Top 20 Most Recommended Audiobooks of All Time

Here at, we don’t rely on impersonal algorithms to help you find your next favorite audiobook.

We offer recommendations from real people: the dedicated indie booksellers working in our 2,500+ partner bookshops! Independent booksellers champion their favorite books—whether they’re bestsellers or releases that skated under the radar but are nonetheless excellent—and help get them into the hands (and ears!) of readers who will love them.

Below, check out the audiobooks in our catalog of 400,000+ titles that have drawn the most frequent recommendations from indie booksellers at our partner bookshops.

Tom Lake

By Meryl Streep

“Not only is this a phenomenal book of generational storytelling, but MERYL STREEP IS NARRATING! She brings the characters to life. From her laugh to her tone; her character as Lara is spot on. She is engaging and motherly but keeps secrets to herself. This book transform you to the essence of Traverse City, Michigan with the breeziness and humility of a true Northerner. ”

— Amy, Plumfield Books

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Listen to our interview with Ann Patchett

On today’s episode we talk to Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of seven novels, as well as the owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

By Gabrielle Zevin

“I was seized and thoroughly absorbed by this amazing book, beautifully narrated in audiobook form. Sam and Sadie are two brilliant video gamers and creative designers whose lives revolve around games. The book follows their friendship and professional collaboration from early teen to young adult – through love and grief and disappointment and success.”

— Bob, Zenith Bookstore

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I’m Glad My Mom Died

By Jennette McCurdy

“McCurdy’s writing ‘voice’ and actual one give dry humor and an low folksy charm while describing truly harrowing abuses from her mother. She doesn’t hold anything back whether it’s her time on set on iCarly to her first sexual experience to the description of her vomit after a binge and purge. If you wanted a fun celebrity tell-all…this ain’t it. This is a survivor’s story.”

— Lissa, Book Club Bar

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

By Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

“I was blown away by this book. I listened to the audio and Jason Reynold’s narration is engaging, funny, and moving all rolled into one. I found myself interested in history in ways I have not been in the past. As white women I found myself grieving for the crimes my race has committed. For hatred that continued to take root and spread. Yet I also found hope. This book does a great job of engaging the topic of race, why racism persists and gives hope that things can change. I wish I could make everyone read this book.”

— Kristin, Fables Books

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A Deadly Education

By Naomi Novik

“I loved this so much that I listened to the audiobook twice, back-to-back, the second time to share it with my mother so that we could talk about it. This is the magic school, hella-powered main character, high stakes series we all deserve and I am anxiously awaiting the next book to answer my many questions and give me all new ones!!! ”

— Jane, Avid Bookshop

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I Have Some Questions for You

By Rebecca Makkai

“Rebecca Makkai is an expert story weaver. From minute 1, I was hyper-engrossed in her newest novel and it consumed every free moment I had for 48 hours. From its quaint, cozy, and problematic boarding school campus to the world of podcasting, to an ever unraveling murder mystery, I Have Some Questions For You defies all expectations and keeps you on the edge of your seat!”

— Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys

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Now Is Not the Time to Panic

By Kevin Wilson

“Ginnifer Goodwin’s narration is wonderful and Kevin Wilson’s writing is just phenomenal. It perfectly depicts how special, memorable, and sometimes confusing, adolescent friendships can be, and has a lot to say about the role of art. Don’t miss the author’s note at the end which made this excellent book even more special. Definitely a highlight in my reading year and one I expect to come back to. Highly recommended! ”

— Tracey, Turning the Tide Bookstore

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Thank You For Listening

By Julia Whelan

“Julia Whelan hooked me from page one with this rom-com filled with lovable characters. […] Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply personal by turns Whelan penned a story than leaned into many a romance trope without getting too campy. Plus, the audiobook experience was so meta I had to pause on more than one occasion just to laugh at the sheer absurdity and hilarity of the events transpiring.”

— Karen, Thunder Road Books

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Listen to our interview with Julia Whelan

On today’s episode we chat with author and narrator Julia Whelan. She is an Audie award winning narrator who has narrated over 500 books and also authored multiple books of her own.

Happy Place

By Emily Henry

“Emily Henry does it again! This story spills over with so many incredible moments between friends and lovers. You will not be able to escape the charm and warmth of this circle of friends, who upon finding out that their summer home will be sold, desperately cling to their memories of all the times spent there. While they are navigating these last moments they ultimately discover so many things about each other and themselves. Julia Whelan’s audio narration is captivating and you will not want this story to end.”

— Karen, Thunder Road Books

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Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone

By Benjamin Stevenson

“Smartly written by Benjamin Stevenson and enjoyably narrated by Barton Welch. I found my eyes darting left and right with eagerness to know what would happen next, guessing right and guessing wrong, even chuckling at times. Such a fun ‘whodunit’ listen!”

