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AudioFile Magazine's 2021 Best Audiobooks

AudioFile Magazine's 2021 Best Audiobooks

AudioFile Magazine is proud to present our list of the 2021 Best Audiobooks, including excellent listening for kids, teens, and adults across a range of genres.

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Black Boy Joy

17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

By Kwame Mbalia
Narrated by: Amir Abdullah & Taj Leahy
Length: 6 hours 29 minutes

Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors--including Jason Reynolds (the Track series), Jerry Craft (New Kid), and Kwame Mbalia (the Tristan Strong series)!

Black boy joy is…
 
Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic... Read more »

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Kaleidoscope

By Brian Selznick
Length: 3 hours 1 minutes

An astounding new feat of storytelling from Brian Selznick, the award-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabretand Wonderstruck.

A ship. A garden. A library. A key. In Kaleidoscope, the incomparable Brian Selznick presents the story of two people bound toeach other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their... Read more »

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Stuntboy, in the Meantime

By Jason Reynolds
Narrated by: Guy Lockard, Nile Bullock, Angel Pean, James Fouhey, Soneela Nankani, Leon Nixon, Chanté McCormick, Lamarr Gulley & DePre Owens
Length: 2 hours 47 minutes

AudioFile Magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2021

A Schneider Family Award Honor Book for Middle Grade

From Newbery Medal honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of, filled with illustrations by Raúl the... Read more »

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Special offer

Free audiobook with membership

For a limited time, when you sign up for a new monthly membership with code CHOOSEINDIE, we’ll give you a bonus audiobook! That means you’ll have 2 audiobook credits to redeem from the start.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle
Narrated by: Kevin R. Free & Eric Carle
Length: 8 minutes

Brought to life by narrator Kevin R. Free with sound effects and music, this The Very Hungry Caterpillar audiobook includes a special read-along track of Eric Carle narrating his all-time classic story. 
 
One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. On Monday, he ate through one apple; on Tuesday, he ate...

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Apples Never Fall

By Liane Moriarty
Narrated by: Caroline Lee
Length: 18 hours 3 minutes

2021 AudioFile Best Audiobooks
2021 Washington Post Best Books of the Year

From Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, comes Apples Never Fall, an audiobook that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.


The Delaney family love one...

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Cloud Cuckoo Land

A Novel

By Anthony Doerr
Narrated by: Marin Ireland & Simon Jones
Length: 14 hours 51 minutes

If you enjoyed Cloud Atlas, then you’ll love Cloud Cuckoo Land.

“Highly imaginative and incredibly ambitious, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a story within a story that is about stories. Though the premise, like the title, sounds maddening, I found Anthony Doerr’s novel to be rich, intricate, and deeply profound. Like the thread that binds together a vibrant tapestry, the story within the story, also named Cloud Cuckoo Land, weaves the tales of Anna, Omeir, Zeno, Seymour, and Konstance as it defies time and space to ensure their stories endure. A love letter to the tales that have survived the cruel test of time and to the stories that take us away to magical realms above our own, those who’ve read Cloud Atlas and The Ten Thousand Doors of January will take pleasure and delight in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Marin Ireland and Simon Jones' narrations were the cherry on the cake, making the story all the better for their lively and delightful voices.”

Mysterious Galaxy Books image Nicholas, Mysterious Galaxy Books
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Harlem Shuffle

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 10 hours 35 minutes

Harlem Shuffle

“A wonderful evocation of a time and place, which is not to say it doesn't have the tension of a crime thriller. It's fun to ride along with Ray, who may be more than a little bent, but will likely become your favorite furniture salesman, nevertheless.”

Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West image Robin, Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West
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Matrix

A Novel

By Lauren Groff
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 8 hours 51 minutes

If you enjoyed Hamnet, then you’ll love Matrix.

