To Be Listened To: Fall’s Most Anticipated Audiobooks (Take the Quiz!)

Fall brings great audiobook releases, and this year is no different—at least on that front. We scoped out what’s coming for our To Be Listened To (TBLT) list and hand-picked our most anticipated audiobooks.
Pro tip: pre-order your favorite TBLT picks now and find them waiting for you in your library on the morning they release.

Wondering where to start? Take the quiz to find your perfect TBLT audiobook!

Explore our TBLT list, including listens by bestselling authors, celebrity memoirs, audiobooks with special features, and more.

Want to skip ahead? Check out the categories below:
Bestselling Authors | Audiobooks by Podcasters | Celebrity Memoirs | Immersive Experiences | Read by the Author

Bestselling Authors

First up, we’re showcasing audiobooks by authors who have proved their chops with bestselling past releases. If you loved The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, get ready for Harlem Shuffle (Sept 14). A family saga masquerading as a crime novel, Rachel at Avid Bookshop says it’s “suspenseful and funny, but also examines race and power in the ways Whitehead writes so masterfully.”

Sally Rooney fans who have been on the lookout for her latest release after the success of Normal People needn’t wait any longer: Beautiful World, Where Are You (Sept 7) is here—a novel about desire, friendships, and life’s complications.

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See was a breakout and beloved bestseller by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author. His new highly anticipated release, Cloud Cuckoo Land (Sept 28), follows an ancient book from Constantinople in the 15th century to today and far into the future, and is dedicated to “the librarians then, now, and in the years to come.”

Harlem Shuffle

By Colson Whitehead • Narrated by Dion Graham

Beautiful World, Where Are You

By Sally Rooney • Narrated by Aoife McMahon

Cloud Cuckoo Land

By Anthony Doerr • Narrated by Marin Ireland & Simon Jones

Harlem Shuffle shows the changing landscape of Harlem with a side of gangsters, extortion, crooked cops, and the everyday struggle of a Black business owner. This book is suspenseful and funny but also examines race and power in the ways Whitehead writes so masterfully.”

Rachel, bookseller at Avid Bookshop

Audiobooks by Podcasters

Looking for a familiar voice to tell you a story? Look no further than these audiobooks, written and narrated by the podcasters who already have your ear. Cohosts of the Ear Hustle podcast, Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, won Radiotopia’s contest for new podcasts back in 2016 and launched the first podcast created and produced entirely within a prison. In This is Ear Hustle (Oct 12), the podcasters share how they each came to San Quentin State Prison, new stories of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and the experiences of humanity that unite us all.

If you love The Sopranos and you love the podcast Talking Sopranos by its stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, then their new audiobook is a no-brainer. Woke Up This Morning (Nov 2) is subtitled The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos and shares all the stories and secrets fans have been waiting to hear for over twenty years.

This Is Ear Hustle

By Nigel Poor & Earlonne Woods • Narrated by a full cast

Woke Up This Morning

By Michael Imperioli & Steve Schirripa • Narrated by the authors

Celebrity Memoirs

Looking for a story about a rise to stardom? Tune in to these celebrity memoirs about personal journeys and a behind-the-scenes peek at the entertainment industry and news networks. The Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith narrates his own audiobook, Will (Nov 9), which follows his amazing path through music and film and into self-discovery. Smith says, “Once you’ve learned the terrain of your own mind, every experience, every emotion, every circumstance, whether positive or negative, simply propels you forward, to greater growth and greater experience.”

Next up, fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will love Alaska Thunderfuck 5000’s memoir, My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska? (Nov 9). Get an inside look at the her rise on Drag Race as well as Alaska’s journey from small-town kid to drag superstar.

Katie Couric’s Going There (Oct 26) follows the award-winning journalist through her television and news career. Couric narrates her own story of becoming a journalist, the pressures of working in TV, and anchoring major news programs amidst misogyny and the MeToo movement.


By Will Smith • Published by the author

My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?

By Alaska Thunderfuck 5000

Going There

By Katie Couric • Narrated by the author

“It’s easy to maneuver the material world once you have conquered your own mind. I believe that….[It’s] true will. To move forward in spite of anything. And to move forward in a way that brings others with you, rather than leave them behind.”

Will Smith, author of Will

Immersive Experiences

These audiobooks offer deep-dives into American history alongside all the bells and whistles that only audiobooks can provide. If you have yet to get your hands on The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project,” have no fear! The 1619 Project (Nov 16) audiobook expands upon the original story: in August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa, beginning chattel slavery in the Americas and shaping American history and policy since. The audiobook offers even more than the original project, including 18 essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America; 36 poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance; and two new and original pieces from Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Questlove’s latest will be music to your ears. Music Is History (Oct 12) chooses one essential track from each of the last 50 years and unpacks it to reveal the pivotal role that American music plays around issues of race, gender, politics, and identity. With playlists and insight into the music world and American history that only the musician, bestselling author, and award-winning director could provide—and narrate!—this audiobook is sure to be a hit.

The 1619 Project

By Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times Magazine • Narrated by a full cast

Music Is History

By Questlove • Narrated by the author

Read by the Author

Authors turned narrators bring you right up close to their stories, and offer new levels of intimacy and humor with the experiences they share. Case in point for these audiobook picks, all told straight from the author’s mouth. ICYMI, we’re big fans of independent bookstores around here, which is just one of the reasons we love Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN) owner, Ann Patchett. We’re adding her new book of essays, These Precious Days (Nov 23) to the list—Patchett narrates her own journey through life, love, friendship, and Snoopy in this resonating new book one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

We could all use a laugh these days, so thank goodness for Phoebe Robinson’s latest book of essays, Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes (Sept 28). Robinson narrates embarrassing quarantine accidents, an analysis of Black Lives Matter and performative allyship, the story of her mom “begrudgingly leaving her house so she could meet Michelle Obama,” and more. We’re laughing already!

Speaking of movements, founder and activist Tarana Burke shares her own Me Too moment and journey through it, which sparked the global movement in Unbound (Sept 14). Burke narrates this story of an inimitable woman’s inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community, which author Glennon Doyle calls “a must-listen.”

These Precious Days

By Ann Patchett • Narrated by the author

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes

By Phoebe Robinson • Narrated by the author


By Tarana Burke • Narrated by the author

We’ve all been through a trying time, which is why I wrote something to make you laugh until you pee a little, feel until you want to rage a little, and think until you go back to laughing a little.

Phoebe Robinson, author of Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes
Playlist:'s Fall TBLT List cover

Playlist:’s Fall TBLT List

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Pre-order these TBLT picks today!

Your future self will thank you, and your purchase will support your bookstore as well as the book’s author, since pre-orders serve as an early indicator of a book’s success. This can increase orders from bookstores and help secure a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for the book in its first week.

Take the quiz!

Which TBLT pick are you most excited to read?
Let us know in the comments below!

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