headphones listening to books
Our Recommendations for First-Time Listeners

The benefits of listening to audiobooks are clear: audiobooks are the ultimate tool for multitaskers, as well as a great way to relax. You can listen while you cook, clean, exercise, or craft. Or you can sit back, rest your eyes, and unwind by listening. Looking for a place to start? Try any one of these recommendations from our staff below.

“I highly recommend Anything Is Possible, by Pulitzer Prize‒winning author Elizabeth Strout, read by the fabulous Kimberly Farr. This is a series of short stories that all feature members of the same community in Amgash, Illinois. Each story is a stand-alone, though the whole piece is a gorgeous reflection of the humanity in that town—or anywhere, really. Strout is an expert at poignancy without flash. Her simple, beautiful, funny prose is handled expertly by Farr, who is a gifted storyteller. There are nice bite-size stories for shorter commutes, or listen to the whole collection if you’ve got more time on your hands.”—Kelly Gildea, Executive Producer, Audio

Author: Douglas Adams
Read By: Stephen Fry

“Any of the Harry Potter titles; I can’t turn them off, they’re so engaging. And for adults, I really love the Stephen Fry narration of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He has a dry wit that I find fantastic!”—Aaron Blank, Executive Producer

World War Z: The Complete Edition
Author: Max Brooks
Read By: Various

“There are a handful of audiobooks that give you an experience that transcends the print format. World War Z: The Complete Edition is one of those audiobooks. The story is told in a series of first-person interviews, which are perfect for the audio format. Recorded with an all-star cast, the World War Z audiobook gives a unique voice to each of the book’s characters. Featuring Hollywood actors like Mark Hamill, Simon Pegg, Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, and more, the cast of the World War Z audiobook is better than the movie cast. First-time listeners can’t go wrong with this title.”—Rob Guzman, Senior Marketing Manager, Audio


“Memoirs are a great place to start if you’re new to audiobooks—especially those read by the author. Listening to Michelle Obama narrate the audiobook for her memoir Becoming feels so personal, like sitting down with her to chat over coffee. And don’t just take my word for it—Mrs. Obama earned a GRAMMY Award for her recording!”—Katie Punia, Vice President, Audio Publicity

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1)

“The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is a great entryway into audiobooks. Not only is the story itself one of my favorites to read (for all ages), but the audiobook is such a fun listening experience, thanks to a full-cast narration (including the author). It really brings the story to life in an engaging way.”—Taraneh DJangi, Associate Director, Audio Marketing

“I don’t read that many short story collections outside of work and, when I do, I typically don’t finish each and every story. I was intrigued by nice publicity I saw for How to Love a Jamaican, though, and checked it and a few other books out of the library while I was upstate for a summer vacation. How to Love a Jamaican was the one I couldn’t put down. Alexia Arthurs captures dynamics between family members, couples, and friends in a compelling, varied, and nuanced way. She tackles heavy topics with a masterful touch and creates vibrant, intimate portraits of people living in Jamaica and Jamaicans who have emigrated to the US.”—Emily Parliman, Editor, Audio

The Princess Diarist

“If you’re a first-time listener, I would have to say go with an audiobook narrated by a celebrity you love. I absolutely love listening to The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher because there’s nothing like having Carrie’s raspy voice telling you all about her wild adventures while filming Star Wars. While reading the book is definitely a great experience, having her actually narrate really shows both aspects I love about storytelling and listening to podcasts by my favorite personalities. Once you dip your toes into that, it can be easier to see the allure of listening to a story being told to you, instead of simply reading it.”—Brieana Garcia, Marketing Associate, Audio

There Will Be No Miracles Here
Author: Casey Gerald
Read By: Casey Gerald

“If you’re new to audiobooks, new to memoir, or new to getting so lost in someone else’s storytelling that you can’t tell how much time has passed, you have to listen to this audiobook by Casey Gerald.”—Becca Stumpf, Associate Manager, Creative Marketing


“For a first-time listener, I would recommend the Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s a full-cast, fully soundscaped space opera chronicling an interstellar corporate war, written in the style of a dossier of found and hacked documents and chat logs. Totally not my thing—until I listened while on a run. I hadn’t run more than a mile at a time in about six months, but when I listened to this, I was surprised to see on my running app that I’d gone three-and-a-half miles without stopping!”—Heather Job, Associate Publicist

I've Got Your Number

I’ve Got Your Number is like hearing out your funniest friend as she tells you about her latest laugh-out-loud, completely insane drama. And lucky for you if that friend is the narrator Jayne Entwistle, who portrays the panicked Poppy Wyatt, a bride-to-be who has lost her engagement ring and cell phone in the same day. Poppy finds an abandoned cell phone in the trash to use instead and of course, hilarious hijinks ensue – but not without a welcome (but not cheesy!) dose of heart and romance. It’s the perfect escapist entertainment to end a busy workday. Sophie Kinsella’s standalone heroines are often written in the first-person, and so on audio, they literally speak to you; I love hearing how much fun an actor is having as she delivers the book on audio, almost like a monologue. Plus, in this case, discovering Jayne Entwistle’s comedic chops will lead you to want to listen to everything else she records. She is a master storyteller.”—Jen Rubins, Associate Director, Audio Library Marketing

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Read By: Wil Wheaton

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a classic when it comes to audiobooks. Not only does it feel appropriate to listen to, rather than read the story – it’s futuristic, virtual reality, after all! – you just can’t beat Will Wheaton’s narration. Many of the scenes from the book have stayed with me long after I took out my headphones because of the life Wheaton breathes into the characters. It’s truly a perfect pairing.”—Meghan Mills, Editor, Audio