The 37 Best Audiobooks of All Time Will Save Your Commute

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As anyone whose commute is longer than 20 minutes can attest, podcasts are game-changers for passing the time productively, but we're looking for new ways to make the most of our commutes. Enter audiobooks. Offering hours of entertainment, these narrated novels are so good, you might find yourself hoping for traffic jams. Yes, really.

Ranging from classic bookshelf staples such as The Handmaid's Tale and To Kill a Mockingbird to modern memoirs such as Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Hunger, these audiobooks are must-listens.

Here, the best audiobooks.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land
Courtesy of Amazon

President Obama's newest book details his personal journey in politics, from his early days all the way to the White House. The audio version, narrated by the 44th president himself, is his first presidential memoir.

Emma by Jane Austen

Narrated by an ensemble cast—including the incomparable Emma Thompson—this reimagined take on Austen's classic novel about a misconstrued romance set in early 19th century England is a must-listen for any fan of Austen's work.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In case you missed it, Becoming is on track to being one of the best-selling memoirs of all time. Even if you've already read the book, the audiobook, which is narrated by Michelle Obama herself, is well worth a listen.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

In his list of summer books to read in 2018, Barack Obama described Jones' novel as "a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple." Told from the perspective of the husband and wife, the audiobook lends two voices to the haunting and poignant narrative.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

In Jasmine Guillory's best-selling book, a woman grapples with the aftermath of refusing a very public proposal. When you finish with it, you can check out her third book, The Wedding Party (view on Amazon).

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

If you've watched HBO's documentary The Inventor and listened to ABC Radio's hit podcast The Dropout, you'll love this thrilling audiobook about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her now-defunct company, Theranos.

On the Come up by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas, the author of the New York Times best-seller The Hate U Give, is back with a highly anticipated second novel, On the Come Up. Narrated by Bahni Turpin, the audiobook version of the novel, which is an ode to hip hop and a story of fighting for your dreams, will give you goosebumps.

Educated by Tara Westover

In this buzzed-about memoir (recommended by Barack Obama), a woman recounts her experience of being raised in a survivalist family in Idaho and diverging from her upbringing in order to seek an education.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

You can't go wrong with Gabriel García Márquez's timeless classic about the trials and tribulations of love set in Colombia at the turn of the 20th century. This audiobook is also available in Spanish (view on Audible).

Everything’s Trash, but It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson

In Everything's Trash, but It's Okay, Phoebe Robinson, co-host of the hit podcast 2 Dope Queens, narrates her latest collection of essays on the topic of feminism. Her candid opinions and personal anecdotes will have you laughing out loud (and perhaps cringing a bit, too).

How to Not Get Shot by D. L. Hughley

In How to Not Get Shot, legendary comedian D.L. Hughley offers a "satirical but apt addition to the culture’s fraught conversation about race," writes the New York Times Book Review. The audiobook version is narrated by the activist and comedian himself.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Colin Farrell lends his voice (and Irish accent) to Joyce's classic novel. The novel is about the religious and intellectual awakening of Joyce's fictional alter ego. If you've never read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, let Farrell give you the excuse to.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Deemed The Handmaid's Tale for a new generation, this dystopian novel is set in a future in which in vitro fertilization is banned and every embryo is granted the rights to life, liberty, and property. It's not a light-hearted listen, but it is certainly a powerful and riveting one.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

In this audiobook, Kevin R. Free narrates the harrowing memoir penned by Anthony Ray Hinton, a man wrongfully convicted at the age of 29 and spent 27 years in prison on Death Row for a crime he did not commit.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

If you haven't read this Mark Twain classic (or haven't revisited it since high school), download this audiobook immediately. Nick Offerman lends his signature comedic storytelling abilities to this wildly entertaining narration of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show, narrated his memoir about growing up in South Africa during apartheid as the son of a white man and a Black woman (which, as the title explains, is considered a crime.) It's filled with the sharp social commentary and comical wit Noah is known for.

The Nix by Nathan Hill

While Nathan Hill's novel about the complicated relationship between an aspiring writer and his estranged mother is a must-read in its own right, it was also named the best audiobook of 2016 by Audible. Narrator Ari Fliakos nails the balance between heart and humor in his performance.

