If we had it our way, we'd be reading all day, every day. Unfortunately, Adult Life© requires us to set down our books, get off our couches, and leave our homes for 10-12 hours. But that's where audiobooks come in: Whether you're commuting, jogging, picking up the kids, or completing any of your many daily responsibilities, you can still snag some quality reading time when you have a narrator doing the legwork.
We've done some of the legwork ourselves by rounding up the best audiobooks currently available on Apple Books—the new and improved iBooks—where you'll find an extensive collection of stories for your listening pleasure. Keep scrolling to see our audio recommendations, from Sissy Spacek's rendition of To Kill a Mockingbird to the star-studded recording of George Saunders' Booker Prize-winning novel.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the latest World War II drama stirring up the historical fiction genre. Drawn from interviews with a real-life Holocaust survivor, it reveals the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where prisoner Lale Sokolov gets an unusual assignment: He must tattoo his fellow inmates with identification numbers. It’s a position that elevates his status, allowing him to secretly barter goods that will help himself and those he's come to care for. But of everyone he’s taken under his wing, he cares for Gita—a shy young woman—the most, and their mutual affection gives him the strength to live another day. Author Heather Morris may use her imagination to fill the gaps of the real Lale's memory, but her book is still very much his personal account of the Holocaust and testimony to the power of love. The fact that it’s skillfully read by English actor (and frequent audiobook narrator) Richard Armitage is just an extra bonus.
Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders’ Booker Prize-winning novel is unlike anything you’ve read before, so it’s only fitting that the audiobook matches its originality. Veteran narrator Cassandra Campbell is joined by a massive—and we mean massive—cast of readers that includes Julianne Moore, Nick Offerman, and Leadership in Turbulent Times author Doris Kearns Goodwin. Each person lends their voice to one of Saunders’ eccentric characters, further enriching this delightfully inventive tale about Abraham Lincoln’s deceased son navigating a very lively purgatory. Their efforts earned the recording the most coveted Audie Award in 2018, the Audiobook of the Year.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
If there’s one thing 30-year-old Eleanor hates, it’s social interaction—which is why she prefers the silent company of junk food and booze. Her priorities start to change when she catches a glimpse of her dream guy, though it's her unlikely bond with a senior citizen and a disheveled coworker that finally breaks down her carefully constructed walls. As it turns out, Eleanor is not “completely fine,” but deeply scarred—both physically and emotionally—by her childhood in the foster care system. But with the support of her new friends, some much-needed therapy, and her own inner strength, Eleanor will find the courage to face her past, embrace her future, and become the person she’s always meant to be. Gail Honeyman’s hit novel—and her endearingly awkward heroine—is even better when read by Cathleen McCarron, whose narration won her Best Fiction Audiobook at this year’s Audie Awards.
To Kill a Mockingbird
You’ve read it, you’ve loved it, and now you can experience it like never before. Actress Sissy Spacek offers a soothing rendition (in her light, easy-on-the-ears Southern accent!) of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winner about a six-year-old girl, her lawyer father, and the criminal trial that shakes the foundation of their Alabama town. Spacek’s recording was a finalist for Best Solo Female Narration and Audiobook of the Year at the 2007 Audie Awards, and it took home the prize for the best reading of a classic book.
A Spark of Light
Jodi Picoult never shies away from a controversial topic, and she explores one of the world's most contentious debates—abortion rights—in her latest book. Written from multiple perspectives, A Spark of Light takes place at a reproductive health clinic just after a gunman enters the premises. From the OB-GYN with a surprising history to the hostage negotiator's pregnant teenage daughter, Picoult writes in reverse chronology to tell the backstories of her characters, taking a balanced look at pro-life and pro-choice beliefs. The story is elevated to even more powerful heights by the award-winning narrator of The Help and The Hate U Give, Bahni Turpin, who “infuses sensitivity and compassion” into one of the year’s most discussion-worthy novels (AudioFile Magazine).
My Oxford Year
Julia Whelan has narrated her fair share of audiobooks, including Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster thriller, Gone Girl. But as her authorial debut, My Oxford Year is perhaps her best one yet. Just after Ella Durran enrolls at an Oxford university, her biggest childhood dream, she receives a job opportunity that's too incredible to pass up. With plans to return stateside the following year, Julia dedicates herself to enjoying everything that “the city of dreaming spires” has to offer in the meantime—including her professor-turned-beau, Jamie Davenport. But when a long-kept secret incites major drama, Julia begins to question if she should stick to her life plan, or if she should embrace the unknown with Jamie at her side...This one gets extra points for all of the literary references!
Even as a little girl, A.J. Albany knew that “Old Lady Life” was not only unpredictable but downright cruel. The only daughter of a jazz pianist who performed in the same circles as Lester Young and Charlie Parker, A.J. often joined her father at his gigs, mingling with Hollywood's downcast and downtrodden. Her memoir is a frank look at his addiction and a fascinating snapshot of L.A. in the 1960s and 70s, where jazz and junk were simply a part of her everyday life. Actress Lena Headey took a break from her role as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones to not only star in the film adaptation, but to lend her vocal talents to the audiobook.
The Night Circus
Since childhood, Celia and Marco have studied under master magicians, learning how to use their powers to their greatest potential. Unbeknownst to them, their lifelong training is more for the benefit of their mentors than for themselves, as they're destined to fight in an epic proxy war. The chosen arena is Le Cirque Des Rêves—a fantastical, blink-and-you-miss-it circus—though both protegés soon realize that winning the battle may come at the cost of their lives and hearts. Set in Victorian London, The Night Circus is a stunning novel of magic, mystery, and romance that is brought to life by the inimitable Jim Dale, the Grammy Award-winning narrator of the Harry Potter series.