The #1 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The #1 Bestselling audiobook across all our partner stores comes as no surprise. With a 166-person cast, including celebrity voices such as Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, and many others, Lincoln in the Bardo via audiobook brings this unforgettable story to life.

“Saunders’ first novel has a steep entry curve. It’s not a novel that reveals itself quickly and easily, but if you give it your attention, if you burrow deep into the book, you’ll be eminently rewarded. There is a richness and depth of humanity here. There is the strange and wonderful. There is love and grief and mystery all brought together in the story of Abraham Lincoln’s dead son, the Civil War, and what may happen to us all after we leave the mortal coil. It’s a beautiful and moving book that will stay with you for a long, long while.”

—Jason Vanhee, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The top 10 audiobook bestseller list is based on sales through independent bookstore locations in 2017.

The #2 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

The #2 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017, A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who in 1922 is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. This transporting novel relates the counts endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

“Through Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov’s ordinary encounters and activities within the bounds of the four walls of post-revolutionary Moscow’s Metropol Hotel, where he is under house arrest, Towles deftly guides readers across a century of Russian history, from the Bolshevik uprising to the dawn of the nuclear age under Krushchev. Grandiloquent language and drama reminiscent of Tolstoy gradually give way to action and tradecraft suggestive of le Carré in this lovely and entertaining tale of one man’s determination to maintain his dignity and passion for life, even after being stripped of his title, belongings, and freedom. Reading A Gentleman in Moscow is pure pleasure!”

—Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

The top 10 audiobook bestseller list is based on sales through independent bookstore locations in 2017.

The #3 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

The #3 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017 is Hillbilly Elegy: the deeply moving story of how upward mobility actually feels. Written by former marine and Yale Law School graduate J. D. Vance, this audiobook is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Hillbilly Elegy is a sad and beautiful kind of reckoning. Author J.D. Vance comes to terms with his own upbringing, highlighting both working-class and poverty-stricken whites in Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and much of the nation. Vance uses his own family as a microcosm to highlight the culture, politics, and economic status of a specific group living on the margins. He covers topics ranging from education and familial bonds to addiction and health, but where Vance really shines is in telling the story of his family—a harrowing tale, to be sure, but one that is told with grace, honesty, and insight. While I don’t necessarily agree with his politics, I found the book deeply moving and important in understanding America today.”

—Hilary Gustafson, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

The top 10 audiobook bestseller list is based on sales through independent bookstore locations in 2017.

The #4 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The #4 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the story of the historic 2016 election campaign and its aftermath. In Clinton’s most personal memoir yet, she reveals what it was like to be the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.

The top 10 audiobook bestseller list is based on sales through independent bookstore locations in 2017.

The #5 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

In Norse Mythology, the #5 bestselling audiobook of 2017, Neil Gaiman brings to life the gods of ancient Nordic legend. Through his deft and witty prose, Norse gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and the tendency to let passion ignite their actions.

“Master storyteller Neil Gaiman brings to life the Norse gods as only he can, from their origins to their twilight. Find out why the handle on Thor’s hammer was forged too short, and how poetry is said to have come into the world. Comic book fans and fantasy readers alike are sure to treasure these classic myths.”

—Aubrey W., Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR

The #6 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

The #6 bestselling audiobook of 2017 is made up of the experiences and observations of David Sedaris and written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable. Theft by Finding is made up of Sedaris’ private writings, and even his misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise the generosity of spirit that characterizes it.

“For years, regular attendees of David Sedaris’s live appearances have looked forward to readings from his pocket notebooks and diaries. The best of these hilarious, bizarre, and often profane jokes, stories, everyday observations, and family memories (collected over forty years) appear in Theft by Finding, which includes observations from 1977, when he was an art student and hapless construction worker, through 2002. It’s well known that before his New Yorker and NPR stories established him as a writer and performer, he worked as an elf and housecleaner, but these are the stories you haven’t heard.”

—Karen, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The #7 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is the #7 best-selling audiobook of 2017. A powerful tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of slavery, The Underground Railroad is a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

“Whitehead’s new novel is much more than the story of a runaway slave, Cora, who fights her way to the North; it is also a phantasmagorical look at race in America. In this instance the railroad is literal — a train roaring through tunnels constructed like a subway, leading Cora to several unlikely destinations. Like the travels of Gulliver, each of Cora’s stops on the railroad is a different version of America, displaying the varied ways in which Americans view race and manifest destiny. With exquisite prose, Colson digs deep into the troubled heart of America, exposing prejudice, tolerance, hatred, violence, and love as readers stop at each distinct station. Cora is a hero for the ages, and Whitehead is a writer who can guide us, like a station master, into the light. This is a fantastic novel.”

—William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The #8 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The #8 bestselling audiobook of 2017 is The Hate U Give: the riveting story of Starr Carter, whose world is upended when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Everyone wants to know what really went down that night, and what Starr does or doesn’t say will impact her community and could endanger her life. Narrator Bahni Turpin brings this powerful narrative to life.

“Angie Thomas’ novel gives readers a complex narrative of life in a black community that is dealing with the intersectional traumas of mass incarceration, the war on drugs, police violence, and death. We follow 16-year-old Starr through her community of Garden Heights and as she tries to navigate black existence in the predominantly white, affluent high school where she spends most of her time. It is a powerfully written tale of coming to terms with the things outside of our control and all that which we can change.”

—Sarah Zarantonello, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

The #9 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

The #9 bestselling audiobook of 2017 across independent bookstores, is a searing, deeply moving memoir by critically acclaimed author Sherman Alexie. Narrated by the author, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me explores the powerful themes of family, love, loss, and forgiveness through Alexie’s complicated relationship with his mother Lillian Alexie.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most anticipated books of the year, written by one of the most well-known PNW writers is a staff pick. I was intrigued from the moment I saw the cover, which showcases a beautiful picture of Alexie’s mother, Lillian, and older sister, Mary,  that itself relates to the legacy of beautiful resilience and casual brutality explored throughout the text, but I did not expect it to touch me so deeply.  I listened to the audio version read by Sherman Alexie himself, and his emotion, whether he is using his “urban Indian” voice or the rez accent of family and friends, is evident and packs a punch.  As an adult orphan, mother, sister, teacher, activist, and minority who is often “the only one” and who has anger on behalf of and fear for my people and our country, this book broke my heart in places and healed it in others.  Everyone should read this book.  Everyone.

—Lydia, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA

Bonus: listen to a complimentary 30-minute excerpt of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

The top 10 audiobook bestseller list for 2017 is based on sales through independent bookstore locations in 2017.

The #10 Bestselling Audiobook of 2017: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

The #10 bestselling audiobook of 2017, Commonwealth is the enthralling story of how a chance romantic encounter sets in motion the dissolution of two marriages and the joining of two families. Narrated by Hope Davis and told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, it is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories.

“Patchett leaves behind the exotic locales and intricate plots of State of Wonder and Bel Canto for an even darker and more difficult place to navigate — the interior of a blended family over the course of several decades. While more domestic than many of her previous novels, Commonwealth offers plenty of intrigue and surprises as Patchett explores the interaction of a group of children forced into each other’s lives because of their parents’ impulsive choices. With keen insight, tears of both sorrow and joy, and some real — if dark — humor, Patchett pulls readers into this complex family’s world, and we are eager for every detail.”

—John Christensen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI