2024 RUSA Listen List Revealed

BALTIMORE- The Listen List Council of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced the 2024 selections of the Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration. This year’s committee evaluated 251 titles with a total listening time of more than 3,161 hours. The final deliberation produced a list of 12 winners. This award highlights extraordinary narrators and listening experiences that merit special attention by a general adult audience and the librarians who advise them.

Adhering to established criteria, these benchmarks of excellence are available for purchase by libraries. Committee members matched the 12 titles on the list with three listen-alikes each which match the tone, theme, or style of the title on the list. None of these titles have appeared on any previous Listen Lists. Titles are named to the list because the narration creates a new experience with an outstanding performance in terms of voice, accents, pitch, tone, inflection, rhythm, and pace, offering listeners something they could not create by their own visual reading. This juried list, designed for both avid listeners and those new to the pleasures of stories read aloud, includes fiction and nonfiction and features voices that enthrall, delight, and inspire.

The 2024 selections are:

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. Narrated by Lameece Issaq and Amin El Gamal. HarperAudio.

The most feared pirate in the Indian Ocean, Amina al-Sirafi just wanted a quiet retirement with her daughter, but one final job pulls her back into the magical fray. Chakraborty’s picaresque novel should be experienced in audio as Amina, narrated by Lameece Issaq, relates her adventures to a scribe in a tavern, voiced by Amin El Gamal. Superb comic timing will make listeners feel like they are overhearing this epic tale from the next table.


A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall. Narrated by Angèle Masters. Hachette Audio.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Narrated by Nick Podehl. Brilliance Audio.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Narrated by Michael Page. Books on Tape.

Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Narrated by Shayna Small, Aaron Goodson, Michael Crouch, and Lee Osorio. Books on Tape.

The violence is visceral in this cleverly structured novel set in the near future United States. Welcome to a world where convicts are tapped to participate in the newest craze, fights to the death televised for the public’s viewing pleasure. This multicast production brings each character to life, giving listeners a front-row seat, cheering for the winners and mourning the losers.


The Running Man by Stephen King. Narrated by Kevin Kenerly. Simon & Schuster Audio.

This Life by Quntos KunQuest and Zachary Lazar. Narrated by Sean Crisden. HighBridge.

Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road To Repair by Danielle Sered. Narrated by Emily Durante. Tantor Media.

Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World’s Greatest Art Forger by Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi. Narrated by Richard Ferrone, Tony Tetro and Giampiero Ambrosi. Hachette Audio.

Notorious art forger Tetro and coauthor Ambrosi plunge listeners into the seedy world of art dealing in the 1970s and 1980s–cocaine, dalliances, Ferarris, and booze-soaked antics. From secret rooms to trials and royal scandals, Tetro’s tale is never boring. Richard Ferrone’s narration complements the story perfectly, with a gruff, smoky voice that evokes late nights full of cigars and alcohol.


The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession by Michael Finkel. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Michael Finkel. Books on Tape.

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li. Narrated by Eunice Wong and Austin Ku. Books on Tape.

Stalking Shakespeare: A Memoir of Madness, Murder, and My Search for the Poet Beneath the Paint by Lee Durkee. Narrated by Matt Godfrey. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini. Narrated by Jennifer Hale. Macmillan Audio.

The crew of the spaceship Adamura are on a mission of exploration when they encounter a mysterious anomaly on Talos VII. As they undertake an arduous journey to reach the source through a harsh, desolate landscape, the crew faces internal struggles every bit as challenging as the physical trials they are enduring. Jennifer Hale expertly voices a diverse cast of characters while sound effects ominously punctuate the text, ratcheting up the tension.


Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield. Narrated by Annabel Baldwin and Robyn Holdaway. Dreamscape Media.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Barbara Lem and Tomasz Lem. Narrated by Alessandro Juliani. Brilliance Audio.

The Strange by Nathan Ballingrud. Narrated by Sophie Amoss. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim. Narrated by Shannon Tyo, Sean Patrick Hopkins, and Thomas Pruyn. Books on Tape.

Her father’s disappearance impels high-achieving genius Mia to search. The twenty-something’s brother Eugene has both autism and Angelman syndrome–he’s nonverbal and the only witness. Shannon Tyo conveys Mia’s blunt affect, though her protectiveness shines through as she analyzes her family, seeking truth. Xenophobia and ability bias permeate the police investigation, with Eugene’s testimony as counterpoint, authentically performed by fellow autistic community member Thomas Pruyn. Sean Patrick Hopkins voices their vanished father in a moving coda.


All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien. Narrated by Aileen Huynh, Yen Nguyen, and Amelia Nguyen. HarperAudio.

The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris. Narrated by Huw Parmenter. Simon & Schuster Audio.

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang. Narrated by Brian Nishii. Recorded Books.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride. Narrated by Dominic Hoffman. Books on Tape.

