Best Audiobooks of All Time: The Ultimate List
Are you looking for the best audiobooks of all time? Since you’re here trying to find high-quality content to enjoy in your free time or while you’re commuting to work, we thought we should do everything we can to provide you with the best titles out there.
To make it easier for you to find the best audiobooks based on your preferences, we arranged our list according to genres: Sci-Fi, mystery and thriller, fantasy, and romance. Then, under each genre, we’ve listed six best-selling books that are praised by audiobook fans worldwide.
Our Picks for the Top Audiobooks of All Time:
- We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
- Area X
- Project Hail Mary
- Earthseed: Parable of the Sower
- Brave New World
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- The Woman in Cabin 10
- The Chemist
- The Cuckoo’s Calling
- Don’t Let Go
- The Midnight Library
- The Goblin Emperor
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
- Norse Mythology
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World
- Reminders of Him
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
- Redeeming Love
- Where the Crawdads Sing
- It Ends with Us
- The Stand-In
Best Sci-Fi Audiobooks
1. We Are Legion (We Are Bob)
Author: Dennis E. Taylor
Duration: 10 hours
We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is the first book in the popular Sci-Fi series called Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor. The story follows a wealthy businessman, Robert Johansson, who had his head cryogenically frozen after death. When he wakes up more than 100 years later, the world is an entirely different place. At that point, the government is able to “revive” the frozen heads, but they are declared to be properties of the state that don’t have rights. Robb is uploaded into computer hardware and has to honor the commitments given to him by the government.
As one of the best science fiction audiobooks of all time, the Bobiverse series takes readers to intergalactic adventures and struggles. The first installment is narrated by Ray Porter, a popular audiobook storyteller of our time.
2. Area X
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Duration: 26 hours and 14 minutes
Area X is a combination of the three volumes of the Southern Reach Trilogy, one of the most popular Sci-Fi series of all time. Jeff VanderMeer wrote three volumes: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance.
The trilogy follows the story of a group of people set to explore a mysterious area called Area X. The first volume presents the twelfth expedition attempting to explore this area. All of their predecessors died of various contaminators that the area is filled with.
This trilogy is among the highest-rated audiobooks as it tells a relatable story about people and their inner struggles. Each of the books in the trilogy covers similar themes and uncovers the secret behind Area X piece by piece. Since every part of the series is amazing, we suggest that you purchase all three of them. The narrators of the volumes are Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands.
3. Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Weir
Duration: 16 hours and 10 minutes
Project Hail Mary follows Ryland Grace, the sole survivor of a space mission and the only person who can save the planet. With his memory loss and complete confusion over what happened to him, his mission is nearly impossible. The book is among the best books on Audible and a New York Times audio fiction best-seller.
This title has everything a space-loving Sci-Fi reader needs — an interstellar scenery, a touch of mystery, and an inspiring journey of self-discovery. The author, Andy Weir, became famous after writing The Martian. So, you can almost be sure of his ability to use words to transport you into a new dimension. The book’s narrator is the fantastic Ray Porter.
Author: Frank Herbert
Duration: 21 hours
Originally, Dune was a two-part story written by Frank Herbert and published in Analog magazine in the sixties. Its popularity led to it being published as an actual book, and it’s now among the best-selling audiobooks of all time. In 2021, the book became a motion picture featuring famous Hollywood actors, and this brought the book closer to younger generations.
Dune is a story about a world in the distant future, but the system ruling it resembles the old feudal system with noble houses controlling every aspect of people’s lives. Young Paul Atreides lies at the heart of the story. His noble upbringing and devastating past contribute to the exciting plot. Paul is set on a critical mission, and the future of humankind depends on its success. Still, there is so much to the story as it touches on various vital aspects of today’s life, such as religion, technology, politics, and ecology. It’s one of the greatest audiobooks of all time and a must-read even for those who aren’t fans of science fiction novels.
Its narration is brought to the next level as more than 10 narrators participate in the storytelling: Scott Brick, Euan Morton, Orlagh Cassidy, Ilyana Kadushin, Simon Vance, David R. Gordon, and Byron Jennings. The remaining narrators include Jason Culp, Oliver Wyman, Kent Broadhurst, Scott Sowers, and Patricia Kilgarriff.
5. Earthseed: Parable of the Sower
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Duration: 12 hours
The Parable of the Sower is the first novel of Octavia E. Butler’s two-book series, Earthseed. The story of this must-listen audiobook follows a religious group in an apocalyptic world that turns to religion for comfort. The group’s leader is the young Lauren Oya Olamina, who came up with the idea that humanity should shape God in times of need.
