16 Top Essay Collections You Need to Listen To

Posted by Marie on September 13, 2018


This post is sponsored by Audible.

The word “essays” may bring up memories of tedious composition classes, but today’s collections are anything but dull. Whether it’s considering what it means to be a feminist or questioning if lobsters feel pain, these deep reflections aim to inform and immerse their audience. This is especially true when they’re read aloud on audiobooks!

To create this list of unique voices, we took a look at some of the most popular essay collections on Goodreads and Audible. From there, we narrowed down our list to only include titles with a minimum four-star rating, so you can listen to the best of the best. Which ones will you be adding to your Want to Read Shelf?

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Which of these essay collections will you be listening to? Let us know in the comments!

For more inspiration, check out the Goodreads' audiobooks page, brought to you by Audible.

Check out more recent blogs:
We Asked, You Answered: Is Listening to Audiobooks 'Reading'?
12 Top Nonfiction Audiobook Picks from Audible Editors
The Best Audiobooks of 2018

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

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message 1: by Tyson (new)

Tyson They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a great collection as well. A recent publication, it still inserts itself as an important addition to the list of must-read essay collections.


message 2: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro We Should All Be Feminists isn't an essay collection; it's one essay.


message 3: by Aenea (last edited Sep 13, 2018 11:54AM) (new)

Aenea Jones I added We should all be Feminists.
I already had A room of one's own and Not that Bad on it :)


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan I just listened to "Gift From the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and thought it was wonderful. Recommended.


message 5: by Drekinn (new)

Drekinn Knight ''We Should All Be Feminists''

No


message 6: by Richp (new)

Richp A good essay leads one to think and ponder. In many cases that means pauses and inattention to the rest of the world. Audiobooks are the worst of common formats for this. There are exceptions for people with disabilities, but for most people and times, audiobooks do not make sense for good essays.

If one understands a good essay, there is no harm in listening to it again. But in that case, one's time is best spent reading a good essay one is unfamiliar with.


message 7: by Jay (new)

Jay DiNitto We Should All Be Fartsniffers


message 8: by Richp (new)

Richp Katsuro wrote: "We Should All Be Feminists isn't an essay collection; it's one essay."

The same is true of "Between the World and Me".


Amy "the book-bat" highly recommend any of David Sedaris's books.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own...


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim Jay wrote: "We Should All Be Fartsniffers"

you make me sad. "We Should All Be Feminists" is amazing... vote for Trump, did you? Make America for White Males Again, right? ugh.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."Wow, that's a rather judgmental comment. I personally enjoy Audible and podcasts while driving during my daily commute. I haven't abandoned paper & cloth, but I usually don't get the chance to curl up with my books until I get home in the evening. Storytelling was an ancient oral tradition long before people consumed the written word. Never stop learning and stimulating your imagination.


message 13: by Richp (new)

Richp Susan wrote: "James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."Wow, that's a rather judgmental comment. I personally enjoy Audible and podcasts while driving during my dail..."
The primary causes of fatal auto accidents are drug impairment, fatigue, and distraction. One cannot "read" a good book while driving safely.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim Susan wrote: "James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."Wow, that's a rather judgmental comment. I personally enjoy Audible and podcasts while driving during my dail..."

not a judgement, a fact that relates to me and my ability to read. if you take that as a slight against yourself then you're overthinking life, in my opinion, or taking personal statements and assuming i'm generalizing about others. which i'm not.


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim Susan wrote: "James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."Wow, that's a rather judgmental comment. I personally enjoy Audible and podcasts while driving during my dail..."

not sure how having someone read to me stimulates my imagination either. again, i can read myself.
driving requires full attention, so i don't try using my commute as an opportunity to multitask. distracted driving is poor driving. always.


message 16: by Michael (new)

Michael Morrison Lest we forget, "In search of our Mother's Gardens," by Alice Walker.


message 17: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones Drekinn wrote: "''We Should All Be Feminists''

No"


Statements like these prove how important a topic it is.
How can you be human and not be a feminist? It essentially means being ok with a whole gender (half of our worlds population) being oppressed, disrespected and generally marginalized.


message 18: by Ilana (last edited Sep 13, 2018 08:55PM) (new)

Ilana James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."

I was taken aback when I read that comment. I love to read on many supports. Including paper, screen and audiobooks which have vastly expanded the numbers of books I can pick up in any given year. And I don't own a car, fyi.

