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No-Stress Gift Guide: Thoughtful Audiobooks for Everyone on Your List

It’s never too early or too late to gift an audiobook. Whether you’re reading this on your lunch break, before bed, or on Christmas Eve, we have audiobook gift recommendations designed to patch any holes in your last-minute gift list.

Browse our holiday picks for music lovers, book clubbers, mystery fans, and class clowns below, and if you’re inspired to treat yourself we won’t tell (did we tell when Santa ate ALL the cookies and didn’t share even one with the reindeer? No, we did not). And if you’re looking for audiobook gift recommendations for kids, check out our holiday list for teens and picture books on audio for little listeners.

For Music Lovers, Movie Buffs, and Fans of Inspiring Life Stories:

Author: Mark Manson and Will Smith
Read By: Will Smith

Recorded in studios across the country, aided by music producer Omarr Rambert and composer Josiah Bell, Will by superstar Will Smith is an audiobook memoir like no other. Will performs with a gospel choir, sings “Yvette” by Grandmaster Caz (a seldom heard classic which helped define Will’s voice in Hip Hop), and includes new versions of “Just the Two of Us” and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song—and that’s just the beginning.

“Will Smith tells all in this memoir of his spectacular journey from his childhood in Philadelphia to his career as a rap star and then a Hollywood movie mogul. His charisma comes through as he narrates the various lessons he has learned from these myriad experiences…From marriage troubles to parenting challenges, topics reveal a mature person for whom no subject is off-limits.”—AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

For Lovers of Masterpiece Theater, Atmospheric Tales, and British Accents:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson has been thrilling fans of narrative non-fiction for years. Now his first ever work of fiction, No One Goes Alone, is available as an audiobook original—perfect for anyone who loves mysteries and ghostly tales. Narrated by acclaimed British actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, No One Goes Alone is available exclusively on audio, because as Larson says, “ghost stories are best told aloud.”

“An eerie, atmospheric, history- and science-infused, locked-room ghost story…A blockbuster production for audiobook fandom.”—Booklist, starred review

For Podcast Listeners Tuned Into Stories that Matter:

In This Is Ear Hustle, Nigel and Earlonne share their own stories of how they came to San Quentin, how they created their phenomenally popular podcast amid extreme limitations, and what has kept them collaborating season after season. The result is an illuminating view of prison life, as told by currently and formerly incarcerated people, from the co-creators and co-hosts of the Peabody- and Pulitzer-nominated podcast Ear Hustle.

Listen to Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods talk about the process of recording the This Is Ear Hustle audiobook on our This Is the Author podcast.

For Readers Who Love Historical Fiction and Stylish Tales of Adventure:

The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility returns with The Lincoln Highway, a propulsive novel set in 1950s America. When eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm, his sole intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

“Ballerini masterfully brings to life Towles’ complex characters, inviting listeners to explore their behavior and flaws while becoming emotionally invested…The other narrators, Marin Ireland and Dion Graham, provide spot-on portrayals of memorable supporting characters. Blending charm and heartbreak, this expansive and ambitious novel is one to savor.”—Booklist, audio review

For Your Favorite Class Clown:

Author: Mel Brooks
Read By: Mel Brooks

At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. In All About Me!, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. Filled with tales of struggle, achievement, and camaraderie, listeners will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.

“Laugh-out-loud hilarious and always fascinating, from the great Mel Brooks. What else do you expect from the man who knew Jesus and dated Joan of Arc?”—Billy Crystal

By turns perceptive, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes is a brilliant look at our current cultural moment. With sharp, timely insight, and her always unforgettable voice, New York Times bestselling author, comedian, actress, and producer Phoebe Robinson is back with her most must-listen audiobook yet.

“Comedian Phoebe Robinson narrates her second collection of essays with all the vim and vigor for which she’s known…Listeners will be laughing out loud—and along—with her observations on everything from how to handle microaggressions to choosing not to be a parent. This intimate and fun listening experience will draw people in for its honesty, warmth, and humor.”—AudioFile

Listen to Phoebe Robinson talk about recording this audiobook on our This Is the Author podcast.

For the Avid Book Clubber:

Author: Jodi Picoult
Read By: Marin Ireland

From the author of Small Great Things and The Book of Two Ways, Wish You Were Here is the story of a woman with a plan—and how a virus and an unexpected exile changes everything.

“Narrator Marin Ireland takes listeners on a journey they won’t forget…making this essential listening.”—AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

Author: Lauren Groff
Read By: Adjoa Andoh

Deemed too coarse for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her sisters. Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around.

“Get ready to meet your next favorite heroine in this historical-fiction tale…Narrator Andoh has the strong female voice that Marie’s story requires, while allowing her humanity to shine through…Fans of Groff and medieval historical fiction will flock to this novel.”—Booklist, audio review

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