In her diary entries, which is the only form the book was written in, we get to follow her troubling past and present difficulties. Lynne Thigpen did an amazing job reading those entries, and the book itself tells a unique and compelling story about social inequality and climate change.
6. Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Duration: 8 hours
Brave New World is among the most popular Sci-Fi books of all time. The writer of one of the best fiction audiobooks, Aldous Huxley, managed to create a futuristic story about a genetically engineered humankind and added an actual human element to it. The plot is about a world where every person is born out of an artificial womb and is free of age, pain, and disease.
The main character, Bernard Marx, accidentally finds a group of naturally born people. He then starts questioning every inch of his being and the way the world works. The plot covers all of the elements of a dystopian society with an intelligence-based social hierarchy and psychological manipulation coupled up with extraordinary scientific achievements. Michael York narrates the audio version.
Top Audiobooks of All Time: Mystery and Thriller
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Duration: 16 hours and 19 minutes
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a mystery aspect to it that is emphasized in the audiobook. At first glance, the story is about two people struggling to solve the decades-old disappearance case of a young heiress.
As we go deeper, all kinds of profound mysteries will be unveiled, including the corruption of the Swedish state. It’s a beautifully written, chilling mystery written by Stieg Larsson. Simon Vance narrates the audiobook.
2. The Woman in Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware
Duration: 11 hours and 16 minutes
The Woman in Cabin 10 is among the top-rated audiobooks of all time and a New York Times best-seller by Ruth Ware. It’s a fast-paced story about a travel journalist, Laura Lo Blacklock, set on a glamorous cruise. She witnesses a woman being thrown overboard, and after nobody believes her, she decides to solve the mystery on her own. The problem is, because of her traumatic past, she can’t even trust herself. She then starts receiving threats, making her detective work even riskier.
Imogen Church narrates the interesting and mysterious story of The Woman in Cabin 10, which you certainly won’t be able to stop listening to until the last minute.
3. The Chemist
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Duration: 17 hours
Stephenie Meyer is the author of one of the most popular audiobooks — the Twilight series. Her thriller The Chemist is proof that she is a versatile and consistently good author.
The story follows a former government agent who uncovers much more than she should have, so she has no choice but to go on the run. When she is given a chance to do one last task that would set her free, the listeners get to follow her on a thrilling path to uncovering even more secrets and trying to stay alive along the way. This mystery and thriller audiobook is narrated by Ellen Archer.
4. The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith
Duration: 15 hours and 54 minutes
The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first book in a series dubbed as one of the best mystery audiobooks: Cormoran Strike. J.K. Rowling wrote the series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
The story follows a war veteran and private investigator by the name of Cormoran Strike, who was left picking up pieces of his life after returning from the war. Fate takes him to discover the mysterious death of a supermodel that was ruled as a suicide. However, that wouldn’t be the only death in the book, as this dark story is full of twists and turns.
Many audiobook listeners found the story to be pretty slow-paced, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the writing. The narrator, Robert Glenister, is a famous actor who does a fantastic job and makes The Cuckoo’s Calling one of the best-narrated audiobooks.
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Duration: 11 hours and 6 minutes
You’ve probably heard of the Netflix adaptation of the book, You. A young librarian named Joe becomes obsessed with women he stalks and will stop at nothing to get them. Well, readers claim that the book, written by Caroline Kepnes, is even creepier and more twisted.
The book is written from Joe’s point of view. Listeners get to learn about Joe’s past and understand his motives while following his crazy journey to find love. This thriller is full of dark turns, and you can almost be certain that you won’t be able to hit pause for hours. The narrator of You, one of the best fiction audiobooks of all time, is Santino Fontana.
6. Don’t Let Go
Author: Harlan Coben
Duration: 8 hours and 42 minutes
Don’t Let Go is a best-selling book by Harlan Coben. It follows the story of Napoleon Nap Dumas, a detective with a troubling past. While working on a murder case, his past starts catching up to him as he is set to uncover his past trauma and solve decades-long mysteries.
Readers of the book praise it due to its fast-paced narration and lots of twisted turns. On the other hand, audiobook listeners get to enjoy its story with the help of one of the most famous narrators: Steven Weber.
nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
The Best Fantasy Audiobooks
1. The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Duration: 8 hours and 50 minutes
The Midnight Library explores the answers to one of humankind’s biggest questions: what if?
