Established in 2010 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration seeks to highlight outstanding audiobook titles that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them.
The Listen List Council selects a list of twelve titles including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. To be eligible, titles must be available for purchase and circulation by libraries. The list of winning titles is annotated, stressing the appeal elements of the title, and includes listen-alikes to lead listeners to additional audio experiences. The Council announces the winning titles at the CODES Book and Media Awards Reception, held the Sunday of each ALA Midwitner Meeting. All selected titles are published on the RUSA Web site following the event.
The Council consists of seven librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development. Librarians interested in serving on The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration Council should consult the committee membership information page .
Publishers, authors, and narrators interested in having their titles considered for The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration should review the submission guidelines. For further information, please visit the committee roster page (login required) or the staff contact page.
Books on Tape. In an honest and inspiring autobiography, Michelle Obama shares her journey from a middle-class Chicago childhood to becoming the First Lady. Her narration is clear and poignant, bringing a level of intimacy rarely heard.
- “My Life, My Love, My Legacy” by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds. Narrated by January LaVoy, Phylicia Rashad. Macmillan Audio.
- “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” by Misty Copeland. Narrated by Lisa Reneé Pitts. Tantor Audio.
- “My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor. Narrated by Rita Moreno. Books on Tape.
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Dreamscape Media. Voicing an endearing Vietnamese American couple, Zeller treats listeners to a steamy-sweet romance. With skill and sensitivity, she crafts both autistic Khai’s reserved tenor and immigrant Esme’s beginner’s English, as they negotiate a potential arranged marriage and Esme’s desire to remain in the U.S.
- “Re Jane: A Novel” by Patricia Park. Narrated by Diana Bang. Books on Tape.
- “The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel” by Tracey Garvis Graves. Narrated by Fred Berman, Kathleen McInerney. Macmillan Audio.
- “The Flatshare: A Novel” by Beth O’Leary. Narrated by Carrie Hope Fletcher, Kwaku Fortune. Macmillan Audio.
Narrated by January LaVoy. Hachette Audio. In McKinty’s gripping thriller, Rachel is horrified to learn that the only way she can get her kidnapped daughter back is by abducting a child herself and continuing the chain. LaVoy expertly narrates this intense thrill-ride of a story, giving a cinematic performance to the driving plotline.
- “Alice Isn’t Dead: A Novel” by Joseph Fink. Narrated by Jasika Nicole. HarperAudio.
- “The Turn of the Key” by Ruth Ware. Narrated by Imogen Church. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “Freefall: A Novel” by Jessica Barry. Narrated by Hillary Huber, Karissa Vacker, MacLeod Andrews. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Jennifer Beals, Pablo Schreiber, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer, Fred Berman, Ari Fliakos, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Julia Whelan, Jonathan Davis, Henry Leyva, Oliver Wyman, Nancy Wu, P.J. Ochlan, Arthur Bishop, Holter Graham, Brendan Wayne, Pete Larkin, Alex Jenkins Reid, Robert Petkoff, Sara Arrington. Books on Tape. Reid’s behind-the-scenes oral history of a fictional 70’s rock band is so convincing that listeners may be fooled into looking for their records. The all-star cast creates an engrossing drama filled with gossipy details and a spot-on view of band life.
- “Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.” by Jeff Tweedy. Narrated by Jeff Tweedy. Books on Tape.
- “More Fun In The New World: The Unmaking And Legacy Of L.A. Punk” by John Doe, Tom Desavia. Narrated by John Doe, Tom Desavia, Dave Alvin, Allison Anders, Charlotte Caffey, Peter Case, Shepard Fairey, Norwood Fisher, Pleasant Gehman, Terry Graham, Sid Griffin, Jack Grisham, Tony Hawk, Chip Kinman, Maria McKee, Angelo Moore, W.T. Morgan, Chris Morris, Keith Morris, Mike Ness, Louie Peréz, Tim Robbins, Henry Rollins, Jane Wiedlin, Annette Zilinskas, Billy Zoom. Books on Tape.
- “Girl in a Band: A Memoir” by Kim Gordon. Narrated by Kim Gordon. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, George Guidall. HarperAudio. Each perfectly cast narrator of these thirteen stories superbly constructs disturbing instances as well as surprisingly tender moments–there’s more than just horror here. Audio extras including Hill reading his own introduction and story notes further enhance the audio.
- “We Live in Water: Stories” by Jess Walter. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, Jess Walter. HarperAudio.
- “Exhalation: Stories” by Ted Chiang. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, Dominic Hoffman, Amy Landon, Ted Chiang. Books on Tape.
- “Kabu Kabu” by Nnedi Okorafor. Narrated by Yetide Badaki. Tantor Audio.
Narrated by Christine Hewitt. Macmillan Audio. Teenaged Silvie, accompanied by her cruelly oppressive father and browbeaten mother, takes part in a British Iron Age reenactment that raises unsettling questions as it descends into primitive violence. Hewitt masterfully employs accents to signal privilege and education, conveying the taut momentum of this increasingly disturbing tale.
- “My Absolute Darling: A Novel” by Gabriel Tallent. Narrated by Alex McKenna. Books on Tape.
- “The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel” by Juliet Grames. Narrated by Lisa Flanagan. HarperAudio.
