While getting lost in the pages of a much-loved, slightly-worn book is a wonderful thing like no other, there's also joy to be found in settling down on the sofa while an audiobook plays from your phone or tablet.
Audiobooks are great for this - relaxing and letting yourself be immersed in a story completely, guided by the book's narrator. Alternatively, they're a great accompaniment when you're getting on with household jobs that can otherwise be a bit boring.
If you're looking for audiobooks to download, we've rounded up some of the very best, from old classics like Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird to modern memoirs from inspiring women like Michelle Obama.
Read on for our pick of the best audiobooks to settle down with. Happy listening.
Everything I know About Love by Dolly Alderton
In her 2018 memoir, writer Dolly explores her journey to adulthood and all the ups and downs along the way. She talks frankly about true love and how, actually, it can be sitting right under your nose without you necessarily realising. What sets this apart from the rest? A lyrical, beautiful writing style that can flit between making you chortle and holding back tears.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Are you curious about what life was like for the earliest humans? Do you have endless questions about how our species has evolved? If so, this incredibly articulate book is for you. It lends itself especially well to audiobook form as it’s, naturally, packed with a lot of information that’s easier to digest through listening.
Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
In the UK, Matt has become a leading voice in the conversation around how to support each other through times of experiencing poor mental health. In this book he explores the myriad 21st century factors impacting our wellbeing, from social media to work pressures, and gives readers food for thought when it comes to how they choose to spend their precious time.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It’s a timeless classic many will have read, but it’s never a bad idea to re-immerse yourself in the poignant writing of Harper Lee. Set in the Deep South of 1930s America, the story follows the Finch family, as young siblings Scout and Jem watch their father try to defend a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. The children’s innocence compared to the injustice of racism makes for a moving story that’s just as relevant now as when it was penned.
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Acclaimed writer and newspaper columnist Caitlin Moran tells her own coming-of-age story while at the same time laying out a feminist manifesto that’s equally useful for young and older women alike. While Caitlin’s stories are at times rage-inducing, she’ll also having you laughing out loud.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This is really a story about the importance of kindness and empathy, told through the perspective of Eleanor, a woman who has become used to existing on her own, until she strikes up a friendship with co-worker Raymond. If you’re not averse to having a bit of a cry this at-times-sad but ultimately heart-warming audio book is for you.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
One of the most inspiring women in the world right now, and in US history, Michelle Obama shares her journey from anonymity to world fame in this memoir about how she ended up living in The White House while balancing her own work goals and motherhood. Looking for a dose of motivation to take your future by the scruff of the neck? Look no further.
Queen Victoria by Lucy Worsley
Popular author and historian Lucy Worsley tracks a new course through Queen Victoria's life, examining how she transformed from a young, naive princess to become one of Britain’s greatest monarchs.
Sadly Worsley doesn't narrate this herself, but it's still a wonderful insight into Victoria's private life.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Marianne and Connell are two Irish teenagers drawn to one another but at the same time, living and feeling worlds apart. This heartfelt and impactful novel follows the pair as they grow - both together and separately - and will leave you reflecting on your own early loves.
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
This debut novel about the reality of living with dementia is as poignant as it is complex and suspenseful. Maud is forgetful but absolutely sure of one thing - her friend Elizabeth is missing. The story follows her as she aims to get to the bottom of that mystery, and she ends up unearthing other long-lost secrets along the way.
Noughts + Crosses by Malorie Blackman
This novel, the first in a series, introduces readers to Callum and Sephy, two young people kept apart by their society’s racist and prejudice views, but joined together by their love for one another. Set in a world where black people (Crosses) rule over white people (Noughts), the book is aimed at teenagers but is equally as gripping and important for older readers, too.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
When young Englishman Stephen goes to stay with a French family in Amiens in 1910, falling in love with unhappily married Isabelle, his life changes forever. Spanning from peacetime to wartime and back again, this story of love and loss will stay with you a long time after you’ve turned the last page.
How to Eat by Nigella Lawson
Nigella is a household name now, but How to Eat was her first cookbook published back in 1998. With simple recipes, and some a little fancy, all narrated by Nigella herself, this book is definitely one to savour.