— Kira, Maria’s Bookshop

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Lessons in Chemistry

By Bonnie Garmus

“I loved Elizabeth Zott! She’s a quirky, dynamic, headstrong heroine who is, above all else, a brilliant chemist. She struggles to be taken seriously but refuses to bow to the expectations and societal norms for women in the sixties. The story is funny, profound, entertaining, brazenly feminist, and Elizabeth has the BEST dog ever, Six-Thirty! You don’t want to miss this wonderful debut novel!”

— Polly, The Hickory Stick Bookshop

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The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi

By Shannon Chakraborty

“A fantastical pirate adventure on the Indian Ocean, full of magic inspired by Middle Eastern mythology! […] The audiobook narrators also did a fantastic job of voicing the characters and truly bringing them to life with performances that elevate the dialogue and characterization! ”

— Justin, Vroman’s Bookstore

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By Stanley Tucci

“Such a deal! You get beloved actor Stanley Tucci’s droll wit; family memories; stories of decades of New York’s food scene; reminiscences of iconic Italian settings; mouth-watering recipes – including his carefully enunciated, accurate pronunciations of all the ingredients! Another bonus of the audio of Tucci’s Taste: you can chop and boil and grate while listening!”

— Cheryl, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

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The Vanishing Half

By Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half may go down as one of my favorite books of all time. Brit Bennett’s narrative style is engrossing, the constant shift in timeline beyond compelling. But more than that, this is a book that deals with so much—racism, colorism & passing, sexism & domestic abuse, trans rights, family dynamics…the list goes on—with unbelievable nuance and empathy. A timely, complex, mysterious (and romantic) epic, The Vanishing Half is a force to be reckoned with. ”

— Britt, Second Star to the Right

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Read our interview with Brit Bennett

We spoke with Brit Bennett about what inspired her to write The Vanishing Half, the importance of independent bookstores, and more.

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

By Angie Cruz

“Told in a series of 12 sessions between a career counselor and our narrator, Cara Romero, this is the equally heartwarming, heartbreaking, and laugh-out-loud funny story of Cara’s life as a Dominican immigrant in New York. Cara’s vivacity and unabashed confidence are infectious, and her growth as she faces her flaws is unexpectedly touching. Narrator Rossmery Almonte brought so much life to the text.”

— Sarah, Parnassus Books

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Black Sun

By Rebecca Roanhorse

“This is a whirlwind of a first installment and I am equally psyched and disappointed that I have to wait for the others to come out. I am a huge huge fan of the audio edition of this book, it is so beautifully done with a full cast and the image of each character is so complete and vivid. A total dream to listen to; I found myself just sitting in my car to finish the chapters and find out what was next. It feels sci-fi-esque so anyone who is into space fantasy I think would really enjoy this with its otherworldly-ness.”

— Katie, McLean & Eakin Booksellers

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Clap When You Land

By Elizabeth Acevedo

“Put this book at the top of you listening list! Clap When You Land is a beautifully written and compellingly narrated story of two half-sisters who are unaware of each other’s existence until their father dies in a plane crash. Elizabeth Acevedo not only writes with an exquisite voice, but she and Melania-Luisa Marte alternate narrating with voices that carry into the readers’ heart and soul. One of the best audiobooks I have listened to in a very long time.”

— Mary, Anderson’s Bookshop

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Chain Gang All Stars

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

“Wow! This emotionally gripping novel about an imagined entertainment system built on a terrible for-profit incarceration system, is an amazing book. Both scathing and tender, serious and satirical, dark and hopeful, it’s a love story between two convicted women as well as an indictment of our prison system. Intense. A must-listen.”

— Anne, Newtonville Books

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How High We Go in the Dark

By Sequoia Nagamatsu

“Interlinked short stories comprise this novel in the same way gears and levers make an astronomical clock. […] The audio producers wisely chose a diverse company of narrators; the book is a sort of Decameron, and the variety of voices helps you keep each story vividly in mind so that you catch all the interconnections.”

— Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

By Toshikazu Kawaguchi

“Human nature, human desire, and magical realism at its finest, with a setting seemingly destined to be performed on stage. We follow customers and staff of a café rumored to allow quick trips to the past. The intricate rules and restrictions weed out all but the desperate. At times lighthearted and familiar and yet, equally heartbreaking. A look into the lives, hopes, dreams, and fears of a group of ordinary folks with an extraordinary opportunity. These stories will stay with me for years to come.”

— Ashlee, Vroman’s Bookstore

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Did your favorite make the cut? Looking forward to a new favorite?
Let us know in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Top 20 Most Recommended Audiobooks of All Time

  1. It seems extraordinary to me that Jim Dale’s audio recording of the Harry Potter books didn’t make it into the recommended audio books of all time.

    1. Hi, Adrienne. The audiobooks in the list above have been recommended by booksellers at our partner bookstores the most frequently. Glad you enjoyed Jim Dale’s narration!

  2. Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer” should be somewhere in here. The book is so rich and layered, it took me a good three listens at first. And then at least two listens every year thereafter.

  3. Great blog and great recommendations. I look forward to getting several of them: Mexican Gothic; Daisy Jones; Educated; One two three; Red at the bone; and Legendborn in particular.

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