- “Copperhead” by Alexi Zentner. Narrated by Kirby Heyborne. Books on Tape.
Narrated by Mira Jacob, Vikas Adam, Shiromi Arserio, McCartney Birdwell, Donte Bonner, Bill Cheng, Nicole Counts, Margaret Dunham, Chris Edmund, Alison Fraser, Cecila Flores, Kaitlyn Greenridge, Alison Hart, Chris Jackson, Soneela Nankani, Victory Matsui, Kivlighan de Montebello, Meera Nair, Lorna Raver, Rajiv Surendra, Oliver Wyman, and an ensemble cast. Books on Tape. Jacob’s candid conversations with her young son about race and identity illuminate insecurities faced by people of color in contemporary America. Multiple voices and sound effects make this groundbreaking audio graphic memoir a treat for the ears.
- “Sisters Matsumoto” by Philip Kan Gotanda. Narrated by Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bottitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Suzy Nakamura, Greg Watanabe, Ryun Yu. L.A. Theatre Works.
- “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. Narrated by Bahni Turpin. Blackstone Audio.
- “I Miss You When I Blink: Essays” by Mary Laura Philpott. Narrated by Mary Laura Philpott. Simon & Schuster Audio.
Narrated by Kwame Onwuachi. Books on Tape. How do you make it as a chef? Hard work and a willingness to be bold and embrace failure. Onwuachi forges his own path from his mother’s kitchen in the Bronx to high-end D.C. dining with a raw, authentic self-narrated memoir that will appeal to listeners beyond the foodie.
- “The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South” by Michael W. Twitty. Narrated by Michael W. Twitty. Tantor Audio.
- “Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football” by John Urschel, Louisa Thomas. Narrated by Sullivan Jones. Books on Tape.
- “Girl on the Block: A True Story of Coming of Age Behind the Counter” by Jessica Wragg. Narrated by Billie Fulford-Brown. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Jayne Entwistle and Elizabeth Knowelden. Books on Tape. Amidst the dismal poverty of Victorian England, 16-year-old accused murderer Ruth Butterham reveals her tragic past to wealthy phrenologist Dorothea Truelove. Dual narrators Knowelden and Entwistle use accents to highlight class divides, communicating a palpable atmosphere of misery and menace.
- “Once Upon a River” by Diane Setterfield. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel” by Sara Collins. Narrated by Sara Collins, Roy McMillan. HarperAudio.
- “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters. Narrated by Juanita McMahon. Recorded Books.
Narrated by Shvorne Marks. Simon & Schuster Audio. Reeling from a dramatic breakup, British-Jamaican Queenie makes a series of questionable decisions and leans on her friends for support. Marks captures a variety of accents and tones, adding further depth to this vivid, engaging story about a 25-year-old woman trapped between cultures and trying to fit in.
- “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae. Narrated by Issa Rae. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “Get a Life, Chloe Brown” by Talia Hibbert. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh. HarperAudio.
- “I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying: Essays” by Bassey Ikpi. Narrated by Bassey Ikpi. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Jacqueline Woodson, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small, Bahni Turpin. Books on Tape. The effects of a teenage pregnancy ripple through a Brooklyn family as they celebrate that child’s coming of age in 2001. Multiple narrators, including the author, evoke the complexities of race, class, religion and sexuality in this heartfelt tale of choices and their aftermath.
- “Speak No Evil: A Novel” by Uzodinma Iweala. Narrated by Prentice Onayemi, Julia Whelan. HarperAudio.
- “The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy. Narrated by Adenrele Ojo. Blackstone Audio.
- “No One Is Coming To Save Us: A Novel” by Stephanie Powell Watts. Narrated by Janina Edwards. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell. Hachette Audio. Gladwell’s thought-provoking work explores interactions between strangers and how the assumptions we make about others’ intentions are often wrong. Audio clips of interviews, the recording of the roadside arrest of Sandra Bland, and a theme song elevate a recording that will be of special interest to podcast listeners.
- “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language” by Gretchen McCulloch. Narrated by Gretchen McCulloch. Books on Tape.
- “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis. Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “The Way I Heard It” by Mike Rowe. Narrated by Mike Rowe. Simon & Schuster Audio.
Narrated by Dion Graham. Books on Tape. Veteran narrator Graham throws himself into a performance that fully embodies this dystopian debut’s brooding, complex lead. With acute emotion and sly humor, he invites listeners into the mind of an African American father in the satirical, segregated, near-future South–where anyone with too much melanin faces a life of impossible odds.
- “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Narrated by Joe Morton. Books on Tape.
- “The Sellout: A Novel” by Paul Beatty. Narrated by Prentice Onayemi. Brilliance Audio.
- “Blackass” by A. Igoni Barrett. Narrated by Mirron Willis. Brilliance Audio.
Penguin Audio/Books on Tape. Forced into adulting when her YouTube video of an exterrestrial goes viral, April May leaps into the international spotlight and becomes humanity’s spokesperson in this sci-fi crossover romp. Sieh energetically creates a host of characters from fast-talking April’s point-of-view, while Green himself narrates the conclusion of this debut novel with the deftness of an experienced vlogger.
- “Anatomy of a Miracle” by Jonathan Miles. Narrated by Eduardo Ballerini. Random House Audio.
