No matter how much we may enjoy getting stuck into a good book, it can sometimes be hard to dedicate enough time to reading. So, if you’re fed up with buying books but never getting the chance to start them, you might want to consider listening to an audiobook instead.
From thrilling novels read by their authors to thought-provoking non-fiction narrated by A-list actors, audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular – and for good reason.
Aside from being a great way to immerse yourself in a story, listening to audiobooks can free up extra time. You can enjoy a good story while going for a walk, working out, driving your car, or running errands. Even better, audiobooks are cheaper to buy than paper books or Kindle editions, and if you have an Amazon account, you can enjoy a free 30-day Audible membership trial.
So if you’re interested in checking out some audiobooks, here are 14 of the most popular titles to choose from. From fantasy epics to political biographies and scientific books about health, there’s hopefully something for everyone here.
1. Mythos, by Stephen Fry
If you’re interested in Greek mythology, then why not download Stephen Fry’s Sunday Times bestseller, Mythos?
Read by the man himself, this is a stylish retelling of some of the most fascinating myths and legends, and Fry’s wit and eloquence add an enjoyably modern twist to these ancient legends.
From Athena’s magical birth to Pandora’s mysterious box, and vengeful gods to wily nymphs, Mythos includes many of the most magical and beloved Greek myths, and the stories are equally humorous, romantic, moving, and horrifying.
If you’re looking to transport yourself to another world for a few hours – or you’re just keen to lose yourself in the wonder of Greek myths – Mythos is for you.
2. The Body, by Bill Bryson
He might be one of the world’s best-known travel writers, but Bill Bryson showed his scientific prowess in his best-selling book A Short History of Nearly Everything.
Now, Bryson turns his attention from the world around us to the bodies we live in, and The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a fascinating, hilarious, and, at times, rather disgusting exploration of the human body.
Full of unbelievable facts and compelling stories, this audiobook covers everything from genetics to the immune system, and Bryon’s soft, soothing voice provides the ideal narration.
The Body is an enormously interesting listen that’ll have you marvelling at the power and ingenuity of your own body.
3. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
Step back in time to the Scottish Highlands in 1945: Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is reunited with her husband. But when she touches an ancient stone circle, she’s suddenly transported back to 1743.
In the 18th century, Claire finds herself a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in Scotland that’s being ripped apart by raids and warring clans. Will Claire find her way back to 1945 – or will her connection to a brave young warrior keep her linked with the MacKenzie Clan forever?
Packed with adventure, mystery, danger, and desire, this gripping story of history, loyalty, and time travel raced straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and for good reason.
Outlander is a passionate and powerful read.
4. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig
Thirty-four-year-old Nora is single, lonely, and has just been fired – and when her beloved cat dies, she loses the will to live. Just as she’s ready to give up, she makes a discovery: between life and death, there’s a library, where the shelves go on forever.
Each book offers the opportunity to experience another life you could have lived, and to see how things would look if you’d made other choices.
Narrated by actor Carey Mulligan, The Midnight Library is a beautiful and evocative novel about life, death, and the in-between – about finding hope and meaning, making the right choices, and surrounding yourself with the right people.
5. Gutfull: What to Eat for a Happy Gut, by Dr Joanna McMillan
Most of us know just how important gut health is – we even wrote about it recently. What we eat affects everything from how we feel to the way our brain works and how well we age. But the trouble is, we’re living in a time where there’s so much conflicting information out there.
In Gutfull: What to Eat for a Happy Gut, Dr Joanna McMillan uses simple language to bust the many myths and misconceptions around gut health, and clearly explains how the foods we eat affect our wellbeing and happiness.
If you’re trying to improve your health, want to understand the power of your gut, and be inspired to eat the right things (as well as know exactly what they are!), then this may be the audiobook for you.
6. How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
In spite of the title, you don’t have to be a woman to enjoy Caitlin Moran’s bestselling, multi-award-winning memoir.
Whether you’ve enjoyed reading Moran’s columns for The Times or just looking for a humorous book that will have you laughing, cringing, and doing plenty of questioning, How to be a Woman is an autobiographical account of what it’s like to be an awkward girl – and then, eventually, an awkward woman.
Moran’s deadpan narration suits the contents of the book perfectly as she details her painful adolescence, her struggles at work, her experiences with love – as well as the joys, pressures, and pains of motherhood.
7. This Is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay
If you haven’t read Adam Kay’s best-selling book This Is Going To Hurt yet, why not listen to it instead? Written by a junior doctor, This Is Going To Hurt is a revealing diary of life on the medical frontlines, and lifts the lid on what it’s really like to work for the NHS.
