This year is coming to a close, and oh, what a year it’s been. The books we choose to read tend to capture the zeitgeist of the times, and this year’s collection of most-read audiobooks is no exception.
Before we dive in, here’s a quick reminder that this holiday season is crucial for bookstores weathering the financial challenges of 2020. When you gift a Libro.fm audiobook membership, you give back to your local bookstore in a big way—we share profits with bookstores without adding any extra work on their end.
And without further ado, here are Libro.fm’s Top 10 Audiobooks of 2020, based on sales through our 1,300+ independent bookstore partners.
By N. K. Jemisin • Narrated by Robin Miles
“I love N.K. Jemisin’s books, I love New York City, and I love this book about the soul and personification of New York. The City We Became might just be my favorite book to be published in 2020. This story is filled with tension, humor, and great characters, with a guest appearance near and dear to me. While this book is the beginning of a trilogy, it is completely satisfying as a stand-alone novel. Read it and be happy.”Doug Chase, bookseller at Powell’s Books
By Layla F. Saad • Narrated by the author
“Want to learn how to be a good ancestor? Need to address your privilege and feel uncomfortable about talking about racism? You need to read and work through Me and White Supremacy.”Rachel, bookseller at Avid Bookshop
By Fredrik Backman • Narrated by Marin Ireland
“At its simplest, we could just say this is a story about the human condition. Backman’s wry and deceptively simple storytelling provides us an exquisite and astute study of the little complexities that fills our lives with joy and pain….The audio version is absolutely spectacular. The narrator brings each character to life with unique and spot-on personalities that I cannot imagine creating myself in my head. Her delivery of the dialogue and story is spot on and kept me laughing throughout.”Cori, bookseller at Bright Side Bookshop
By Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi • Narrated by Jason Reynolds
“Inspiring the next generation of antiracists, Jason Reynolds’s remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning is outstanding. This accessible book for young readers is read in Reynolds’s laid back voice, with transitions between chapters delightfully filled with hip hop. Reynolds’s voice also shines through in the text, which he adapts to be not a ‘history book’ (even though it has history in it) but a book about our present.”Kalli, bookseller at Rediscovered Books
By Silvia Moreno-Garcia • Narrated by Frankie Corzo
“A bit spooky with some underlining themes of science and the power of racism. There’s a feel of modern Bronte sisters here which adds to the intrigue of this original gothic tale. I loved Noemi, the well-educated bright young protagonist who has a great sense of justice and can stare down evil all while being sophisticated and alluring. Great listening!”Karin, bookseller at Bookworm of Edwards
By Glennon Doyle • Narrated by the author
“I read this book non-stop for a week, underlining, reading passages to my friends & recommending it to anyone with a pulse. There are many great stories inside, but their charm & power, really, is all Glennon….This is not a ‘you can do it, girl!’ book. It’s more like a spiritual marathon that invites you to jump the guardrail & take off.”Elon, bookseller at Apotheosis Comics
By V. E. Schwab • Narrated by Julia Whelan
“Epic, beautifully written, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a contemplation on life, death, what it means to make your mark on the world, and why we feel it’s important to do so. Addie makes a deal with a demon so she can live her life the way she wants to. But, like most deals, there are strings attached—and these strings make it so she is forgotten by everyone she meets.”Lindsey Pattavina, bookseller at R.J. Julia Booksellers
By Britt Bennett • Narrated by Shayna Small
“This is an intriguing story, part family saga, part social commentary, about twin sisters whose lives diverged into two very different directions….Bennett’s characters are well-developed and provide a clearly-drawn portrait of race, gender, and the ties that hold families and relationships together.”Alice, bookseller at Blue Willow Bookshop
By Isabel Wilkerson • Narrated by Robin Miles
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”Isabel Wilkerson, Caste
By Barack Obama • Narrated by the author
“Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid.”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, New York Times
Based on annual sales through our 1,300+ independent bookstore partners, this playlist has a listen for everybody.