- “Grasshopper Jungle” by Andrew Smith. Narrated by Philip Church. Listening Library.
- “Soon I Will be Invincible” by Austin Grossman. Narrated by J. Paul Boehmer and Coleen Marlo. Highbridge Audio.
Recorded Books/Griot Audio. In this stunning new recording of Phillips’ unsparing novel, Turpin embodies resilient 13-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn, a smart, resourceful girl who lives in abject poverty, at the mercy of her terrifyingly abusive mother. The nuanced portrayal of Tangy Mae, capturing both her sorrow and generous spirit, provides a glimpse of hope amidst the nearly crushing violence.
- “God Help the Child” by Toni Morrison. Narrated by Toni Morrison. Random House Audio.
- “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. Narrated by Joe Morton. Random House Audio.
- “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward. Narrated by Cherise Booth. Recorded Books.
Narrated by Jose Antonio Vargas. HarperCollins/HarperAudio. With openness and informed approachability, award-winning journalist Vargas recounts his complex life as an undocumented Filipino-American. Peppered with native Tagalog, this audio draws listeners into Vargas’ personal immigrant experience while he relates anecdotes to the broader national context, resulting in a listen that is brief but impactful, trenchant yet inviting.
- “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures” by America Ferrera. Narrated by America Ferrera. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “In the Country We Love: a Family Divided” by Diane Guerrero. Narrated by Diane Guerrero. Brilliance Audio.
- “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions” by Valeria Luiselli. Narrated by Laurence Bouvard. Random House Audio.
Narrated by Julia Whelan. Random House Audio/Books on Tape. In this intense, unforgettable survivor’s story, Westover relates how she defied her isolationist Mormon family, overcame tremendous educational odds and entered the larger world to eventually become a well-respected scholar. Whelan’s unembellished narration deftly communicates this intriguing, horrifying, and inspiring tale.
- “Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America” by C. Nicole Mason. Narrated by Robin Eller. Tantor Audio.
- “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray. Narrated by Liz Murray. Tantor Audio.
- “The Sound of Gravel” by Ruth Wariner. Narrated by Ruth Wariner. Macmillan Audio.
Huber, T. Christian Miller, and Ken Armstrong. Random House Audio/Books on Tape. With precision and impassioned storytelling, two reporters expose one emblematic case which mirrors the state of rape investigation today. Huber’s steady pacing and subtle narration balance how enraged listeners will feel learning about the many ways these women were wronged.
- “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America” by Beth Macy. Narrated Beth Macy. Hachette Audio.
- “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” by Sheri Fink. Narrated by Kirsten Potter. Random House Audio.
- “I’ll Be Gone In the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara. Narrated by Gabra Zackman. HarperAudio.
Narrated by MacLeod Andrews. Penguin Audio. Amateur detective Johnson takes on the underground community of obsessive salmon fly-tyers in pursuit of an unlikely criminal. Andrews’ measured narration handily captures this quirky cast of feather zealots in a stranger-than-fiction heist.
- “A Burglar’s Guide to the City” by Geoff Manaugh. Narrated by Scott Aiello. Random House Audio.
- “Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter” by Ben Goldfarb. Narrated by Will Damron. Chelsea Green Publishing.
- “West” by Carys Davies. Narrated by Robert Fass. HighBridge/Recorded Books.
Narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea. Hachette Audio/Blackstone Audio. Miguel Angel de la Cruz—Big Angel–is dying, but before he does, he must have one last birthday bash, surrounded by his magnificently rowdy Mexican-American family. With a knowing smile in his voice and a leisurely, welcoming cadence, author-narrator Urrea skillfully delivers a celebration that is a riot of laughter, sorrow, and redemption.
- “Delicious Foods” by James Hannaham. Narrated by James Hannaham. Hachette Audio.
- “Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir” by Eddie Huang. Narrated by Eddie Huang. Random House Audio.
- “The Turner House” by Angela Flournoy. Narrated by Adenrele Ojo. Blackstone Audio.
Tape. Delivered by narrator Donovan with empathetic humility, this episodic memoir devotes each chapter to a potentially fatal event in O’Farrell’s life. Listeners will find themselves meditating on the author’s fierce determination not only to survive, but to embrace her own vulnerability.
- “Every Note Played” by Lisa Genova. Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Dagmara Dominczyk, Lisa Genova. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine” by Alan Lightman. Narrated by Bronson Pinchot. Blackstone Audio.
- “You Think It, I’ll Say It” by Curtis Sittenfeld. Narrated by Emily Rankin and Mark Deakins. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
Simon & Schuster Audio. With indomitable spirit, Haddish shares her life story from illiterate foster kid to comedian to break-out movie star. She reads movingly with authentic real-time reactions and her tenacious attitude makes this a sincere, unblushing memoir.
- “Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else” by Maeve Higgins. Narrated by Maeve Higgins. Penguin Audio.
- “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays” by Samantha Irby. Read by Samantha Irby. Random House Audio.
- “You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain” by Phoebe Robinson. Narrated by Phoebe Robinson. Penguin Audio.
Random House Audio/Books on Tape. Eggers blends high adventure with high culture in this true tale of the specialty coffee trade. With his rich, espressolike voice, narrator Graham channels Yemeni-American entrepreneur Alkhanshani’s youthful enthusiasm across the whole of his incredible quest to brew the perfect cup.
