wrote it in a way that was honest but not overly graphic. She also did so much research and was able to provide so many great details and perspectives of many people, yet it was still extremely readable and not bogged down in all the facts.




Malcolm Gladwell books narrated by the author

These books are perfect for people who love thinking about the way humans think and act.  It’s pop psychology at it’s finest.  I listened to all of them through audio and they are read by the author himself.  My favorites are David and Goliath and Blink, but they were all very interesting!


Quiet by Susan Cain, narrated by Kathe Mazur

I listened to this insightful book several years ago and have been thinking I should reread soon as I am now a mother to an introvert (and still married to an introvert).  I think it’s an important read with many applicable things whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or right smack dab in the middle of the two like me.




The Magnolia Story written and narrated by Chip and Joanna Gaines

This one is a fun listen as it is read by Chip and Joanna themselves!  I really enjoyed hearing about their journey with all its up and downs.  I love their unapologetic faith and humility in recognizing God’s hand in their life and journey.  The book is certainly not a literary masterpiece, but that’s not what it was intended for. It’s a way for them to share their story with the world and I think they did that wonderfully.

Memoirs are often narrated by the author, so if there’s one you’ve been wanting to read check into the audio version!


My Story written and narrated by Elizabeth Smart

I have followed Elizabeth Smart’s story from the beginning and I really admire her and her ability to move past her awful experience and to use her experience and fame to help other people. The things she endured were horrific, but she wrote about them in a straightforward and non graphic way.  The book was even more powerful having her narrate it herself.  Her second book Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up was recently released and is also narrated by her.  I really liked hearing tidbits about her recovery and the stories she shared of other individuals who went through extremely difficult things, but the organization and flow of the book wasn’t as smooth.



Dad is Fat written and narrated by Jim Gaffigan

This felt like listening to one of his shows since he narrated the book himself.  There were a lot of funny jokes and commentary on being a parent which kept me entertained. Some of the jokes were repeats from acts I heard before, but I didn’t mind it and there was a lot of new funny material. It was a reminder to me to not always take parenthood too seriously and to be able to laugh about things.  It was also a reminder of how we are all so judgmental about how other people raise their kids and it’s ridiculous. I could tell he loves his kids and really enjoys being a father. And he can definitely find the humor in it!





Mistborn trilogy and the sequel series starting with The Alloy of the Law by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer

If you are remotely interested in fantasy Brandon Sanderson is a must read author!  He is a much loved author for very good reason.  His books are creative, complex, and extremely well developed and thought out.  If you are new to his books I’d recommend starting with the Mistborn trilogy.  The first book is The Final Empire.  I thought the narrator did a great job, making the audio version a great way to go.



The Stormlight Archive, starting with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading

 This series is made up of long books, but they are very well done!  I love the husband wife duo that narrates this series and thought the audiobook was a great way to go for this epic series.


Riyria Revelations starting with Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan

I have only listened to the first book so far, but I really enjoyed it and look forward to more!  The narration was engaging and the story was a great mix of adventure, humor, and intrigue.  There are lots of great characters in this series–especially the dynamic duo that is at the forefront of the story. Their interactions were a lot of fun to read about and I look forward to reading more stories about them.


I will keep adding to this list as I discover more audiobooks I love, so check back for more ideas!  You can pin this post so it’s easy to find again.


Also check out:

Best Young Adult Audiobooks

Best Audiobooks for Kids



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