best audiobooks of all time

The best audiobooks of all time: The 2024 A-list

The best audiobooks of all time combine gripping storylines and unforgettable characters with captivating voice overs – from riveting whodunnits to tearjerking dramas. Audiobook popularity is also steadily increasing, with 53% of U.S. adults listening to audiobooks as they transport listeners to fantastic new worlds, chapter after chapter. 

At Voice123 – the home of audio excellence- we know the power of audiobook narrators. So, in this post, we’ll unpack the best audiobooks of all time, from fantasy, non-fiction, sci-fi, thriller to mystery – to inspire your next audiobook production. 

Get ready to explore iconic books without turning a page!

What is an audiobook

best audiobooks of all time

An audiobook is a vocally recorded version of a textual fiction or non-fiction book, which is read aloud by voice actors and made available for audiences to listen to instead of reading on audiobook streaming platforms like Audible, Scribd, or Audiobooks.com. The average audio length of an audiobook novel is 8-12 hours, while a longer, more detailed non-fiction is about 15 hours long. Standard audiobook formats are MP3 and M4B – which offer bookmarking features for long audiobooks. People prefer audiobooks to reading paperbacks because it’s convenient for people on the go or those with visual impairments. One of the best-selling audiobooks of all time is Becoming by Michelle Obama, and she won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word for her empowering audiobook narration. 

Here’s a breakdown of the best audiobooks of all time. The list is in no particular order.

What are the best audiobooks of all time

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling is a fantasy audiobook about Harry at Hogwarts School. Narrator Jim Dale brings the magical world to life with an engaging voice style. The Harry Potter audiobook series reached a listening landmark of one billion hours.
  2. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is non-fiction exploring human history. Narrator Derek Perkins’ clear, engaging tone portrays Harari’s complex ideas on humanity. It was a New York Times best-selling audiobook of all time.
  3. The Martian by Andy Weir is a science-fiction story about astronaut Mark Watney’s struggle for survival on Mars. Narrator R.C. Bray with a humorous and suspenseful tone that captured Mark’s resilient personality. The audiobook won the Audie Award for Science Fiction in 2014
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn tells the thriller story of Nick, whose life unravels when his wife goes missing. Narrators Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne added intensity and suspense to this psychological story. It sold 20 million copies in a few years
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is a mystery about ten strangers invited to an isolated island. Narrator Dan Stevens uses an intriguing voice style to create a sense of apprehension and mystery. It was voted the world’s best-selling mystery.

1. Best fantasy audiobooks 

  1. The Name of the Wind: Nick Podehl narrates the U.S. version with smooth, rich tones that portray magic and emotion, bringing Kvothe’s journey to life. 
  2. The Lies of Locke Lamora: Michael Page’s dynamic, expressive reading creates compelling mystical characters in this heist-filled fantasy universe.
  3. The Way of Kings: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading delivered a powerful vocal performance that brought the expansive kingdom and diverse characters to life.

2. Best non-fiction audiobooks

  1. Educated: Julia Whelan’s empathetic voice enhances the emotional impact of Tara Westover’s journey of self-discovery.
  2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin skillfully alternate their reading to capture Henrietta Lacks’ gripping true story.
  3. Born a Crime, Stories from a South African Childhood: Trevor Noah narrates his own story with an authentic, humorous tone that adds warmth to his personal experiences. 

3. Best sci-fi audiobooks

  1. Neuromancer: Robertson Dean’s gritty, atmospheric narration captures the cyberpunk essence of this AI universe, creating a fascinating audiobook.
  2. The Expanse Series: Jefferson Mays’ narration adds depth and emotion to this space opera’s diverse characters and intricate plot. 
  3. Snow Crash: Jonathan Davis’ energetic narration complements the story’s fast-paced dystopian environment and adventurous characters.

4. Best thriller audiobooks

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Narrator Simon Vance used a crisp, engaging tone to add intensity and suspense to one of the best thriller audiobooks.
  2. The Silent Patient: Narrators Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey unraveled the story’s suspenseful atmosphere, delivering a captivating performance. 
  3. The Da Vinci Code: Paul Michael’s dynamic reading created an enthralling listen that enhanced the tension and intrigue of this art-inspired mystery.

5. Best mystery audiobooks

  1. Big Little Lies: Caroline Lee used a warm, engaging tone to capture the story’s humor and suspense while highlighting its intricate, mysterious relationships.
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles: Simon Vance’s classic, evocative narration brings Sherlock Holmes to life in one of the best mystery audiobooks.
  3. In the Woods: Narrator Steven Crossley’s performance enhances the psychological complexity of a detective confronting his past. 

Find an intriguing voice actor for your best audiobooks

best audiobooks of all time

To find intriguing voice actors for your best audiobooks, look no further than Voice123. These audiobook voice actors can transport listeners to worlds that only exist on paper. Think of a thriller audiobook with Idris Elba’s deep, resonant voice or a non-fiction audiobook with Cate Blanchett’s polished tone. But, hiring a celebrity voice actor can be expensive. However, professional voice actors can adopt popular voice styles from famous actors and voice actors like Jennifer Hale’s commanding tone and James Earl Jones’ bass voice. The voice actors on Voice123 can use the essence of these unique voice styles to recreate iconic characters in the best audiobooks of all time.

Final thoughts on the best audiobooks of all time

The best audiobooks of all time are made famous by the voice actors who bring the stories and characters to life. From the rocky canyons of Mars to the trenches of WWII, these professionals craft stories of emotion and adventure. Whether it’s fantasy, non-fiction, sci-fi, mysteries, or thrillers, audiobook narrations draw audiences into the story with their exceptional voice acting.

And Voice123 has you covered! Find professional voice actors on Voice123 or work with our skilled Managed Services team to complete your project from start to finish.

Create narratives that come to life with the best audiobooks of all time!

FAQs on the best audiobooks of all time

What is most listened to on Audible?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming are two titles at the top of the Audible chart.

What are good audiobooks to listen to?

Good audiobook titles include The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and Educated by Tara Westover.

What is the most popular audiobook site?

Audible is the most popular audiobook site, followed by Google Play Books and Scribd.

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