- “Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts” by Joshua Hammer. Narrated by Paul Boehmer. HighBridge Audio.
- “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope” by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer. Narrated by Chike Johnson. HarperAudio.
- “Obroni and the Chocolate Factory: an Unlikely Story of Globalization and Ghana’s First Gourmet Chocolate Bar” by Steven Wallace. Narrated by Tom Parks. Brilliance Audio.
This luminous story of the plight of women in modern-day Mumbai centers on Bhima, a former servant to the rich, and Parvati, a homeless widow, both striving to improve their perilous situations. Mathan exquisitely crafts character voices, immersing listeners in this journey of female friendship, heartbreak and discovery.
- “America for Beginners” by Leah Franqui. Narrated by Soneela Nankani. HarperAudio.
- “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy. Narrated by Arundhati Roy. Random House Audio
- “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan. Narrated by Dion Graham. Random House Audio.
Random House Audio. Listeners experience the Trojan War through the anguished eyes of Briseis, a former queen reduced now to a spoil of war, property of the legendary Achilles. Told in two voices, the narration vividly conveys the pain and excitement of war along with the hate and desperation of the vanquished slaves.
- “Circe” by Madeline Miller. Narrated by Perdita Weeks. Hachette Audio.
- “House of Names” by Colm Toibin. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson, Pippa Nixon. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman. Narrated by Neil Gaiman. HarperAudio.
Narrated by Rachel Tidd. Blackstone Audio. Australian author Krasnostein’s candid depiction and Tidd’s unflinching, yet loving, voice invite listeners to follow Sandra Pankhurst’s extraordinary transformation. From surviving an abusive boyhood to becoming an independent woman, Pankhurst stays true to herself, while empathetically managing the messy business of being a trauma cleaner.
- “Mr. Flood’s Last Resort” by Jess Kidd. Narrated by Aoife McMahon. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “She’s Not There: A Life in two Genders” by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Narrated by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner” by Judy Melinek and T. J. Mitchell. Narrated by Tanya Eby. Tantor Media.
Senior citizen Polly and teen Willow are an unforgettable Southern mother-daughter duo tackling family secrets and mortality with irreverent and sassy style. Lamia captures Willow’s naivete and determination to protect her mother, who is as salty, tart and sweet as her favorite margarita.
Narrated by Jenna Lamia. Books on Tape.
- “The Almost Sisters: A Novel” by Joshilyn Jackson. Narrated by Joshilyn Jackson. HarperAudio.
- “Rabbit Cake” by Annie Hartnett. Narrated by Katie Schorr. Blackstone Audio.
- “Spoonbenders: A Novel” by Daryl Gregory. Narrated by Ari Fliakos. Books on Tape.
By turns comic and horrific, Noah’s animated story-telling pulls back the curtain on his childhood years in Apartheid-era South Africa. His astonishing command of dialects entertains and inspires in a memoir which combines recent history and a personal cultural perspective.
Narrated by Trevor Noah. Brilliance Audio.
- “Believe Me : A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens” by Eddie Izzard. Narrated by Eddie Izzard. Books on Tape.
- “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay. Narrated by Roxane Gay. HarperAudio.
- “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” by Marcus Samuelsson. Narrated by Marcus Samuelsson. Books on Tape.
Ethereal choral interludes enhance Ryan’s charming epistolary tale of the ladies-left-behind in a British village as World War II dawns. An ensemble cast evokes every class and rank of Chilbury’s residents, who through courage and hymns, unite to defend the homefront.
Narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, Laura Kirman, Imogen Wilde, Adjoa Andoh, Tom Clegg, Mike Grady. Books on Tape.
- “The Baker’s Secret: A Novel” by Stephen P. Kiernan. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell. HarperAudio.
- “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows. Narrated by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, Juliet Mills. Books on Tape.
- “La’s Orchestra Saves the World: A Novel” by Alexander McCall Smith. Narrated by Emily Gray. Recorded Books.
Listeners hear a socially awkward woman’s transformation from brusque and friendless to someone able to confront her traumatic childhood. Enhanced by a native Scottish accent, McCarron’s empathetic portrayal of prickly Eleanor and her newly acquired social circle traces the change from so not fine to completely fine.
Narrated by Cathleen McCarron. Books on Tape.
- “Be Frank with Me: A Novel” by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Narrated by Tavia Gilbert. HarperAudio.
- “The Rosie Project: A Novel” by Graeme Simsion. Narrated by Dan O’Grady. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr” by Frances Maynard. Narrated by Erin Mallon. Brilliance Audio.
Winslow exposes the fall of dirty cop Denny Malone as he desperately tries to salvage his family, friends, and honor. Graham taps into the seamy core of New York City, expertly bringing forth its many accents and identities, creating a visceral listening experience that thrums with grit and tension.
Narrated by Dion Graham. Blackstone Audio.
- “IQ” by Joe Ide. Narrated by Sullivan Jones. Hachette Audio.
- “Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly” by Adrian McKinty. Narrated by Gerard Doyle. Blackstone Audio.
- “The Whites: A Novel” by Richard Price, Harry Brandt. Narrated by Ari Fliakos. Macmillan Audio.
