Top 5 Audiobooks I Would Recommend to New Listeners

Posted June 17, 2017 by Tara in Review /// 19 Comments

June is Audiobook month! To celebrate, I’m going to continue my audiobook evangelism by sharing some of my favorite audiobooks that I think are great for new listeners. I’ve covered many audiobook reviews in the seven years of this blog, but I don’t know that I’ve ever broken down my top favorite books that are just audiobooks. These are a few that I’ve enjoyed, and that I often find myself recommending to friends and coworkers who are interested in checking out their first listen. Oh, and if you’ve never tried audiobooks, make sure you check out the end of this post — I’ll be giving away a free pair of headphones and 3 free audiobook downloads to one lucky winner!

Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
Narrator: Jim Dale
Synopsis: Do I really need to give one? I’m pretty sure everyone knows about the boy wizard!
Why I Recommend It: I often recommend this book because the audio narration really brings something new to a beloved story. Many readers know this story like the back of their hand, so it’s an easy audiobook for those who are worried they won’t be able to pay attention to a story absorbed through their ears. Jim Dale’s narration is like listening to the best storyteller tell you your favorite story. It’s truly a must-listen for Potterheads!

Book: You by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Synopsis: A stalker story told from the point of view of the stalker.
Why I Recommend It: It’s one thing to read a stalker story, and an entirely different thing to listen to it. I like to recommend fast-paced thriller books for audiobook newbies because they are easy to to get lost in. But this book has the added element of a superior narrator who brings the creepy to the text in a way that just can’t be done on the written page. I love when audiobooks enhance the reading experience, and this book is the perfect example.

Book: The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
Narrator: Mike Chamberlain
Synopsis: A book about the complicated nature of predictions and prediction models.
Why I Recommend It: I also like to recommend non-fiction to audiobook newbies. People don’t always think about it, but non-fiction audiobooks are basically like long podcasts — and I love podcasts! Podcasts were actually my gateway to my first audiobooks. Though there are many I could recommend, The Signal and the Noise is a great one for learning great anecdotes you can whip out at parties. I can’t count how many times my ability to talk about Nate Silver has served me well in conversations! (full review)

Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers
Narrator: Stephen J. Dubner
Synopsis: A girl gets her first full-time job at a tech company that may just be too good to be true.
Why I Recommend It: With the movie coming out soon starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks, reading this fast-paced novel via audiobook can be a great way to read the book before you see the movie. (full review)

Book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Synopsis: A billionaire dies and leaves his entire fortune to the person who can solve three puzzles hidden inside of the massive virtual world known as OASIS.
Why I Recommend It: Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. While I’ve read this as an e-book, I’ve not yet listened to the audio. But I’ve heard such stellar things about the audiobook that it’s actually one of the few re-reads I’d pay to listen to again as an audiobook. I remember reading this entire action-filled, fast-paced, 80s-themed novel in pretty much a single sitting, so I’d love to get immersed in this world all over again! (full review)

And now for a giveaway!

Thank for stopping by my blog, and I hope that you will give audiobooks a try this month! I want to give a huge thanks to Audio Publishers Association for putting this blog tour together for June is Audiobook Month. They also shared with me a fun giveaway – earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads from Comment below for your chance to win.

  1. What is your favorite audiobook?
  2. What audiobook to recommend to audio newbies?
  3. What audiobooks would you buy if you won the contest?

The Fine Print: Comment for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. The giveaway is open until midnight on Saturday, July 1 (eastern time). One winner will be chosen randomly from the eligible comments using a random number generator. The prize is a pair of earbuds and 3 free audiobook downloads at (approximate value: up to US$45.00), which expires July 15, 2017. The codes have been provided by the Audio Publisher’s Association and Entrants are restricted to US addresses only, please. You must be 13 years or older to win, and willing to provide me with your mailing address so I can send the prize. One entry per person, please.


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

Tags: /// 19 Comments

19 responses to “Top 5 Audiobooks I Would Recommend to New Listeners

  1. I always recommend The Others series by Anne Bishop on audio. The world and narrator are brilliant. For a standalone The Garden of Small Beginnings and A Man Called Ove. I have been curious about Radio Player One on audio. Potter with Dale are fantastic and I loved You. Awesome recommendations.

  2. Wow all the audiobooks you recommended makes me wanna check them out! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂 By any chance, do you know any websites where I can listen to the audio books for free? 😛

  3. skkgagnon

    Thanks for the post and the intriguing recommendations! From your list I am only familiar with the Harry Potter series and think it would be a fun series to listen to. I am fairly new to audio but one of my favorites that I would recommend to new listeners is Fishers Light by Tara Sivec. It is suspenseful, emotional and witty. It is narrated by Andi Arndt & Zachary Webber and I was totally lost in the realism of their storytelling. I have a long wish list and am not sure what I would purchase if I was lucky enough to win but now you have me excited about HP so I just might go with that! Thanks for the chance to win! =D

  4. Janie McGaugh

    I don’t really have one favorite audio book; instead, I have a number of favorite series, including Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters and Psy-Changeling series, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, and Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark series.

