If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Even if you love nothing more than sitting down with a good book, finding the time to do so can be extremely difficult. Yes, a few minutes before you sleep and a couple of hours over the weekend are definitely achievable, but that’s not the same as getting down and dirty with your favorite pages. Especially when you’re trying to get in shape, have a long commute ahead of you, or spend entirely too much time in the carpool lane picking up the kids.
It turns out the answer is actually quite simple: audiobooks.
In the same way that technology has simplified so many of life’s daily tasks, the restricted activity of reading is no longer bound to sitting and holding the book yourself. For some people, it’s the very act of reading which is the main draw, and while e-readers have helped a lot, they still require a large time commitment. Here’s the good news: if all you want from your book experience is to hear and understand the story, audiobooks open up more time than you could imagine.
Time in the gym, time-traveling and even a trip around the supermarket can all become listening/reading time. This means you can get through books at an impressive rate. In addition, online audiobook subscriptions, like Audible, provide an endless library of book titles to work your way through. If you haven’t already tried it, you can sign up for a free trial of Amazon’s Audible to see what we mean.
Below, we’ve put together some of our favorite best-selling titles available on Amazon. There’s an audiobook for every preference, whether you’re looking to master the art of deal-making or simply want to dive into a fictional world.
1. Dune by Frank Herbert
Now that Denis Villeneuve’s big-screen adaptation starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac is finally here, now is definitely the time to get into the tome that inspired it all. Herbert’s rich world-building has inspired everything from Star Wars, to Alien, to Blade Runner, and no movie (or two-part film) can possibly ever capture all of those the nuances featured in the book. Plus, considering the original published product weighs in around 500 pages, it’s way more practical to listen to it than to lug it around anyhow.
2. The Judge’s List by John Grisham
The legal-thriller mastermind released this follow-up to The Whistler in October, continuing the journey of Lacy Stoltz. The novel is narrated by Mary Louise Parker and picks up three years after Lacy nearly lost her life investigating a corrupt judge. Lacy is almost bored by her life when we return, until she meets a young woman who throws her into a whole new life-threatening situation. So far early readers and critics are all-in, noting that while it’s pretty much like most other Grisham novels, if it’s those signature twists and turns you seek, then you won’t be disappointed.
3. Bad Republican by Meghan McCain
You won’t get your paws on a print edition of Meghan McCain’s latest Audible offering just yet, since the former View co-host chose to release this memoir in audio format only. Still, the novel is stuffed with goodies, including the accusation that Ivanka and Jared are “funeral crashers.” It also features an inside look at what life was really like for McCain while co-hosting the daytime talk show for four years and what led to her early exit.
4. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
BEST CELEB BIOGRAPHY
Yes, sure, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah first released his memoir in 2016, but even if you’ve read it, that’s not the same as listening to the host read his own words out loud. The comedian has impeccable timing to be sure, but this book is also filled with eye-opening accounts of racism, the history of his country during a tumultuous upbringing and even domestic abuse. We laughed out loud one minute then had goosebumps or tears the next, leading us to believe that comedians really are the ultimate storytellers.
5. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Whether you’ve read this classic book or it’s been on your list, now is a great time to get into the chills thanks to the all-star cast behind this award-winning Audible performance. Tim Curry and Alan Cumming team to bring the tome to life, breathing new meaning into all of those letters, journal entries and newspaper clippings featured in the original.
6. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
If you’re looking to make a few changes ahead of the New Year, this New York Times best-selling offering may be of service. Read by the author himself, the book dives into the small ways we can form good habits while breaking bad ones, paving the way for us all to achieve our goals — no matter what they are. Okay, so that might sound a little granola, but Clear’s outlook seems to work for people: this Audible offering has a five-star rating from more than 54,000 reviews.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
7. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
This New York Times bestselling, Oprah’s Book Club Pick is also a National Book Award Longlist finalist. That list of accolades alone intrigues us. Wilkerson examines how the unspoken caste system in America has shaped the status quo, and how our lives today continue to be organized into division. If you’re still trying to wrap your head around racism or attempting to be a better ally, this book may help shed some light.
8. Sex Stories for Adults by Riley Scott
Whether you’re looking to spice up your sex life or interested in revving up your own engine, these steamy stories — as told by Tyla Shandro, a.k.a. one of the most famous erotic storytellers — will light a fire. From BDSM to domination, threesomes to MILFs, there’s a story for everyone in this “forbidden” fantasy collection.
9. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
If you want to effectively manage a team, what better team to inspire after than the Navy SEALs? This best-selling leadership book comes from two highly decorated officers who take the leadership principles they learned during the Iraq War and apply them to business and life. It’s definitely an intense take, but these guys have also successfully trained numerous leaders and companies internationally ever since their time in uniform. And now we get to soak in all of that advice on our own time with this book.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Any book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is going to take readers on a journey through social injustice and the inequalities faced by so many people throughout modern America. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which is a multi-award-winning title, follows the life of Starr, a sixteen-year-old girl who exists in two opposing worlds, namely her poor home neighborhood and her posh, suburban high school. Dealing with day-to-day life is tough enough when everything is going well, so you can only imagine the nightmares ahead when her unarmed best friend, Khalil, is fatally shot by a police officer.
11. Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop
Need a kick in the a**? It may be time to start listening to Unf*ck Yourself by Gary John Bishop. This motivational manual can help you redirect yourself and achieve the change you want. For anyone bored and stuck in the rat race or tired of living out the same Groundhog Day situation, then it really is time to unf*ck yourself. And while this may sound like a self-help book, it’s not. It’s about cutting through the crap and taking responsibility for your life.
12. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Sometimes you just have to stand back and listen to what people are telling you. In the case of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, you have over 192,000 Amazon readers telling you this book deserves five stars out of five. In addition, the book has also been a New York Times Bestseller and is part of the Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine book club. In short, people really like it. The story is a heartbreaking, coming-of-age tale, which will have you emotionally gripped every step of the way with regular reminders of the importance and beauty of the natural world.
13. Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
As soon as you read the name Nicholas Sparks, you know what you are getting yourself into. In Every Breath, you can expect the same heartstring-tugging, love-filled, heartbreaking pages the author has given us for years. This audiobook is ideal for a quiet evening with a glass of wine. Just let the world go by and you lose yourself in this story about love which transcends decades, continents and, most gripping of all, fate itself.
14. Becoming by Michele Obama
Becoming by Michele Obama remains one of Audible’s best books as readers have fallen in love with it. Inside this memoir, from arguably America’s most iconic first lady, you’ll discover what it took to create one of the most inclusive governments in the history of the United States of America. You’ll also find plenty of other insights, including how one successfully raises two daughters while living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Other areas of interest include Michelle’s childhood on the south side of Chicago, her biggest triumphs and disappointments and, of course, what it takes to crush Carpool Karaoke.