This series opener follows a priggish British spinster to fin-de-siècle Paris as she falls for the irresistible charm of a roguish duke. Hussey’s witty tone and expert comedic timing nails the high-spirited verbal sparring and cheeky banter in this romantic romp.
Narrated by Marian Hussey. Harlequin Audio.
- “If the Duke Demands” by Anna Harrington. Narrated by Justine Eyre. Hachette Audio.
- Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Brilliance Audio.
- “Victoria: A Novel” by Daisy Goodwin. Narrated by Anna Wilson-Jones. Macmillan Audio.
Octogenarian Lillian partakes in a sentimental journey on New Year’s Eve 1984, strolling across Manhattan wearing her poetry-loving heart on her fur-coated sleeve. Sands channels this venerable working girl’s wit with nuance and creates a host of distinct supporting voices, concluding with a conversation between author and narrator.
Narrated by Xe Sands. Macmillan Audio.
- “The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty. Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern. Penguin Random House Audio.
- “The Engagements” by J. Courtney Sullivan. Narrated by Kimberly Farr. Books on Tape.
- “The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel” by Melanie Benjamin. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Paul Boehmer. Books on Tape.
Abraham Lincoln pays one last visit to son Willie, laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery amidst a host of spirits keeping watch as the boy makes his final passage. An unprecedented cast of 166 narrators combine in a spectral chorus, telling their stories in an astonishing gabble of voices that teems with pathos, tragicomedy, and the tenderest love.
Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Carrie Brownstein, Miranda July, Lena Dunham, and a full cast. Books on Tape.
- “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner. Narrated by Marc Cashman, Robertson Dean, Lina Patel, Lorna Raver. Books on Tape.
- “Grief is the Thing with Feathers: A Novel” by Max Porter. Narrated by Jot Davies. Tantor Audio.
- “Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel” by Jessymn Ward. Narrated by Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Chris Chalk, Rutina Wesley. Simon & Schuster Audio.
Crusty Vietnam veteran David Granger recounts his life story, a testimony of a sometimes violent and maverick past. Bray embodies this in-your-face character’s charged language and attitude via gravelly tone and staccato inflection with a hidden compassion that reveals Granger’s humanity.
Narrated by R. C. Bray. HarperAudio.
- “Beat the Reaper: A Novel” by Josh Bazell. Narrated by Robert Petkoff. Hachette Audio.
- “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” by Steve Earle. Narrated by Steve Earle. Blackstone Audio.
- “We’re All Damaged” by Matthew Norman. Narrated by Scott Merriman. Brilliance Audio.
Plummer captures Sloan’s sprightly tone in the odyssey of an unlikely recipient of a sourdough starter infused with ancient epicurean power. Deliciously quirky voicings and bubbly sound effects concoct a listening treat seasoned with a soupçon of magical realism and original musical compositions.
Narrated by Therese Plummer. Macmillan Audio.
- “The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living” by Louise Miller. Narrated by Jorjeana Marie. Books on Tape.
- “Earthly Delights” by Kerry Greenwood. Narrated by Louise Siversen. Bolinda Audio.
- “Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel” by J. Ryan Stradal. Narrated by Amy Ryan, Michael Stuhlbarg. Books on Tape.
Journalist Finkel investigates the life of a recluse who lived in the Maine woods for 27 years. With a subtle Down-easter accent and documentary-like reportage, Bramhall captures the author’s curiosity and Christopher Knight’s quiet humanity in a performance as unobtrusive as the hermit himself.
Narrated by Mark Bramhall. Books on Tape.
- “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall. Narrated by Fred Sanders. Books on Tape.
- “The Marsh King’s Daughter” by Karen Dionne. Narrated by Emily Rankin. Books on Tape.
- “Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland” by Ken Ilgunas. Narrated by Andrew Eiden. Blackstone Audio.
With his characteristic tribal cadence, Alexie offers a lyrical, episodic memoir, augmented by his own poems and songs. He reveals his complicated urban Indian relationship with rez and family, sharing heartfelt grief and angst over his mother’s life and death.
Narrated by Sherman Alexie. Hachette Audio.
- “If I Ever Get Out of Here” by Eric Gansworth. Narrated by Eric Gansworth. Listening Library.
- “I’m Fine…and Other Lies” by Whitney Cummings. Narrated by Whitney Cummings. Books on Tape.
- “Logical Family: A Memoir” by Armistead Maupin. Narrated by Armistead Maupin. HarperAudio.
Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, Woodson’s approachable and compelling free verse reflects the African-American experience of growing up in 1970s Brooklyn. Miles’ pitch-perfect inflection evokes universal feelings of memory, friendship, and the magic of place in this rhythmic narration.
Narrated by Robin Miles. HarperAudio/Blackstone Audio.
- “Behold the Dreamers: A Novel” by Imbolo Mbue. Narrated by Prentice Onayemi. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros. Narrated by Sandra Cisneros. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith. Narrated by Pippa Bennett-Warner. Penguin Audio/Books on Tape.
A stellar cast of actors presents this career-spanning collection of short works, punctuated by King’s engaging, conversational commentary describing his writing process and inspiration. Through atmospheric, nuanced performance, each work achieves a dramatic re-interpretation of a range of genres, from humor to horror.
