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Recommendations for Your First Audiobook Listen

Recommendations for Your First Audiobook Listen

We polled our audiobook-loving community for their recommendations for first-timers and those new to audio. Try out these listens and get hooked!

Playlist Tags: topic: first audiobook

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The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

By Deesha Philyaw
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 4 hours 6 minutes

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

“In this powerful anthology we are introduced to a diverse cast of characters, each with their own distinct voice and troubles. Through them we explore the complexities & expectations of womanhood, the challenges of love & relationships, and how these topics impact their lives within church culture. Full of moving, delicious language that will have you begging for more.”

Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers image Courtney, Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers
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The Animators

A Novel

By Kayla Rae Whitaker
Narrated by: Alex McKenna
Length: 15 hours 22 minutes

“A wildly original novel that pulses with heart and truth . . . That this powerful exploration of friendship, desire, ambition, and secrets manages to be ebullient, gripping, heartbreaking, and deeply deeply funny is a testament to Kayla Rae Whitaker’s formidable gifts. I was so sorry to reach the final page. Sharon and Mel will stay with me for... Read more »

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World War Z: The Complete Edition - Abridged

An Oral History of the Zombie War

By Max Brooks
Narrated by: Various
Length: 12 hours 8 minutes

  World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War is a new version of Max Brooks' episodic zombie novel. The abridged versions of the original stories are now joined with new, unabridged recordings of the episodes that were not included in the original (abridged) version of the audiobook. These...

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Daisy Jones & The Six

A Novel

By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated by: Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer & Pablo Schreiber
Length: 9 hours 3 minutes

Daisy Jones & The Six

“Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. If you were a concert goer in the 70's or listen to the classic rock station you will love this. It reads or listens like a tell-all documentary. I loved the non-traditional narration, the raw intensity and the imperfect characters. The audio is outstanding and addictive!”

Bookworm of Edwards image Karin, Bookworm of Edwards
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Mary Jane

A Novel

By Jessica Anya Blau
Narrated by: Caitlin Kinnunen
Length: 9 hours 44 minutes

Mary Jane

“Mary Jane is 14 in 1975 and her summer nannying job is filled with surprises, spontaneity, and love as she is pulled into the family of the little girl she watches. A sweet and funny story of discovering yourself, your loved ones, and where you fit in. It really hit home for me.”

Reads & Company image Courtney Boches, Reads & Company
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Circe

By Madeline Miller
Narrated by: Perdita Weeks
Length: 12 hours 8 minutes

Circe

“This remarkable journey into mythology brings the ancient gods directly and viscerally into the present. Circe is a perfect mashup of elegant language, glorious storytelling, and exquisitely modern sensibilities. Miller's telling left me awed and moved by Circe and her story, all while wishing I could invite her over for a glass of wine on the porch. How this amazing author so perfectly melds the human and the divine, creating a story both immediate and epic, is dazzling.”

Beth Albrecht image Beth Albrecht, The Magic Tree Bookstore
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Will

By Will Smith
Narrated by: Will Smith
Length: 16 hours 16 minutes

One of the most dynamic and globally recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, in a brave and inspiring book that traces his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, Will tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the... Read more »

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

By Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Jason Reynolds
Length: 4 hours 11 minutes

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

“I was blown away by this book. I listened to the audio and Jason Reynold's narration is engaging, funny, and moving all rolled into one. I found myself interested in history in ways I have not been in the past. As white women I found myself grieving for the crimes my race has committed. For hatred that continued to take root and spread. Yet I also found hope. This book does a great job of engaging the topic of race, why racism persists and gives hope that things can change. I wish I could make everyone read this book.”

Fables Books image Kristin, Fables Books
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The Dutch House

A Novel

By Ann Patchett
Narrated by: Tom Hanks
Length: 9 hours 52 minutes

The Dutch House

“I love Ann Patchett. The Dutch House is the story of brother and sister Danny and Maeve and how after losing their mother and then their father, they are cast out of the only home they know. It is then that Danny and Maeve realize they only have each other to rely on. Their relationship is complex and intriguing. Danny and Maeve are each other's saviors, but I am wondering if they are also not each other's downfall. I am finding that I can't put this story down. Wonderfully written. A great book club selection. Also, such a pleasure to listen to the Tom Hanks recording.”

Anderson's Bookshop image Karen, Anderson's Bookshop
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The 1619 Project

A New Origin Story

By Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman & Jake Silverstein
Narrated by: Nikole Hannah-Jones & Full Cast
Length: 18 hours 56 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire
 
In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of... Read more »

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The Secret History

By Donna Tartt
Narrated by: Donna Tartt
Length: 22 hours 3 minutes

In this brilliant novel from Donna Tartt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Goldfinch, comes a richly textured and hypnotic story of golden youth corrupted by its own moral arrogance.