At the center of the publication is the Midnight Library, a place between life and death where all of the consequences of the choices we did or didn’t make can easily be accessed. The library contains an endless amount of books, each one showing different realities — your life as you know it and what your life could have been if you chose differently at any point in your life. Nora Seed visits the library and is faced with decisions that are almost impossible to make.
The story of this top-selling audiobook of all time is not only about the possible journies one can take but also about the doubts and deep thoughts most people have every day. This book by Matt Haig, which Carey Mulligan narrates, will make you question everything about yourself and may even help you become more confident of your choices in the end.
2. The Goblin Emperor
Author: Katherine Addison
Duration: 17 hours and 53 minutes
We wanted to help you discover some lesser-known books as well, which is why we added The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. This title contains every magical aspect that fantasy novel fans love — brilliant writing, dark magic, breathtaking scenery descriptions, and twists at every corner!
It may be lesser-known, but it’s still one of the best fantasy audiobooks of all time. The story follows a half-goblin prince, Maia, who spent his life in exile before a tragic turn of events made him the sole heir to the throne. With no training and surrounded by people who want to take advantage of his innocence, Maia has to survive and rule a world he still doesn’t fully understand.
Fans of the fantasy genre claim that The Goblin Emperor has many elements similar to George R. R. Martin’s books, but it’s a much shorter read. That, coupled with Kyle McCarley’s exemplary narration of the text, is what makes it worth listening to.
3. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V. E. Schwab
Duration: 17 hours and 10 minutes
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is among the best audiobooks of all time because of its unique premise. It’s also an award-winning standalone fantasy novel. The author, V. E. Schwab, writes a story about Addie LaRue, a woman who chose to live forever. However, her choice comes at a steep price: everyone she meets will instantly forget her. Her curse devastates her, and listeners get to witness her journey as she attempts to leave her mark on the world.
The real story begins 300 years after her curse began when a man in a secret bookstore remembers her. The perfect narration of Julia Whelan fortified this best-selling novel.
4. Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Duration: 6 hours and 29 minutes
Neil Gaiman is a famous writer whose infatuation with mythology led to the best classic audiobooks in the genre. His passion was taken to the next level with this book. Prominent characters, such as Odin, Loki, and Thor, are essential parts of this story, along with many mythical creatures that fantasy fans know and love. He kept his storytelling as close to the actual Norse myths as possible, and his writing keeps the suspense up throughout the book.
Norse Mythology is a standalone novel, so it won’t take up much of your time but will definitely pique your interest in the subject. Moreover, Neil Gaiman himself narrates the story.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Duration: 8 hours and 18 minutes
One cannot make a list of the best audiobooks of all time without mentioning a classic — the Harry Potter series. The series has been one of the most popular books, audiobooks, and movies of all time.
The first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has been on the top five of best-selling audiobook lists for years. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone introduces us to the world of magic and a beloved literary character, Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling’s words are brought to life by Jim Dale, a talented narrator.
6. The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Duration: 29 hours and 57 minutes
The Eye of the World is the first book of the worldwide phenomenon and a top 100 audiobook by Robert Jordan – The Wheel of Time. The series features 11 novels and a companion book. Therefore, if you’re a fan of fantasy and you’re looking for a long series to enjoy for the next few months, The Wheel of Time is a must-read.
The first book introduces readers to a mythical and mysterious new world and the dangers that lie within it. Listeners meet Moraine Damodred, who is set to find a group of people who are willing to follow him on a mission to save the world against The Dark One. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer narrate this epic story.
Top Audiobooks for Romance Fans
1. Reminders of Him
Author: Colleen Hoover
Duration: 10 hours and 17 minutes
Reminders of Him is a fantastic book by best-selling author Colleen Hoover. Even though it’s a romance book, there is so much more to it. Reminders of Him follows Kenna Rowan, a troubled young mother who serves five years in prison and returns to her daughter to seek redemption. She comes to find that her daughter is anything but hers and that the people who have been taking care of her don’t want Kenna in her life.
After everybody abandons her, Kenna gets a glimmer of hope when Ledger Ward, a local bar owner, gives her a chance. Their love blossoms, but it’s not without risks. A frequent entry in audiobook recommendations, Reminders of Him is narrated by Brittany Pressley and Ryan West. Listeners are taken on an amazing journey through a beautifully written book about hope and second chances.