In a small 1930s Pennsylvania town, conflicts involving a few good people and some evil operators boil over. The suspicious death of a kindly Jewish woman and incarceration of a Black child galvanize community action. Dominic Hoffman ably employs storytelling cadences of both Black and Jewish speakers.


The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff. Narrated by Soneela Nankani. Books on Tape.

King of the Armadillos by Wendy Chin-Tanner. Narrated by Feodor Chin. Macmillan Audio.

The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger. Narrated by CJ Wilson. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey. Narrated by Dami Olukoya. Hachette Audio.

When Lagos-based physicist Hadiz Tambuwal succeeds in stepping onto a pristine parallel Earth, she sees relief from resource deprivation for all. Infinite worlds hold infinite human variation, and an alliance of Earths already alert against trespassers. From Hadiz’s Lagosian lilt to the accents of alternate Nigerias and modulated tones of AI, Dami Olukoya creates irresistible character voices. As the Pandominion mobilizes for war, her narration masterfully personalizes their atrocities across the multiverse.


Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh.Narrated by Nneka Okoye. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Translation State by Ann Leckie. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Hachette Audio.

Version Control by Dexter Palmer. Narrated by January LaVoy. Books on Tape.

King: A Life by Jonathan Eig. Narrated by Dion Graham. Macmillan Audio.

In this powerhouse biography, Eig uses newly released FBI documents and recordings of Coretta Scott King to augment Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Dion Graham’s pitch-perfect characterization sweeps the listener along, providing gravitas and warmth and doing justice to the portrayal of this beloved Civil Rights leader’s life.


Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J. Garrow. Narrated by Jeff Riggenbach. Blackstone Audio.

His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by John Meacham and John Lewis. Narrated by JD Jackson and John Meacham. Books on Tape.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela. Narrated by Michael Boatman. Hachette Audio.

The Laughter by Sonora Jha. Narrated by Christopher Grove and Deepti Gupta. HarperAudio.

Oliver Harding, self-proclaimed “Man of Pallor,” is a smug, tenured academic obsessed with Ruhaba, a female Pakistani colleague. He befriends her nephew, at the behest of the FBI, with prurient designs on her. Christopher Grove voices Oliver with initial likability, quickly morphing into a chillingly bland tone that reveals his complete lack of moral compass. Deepti Gupta reveals Ruhaba as quite different from Oliver’s projections of her.


How Can I Help You by Laura Sims. Narrated by Carlotta Brentan and Maggi-Meg Reed. Books on Tape.

None of This is True by Lisa Jewell. Narrated by Kristen Atherton et al. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka. Narrated by Mozhan Marno and Jim Meskimen. HarperAudio.

The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor. Narrated by Bahni Turpin. Harlequin Audio.

Taylor’s memoir of growing up in East St. Louis recounts a childhood full of abuse and neglect where writing became a solace. Bahni Turpin gives dynamic range to the characters of Taylor’s life, allowing listeners to sympathize with and love her family as the young girl finds hope in tragedy. The author’s indomitability comes through in Turpin’s compassionate narration.


Finding Me by Viola Davis.Narrated by Viola Davis. HarperAudio.

Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls. Narrated by Jeannette Walls. Simon & Schuster Audio.

Tough: My Journey to True Power by Terry Crews. Narrated by Terry Crews. Books on Tape.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Narrated by Eunice Wong. Books on Tape.

Widowed, 60-year-old Vera lives a very orderly life in San Francisco’s Chinatown until the body of a man is found in her tea shop. Surprised when the police think her meddlesome, she decides to find the killer. Along the way, she plays host, chef, and matchmaker to a variety of suspects. Eunice Wong imbues this cozy mystery with warmth and humor while providing distinct voices for a large cast of eccentric characters.


Aunty Lee’s Delights by Ovidia Yu. Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Tantor Media.

Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien. Narrated by Cheryl May. JournalStone Publishing.

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer Quinn. Narrated by Petrea Burchard. Macmillan Audio.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang. Narrated by Helen Laser. HarperAudio.

June should be happy for her friend Athena’s runaway literary success, but with her own writing career stalled, she is consumed by jealousy. When Athena unexpectedly dies and leaves behind an unfinished manuscript, June takes it and passes it off as her own but struggles to keep her deception a secret. Helen Laser’s voice drips with envy and snark as she superbly captures June’s escalating rage.


I’m Not Done With You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutano.Narrated by Yu-Li Alice Shen, et al. Books on Tape.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Narrated by Kirby Heyborne. Macmillan Audio

Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft.Narrated by Carlotta Brentan.  Books on Tape.

The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration Council includes: Alicia Kathryn Ahlvers (Chair), Janice Derr, Lauren Kage, Julie Ann Murphy, Eve A. Nyren, and Carmanita Turner.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at www.rusaupdate.org.