The 36 Best Audiobooks of All Time Will Save Your Commute

best audio books of all time


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 are our picks for the best audiobooks of all time.

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Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama Becoming $31

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.

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Emma by Jane Austen

Jane Austen Emma $10

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

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

an american marriage
Tayari Jones An American Marriage $21

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.

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

the proposal
Jasmine Guillory The Proposal $21

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 her third book, The Wedding Party. (ICYM: Listen to her charming first book, The Wedding Date.)

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

bad blood
Bad Blood John Carreyrou $27

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.

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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

on the come up
Angie Thomas On the Come Up $20

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 will give you goosebumps.

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Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover Educated $24

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

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Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

love in the time of cholera
Gabriel García Márquez Love in the Time of Cholera $20

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. (Psst... this audiobook is also available in Spanish.)

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

everythings trash but its ok
Phoebe Robinson Everything’s Trash, but It’s Okay $24

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).

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How to Not Get Shot by D. L. Hughley

how not to get shot
D. L. Hughley How to Not Get Shot $18

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.

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

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man $14

Colin Farrell lends his voice (and Irish accent) to Joyce's classic novel. If you've never read A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, let Farrell give you the excuse you were looking for to download the audiobook version of the timeless tome.

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Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

red clocks
Leni Zumas Red Clocks $26

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.

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The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

The Sun Does Shine
Anthony Ray Hinton The Sun Does Shine $24

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

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

tom sawyer
Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer $23

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.

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

born a crime
Born a Crime Trevor Noah $22

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 (or, as the titel explains, a crime.) It's filled with the sharp social commentary and comical wit Noah is known for.

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The Nix by Nathan Hill

the nix
Nathan Hill The Nix $33

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.

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The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

the argonauts
Maggie Nelson The Argonauts $10

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

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind her eyes
Sarah Pinborough Behind Her Eyes $24

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."

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders Lincoln in the Bardo $21

Arguably the most anticipated audiobook of all time, 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.

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird $29

Narrator Sissy Spacek brings Harper Lee's Pulitzer-winning masterpiece 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.

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Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem $16

You've probably already noticed that we're big Joan Didion fans here at MyDomaine, so it should come as no surprise that we fully endorse the audiobook version of Slouching Towards Bethlehem. The fact that this one is narrated by Diane Keaton gets us even more excited.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas The Hate U Give $28

Audible's pick for 2017 audiobook of the year is a poignant novel that's especially relevant given the current social climate. Narrator Bahni Turpin gives voice to this must-read book inspired by Black Lives Matter.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

the goldfinch
Donna Tartt The Goldfinch $30

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.

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Mindy Kaling Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? $18

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.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah The Nightingale $29

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.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi Homegoing $27

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.

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day $15

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.

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The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

The Testament of Mary
Colm Tóibín The Testament of Mary $10

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.

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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

the handmaid's tale
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale $22

Hulu's critically acclaimed adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale 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.

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey Bossypants $27

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.

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Sula by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Sula $18

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.

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The Sellout by Paul Beatty

the sellout
Paul Beatty The Sellout $18

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.

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Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids
Patti Smith Just Kids $29

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.

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Hunger by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay Hunger $20

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.

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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential
Anthony Bourdain Kitchen Confidential $18

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. 

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Michelle McNamara I'll Be Gone in the Dark $29

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

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