Richard Papen had never been to New England before his nineteenth year. Then he arrived at Hampeden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark...

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Empire of Pain

The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

By Patrick Radden Keefe
Narrated by: Patrick Radden Keefe
Length: 18 hours 6 minutes

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE NOMINEE A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. From the prize-winning and bestselling author of... Read more »

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The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune
Narrated by: Daniel Henning
Length: 12 hours 12 minutes

If you enjoyed 1984, then you’ll love The House in the Cerulean Sea.

“This was a wholesome squeal of a novel that I ADORED! It had so much hype around it so I was wary but it immediately drew me in and wouldn't let me go until I finished. I opted for audio since it seemed that was the only way I was going to squeeze it in with my giant TBR list. Once I started, I literally changed my activities to better fit the listening of this book—more knitting, less TV, longer walks, and antisocial behavior. The narrator, Daniel Henning, perfectly encapsulated the whimsical nature of Linus Baker and his mysterious Level 4 security assignment to the island of Marysas. Though this book is entirely its own, it had vibes that reminded me of 1984 meets The Umbrella Academy meets Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Klune imbues so much life into all his characters. The kids are so cute and sassy and I love this quasi-magical world that they exist in, despite the fact that it keeps them locked away in an orphanage. I love that themes of our own world are examined and questioned and that it has a happy ending. I highly recommend this fantastical novel to everyone! Any book that steals all my attention from start to finish is pure magic and should be cherished!”

Buttonwood Books and Toys image Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
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The Hobbit

Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Andy Serkis
Length: 10 hours 24 minutes

THE GREAT MODERN CLASSIC AND PRELUDE TO THE LORD OF THE RINGS Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum—as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face. He had a little boat, and he rowed about quite quietly on the... Read more »

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The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern
Narrated by: Jim Dale
Length: 13 hours 38 minutes

If you enjoyed Spoonbenders, then you’ll love The Night Circus.

“A modern classic and the book that dragged me back into the magical realism genre. I've listened to this book multiple times and still enjoy it on the umpteenth time around. Morgenstern captures that same wonder that you remember from whimsical children's fantasy, but matures it into a complex and emotional tale.”

Folio Books image Isaiah, Folio Books
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Sadie

A Novel

By Courtney Summers
Narrated by: Dan Bittner, Fred Berman, Gabra Zackman & Rebecca Soler
Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Sadie

“Engrossing, thrilling and original. The story alternates between a podcast format and Sadie’s voice. Sadie is a compelling protagonist - strong, determined and on a mission. Fantastic listen!”

East City Bookshop image Jennifer, East City Bookshop
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Beloved

By Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 12 hours 2 minutes

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unflinchingly look into the abyss of slavery, from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner. This spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is ... 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 Homegoing, then you’ll love The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.

“A sweeping, multi-generational novel about a Southern Black family and their rich and complex ancestry. Focusing on the life of Hailey Pearl, a young woman coming of age in "the city" and her hometown of Chicasetta, GA, the novel jumps back and forth in time weaving together the triumphs and tragedies of her people and how these stories are passed or lost through the generations. Compelling and important read.”

A Great Good Place for Books image Samantha, A Great Good Place for Books
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Becoming

By Michelle Obama
Narrated by: Michelle Obama
Length: 19 hours 1 minutes

Becoming

“I adore our former president and I miss him. Yet I cannot help but be ecstatic that Michelle is coming out with a book about her own life so that I can learn more about this powerful, intelligent, and singularly awesome woman. Barack would be the first to say that his wife is a superstar, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Becoming to read about her in her own words.”

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A Master of Djinn

Dead Djinn Universe: Book #1

By P. Djèlí Clark
Narrated by: Suehyla El-Attar
Length: 15 hours 37 minutes

A Master of Djinn

“Fatma el-Sha’arawi is one of the most talented agents in Ciaro’s Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. Though it is 1912, she has worked her way up the male-dominated agency with a combination of raw magical talent, wit, and force of will. When a room of men burnt to a crisp with no sign of fire shows up, Fatma is put on the case. As she digs deeper and deeper, she is thrown into a world of old religion, angels, djinn, and a mysterious masked figure claiming to be an ancient mystic. This is an excellent steampunk who-done-it. I was fully onboard through all the twists and turns this story took. A Master of Djinn is an excellent book for this summer.”

Off the Beaten Path image Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
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