    For newbies, I’d suggest either Outlander or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. These are both great series.

    I’d probably buy Silver Silence by Nalini Singh, Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole, and Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs.

  5. Natalie Dove

    I always recommend David Sedaris books on audiobook because he reads them himself and he has such a weird nasally voice that just works.

  6. Debbie Yons

    What is your favorite audiobook? Watchers by Dean Koontz
    What audiobook to recommend to audio newbies? Depends somewhat on there personal preferences but anything by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, … man this list could on for a long time!
    What audiobooks would you buy if you won the contest? I’d have to see what is available to decide and I would have SOOOOOOO much fun doing it!

  7. Favorite audiobook: Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett (full cast version) or Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke. Audiobook that I would recommend to first-timers. Probably something very light and accessible so you can get used to “reading by ear.” Maybe, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. And there three books I would get would be anything in the 33 1/3 music book series. Thanks for the recommendations in this post!

  8. My favorite audiobook and even one I would recommend to audiobook newbies is The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. It was one of the first audiobooks I have ever listened to and I fell in love with the story! And if I won, I think the books I would choose would be A List of Cages by Robin Roe, The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olsen, and The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee!

  9. I’m new to audiobooks, but I’m beginning to really love them. I’ve also learned I need shorter ones to keep my attention, so I’m not sure I’d ever be able to do the Harry Potter series on audiobook. I think my favorite audiobook I’ve listened to so far is Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. For audiobook newbies, I’d definitely suggest Ready Player One and Bad Feminist. I really enjoyed the audiobook of both of those.

    I’d probably get I’ll Give You the Sun, because I love that book and I know the audiobook is narrated by one of my favorite audiobook narrators(Julia Whelan), The Upside of Unrequited, and. . . hmm. I’d have to think about another one. Probably an adult literary fiction or thriller to round it out.

  10. I also loved “Ready Player One”, although anything narrated by Wil Wheaton is great. Ones that I would recommend to others, I would have to say Brian Jacques + full cast reading any of the “Redwall” books. He’s amazing and I love the way he does otters and moles! I also adore Katherine Kellgren doing all L.A. Meyer’s “Bloody Jack” series. She is exactly how I picture Bloody Jack as a character, and she does all the voices. As for ones I want from, I would say Neil Degrasse Tyson’s new book “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” because I’ve seen a few of his shows and they’re so fascinating, “Devil in the White City” by Erik Larsen because I’m always trying to find a copy of this book but it is always checked out on audiobook, and “Thrawn (Star Wars)” by Timothy Zahn because it looks amazing.

  11. My favorite audiobook is Scandalous Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt, narrated by Ashford McNab followed by the entire Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, narrated by Anna Fields. Audiobook I would recommmend to newbies is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, narrated by Kate Rudd. I would buy Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They had a great full cast of narrators.

  12. Joyce

    My fav audiobook is the 200the Anniv Edition of Pride and Prej. I would recommend the Harry Potter series to read first because…well just because. To buy??? That is a toughy!. So many books, so little time. I love the audiobook version of Austenland but I don’t own it and I could listen to that one again and again, so I think that is what I would buy.

  13. One of my favorite audiobooks is Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. If you love your epic fantasy, you won’t be disappointed by this audiobook. For newbies, it really depends on what genres they like. Perhaps I would recommend a good urban fantasy, like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It’s magic and mystery but set in our present-day world, so it’s easy to get into. If I were to win, I have a lovely long list of audiobooks I would want to check out like Neal Stephenson’s latest or perhaps a Harry Bosch mystery by Michael Connelly.

  14. jlibrarian

    I loved listening to The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Depending on their age/likes, I’d recommend these to newbies: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (good for YAs; short) by Mark Haddon; Left Neglected by Lisa Genova; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (the first of the Flavia de Luce mystery series) by Alan Bradley; The Martian by Andy Weir, and anything by Joshilyn Jackson (Backseat Saints; Gods in Alabama; Someone Else’s Love Story, etc).

  15. Kris

    Fantastic list! My favorite audiobooks (I can’t pick just one) are American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Outlander & the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. The one I recommend most to newbies is Molly Harper’s How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf. At the top of my tbr (tbl?) is Proud Mary by Lucinda Brant or Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. Ready Player One is in my queue!

  16. Ammon

    Asking me which audiobook is akin to asking me which of my kids I love the most. In the interest of hopefully winning your contest I’ll play along 🙂

    1) Today, my favorite audiobook is Orphan X written by Gregg Hurwitz and read by Scott Brick (I just finished it this morning). This a high-octane thriller and the best series debut in this genre since Jack Reacher.
    2) This depends on the noob. If I know their tastes I’ll try to pick something in their favorite genre. Right now, however, I’m recommending The Boys in the Boat written by Daniel James Brown and read by Edward Hermann. This book and Hermann’s performance are so good that I wanted to stand up and cheer at times. So, so good!
    3) If I had an extra three credits for audiobooks I’d buy the following: Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami, and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

    • Kris

      A little off topic but you’re not the only one moved by The Boys in the Boat. I believe it is, in part, responsible for the exponential growth of the sport in recent years. It’s that good 😉

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