Who knew that listening to Nigella's warm and friendly tone talking you through the basic of making a risotto could be so calming and inspiring.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A big novel, this book tells the remarkable, detailed story of a group of friends making their way in New York. At the story’s core is the exploration of the gang, and protagonist Jude’s harrowing past and how it’s shaped him. Prepare to cry at lot of tears, and you’ll also be awed by Hanya’s gorgeous prose.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
In her vibrant debut novel, Candice Carty-Williams introduces the world to Queenie, a 25-year-old black woman living in London, who feels there isn’t space for her to be her true, authentic self. The book depicts Queenie’s struggle with her mental health, her job and her relationship breakdown, and while it’s full of adversity, it’s a story of love and hope.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Arguably one of the best and most beloved coming-of-age tales ever written, this moving, relatable story follows four sisters – Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth – as they go through first loves, big arguments and devastating illnesses while their father is working as a chaplain during the American Civil War in the 1800s.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
As one of the most esteemed British novels ever, Wuthering Heights is likely a story you read at school. But consider giving it a listen again, so you can appreciate the hauntingly beautiful story love story.
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
Bestselling author Robert Macfarlane encourages us to learn more about the worlds beneath our feet. From the depths of Greenland's glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, this educational book serves as a voyage into the planet's past and future. Macfarlane, who traveled deep under ground to research this book is a skilful writer - some of his descriptions of life underground are so claustrophobic they are almost unbearable.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
The multi-talented film director, author and journalist based this comic book on the breakdown of her own marriage and, thirty years after it was first published, it still resonates today. Narrated by Meryl Streep, this is a joy to listen to.
All The Lights We Cannot see by Anthony Doerr
This beautifully written, moving novel tells the parallel stories of a young Parisian girl and a German orphan and how their lives are shattered by World War Two.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
This beautifully written story is about the aftermath of an affair and how it irrevocably affects two families. When Bert and Beverley share an illicit kiss at a party, it sets in motion a series of events that has consequences for their six children that endure over the next half century. Patchett is a writer of exceptional talent and this is a joy.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Be transported to the boulevards and bars of 1920 Jazz Age Paris with this intense story of ambition and betrayal. Following a whirlwind romance, novelist Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson embark on a love affair which soon sees them becoming the golden couple of a lively and volatile group of friends. But they face the ultimate crisis of their marriage; a deception that will hugely impact on everything they’ve fought so hard for…
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
A new novel from Zadie Smith is always a treat, and Swing Time is no exception. It follows two girls growing up in North London whose paths wildly diverge as they get older. As ever, her writing is stunning and so perceptive.
Holding by Graham Norton
Chat show host Graham Norton brings his acerbic wit to this darkly funny mystery set in a small rural Irish town where everybody knows everybody else’s business. When a dead body is discovered buried on a building site, the whole town is abuzz with whispers about who it could be, not least spinster Evelyn whose true love went missing 20 years ago.
The Language Of Birds by Jill Dawson
Based on the infamous case of Lord Lucan and his murdered nanny, this is a thoughtful but riveting retelling. When Mandy takes a job looking after Lord and Lady Morven’s children, she finds herself in the middle of a bitter custody battle.
Educated by Tara Westover
School was banned by Tara Westover's religious survivalist father and she and her whole family grew up preparing for the End Of Days. This is her fascinating story, overlaid with wistfulness as her need for learning alienates her from the family she loves. A truly inspiring listen.
Grown Ups by Marian Keyes
This has all the hallmarks of the very best Marian Keyes: funny, warm and with moments of real poignancy too. The three Casey brothers and their families spend a lot of time together – but under the shiny, happy surface there are rifts and rivalries that are about to be revealed… Read by the author herself, this a delight.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
This sensitively told novel follows Vanessa who is just 15 when she starts a relationship with her 45-year-old English teacher. We meet her again aged 32, as he is accused of sexual abuse by another pupil and Vanessa begins to question if theirs really was the great love affair she’d always thought it was.
The Mirror And The Light by Hilary Mantel
This is possibly the most anticipated book of the year and with good reason. The final in the trilogy that started with Wolf Hall begins with the devastating aftermath of Anne Boleyn's beheading and holds you in its grip through 900 vivid pages. Mantel takes a piece of history that many of us know well and makes it feel hugely exciting and urgent, a testament to her incredible skill as a writer. Whether you like historical fiction or not, this audiobook narrated by actor Ben Miles is a must-listen.
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