Narrated by Stephen King, Dylan Baker, Brooke Bloom, Hope Davis, Kathleen Chalfant, Santino Fontana, Peter Friedman, Cotter Smith, Will Patton, Edward Herrmann, Frederick Weller, Mare Winningham, Craig Wasson, Thomas Sadoski, Tim Sample. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” by Richard Matheson. Narrated by Paul Michael Garcia, Malcolm Hillgartner, Arte Johnson, Jay Karnes, Ray Porter, Lawrence Pressman, Yuri Rasovsky, Lorna Raver, Ned Schmidtke, Conrad John Schuck, Christine Williams. Blackstone Audio.
- “Stone Mattress: Nine Tales” by Margaret Atwood. Narrated by Margaret Atwood, Rob Delaney, Mark Bramhall, Lorna Raver, Arthur Morey, Emily Rankin, Bernadette Dunne. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances” by Neil Gaiman. Narrated by Neil Gaiman. HarperAudio.
HarperAudio/Blackstone Audio. Landor’s polished reading perfectly matches Quinn’s clever, witty historical romp, providing a delightful listening experience. Through a sophisticated British accent and subtle changes in tone, the storyteller’s distinctly-voiced performance impeccably conveys the exasperation and romantic tension that draws listeners into the budding love story, building to a sensual, satisfying culmination.
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor.
- “A Dangerous Beauty” by Sophia Nash. Narrated by Bianca Amato. HarperAudio.
- “Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice” by Curtis Sittenfeld. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- ”A Lady of His Own” by Stephanie Laurens. Narrated by Jill Tanner. Recorded Books.
Langton’s unhurried delivery charms in this heartwarming, yet often bizarre, adventure of adorable octogenarian Arthur Pepper as he bumbles his way through a scavenger hunt of his late wife’s undisclosed past. From high-pitched middle-class Bernadette to her mumbling teenaged son, listeners forge an emotional connection courtesy of adroit expressions of character development.
Narrated by James Langton. Harlequin Audio/Blackstone Audio.
- “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. Narrated by Steven Crossley. Blackstone Audio.
- “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. Narrated by George Newbern. Dreamscape Media.
- “This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!” by Jonathan Evison. Narrated by Susan Boyce. HighBridge Audio/Recorded Books.
Listeners will experience a shift in their world view as this significant work of ethnography reveals the impact of eviction on poverty in America’s society and culture. Graham’s sobering, empathetic narrative captures the personalities of eight struggling families and two landlords while conveying author Desmond’s painstaking data collection and intimate reportage.
Narrated by Dion Graham. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” by Matt Taibbi. Narrated by Ray Porter. Random House Audio/Books.
- “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich. Narrated by Cristine McMurdo-Wallis. Recorded Books.
- “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg. Narrated by Kirsten Potter. Tantor Media.
Stevenson demonstrates her unequaled mastery of narrative art, transforming Fellowes’s richly-detailed historical melodrama of 1840s London into enthralling audio theater. A panoply of British class and regional accents, combined with period pacing & precise depiction of age and gender, illuminate personalities within a family saga of social rivalries.
Narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Hachette Audio/Blackstone Audio.
- “The American Heiress: A Novel” by Daisy Goodwin. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Macmillan Audio.
- “Excellent Women” by Barbara Pym. Narrated by Jayne Entwistle. Blackstone Audio.
- “The Summer Before the War” by Helen Simonson. Narrated by Fiona Hardingham. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
Rowley explores the deep attachment of man and dog in a tale that combines pathos and humor, eloquently portrayed by a reading that echoes those shifting moods. Urie crawls inside owner Ted’s head, voicing a sympathetic connection with human despair, while also depicting dachshund Lily’s engaging doggy dialogue, in a cathartic performance that reveals a roller-coaster of emotions as a tumor devours a life.
Narrated by Michael Urie. Simon & Schuster Audio.
- “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch. HarperAudio/Recorded Books.
- “Spill Simmer Falter Wither” by Sara Baume. Narrated by John Keating. Brilliance Audio.
- “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. Narrated by Richard Poe. HarperAudio/Recorded Books.
This lyrical Western tale of a developing friendship between an aging soldier and an orphaned young girl is colorfully expressed through Gardner’s steady pacing, gravelly twang, and folksy tone. Subtle changes in inflection and accent give voice to the former captive and ethnically diverse characters encountered along the road, immersing listeners in a harrowing, though ultimately redemptive, journey through post-Civil War Texas.
Narrated by Grover Gardner. Brilliance Audio.
- “El Paso” by Winston Groom. Narrated by Robertson Dean. Recorded Books.
- “Far As the Eye Can See” by Robert Bausch. Narrated by Joel Richards. Brilliance Audio.
- “Prayers the Devil Answers” by Sharyn McCrumb. Narrated by Candace Thaxton. Simon & Schuster Audio.
With endless energy, unfailingly deadpan delivery, and spot-on comedic timing, Rubinstein skillfully distinguishes a large cast of characters as they ricochet through interweaving story arcs. In this briskly paced work of beautiful absurdity, a series of offbeat hijinks connect impeccably voiced characters, including a Cajun country reality star, a mafia kingpin, Arabic immigrants, a sexy con woman, and the hero Yancy, a disgraced detective now on roach patrol.
