Goodreads Staffers Recommend Their Favorite Audiobooks

Posted by Cybil on November 18, 2019

A great audiobook requires not only fantastic source material, but also a narrator who can translate that text into an amazing performance that will keep you entertained throughout a commute, chores, or a long walk.

Here at Goodreads, we are voracious book lovers—and audiobooks are no exception. We asked the Goodreads staff to recommend a favorite audiobook and to explain their selection. Below you'll find everything from classics to contemporary fiction, memoirs to fantasy.

We hope you love these picks as much as we do! Be sure to add the audiobooks that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelves.

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"This is not an audiobook, this is an audio performance by incredible dramatist and renowned film actor (you may remember him from Terminator 2: Judgment Day) Joe Morton— warning, do not start listening unless you are prepared to be emotionally devastated!" says Sam Julian, product designer.

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"I love rock and roll and the 70s, but what makes this a stand-out audiobook is the cast—listening to it is wildly entertaining!" says Veronica Moss, CEO.

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"The entire Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French…or I guess the first one, In the Woods, if that’s cheating. Addictive murder mysteries which each follow different detectives in the Dublin Murder Squad, read by voice actors with Irish accents. Can’t stop. Won’t stop," says Brooke Ginnard, visual designer.

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"I can still hear the voices of Orisha sawing through my mind with all the magic, danger, and power of Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel," says Mimi Chan, senior marketing manager.

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"An elaborate audiobook on the ups and downs of the sportsman’s personal and professional life. The beauty of this audiobook lies in its minute details of every major event of Andre’s life," Mahesh Naidu, QA Engineer.

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"The narrator's weary voice reveals a soul that has seen too much and can only continue living by enjoying the dark humor of his life's tragic-comic twists," says Jeff Wong, iOS developer.

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"I am married to an avid NOFX fan so when this came out we listened to it together on a long drive and even as casual NOFX fan I was rapt as the band members narrated their various escapades," says Margo Throckmorton, senior account manager.

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"A meandering, joyful journey with the crew of the Wayfarer as they eat, drink, argue, laugh and deal with the everyday perils of living—and working—in space," says Amanda Cooper, quality specialist.

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"The best person to tell you about Trevor Noah’s life is Trevor himself—it’s like listening to one of his stand-up comedy routines," says Lauren Deyce, learning coordinator.

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"Although readers cannot agree on whether Jim Dale or Stephen Fry is the superior narrator, I don’t think you can go wrong with either audio version of the first installment of Harry’s tale," says Emily Fortner, community manager.

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"Jim Dale’s 134 different, magical, sparkly, shivery voices makes you transcend out of reality and into the Harry Potter universe," says Navneet Sinha, software development engineer.

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"If Nobody can come to life in audio, this for sure would be perfect as a movie/TV series," says Eric Asuncion, account manager.

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"I’ve always loved this series and listening to this book kept me sane during a 10-hour solo road trip," says Monique Galvin, Goodreads expert.

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"Parker’s signature quirks shine through in this auditory memoir experience full of fun acting anecdotes, unexpected sound effects, and cute cameos from Parker’s dog Gracie," says Danny Feekes, managing editor.

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"This nonfiction audiobook follows a therapist and her patients through critical moments of their lives. This book has serious drama! One twist caught me so off guard that I gasped aloud in line at Starbucks!" says Cybil Wallace, senior editor.

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"I fell head over heels for the unpretentious, raw and rip-roaringly hilarious essay collection that is Dear Girls!" says Ana Reddy, Goodreads expert.

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"The book teaches you behavioral traits and leadership qualities one should have to be successful in life and of course if you want to become an Astronaut," says Sambuddha De, software development manager.

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"As a sad-book lover A Little Life was an obvious choice, but it is the masterful narration by Oliver Wyman that takes this book to the next will break your heart!" says Alexander Reyes, revenue operations associate.

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"Magical story about Jack and Annie’s adventure into the Cretaceous period and encounter with pteranodons, duck-billed dinosaurs and others, narrated by the author Mary Pope Osborne in such a delightful way. I love the range of emotions they evoke in my four-year-old daughter when we listen to it together," says Manju Abburi, software development manager.

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"George Guidall (narrator) does an amazing job on the character voices—the Russian accents of the three Zorya sisters and Czernobog were my favorite!" says Shaun Ponting, community engagement expert.

What audiobook would you highly recommend to your fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!

Check out more recent articles, including:
16 Audiobooks for True Crime Aficionados
Expert Advice on How to Develop a Reading Habit
24 Books to Give to Your Most Bookish Family & Friends

Comments Showing 1-50 of 58 (58 new)

message 1: by Monica (new)

Monica The Dutch House which is performed by Tom Hanks!

message 2: by Jules (new)

Jules Cruel prince, Holly Black needs to be in audio. The whole series.
She is a tremendous writer!

message 3: by Randi (last edited Nov 21, 2019 03:22PM) (new)

Randi The Gifted School narrated by January LaVoy--one narrator voicing many characters!

