For a serial multitasker like me, audiobooks are the best and easiest way to read what I want to read without being sedentary. This list comprises some of my top favorite listens to fill a run, the time spent cleaning your kitchen, taking the dog for a walk, and more!
I’m starting with FAR FROM THE TREE both because the story itself is so excellent and because Julia Whelan is in my top three all-time favorite narrators. Author Robin Benway won the National Book Award for this beautiful interwoven tale of three very different teenagers connected by blood that explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it. You’ll be absolutely captivated by Maya, Joaquin, and Grace and the way Julia Whelan’s voice brings them to life. This one will emotionally wreck you in the best way possible.
Next, I have to say I absolutely love a thriller in audio. There’s something about listening to a thriller that adds to the suspense. Lisa Jewell’s most recent novel, THE NIGHT SHE DISAPPEARED, brings you straight into the mystery when a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after a night out. Froggatt’s narration will make your heart race as the story unfolds in dual timelines and a mother desperately searches for answers.
“Utterly gripping with richly drawn, hugely compelling characters, this is a first-class thriller with heart.” —Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author
“Insane suspense.” —Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author
“Her best thriller yet.” —Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another riveting work of psychological suspense about a beautiful young couple’s disappearance on a gorgeous summer night, and the mother who will never give up trying to find them...
On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.
One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”
Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?
With her signature “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Lisa Jewell has crafted a dazzling work of suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page.
You may know her from her hilarious role as Jessica in the Twilight movies, rule-breaker Beca in Pitch Perfect, or even Noelle on Disney+, but SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY will only make you love Kendrick more. This collection of humorous autobiographical essays, read in Kendrick’s own voice, details her rise to stardom in a way that feels entirely relatable. This listen pulled me out of a reading slump and made me laugh all the way through.
The New York Times bestselling collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”
At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.
With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”
Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).
I was a fan of Sow and Friedman’s podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, for a long time prior to this book’s coming out, so of course buying the audio was a no-brainer for me. In this compilation of essays, the authors detail the course of their friendship through the years in a way that will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. I proceeded to gift this title forward to the big friendships in my life, and I think you’ll want to do the same.
A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.
Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.
Aminatou and Ann define Big Friendship as a strong, significant bond that transcends life phases, geographical locations, and emotional shifts. And they should know: the two have had moments of charmed bliss and deep frustration, of profound connection and gut-wrenching alienation. They have weathered life-threatening health scares, getting fired from their dream jobs, and one unfortunate Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a car in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. Through interviews with friends and experts, they have come to understand that their struggles are not unique. And that the most important part of a Big Friendship is making the decision to invest in one another again and again.
An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them.
If you’re looking for a listen that will give you all the feels, and promptly make you want to listen to the author’s entire backlist, look no further! In this novel about friendship and finding yourself, the daughter of a congressman suddenly finds her carefully planned summer upended in the wake of a scandal. Carr’s narration coupled with Matson’s writing are a thing of beauty. This book will tug your heartstrings in the best way.
If I’m being completely honest, I originally bought this one because I saw the narrator post about it, but it does not disappoint. This witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or fate—prompted me to read almost all of Christina Lauren’s backlist. Patti Murin, a.k.a. Broadway’s original Princess Anna in Frozen, only adds to how good the writing is here.
The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.
Single mom Jessica Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: one of GeneticAlly’s founders, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond Match” that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.
Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated
I couldn’t close out this list without including the very first audiobook I read. I’m a fan of WWII fiction and this emotionally rich story delivered for me immediately. Maddie and Verity’s experiences, brought vividly to life by the narrators, will keep you absolutely glued to your headphones. Plus, there’s a twist at the end that will make you question everything you thought you knew about Verity.
Photo credit: iStock / itakdalee