Narrated by John Rubinstein. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore. Narrated by Fisher Stevens. HarperAudio.
- “The Everything Box” by Richard Kadrey. Narrated by Oliver Wyman. HarperAudio/Blackstone Audio.
- “Insane City” by Dave Barry. Narrated by Dave Barry. Penguin Audio/Books on Tape.
The discovery of a giant metallic hand prompts a team of scientists, government agents, and researchers to scour the planet for clues. The vocally versatile ensemble constructs a beyond-the-book experience, nimbly interpreting Neuvel’s non-linear approach of using dialogue-driven exchanges through interviews, news stories, and journal entries.
Narrated by Andy Secombe, Eric Meyers, Laurel Lefkow, Charlie Anson, Liza Ross, William Hope, Christoper Ragland, Katharine Mangold, Adna Sablyich. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition” by Neil Gaiman. Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones. HarperAudio.
- “Mockingbird” by Walter Tevis. Narrated by Robert Fass, Nicole Poole. Tantor Audio/Recorded Books.
- “Sphere” by Michael Crichton. Narrated by Scott Brick. Brilliance Audio.
Whitehead’s haunting literary tale of Cora, escaping abuse and enslavement in antebellum South, is propelled by the magical realism of a subterranean railway in an alternate American history. Turpin’s faultless, fully-voiced narration embodies authentic dialects and accents; her sonorous, dramatic tone and commanding presence intensify the somber power of the author’s words.
Narrated by Bahni Turpin. Random House Audio/Books on Tape.
- “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride. Narrated by Michael Boatman. Penguin Audio/Dreamscape Media.
- “Kindred” by Octavia E. Butler. Narrated by Kim Staunton. Recorded Books.
- “Underground Airlines” by Ben H. Winters. Narrated by William DeMeritt. Hachette Audio/Blackstone Audio.
Taylor and Hough’s atmospheric dual performance delivers a quirky interpretation brimming with macabre, racy humor in Cunningham’s reimagined fairy tales for adults. Accompanied by original musical motifs that enhance the storytelling, combined with a remarkable depth of characterization, this short episodic production is a perfect listen for those new to audiobooks.
Narrated by Lili Taylor, Billy Hough. Macmillan Audio.
- “Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fairy Tales” by Stephen L. Antczak, James C. Bassett. Narrated by Anne Flosnik, Kaleo Griffith, Robertson Dean, John Lee. Tantor Media/Recorded Books.
- “Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version” by Philip Pullman. Narrated by Samuel West. Brilliance Audio.
- “Six-Gun Snow White” by Catherynne M. Valente. Read by Julia Whelan. Dreamscape Media, LLC.
This cinéma vérité soundscape depicts gang-related murder and retaliation amidst the chaos and confusion of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Seventeen individuals, including a Korean shopkeeper, Latino street hustlers, gritty cops, and sympathetic nurses, are artfully voiced by five actors evoking an emotional range from poetic reflection to brutal violence.
Narrated by Anthony Rey Perez, Marisol Ramirez, Jim Cooper, Adam Lazarre-White, and James Chen. HarperAudio.
- “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Narrated by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “City on Fire: A Novel” by Garth Risk Hallberg. Narrated by Rebecca Lowman, Tristan Morris, and Bronson Pinchot. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets” by Sudhir Venkatesh. Narrated by Reg Rogers, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Stephen J. Dubner. HarperAudio.
In a single evening, two CIA agents and former lovers expose old memories and reveal differing perspectives of a terrorist attack. The interplay between Fliakos’ gravelly, world-weary tone and Kelly’s briskly controlled voice intensifies tautly-stretched emotions and engenders a misplaced trust that is shattered by a final plot twist.
Narrated by Ari Fliakos and Juliana Francis Kelly. Macmillan Audio.
- “The Dinner” by Herman Koch. Narrated by Clive Mantle. Blackstone Audio.
- “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. Narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “A Perfect Spy” by John le Carré. Narrated by Michael Jayston. Penguin Audio.
After marrying to escape her socially pretentious mother, Lady Emily falls in love with the deceased husband she barely knew while investigating his questionable acquisition of Greek antiquities. Immersing listeners in 19 century English society, Reading’s pitch-perfect accents and vibrant performance capture Emily’s transformation from privileged aristocrat to newly-independent woman.
Narrated by Kate Reading. Recorded Books/Tantor Media.
- “The Anatomist’s Wife” by Anna Lee Huber. Narrated by Heather Wilds. Tantor Media.
- “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen” by Laurie R. King. Narrated by Jenny Sterlin. Recorded Books.
- “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear. Narrated by Rita Barrington. Blackstone Audio.
Brick’s crisply evocative performance vividly conveys the wartime atmosphere and precise details of the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-Boat 20. His dramatic narration of passenger and crew experiences, as well as military and political machinations, propels listeners ever nearer to the inevitable and tragic conclusion.
Narrated by Scott Brick. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. Narrated by Simon Prebble. Blackstone Audio.
- “The Guns of August” by Barbara W. Tuchman. Narrated by John Lee. Recorded Books/Tantor Media.
- “A Night to Remember: The Classic Account of the Final Hours of the Titanic” by Walter Lord. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. Blackstone Audio.