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Sadie by Courtney Summers is one of the few books i think were always supposed to be an audiobook.

message 5: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Water for Elephants. This book made me fall in love with audiobooks. If only all books were narrated this passionately!

message 6: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Meyers The Keeper of Lost Things was fabulous! I would highly recommend this one.

message 7: by Laura Beth (new)

Laura Beth Fiction: The Dutch House, A Man Called Ove, Beartown series, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Rosie Project series, The Goldfinch, Me Before You series

Fantasy: The Night Circus, Ready Player One, Queen of the Tearling series, The Lunar Chronicles series, Mistborn series

Mystery: Karin Slaughter’s Grant County series, The Last Child, Cormoran Strike series, The Night Circus, Sharp Objects

YA: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series

Memoir: The Last Black Unicorn, Becoming, Hillbilly Elegy

History: Before We Were Yours, The Boys in the Boat

message 8: by Lisa M.S. (new)

Lisa M.S. Circe performed by Madeline Miller ❤️

message 9: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Monica wrote: "The Dutch House which is performed by Tom Hanks!"

ANYTHING performed by Tom Hanks!

message 10: by Alexis (new)

Alexis No better audiobook than Lincoln in the Bardo.

message 11: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer "Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly follows the lives of three women during the travails of WWII. The audio book is narrated separately by different actors~Cassandra Campbell , Kathleen Gati , Kathrin Kana~which helps make this story even more compelling as we become familiar with the nuances of the characters' voices and moved by their stories.

message 12: by Haley~ (new)

Haley~ You by Caroline Kepnes narrated by Santino Fontana!! He does such a fantastic job!! He's the voice of Hans from Frozen

message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky Becoming by Michelle Obama, performed by Michelle Obama.
(YA) Refugee by Alan Gratz, performed by a cast.
The Never-Ending Present: The Hip Biography by Michael Barclay, performed by George Stroumbolopolous
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, performed by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Anything by Anthony Bourdain, performed by Anthony Bourdain
Anything by Neil Gaiman, performed by Neil Gaiman (though I'm partial to Coraline)

message 14: by Magical_Bookworm (new)

Magical_Bookworm I'm currently listening Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. The audio book is really good. I've heard good things about The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue audiobook. So when I get around to read it, I know I want to listen to it on audio.

message 15: by Sky (new)

Sky The Librivox recording of "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens narrated by Mil Nicholson. She did such an amazing job with all the voices and giving everyone such clear personalities, sometimes I honestly forgot it was just one person reading the whole book.

message 16: by Chris (new)

Chris In addition to Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, among my favorites this year and all time are A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie (Steven Pacey, narrator) and A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Amy Landon, narrator).

message 17: by M.N. (last edited Nov 20, 2019 01:55PM) (new)

M.N. Cox Well timed good news - I just got a copy of 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth'.

Stephen Fry does do exceptionally well on the Harry Potter series audio. I haven't heard Jim Dale, though. And now I'd like to.

message 18: by Sean (new)

Sean My favorite (RIP) reader Edward Herrman can read anything to me:
- Boys in the Boat
- Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
- Unbroken
- John Adams
- A Beautiful Mind
- Einstein: His Life and Universe
- In The Heart of the Sea
- Isaac's Storm
- The Maltese Falcon
His list is at:

message 19: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Banino H is for Hawk was a beautiful book and was even better read by the author

message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Robinson Animal Farm, read by Timothy West!
The Bell Jar, read by Maggie Gyllenhaal!

message 21: by TMR (new)

TMR Demi Moore’s Inside out narrated by her.

message 22: by Chris (new)

Chris Jessica wrote . . .
The Bell Jar, read by Maggie Gyllenhaal!"

That reading really stayed with me like few other audiobooks have. I can't imagine experiencing The Bell Jar any other way.

message 23: by Trina (new)

Trina I actually love the audio version of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? The actor voices all the different narrators (and narrative forms!) with such comic ebullience that I found myself laughing aloud in places.
Another great audiobook find is The Keeper of Lost Causes - the Department Q series - which if you like Tana French’s books (now turned into the Dublin Murders) you’ll love for the wry voice of Copenhagen’s inspector Carl Morck & his Syrian-refugee sidekick Assad.
On the nonfiction side, I was blown away by the audio version of Sapiens. To me, it was like sitting in on the most brilliant lecture ever. Somehow between the narrator’s lofty command of language and the author’s vast knowledge of the subject - the whole history of humankind! - I found impossible not to be completely impressed and entranced just listening to him speak.

message 24: by Kim (last edited Nov 20, 2019 08:09PM) (new)