“Absolutely amazing. The audio book is perfectly narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Her singular voice brings each of the characters to life, channeling their personalities, quirks, accents, etc. Marvelous job. Powerful and elegantly written by Groff. I loved this book so much I am tempted to start it all over again.”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kristine, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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Justine

The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 8 hours 51 minutes

Justine is the first volume in The Alexandria Quartet, four interlinked novels set in the sensuous, hot environment of Alexandria just before the Second World War. Within this polyglot setting of richly idiosyncratic characters is Justine, wild and intense, wife to the wealthy businessman Nessim, a Mari complaisant. Her emotional and sexual... Read more »

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Balthazar

The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 8 hours 24 minutes

‘The politics of love, the intrigues of desire, good and evil, virtue and caprice, love and murder, moved obscurely in the dark corners of Alexandria’s streets and squares, brothels and drawing-rooms – moved like a great congress of eels in the slime of plot and counter-plot.’ In Balthazar, the second volume in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, the... Read more »

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Clea

The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

‘I knew that Clea would share everything with me, withholding nothing – not even the look of complicity which women reserve only for their mirrors.’ In Clea, the concluding part of The Alexandria Quartet, Darley returns to Alexandria now caught by war-fever. The conflagration has its effect on his circle – on Nessim and Justine, Balthazar and... Read more »

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Mountolive

The Alexandria Quartet

By Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 11 hours 32 minutes

‘Mountolive who had already found the open sesame of language ready to hand, suddenly began to feel himself really penetrating a foreign country...’ In Mountolive, the third volume in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, the events surrounding the interwoven community of Nessim, Justine, Narouz, Pursewarden and the other major characters are given a... Read more »

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

An Oprah’s Book Club Novel

By Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo, Karen Chilton & Prentice Onayemi
Length: 29 hours 48 minutes

If you enjoyed The Underground Railroad (Television Tie-in), then you’ll love The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.

“At 29 hours this one might seem like quite a commitment, but after traveling the century with them, you’ll deeply miss the echoes of the voices of Ailey and Belle and even good old Uncle Root.”

The Country Bookshop image Angie, The Country Bookshop
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Facing the Mountain

A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

By Daniel James Brown
Narrated by: Louis Ozawa
Length: 17 hours 39 minutes

Facing the Mountain

“Hooked by page 5! Daniel James Brown crafts a story as compelling as Isabel Wilkerson's Warmth of Other Suns. Told in the voices of those who lived it, Facing the Mountain describes the Japanese experience in American during WWII in the words of Japanese American soldiers and their interred families. Heroes every one.”

Innisfree Bookshop image Casey, Innisfree Bookshop
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Four Hundred Souls

A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

By Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain
Narrated by: Various
Length: 14 hours 1 minutes

Four Hundred Souls

“An absolutely stunning history of African America for people who do not normally read history. Compiled of short stories, essays, and poems, it is perfect for someone who is intimidated by lists of names and dates. Each individual voice stands on its own but together they truly make a 'choir' that flows together beautifully. This is a one-of-a-kind history that is essential reading for everyone.”

Quail Ridge Books image Tia, Quail Ridge Books
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Somersett

Benjamin Franklin and the Masterminding of American Independence

By Phillip Goodrich
Narrated by: Phillip Goodrich, Joe Morton, Robert Petkoff, Simon Jones, various narrators, Euan Morton & Nicola Barber
Length: 13 hours 41 minutes

An Audiobook Original

There is no dearth of writings about the founding of America, but in this under-reported and under-taught story of the American Revolution, light is shed on the role Benjamin Franklin played in bringing the northern and southern colonies together against corrupt British rule. Along with an “Inner Circle” of British...

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Tom Stoppard

A Life

By Hermione Lee
Narrated by: Stephen Crossley
Length: 37 hours 47 minutes

A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOK OF THE YEAR • One of our most brilliant biographers takes on one of our greatest living playwrights, drawing on a wealth of new materials and on many conversations with him.

“An extraordinary record of a vital and evolving artistic life, replete with textured illuminations of the plays and their performances,...
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Tony Hillerman

A Life

By James Mcgrath Morris
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 10 hours 50 minutes

The author of eighteen spellbinding detective novels set on the Navajo Nation, Tony Hillerman simultaneously transformed a traditional genre and unlocked the mysteries of the Navajo culture to an audience of millions. His best-selling novels added Navajo Tribal Police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee to the pantheon of American fictional... Read more »

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You Don't Belong Here

How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War

By Elizabeth Becker
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes

The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war
 
Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared... Read more »

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Eartha & Kitt

A Daughter's Love Story in Black and White

By Kitt Shapiro & Patricia Weiss Levy
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 8 hours 9 minutes

In this unique combination of African-American, music, and cultural history, we come to know one of the greatest stars the world has ever seen—Eartha Kitt—as revealed by the person who knew her best, her daughter. Eartha, who was a mix of Black, Cherokee, and white, identified as Black, but Kitt, her biological daughter by a white man, is blonde... Read more »

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