The 15 most popular audiobooks on Audible to listen to during quarantine
These books are better read aloud.
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I thought my time in isolation would give me more time to read, but alas, I was not tackling as many books as I thought I would. Without my daily train ride to work, I was losing out on about an hour of precious reading time that I once had. Yes, I could have spent that time reading on my couch, but I chose to use those mornings and afternoons to get movement in by going on walks. This led me to struggle with finding time to read in quarantine. That is, until I figured out the solution: Audiobooks.
Being able to listen to a book has let me devour a few chapters of my latest read while simultaneously inching towards my daily step goal. If you’re looking to experience the joy of audiobooks, Audible is a great place to start. The Amazon-owned company has the largest library of audiobooks to choose from, as well as a ton of exclusive titles. Reviewed writer, Shayna Murphy, has been using the service for years and is obsessed with it.
With an Audible subscription you get a monthly credit for one audiobook, plus two Audible Originals, which should hold you over until the next month. The only issue is that there are more than 470,000 audiobook titles to choose from, which is a tad bit overwhelming. To help you narrow down what book to listen to next, I’ve chosen 15 of the most popular audiobooks on Audible right now from books I’ve personally read and loved and ones that have been sitting on my to-be-read list for months.
As a bonus, if you sign up right now, there’s a great deal running where you can get three months of Audible for just $8.95 a month (that’s 40% off!). Happy reading—I mean, listening!
1. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
When the former first lady’s memoir was first published in 2018, it became an instant hit. Now in 2020, it’s still riding that wave as a New York Times best seller—and it still tops the Audible charts. Michelle Obama’s memoir goes into the experiences that led her to become an invaluable leader and advocate for women through powerful storytelling. Plus, you’ll get to hear it spoken by Michelle herself, which is pretty neat.
2. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” by J.K. Rolling
The Harry Potter series is a beloved classic, and even if you’ve read it before (or seen the movies), you’re going to want to hear it on Audible. Listening to the books in Jim Dale’s British voice is completely soothing and brings to life the entire cast of characters. It’s the story of the Boy Who Lived like you’ve never heard it before.
3. “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline
I read “Ready Player One” earlier this year, and it quickly became one of my favorite books—and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t typically enjoy sci-fi. Set in a dystopian future, the story follows Wade Watts as he attempts to find the lottery ticket inside a virtual world called OASIS. Naturally, trouble ensues as he realizes the dangerous lengths some people are willing to go to find it. It’s incredibly well written, and the world completely comes to life via spoken word.
4. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari
Want to learn some fun facts through your Audible subscription? “Sapiens” explores human evolution and examines how humans have played a role in ecosystems and developing society. It’s a fascinating listen and has more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon.
5. “Angela's Ashes” by Frank McCourt
“Angela's Ashes” is one of my favorite memoirs, so much so that I visited where the author was raised when I traveled to Ireland. McCourt’s dark humor of growing up poor in Ireland with a drunk, deadbeat dad and several siblings is thoroughly entertaining. His voice offers forgiveness and resilience. No to mention, it won a Pulitzer Prize. I guarantee it’s even more enjoyable spoken by the author himself.
6. “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz
“Oscar Wao” is a delightful coming of age novel that follows Oscar, a loveable, overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. But Oscar’s family is haunted by the “Fuku,” a curse that brings them bad luck and a horrible love life. It’s hilarious, witty, and, even better, the book is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and his charming, expressive voice is sure to entertain.
7. “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett
Who wouldn’t want Tom Hanks to read them a story? That’s exactly what you’ll get if you listen to the audiobook version of “The Dutch House.” Starting at the end of World War II, it tells the story of a real estate mogul who buys the lavish Dutch House as a surprise for his family—but it ultimately leads to their downfall.
8. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
We could all use a little motivation right now, and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is an audiobook that will get you fired up. Written and spoken by the author, Stephen R. Covey, it breaks down seven productive habits, such as being proactive and putting things first, that has inspired everyone from CEOs to normal folk.
9. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah
One of my friends claims that “The Nightingale” is required reading for “Sad Girls Book Club,” so if you’re looking for an audiobook that will tear out your heartstrings, this is the one. When Germans invade a Frenchwoman’s home during World War II, she and her daughter are forced to live with the enemy while her rebellious sister joins the resistance. “The Nightingale” is a fantastic tale of the women’s side of the war and would be a great listen.
10. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
This book has been on my to-be-read list for months and has been topping the Audible charts for months with more than 45,000 great reviews. It’s a coming-of-age story set in a small town in North Carolina with a hint of murder that is recommend by Reese Witherspoon herself. The audiobook brings to life the suspense and Southern charm of the novel, making it a fantastic pick.
11. “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes
“Me Before You” is a romance novel that could bring a little light to this unprecedented time. When Louisa Clark, a plain girl, begins a job as a home assistant for Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident, her life changes for the better as she tries to show him life is worth living. With the help of each other, the two challenge and discover more about themselves in a heartwarming story.
12. “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara
Dubbed Audible Essential, “A Little Life” is a must-have for your audiobook collection. It follows four college friends who move to New York City and how their lives intertwine and are impacted by one of their friend’s traumatic past. It’s a story of friendship that is brought to life by the narration of Oliver Wyman.
13. “Dune” by Frank Herbert
Although it was first published in 1965, “Dune” still tops the Audible charts. This beloved science fiction novel follows Paul Atreides, a young boy on desert planet Arrakis. He avenges a traitorous plot against his noble family and eventually becomes a mysterious man known as Maud'dib. The story is known as one of the greatest sci-fi epics of all time.
14. “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is a collection of fairy tales in the Wizarding World, and it is narrated by some of the high-profile actors from the films, including Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), and Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore). For any “Harry Potter” fan, these tales will be an absolute treat, plus, 90 percent of the proceeds go to The Lumos Foundation, which helps children worldwide out of institutions.
15. “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell
Want to know more about the people you don’t know—a.k.a. strangers? In “Talking to Strangers,” Gladwell explores our interactions with people we don’t know and how it can quickly lead to miscommunication and conflict. The audiobook version of this best-seller kicks things up a notch with clips of the actual interviews Gladwell conducted.
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