Kim Frankenstein read by Dan Stevens - What. A. Voice.
Anything written by Alexander Mccall Smith is always fun to listen to.
Angela's Ashes read by the author is an oldie but a good one.
Me by Elton John is excellent too.

message 25: by Jamie (new)

Jamie The Help was an excellent audio.

message 26: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Gentleman in Moscow, financial

message 27: by Fay (new)

Fay Inkheart narrated by Vanessa Redgrave. Wow!

message 28: by Fay (new)

Fay Shannon wrote: "Gentleman in Moscow, financial"


message 29: by MK ( MaKayla) ✨ (last edited Nov 20, 2019 10:44PM) (new)

MK ( MaKayla) ✨ Croak by Gina Damico, The story itself is a completely refreshing unique YA , it's beyond funny and interesting . It was the best audio book I've ever listened to . The narrator captured the characters perfectly , and added an extra layer to them ,not only that but she had THE perfect voices and inflections for each character ! Highly recommend it .


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda Schoengold Alexis wrote: "No better audiobook than Lincoln in the Bardo."
So true! Like listening to theatre. It was amazing.

message 31: by M.N. (new)

M.N. Cox Jessica wrote: "...The Bell Jar, read by Maggie Gyllenhaal!"

I'd love to give that a try!

message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Robinson M wrote: "Jessica wrote: "...The Bell Jar, read by Maggie Gyllenhaal!"

I'd love to give that a try!"

It's on YouTube! 😜👍

message 33: by M.N. (new)

M.N. Cox Jessica wrote:
It's on YouTube! 😜👍"

Thank you Jessica :)

message 34: by Debbie (new)

Debbie W. I absolutely loved MS. BIXBY'S LAST DAY!

message 35: by Laetitia (new)

Laetitia Matilda (Roald Dahl) read by Kate Winslet is my favorite!

message 36: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Robinson Laetitia wrote: "Matilda (Roald Dahl) read by Kate Winslet is my favorite!"

Ooohhhh I need to look into that one! 😍

message 37: by Saudat (new)

Saudat Alishayeva There is an abridged version of the Origin of Species read by Richard Dawkins. The sad part is that it is much shorter than the full version (~6 hours).

message 38: by Kim (last edited Nov 23, 2019 01:28PM) (new)

Kim I'm currently listening to The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Last read it when I was a young girl, it's still having the same effect on me.
This version includes some material that was edited out of the original that her father published over 70 years ago.
Beautifully narrated by actress Helena Bonham Carter.

message 39: by Tucker (new)

Tucker  (TuckerTheReader) Where the heck is Illuminae???

message 40: by Pcdoctorswr (last edited Nov 23, 2019 06:02PM) (new)

Pcdoctorswr Blowout by Rachel Maddow. Narrated by Rachel Maddow

message 41: by Olga (new)

Olga If you are new to audiobooks and like mystery the place to start is:
Robert B. Parker's Spencer series read by Joe Mantegna.

message 42: by Keith (new)

Keith I'd like to put a punt in for Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, performed to perfection by Jayne Entwistle.

message 43: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Jules wrote: "Cruel prince, Holly Black needs to be in audio. The whole series.
She is a tremendous writer!"

I just finished listening to this book that I checked out from my library. It was well done.

message 44: by Gwyneth (new)

Gwyneth You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, written and read by Sherman Alexie. You can feel the real emotion in his voice as he speaks about his mother - even cracking with tears at one point - which makes this book so much more powerful as an audiobook. Also, the chapters are occasionally interspersed with his poems - and I believe poetry is so much better heard than read.

message 45: by Katie (new)

Katie Johnson The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater! Steve West’s voice is heaven. And the story is beautiful.

message 46: by Marejda (new)

Marejda Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Noah Galvin it was amazing!

message 47: by Ennas (new)

Ennas Rezk I just finished Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout, it was an absolute gem in audio! I also very much enjoyed listening Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, The Secrets between Us by Thrity Umrigar, the Island of Sea Women by Lisa See and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie read by Adjoa Andoh was also lovely.
I could actually go on and on.....I love audio books. The way they draw you into a different world even more than reading a book does.

message 48: by Jill (new)

Jill The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho, read by Jeremy Irons. The story feels like an instant classic, like an unburied treasure of the Greeks, and Irons' voice has the right timbre- weighty and mystical. I was captivated.

message 49: by Lila Reads (new)

Lila Reads Jules wrote: "Cruel prince, Holly Black needs to be in audio. The whole series.
She is a tremendous writer!"

It is! All three parts are narrated by Caitlin Kelly.

message 50: by Annie (new)

Annie Jodi Taylor's Chronicle s of St Mary's. I feel in love with the series after listening to the first one Check out this book on Goodreads: Just One Damned Thing After Another

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