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson narrates her genre-bending novel that's part memoir, part social commentary in this audiobook. It's a must-listen for insight into love, marriage, motherhood, and more from one of the most important writers of our time.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Deemed the best thriller and mystery audiobook of 2017 by Audible, Behind Her Eyes is the perfect audiobook for fans of psychological thrillers. Even Steven King called Sarah Pinborough's mystery about a modern-day love triangle "bloody brilliant."

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The narrated version of Saunders's novel about the relationship between President Lincoln and his beloved son features a star-studded cast with some of our favorite actors reading alongside some of our favorite authors.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Narrator Sissy Spacek brings Harper Lee's Pulitzer-winning masterpiece about a rebellious six-year-old girl in the American South to life in this audiobook. If you need some convincing before downloading this pick, the audiobook for this beloved novel has over 10,000 reviews and an overall rating of 4.8 stars.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

We're big Joan Didion fans, so it should come as no surprise that we fully endorse the audiobook version of Slouching Towards Bethlehem, which is a series of essays about Didion's experiences in 1960's California. The fact that this one is narrated by Diane Keaton gets us even more excited.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Audible's pick for 2017 audiobook of the year is a poignant novel about a teenage girl dealing with racism and police brutality after witnessing her friend murdered by police. Narrator Bahni Turpin gives voice to this must-read book inspired by Black Lives Matter.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

When it comes to ranking books that make us ugly-cry, Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is definitely a contender for the top of the list. The story of a young boy who gets mixed up in the dangerous world of selling art on the black market is beautifully narrated by David Pittu, who won the 2014 Audie Award for the best male narrator for his standout performance.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

In this audiobook, Mindy Kaling narrates her hilarious and relatable memoir about her life, from growing up as a daughter of immigrants, to cementing her place as one of the best comedians of our time.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Audible named Kristin Hannah's best-selling novel about two sisters tragically separated during World War II audiobook of the year in 2015. Polly Stone's narration of this heart-wrenching and beautiful novel is flawless.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi's tour de force debut traces two branches of a family tree over the course of 300 years, from slavery to modern-day, and from Ghana to the United States. In 2018, the audiobook version of the novel received an Audie Award in the literary fiction category.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

The hilarious and insightful David Sedaris narrates his memoir, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and talks about his attempts to learn French, performs a surprisingly great Billie Holiday impression, and discusses his childhood.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

Meryl Streep narrates Colm Tóibín's critically acclaimed novel The Testament of Mary that presents Mary as an aging woman who's still grappling with the death of her son, Jesus, and the concept of religion more generally.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Hulu's critically acclaimed adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, a novel about subjugated women in a patriarchal society, has catapulted Margaret Atwood's classic dystopian novel to the top of best-seller lists all over the world. Audible's original audiobook, narrated by Claire Danes, is the perfect refresher before moving on to later seasons.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey narrates her laugh-out-loud funny and insanely quotable memoir. From a self-professed nerd to an incredibly successful comedian and actor, listen to Fey tell her own story in this must-download audiobook.

Sula by Toni Morrison

In the audiobook version of one of our favorite novels of all time, the late and incomparable Toni Morrison narrates her own story about two childhood best friends who navigate their friendship after their lives take drastically different turns in adulthood.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

A 2016 Audie Award finalist in the fiction category, Prentice Onayemi narrates Paul Beatty's novel about life as a Black man in a fictional Los Angeles suburb. It's hilarious, it's thought-provoking—it's a must-listen.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Trust us, Patti Smith's narration of her memoir, Just Kids, deserves a spot in your audiobook queue. Her firsthand account of her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is honest and moving, to say the least.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

The New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay narrates her thought-provoking memoir. The honest discussion of her relationship with food and her self-image results in a candid and vulnerable performance that's not to be missed.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Accurately described as a "deliciously funny and shockingly delectable" audiobook, the late Anthony Bourdain takes listeners into the underbelly of the culinary world in this narration of his acclaimed memoir. And you'll savor every second of it. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

The audiobook version of McNamara's is a compulsively readable investigation into the Golden State Killer, a serial rapist and murderer who committed crimes up and down the California coast for over a decade. It includes an introduction by best-selling thriller author Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt.

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