Perhaps you (and countless others) should give a thought to the fact that you aren't writing notes to yourself when you type away on a message board? And that people naturally tend to take things personally when they see a message such as the one you wrote? And that other human beings who are reading you have random feelings and emotions just like you do? (presumably?) Just a not-so-random thought I want to share with this virtually invisible sliver of the world, by way of trying to do my bit when I can, now that basic courtesy and respect to others are considered optional at best, or a complete waste of time by most. Thoughtfulness is truly something we should strive for and it hardly takes any time at all. Apologies if I come across as giving you a lecture (which I am), and/or having a stick up my a** (which I don't at present in any case) or being miss priss (which I only am on occasions, like this one). So let me take that back; Sorry, not sorry. Random hostility, especially when it's passive-aggressive doesn't get a free pass. It's still just rage dressed up to look like something else. And nobody wants to feel randomly attacked when they're just reading about a list of essays they might be interested in. Hence The Lecture. Just like my mamma taught me. Only she was way harsher. :-|


message 19: by Ilana (last edited Sep 13, 2018 08:37PM) (new)

Ilana As some people have pointed out, We Should All Be Feminists is a single essay—but what an essay! And I see the title's been met with some hostility (unsurprisingly), more than likely by men who are averse to women having any opinions to begin with. I recommend it to everyone else. I've been looking forward to reading Tiny Beautiful Things, just one of hundreds among titles I can't wait to get to, and there are always several books on rotation on the currently reading shelf so no matter how hard I try I can never keep up. But what am I saying? I'm talking to fellow readers! Lol

Completed Slouching Towards Bethlehem recently, and as my second audio experience of Joan Didion, I love how recognizable the cadence of her writing is. I'll have to read her in print to see how that translates in the eye-brain connection and if I can pick up on that cadence just as easily.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is another one I can't wait to get to. It's been sitting at the top of the tbr for way too long now.

Read Bird by Bird years and years ago, I think twice. Due for a reread. I wouldn't mind writing something a little bit longer than a short story or blog post for once and I recall it was both funny and filled with great advice. I could go on because I've read several of the titles here, and most of the others are already on the tbr or wishlist already, so that's quite enough for now! :-)


message 20: by Andrew (last edited Sep 14, 2018 01:07AM) (new)

Andrew Essays are usually read, not listened to. I get that audiobooks are an option, but it bugs me when it is implied that we should be adopting that format.


message 21: by Jay (new)

Jay DiNitto James wrote: "Jay wrote: "We Should All Be Fartsniffers"

you make me sad. "We Should All Be Feminists" is amazing... vote for Trump, did you? Make America for White Males Again, right? ugh."


No. I don't vote; I'm essentially an anarchist. I'd literally rather sniff farts than get involved with politics (or claim feminism).


message 22: by Eule (new)

Eule Luftschloss "I haven't read the essay and so don't know the arguments but I want to ridicule it nonetheless to show how smart and independent I am."


message 23: by Katelyn (new)

Katelyn Zanetti James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."

I definitely prefer print books and I never thought I would enjoy audiobooks, but...in my experience there have been a few audiobooks that I listened to that I don't think I would have enjoyed as much if I had read them. It has nothing to do with not being able to read. One of the books was an autobiography and the author of the book was actually the voice for the audio. I felt like it added another dimension to the story itself.
Maybe something to consider before writing a condescending comment on a post about audiobooks...


message 24: by Holly (new)

Holly James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."

Yeah, me too.

I had never listened to an audio book before this summer. Then I took on a project of preparing an estate for a sale. I've been polishing silver and ironing antique linens, generally doing projects that require both eyes and hands......and hands gunked up with silver polish at that. So I started my first audio book, because all I could do was listen.

It's not optimal, it's not my preferred reading experience, but hey, when the only alternative is tv.......


message 25: by Vera (new)

Vera Susan wrote: "James wrote: "i don't do audiobooks... i'm not 3 years old, i can read all on my own..."Wow, that's a rather judgmental comment. I personally enjoy Audible and podcasts while driving during my dail..."

Well said! I agree 100%! Heck - I can even read several books simultaneously this way.


message 26: by Kristen (new)

Kristen I read many of these books and they inspired me a lot. I also used some quotes in my essays. But sometimes, when I didn’t have time to write them,I looked for free college essays and could do more interesting things knowing that the work would be done on time.


message 27: by Alison (new)

Alison Lopes This is a very cool book collection. Many of them I read a long time ago. And I really liked them. If you are interested in these books, you can read essays on them at https://tooly.io/. Here you can find an essay on any topic or just order an essay. It is very simple and convenient. After reading a few essays on these books, you will be able to understand whether these books are worth your while. Personally recommend.


message 28: by John (last edited Jun 25, 2020 03:41PM) (new)

John Thompson Great collection, thank you for sharing. My favorite book remains "100 ways to improve your writing". She is the best in this genre and really helped me improve my writing skills. Previously, I could not cope on my own even with the simplest task. The service that I have been using for a long time always helped me with this https://www.rush-my-essay.com/ But now, thanks to such books, I often do assignments on my own.


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