Narrated by Kay himself, this diary covers 97-hour weeks and sleepless nights, life and death decisions, and the horror and humour that comes from working in hospitals.
This Is Going To Hurt shines an important light on the chaotic yet compassionate world of our health system.
8. A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin
If you enjoy fantasy novels – or you’re just looking for some serious escapism – then why not give A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire a go?
Whether you watched the popular HBO television show or not, George R. R. Martin’s internationally best-selling series is widely regarded as one of the greatest fantasy epics of modern times, and A Game of Thrones is the first installment in the series.
Narrated by Roy Dotrice, this audiobook provides you with nearly 34 hours of adventure. So if you’re looking to transport yourself away from daily life right now into a world of dragons, gods, and kings, this is one exciting way to do it.
9. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
David Mitchell’s Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Cloud Atlas isn’t the easiest book to read – and that’s why it’s so perfect for audiobook.
This novel spans several hundred years, and tells the stories of six different characters and how their lives inexplicably interconnect: there’s a voyager crossing the ocean in the 1850s, a composer trying to make a living between wars, and a genetically modified food server on death row.
Each character’s story is read out by a different actor, and the audiobook beautifully highlights the way the flowery Victorian prose shifts into the starkly simplistic language of the future.
Cloud Atlas is a wonderfully immersive way to read a powerful yet sometimes challenging book.
10. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The recent TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale brought Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel to the forefront of the literary scene once again – and the terrifying world Atwood imagined resonates in many new ways today.
Read by Elizabeth Moss, the star of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series, this audiobook won Best Fiction Audiobook at the 2020 New York Festival Radio Awards and was shortlisted for Audiobook of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards – and for good reason.
Moss’s powerful narration is the perfect vehicle for Atwood’s devastating irony, humour, and perception. The world of Gilead will come alive in chilling new ways as you listen.
11. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
Barack Obama’s A Promised Land is consistently one of the best-selling audiobooks around, and in this first volume of his memoirs, the former US president tells his own story.
Read by Obama himself, A Promised Land is a deeply personal and compelling account of what it was like to experience such a historic presidency firsthand. The story covers Obama’s search for his own identity, his early political aspirations, and the landmark Iowa caucus victory that paved the way to his presidency.
Intimate and introspective, Obama talks frankly about the impact his role had on his family, the pressures of decision-making on a world stage, and his own self-doubt and disappointment.
If you enjoy political memoirs and biographies, this is a must-listen.
12. Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
Part inspiration, part memoir, Glennon Doyle’s Untamed explores the joy we experience when we stop living for others, trying to be who we think we should be, and instead trust in our own instincts.
For years, Glennon Doyle tried to bury her unhappiness… but then, one day, she experienced an entirely unexpected wake-up call that changed the way she viewed the world.
Untamed tells the story of navigating divorce, reclaiming your true self, setting boundaries, and accepting yourself for who you are.
Read by Doyle, who’s a New York Times best-selling author and speaker, this is an inspiring call for anyone who feels they want to stop pleasing, and start living.
13. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, by Bill Gates
If you’re interested in sustainability and want to know more about climate change, then How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need may be for you.
As the founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s most celebrated public figures, Bill Gates shares everything he’s learned while studying climate change and investing in green solutions over the years.
While there are some difficult facts to hear in this book, Gates offers plenty of practical solutions and his clear arguments provide hope and inspiration.
Narrated by Will Wheaton, this is an extremely informative audiobook that calmly addresses the problems we’re facing, before explaining how the world can achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is honest, educational, and rousing.
14. The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley
If you enjoy Agatha Christie books and love getting stuck into a good murder mystery, Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party is one to add to your list.
One New Year’s Eve, a group of friends visit a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness. But when the lodge is cut off, their annual get-together soon takes a far more sinister turn – and everyone’s a suspect, from the golden couple to the new parents, and the city boy to the outsider.
Because the story switches up its narrative perspective it works well in audiobook format, as each character has their own voice actor.
The Hunting Party is a dark, fun, and dramatic story about a murder among friends.
Whether you’ve never listened to an audiobook before or are already a convert, listening to a story instead of reading it is often a far more enjoyable and immersive experience. So why not spend some time seeing if audiobooks are for you?
If you enjoy listening to stories, you may well find that chores and errands become infinitely more enjoyable when your ears are occupied. Whether you want to transport yourself to a magical, far-off land, or educate yourself on the human body, there’s an audiobook out there to suit every taste.
For more literary inspiration, you might also want to check out the books, literature, and writing section of our website.