2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Duration: 12 hours and 10 minutes
This best-selling book by Taylor Jenkins Reid pulls readers into the world of Old Hollywood. Aging movie icon, Evelyn Hugo, makes an unexpected choice on the journalist to share her story with — Monique Grant.
While the plot seems to be about Evelyn’s glamorous life as a movie star, listeners soon realize that it’s actually about an unlikely relationship between the two women who are struggling to live their truths. Considered one of the best books on tape, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is narrated by Robin Miles, Alma Cuervo, and Julia Whelan.
3. Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Duration: 17 hours and 17 minutes
The author of Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers, found inspiration for her book in the Book of Hosea. Its central theme is God’s love for sinners.
Francine’s book is set in the 1850s and follows the story of two people whose lives taught them not to trust anyone. Listeners get to learn more about their past and discover whether their love can surpass their trauma in the dangerous world they live in. Kate Forbes narrates this beautifully written story.
4. Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Duration: 12 hours and 12 minutes
Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the best audiobooks to listen to and so much more than a regular romance story. Delia Owens wrote it in two timelines to help readers learn more about Kya, the protagonist. During the first timeline, we learn more about her upbringing and struggles. On the other hand, the second one follows a murder investigation. These stories tie together to create one of the most remarkable books of all time.
Where the Crawdads Sing has been on best-seller lists for over 100 weeks. Moreover, it was part of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club and Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of 2018.
5. It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Duration: 11 hours and 11 minutes
It Ends with Us belongs to the top 10 audiobooks in the romance genre and is written by Colleen Hoover. The book features a love story that’s anything but simple. It plays with everyday relationship issues, such as fear of commitment and choosing between ego and love, and, just as the dust settles, listeners get a new surprise — a love triangle.
The main character, Lily, is a relatable character whose choices we respect and judge. She will have to navigate her love life and other hardships in a tale narrated by Olivia Song.
6. The Stand-In
Author: Lily Chu
Duration: 10 hours and 55 minutes
The Stand-In is one of the best books to listen to despite its familiar plot that we’ve read and watched a million times — a young girl struggling to get her life together, a famous actress proposes a life swap, and the girl is then thrown into a glamorous world she barely understands.
Lily Chu’s work managed to climb to the top of best-selling lists, proving that it still has something unique to offer. Phillipa Soo narrates the story of Gracie Reed, who gets the chance of a lifetime to turn her life around, but that opportunity comes at a price.
There you have it — our list of the best audiobooks ever created according to some popular genres. We’ve made sure you have a lot of options to choose from.
Furthermore, if you’re just starting your audiobook journey, these books will help you figure out which genre you gravitate to the most. That will make finding new titles much easier in the future.
What is the highest-rated audiobook?
It’s difficult to single out a specific title for its high ratings, as there are many fantastic audiobooks with good reviews. Once you choose an audiobook platform you want to sign up for, you can go to its explore section. Then, list the titles based on their ratings. If you’re not sure what ratings are considered “good,” you should look for a title with a rating higher than four stars.
What is the best-selling audiobook of all time?
Most best-selling audiobooks belong to the biography, self-help, and fantasy genres. Some of the most popular titles on Audible are Becoming by Michele Obama and the whole The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. In addition, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is the best-selling self-help audiobook of all time.
Which books are best as audiobooks?
Some people may not consider listening to audiobooks as actual reading, but there’s no denying that some audiobooks are simply better than regular books. For example, humorous books, especially those narrated by the authors, are more enjoyable in audio form. Would you rather listen to a comic routine or read it?
Additionally, audiobooks with a full cast, where each character has a distinct voice, create a more vivid mental image than if you’re reading it. It’s almost akin to watching a movie.
What audiobook should I listen to?
In the article above, we compiled a list of 24 audiobook titles we think are worth your time — in the mystery and thriller, romance, fantasy, and science fiction genres. All of them are best-sellers and have been praised by fans everywhere for years. If you’re looking for one title specifically, you should start by choosing a genre. Then, out of the six books we listed, select one with the most appealing summary.
What are the highest-rated books on Audible?
The more popular books on Audible that tend to receive higher ratings belong to the self-help, biography, and fantasy genres. At the moment, the platform’s best-seller list includes titles, such as Atomic Habits, Will, which is Will Smith’s biography, Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, and Project Hail Mary. What’s more, the whole Harry Potter series is typically listed among the best audiobooks of all time and continues to receive high ratings.