2023 RUSA Listen List
Press Play on the 2023 RUSA Listen List!

The RUSA Listen List highlights extraordinary narrators and listening experiences that merit special attention by a general adult audience and the librarians who advise them. This list of outstanding audiobooks, designed for both avid listeners and those new to the pleasures of stories read aloud, includes fiction and nonfiction and features voices that enthrall, delight, and inspire.

Update your to-listen-list with Penguin Random House Audio’s 7 recordings on the RUSA Listen List:

Author: Emily Henry
Read By: Julia Whelan

Nora Stephens is a literary agent and has read every book. When Nora embarks on a trip to North Carolina, she keeps bumping into brooding book editor Charlie Lastra. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. In Book Lovers, the pair are thrown together again and again, and what they discover might just unravel the stories they’ve written about themselves.

“Julia Whelan’s dynamic performance will have listeners savoring every literary reference and word in this romance novel.”–AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

Author: Ed Yong
Read By: Ed Yong

Every kind of animal, including humans, is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of the world. Pulitzer Prize–winning science journalist Ed Yong takes us on a thrilling journey in An Immense World, allowing us to experience the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that other animals perceive.

“Yong’s…narration, warm with humor and curiosity, engage, and his interest in and excitement about the wonders of nature are infectious. You, too, will wish that you could attach a microphone to a blade of grass and listen to the unexpected voices of leaf hoppers…”–AudioFile

Author: Clare Pooley
Read By: Clare Corbett

Every day Iona travels by train. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname. They never speak. Seasoned commuters never do. Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of a nurse who gives him the Heimlich maneuver. In Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting, This single event starts a chain reaction, and a group of people with almost nothing in common discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more.

“Corbett expertly voices the group of quirky, multidimensional commuters…Thoroughly entertaining and an utter delight, this audiobook reminds listeners of the need for connection in a disconnected world.”–AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

In A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting, Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin. Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season. The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn.

“A delightful narration by Eleanor Tomlinson captures the romance and the spunky heroine in this well-written peek into Regency morality and hypocrisy.”—AudioFile

River of the Gods is a story of courage and adventure, set against the backdrop of the race to exploit Africa by the colonial powers. Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent by the Royal Geographical Society to claim the Nile River’s headwaters for England. Yet there was a third man on their expedition: Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who was enslaved and shipped from his home village in East Africa to India. When the man who purchased him died, Bombay traveled back to Africa, where he used his resourcefulness, linguistic prowess, and raw courage to forge a living as a guide.

“For lovers of true adventure, few audiobooks will have the impact of this history of the British search for the source of the Nile River in the mid-1800s. Narrator Paul Michael’s rich, expressive voice animates a compelling and impressively researched narrative full of action and heartache.””—AudioFile,Earphones Award Winner

Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies. But when her first week on the job, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children. They are poor and Black, and that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. Decades later, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten.

“Daggett’s skillful performance never waivers, perfectly capturing the emotional impact of the captivating story.””—AudioFile

Natural-born healer Emma Starling once had big plans for her life, but she’s lost her way. A medical school dropout, she’s come back to small-town Everton, New Hampshire, to care for her father, who is dying from a mysterious brain disease. Emma arrives home knowing she must face her dad’s illness, her mom’s judgment, and her younger brother’s recent stint in rehab, but she’s unprepared to find that her former best friend from high school is missing, with no one bothering to look for her. Emma’s dad is the only one convinced the young woman might still be alive, and Emma is hopeful he could be right. In Unlikely Animals, Emma isn’t really trying to be a hero, but somehow she and her father bring about just the kind of miracle the town needs.

“Daggett’s skillful performance never waivers, perfectly capturing the emotional impact of the captivating story.””—AudioFile

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