As anyone whose commute is longer than 20 minutes can attest, podcasts are game-changing for passing the time productively. And while I'd never dream of unsubscribing from This American Life, I'm always looking for new ways to make the most of my commute. Enter audiobooks. Offering hours of entertainment, these narrated novels are so good that I've actually found myself hoping for traffic jams on numerous occasions. 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. Convinced to queue up a book on tape to make the most of your commute tomorrow morning? Keep scrolling to download the best audiobooks of all time (in this writer's humble opinion) to get started. Trust me, you'll be hooked.
Written by Nathan Hill
Narrated by Ari Fliakos
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.
Length: 21 hours and 50 minutes
Written and narrated by Maggie Nelson
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.
Length: 4 hours and 48 minutes
Behind Her Eyes
Written by Sarah Pinborough
Narrated by Josie Dunn, Anna Bentinck, Bea Holland, and Huw Parmenter
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."
Length: 11 hours and 28 minutes
Lincoln in the Bardo
Written by George Saunders
Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, and a full cast
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.
Length: 7 hours and 25 minutes
To Kill a Mockingbird
Written by Harper Lee
Narrated by Sissy Spacek
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 20,990 reviews on Audible and an overall rating of 4.8 stars.
Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Written by Joan Didion
Narrated by Diane Keaton
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, narrated by Diane Keaton, no less.
Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes
The Hate U Give
Written by Angie Thomas
Narrated by Bahni Turpin
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.
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes
Written by Donna Tartt
Narrated by David Pittu
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.
Length: 32 hours and 29 minutes
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Written and narrated 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.
Length: 4 hours and 37 minutes
Written by Kristin Hannah
Narrated by Polly Stone
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 heartwrenching and beautiful novel is flawless.
Length: 17 hours and 26 minutes
Written by Yaa Gyasi
Narrated by Dominic Hoffman
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. Last year, the audiobook version of the novel received an Audie Award in the literary fiction category.
Length: 13 hours and 10 minutes
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Written and narrated 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.
Length: 5 hours and 55 minutes
The Testament of Mary
Written by Colm Tóibín
Narrated by Meryl Streep
Yes, you read that correctly. 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.
Length: 3 hours and 7 minutes
The Handmaid's Tale
Written by Margaret Atwood
Narrated by Claire Danes
Last year, Hulu's critically acclaimed adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale 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 just the refresher you need before season two premieres this spring.
Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes
Written and narrated by Tina Fey
In maybe one of our favorite audiobooks of all time, 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.
Length: 5 hours and 35 minutes
Written and narrated by Toni Morrison
In the audiobook version of one of our favorite novels of all time, the 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.
Length: 5 hours and 46 minutes
Written by Paul Beatty
Narrated by Prentice Onayemi
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.
Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes
Written and narrated 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.
Length: 9 hours and 54 minutes
Written and narrated by Roxanne Gay
The New York Times best-selling author Roxanne Gay narrates her thought-provoking memoir. Her honest discussion of her relationship with food and her self-image results in a candid and vulnerable performance that's not to be missed.
Length: 5 hours and 57 minutes
Written and narrated by Anthony Bourdain
Accurately described as a "deliciously funny and shockingly delectable" audiobook, 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.
Length: 8 hours
I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Written by: Michelle McNamara
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn, and Patton Oswalt
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.
Length: 9 hours and 45 minutes
This story was originally published on January 22, 2018, and has since been updated.
Up next, we asked our editors for their best nonfiction audiobook suggestions.