Although I love unwinding at the end of the day with a paperback until my eyes become too sleepy to focus on the lines, there’s a very special place in my heart for audiobooks.
I listen to them while falling asleep on evenings when I just want to close my eyes and drift off (and then spend a few minutes rewinding to the last moment I remember the following night…)
I also listen to them when cooking, cleaning, going on walks, and just generally pottering around. Here are some of the best audiobooks I’ve been enjoying lately while spending more time at home, which I hope you might enjoy too.
Let me know what you end up listening to. If you find something I haven’t included in the list below, reach out on social media – I’m always looking for recommendations. Happy listening!
P.S. If you haven’t created an Audible account yet, here’s a link to a 30-day trial to get your first book free.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
An Ann Patchett book narrated by Tom Hanks? Yep, that’s exactly what this is.
“There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you’d been standing on falls away behind you, and the future you mean to land on is not yet in place, and for a moment you’re suspended knowing nothing and no one, not even yourself.”
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I first read Big Magic when I lived in the Swiss Alps, around the same time that I also listened to Liz Gilbert’s accompanying podcast, Magic Lessons. I’ve returned to the book so many times in the last couple of years.
I downloaded the audiobook last month to revisit favourite chapters whenever I need an extra dose of inspiration or to have a word with the fear standing in my way.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
Mythos by Stephen Fry
Ready to journey into Ancient Greece? Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures the Greek myths for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.
“Painters, poets and philosophers have seen many things in the myth of Sisyphus. They have seen an image of the absurdity of human life, the futility of effort, the remorseless cruelty of fate, the unconquerable power of gravity. But they have seen too something of mankind’s courage, resilience, fortitude, endurance and self-belief. They see something heroic in our refusal to submit.”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This is Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming-of-age tale told with a modern twist. The audiobook stars a full cast, led by four-time Golden Globe-winner Laura Dern (Little Women, Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park) along with veteran narrators.
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder, read (or listen to) Where the Crawdads Sing.
“lot of times love doesn’t work out. Yet even when it fails, it connects you to others and, in the end, that is all you have, the connections.”
Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection by Haemin Sunim
I’ve recommended Haemin Sunim’s first book, The Things We Can See Only When We Slow Down, time and again on Tolstoy Therapy. Love for Imperfect Things is another fantastic choice, especially on audiobook.
“When we become kinder to ourselves, we can become kinder to the world.”
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
As the long-awaited sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, The Mirror and the Light is the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy.
P.S. You can also download The Wolf Hall Trilogy as one audiobook if you need to catch up!
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
If you feel like filling your brain with lots of interesting tidbits, The Body: A Guide for Occupants should quickly fulfil that goal.
Described by The Guardian as “a directory of wonders”, it will have you marvelling at the form you occupy and celebrating the genius of your existence.
“Just sitting quietly, doing nothing at all, your brain churns through more information in thirty seconds than the Hubble Space Telescope has processed in thirty years. A morsel of cortex one cubic millimeter in size—about the size of a grain of sand—could hold two thousand terabytes of information, enough to store all the movies ever made, trailers included, or about 1.2 billion copies of this book.”
Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living by Glennon Doyle
I mentioned Untamed in my recent post, 8 recommended books if you don’t know what to read right now, and it’s just as worthy here on this list of audiobooks.
It’s a fantastic reminder to stop playing small and take control of your life.
“It’s just that living with anxiety – living alarmed – makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I am too afraid of what the next moment will bring. I have to be ready.”
The Stoic Challenge A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient by William B. Irvine
I’ve recommended William B. Irvine’s most popular book, A Guide to the Good Life a few times before on the blog. His follow-up guide to stoicism is also wonderful.
If there was a perfect time to learn from the timeless wisdom of great minds such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, now must be very close.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The classic novel, narrated (performed?) by Rosamund Pike. This is exactly how I’ll be relaxing at home this upcoming week.
“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”
Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life by Paul Dolan
The weeks and months ahead don’t have to be a time for productivity or self-improvement.
Instead, if you can spend any time slowing down, checking in with how you’re doing, and even slightly recalibrating, pat yourself on the back. Paul Dolan’s a good author to help with this.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
In Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt Haig shares how the world we live in is making us anxious, from the news stories we can’t escape to social media feeds and overwhelming supermarkets.
Listen to the audiobook and realise it’s not just you feeling this way. And that there’s a way to do things differently.
“Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”