Stoker’s classic horror tale, which introduces the iconic vampire Dracula, is brilliantly performed by an exceptional assemblage of British actors. Unfolding with quiet intensity, the well-matched voices result in fully-realized characters which combine to create mounting psychological and sexual tension in this revelatory listening experience.
Narrated by David Horovitch, Jamie Parker, Joseph Kloska, Alison Pettitt, and cast. Naxos AudioBooks.
- “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. Narrated by Daniel Philpott, Chris Larkin, Roger May, and Jonathan Oliver. Naxos AudioBooks.
- “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova. Narrated by Justine Eyre and Paul Michael. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Narrated by Martin Jarvis. Blackstone Audio.
Gracefully literate and whimsically humorous, MacDonald’s elegiac tone details her journey through depression while nuanced reflections on T.H. White’s The Goshawk provide a counterpoint to her raw grief. In an experience as natural as sharing a confidence, she opens her heart and entrusts the listener with both words and voice.
Narrated by Helen MacDonald. Blackstone Audio.
- “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert. Books on Tape/Penguin Audio.
- “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery. Narrated by Sy Montgomery. Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio.
- “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. Books on Tape/Random House Audio
In this sequel to The Queen of the Tearling, Kelsea harnesses her strengthening magic and confronts the Red Queen while experiencing visions of an abused woman living in a vastly different civilization. Porter’s regal tone, varied cadence, and commanding delivery intensify the emotional connection of sharply delineated yet intertwined stories.
Narrated by Davina Porter. HarperAudio.
- “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin. Narrated by Roy Dotrice. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by N.K. Jemisin. Narrated by Casaundra Freeman. Brilliance Audio.
- “A Natural History of Dragons” by Marie Brennan. Narrated by Kate Reading. Macmillan Audio.
Locked inside a tanker truck, abandoned in the desert, nineteen Latino immigrants are left to die. With authentic Spanish accents and riveting pacing, Laurence and Rodriquez capture visceral feelings of claustrophobia and desperation. Flashbacks reveal exploitive agribusiness practices while frantic rescue appeals are made to an unanswered cell phone.
Narrated by Ozzie Rodriguez and David H. Lawrence XVII. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” by Héctor Tobar. Narrated by Henry Leyva. Recorded Books/Macmillan Audio.
- “The Devil’s Highway: A True Story” by Luis Alberto Urrea. Narrated by Luis Alberto Urrea. Hachette Audio.
- “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi. Narrated by Jonathan Davis. Brilliance Audio.
Haute couture and social media collide in an absurdly entertaining face-off between Imogen, a 40-something magazine editor, and tech-savvy Eve, her power-hungry former assistant. Kellgren nails technophobe Imogen’s elegant tone as well as Eve’s sharply contrasting Millennial vernacular, adeptly capturing New York City’s fast-paced publishing world.
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger. Narrated by Bernadette Dunne. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Funny Girl” by Nick Hornby. Narrated by Emma Fielding. Books on Tape/Penguin Audio.
- “The Status of All Things” by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Narrated by Amy McFadden. Dreamscape Media.
Carter creates a ripping good listen, weaving together a rich tapestry of adventure and historical authenticity in this captivating tale of a search for a social rebel. Wyndham’s narration conjures the oppressive atmosphere and constricting formality of 1837 British Colonial rule through expert class inflections, Indian accents, and masterful pacing.
Narrated by Alex Wyndham. Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio.
- “The Curse of the Pharaohs” by Elizabeth Peters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. Recorded Books.
- “The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel” by Anthony Horowitz. Narrated by Derek Jacobi. Blackstone Audio/Hachette Audio.
- “The Perfect Murder” by H.R.F. Keating. Narrated by Frederick Davidson. Blackstone Audio.
Marcia and Farouk, married but rarely together, share a love that spans decades despite being buffeted by a strict social hierarchy and a need for independence. Ideally-paired narrators Turpin and Butler create an immersive listening experience capturing the characters’ unique dialects, from lilting Trinidadian rhythms to subtle East Indian tones.
Narrated by Ron Butler and Bahni Turpin. Recorded Books/Tantor Media.
- “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Recorded Books.
- “Land of Love and Drowning” by Tiphanie Yanique. Narrated by Cherise Boothe, Korey Jackson, Rachel Leslie, and Myra Lucretia Taylor. Recorded Books.
- “Unburnable” by Marie-Elena John. Narrated by Robin Miles. Recorded Books.
Disgraced journalist Finkel is thrown a lifeline when he learns accused murderer Christopher Longo, one of the FBI’s most wanted, has been using his identity. Orlow’s absorbing presentation is unobtrusive yet chilling and generates an emotional response as he gives voice to both author and accused in this riveting memoir.
Narrated by Rich Orlow. HarperAudio.
- “Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America” by Erik Larson. Narrated by Scott Brick. Books on Tape/Random House Audio.
- “Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation” by Dean Jobb. Narrated by Peter Berkrot. Recorded Books/HighBridge Audio.
- “Out of Orange” by Cleary Wolters. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. Blackstone Audio/HarperAudio.
Coming Soon – please view archived list: http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/listenlist/2015
Coming Soon – please view archived list: http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/listenlist/2014
Coming Soon – please view archived list: http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/listenlist/2013
Coming Soon – please view archived list: http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/listenlist/2012