Running out of ideas what to gift an audiobookish friend? We’ve got you covered.
Audiobooks have one major advantage over physical books: they can be listened to anywhere, at any time: while doing the dishes, taking a shower, cleaning, cooking, and riding a bike.
And they make these mundane activities so much more exciting.
So if you’re an audiobook lover looking forward to treating yourself, or you’re searching for a gift idea for a friend – we’ve got your back.
Have you ever wondered whether a print book that costs $10 or $15 would make a worthy gift? Audiobooks are usually twice as expensive as print or Kindle editions – and sometimes even more.
You’ll spend between $20 and $40 on a bestselling or newly released audiobook. So, a single audiobook is more than enough to make a great gift which will be admired by the gift recipient.
You are probably asking yourself which audiobook format to choose. You can always buy a CD, if you consider it the best medium for your gift recipient. But you can also decide to buy a digital audiobook – the one that can be enjoyed in a dedicated audiobook app.
Most of the titles listed below are available on several audiobook platforms. We provide links to Amazon (where you can buy CD editions) or Audible (where you can get a digital format). Follow these tips on how to gift a single Audible audiobook.
You may have a hard time deciding which title will meet the giftee’s expectations. Remember, you can always gift an Audible membership, which, by the way, gives more benefits than just avoiding that awkward unboxing moment when you realize your gift has missed the point.
12 best audiobooks to add to your 2019 gift list
1. The Testaments
After Margaret Atwood announced a sequel to her iconic 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, many wondered if it could ever live up to the original.
But, as it turns out, The Testaments does its predecessor justice. Set fifteen years after, the story is driven and described by Aunt Lydia. The theocratic regime of Gilead is still in power, but there are signs it is starting to crumble from within.
What it’s like: A riveting sequel to a dystopian classic.
Length: 13 hours 18 minutes
2. Charlotte’s Web
E. B. White, narrated by Meryl Streep
A beloved novel about the beautiful (and very unlikely) friendship between a pig and a barn spider, Charlotte’s Web is a classic in children’s literature. It already has been adapted into an animated feature, a live-action film, and now it is to be voiced by one of the most brilliant actresses of our generation – Meryl Streep.
The Academy Award-winning actress will headline a new full-cast audiobook recording, joined by an ensemble of over 20 veteran audiobook narrators. It will also feature an original mixed-media collage and watercolor cover art by award-winning illustrator Melissa Sweet.
The Charlotte’s Web audiobook will be available to download on October 29 this year.
What it’s like: A sweet, tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death.
Length: 4 hours 2 minutes
Olga Tokarczuk, narrated by Julia Whelan
In the past two years, world literature has been conquered by the up-and-coming, one-of-a-kind Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Literary critics can’t stop swooning over her – she won the Man Booker International Prize, she became a finalist of the National Book Award for Translated Literature, and now, she was awarded the most prestigious title of all – the Nobel Prize laureate in Literature.
Flights, one of her best-known books, focuses on travel, migration, and man’s longing for permanence. Its incomparably original fragmentary structure (the novel is split into 116 shorter pieces), combined with an in-depth exploration of themes such as death and mobility, is a literary revelation.
What it’s like: An intellectually stimulating, complex, and unique read.
Length: 12 hours 32 minutes
4. Daisy Jones & the Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy is living the life any coming of age girl in the buzzing 1960s Los Angeles would – in between sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip and sleeping with rock stars, she dreams of fame, wealth and recognition, singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock’n’roll she loves most.
So when her voice starts getting noticed and her reckless personality starts charming more and more people, a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put her together with a band The Six.
There’s Daisy, a rock and roll spitfire, brilliant songwriter and an unapologetic drug addict. There’s Karen, the ice-cool keyboardist and a ferociously independent woman in a world that wasn’t ready for her. And then there’s Camila, the frontman’s wife, all too aware of the electric connection between her husband and Daisy.
What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
Presented as a series of interviews with a fictional band, this novel will make you double check if Daisy Jones & The Six really existed.
What it’s like: Intoxicating, fun, and incredibly well narrated.
Length: 9 hours 3 minutes
5. Me: Elton John Official Autobiography
Elton John, narrated by Elton John and Taron Egerton
In this beautifully raw first official autobiography, Elton John unveils the details of his extraordinary life – all narrated with his trademark raw, British humor.
From trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool, to his friendships with Gianni Versace, John Lennon, and Freddie Mercury, this book shows a side of Elton John we’ve never seen before.
Me will make you laugh out loud, it will make you cry, and you won’t be able to put it down.
What it’s like: Elton John at his finest, personified into a brilliant audiobook.
Length: 11 hours 47 minutes
6. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
Ronan Farrow, narrated by Ronan Farrow
In this brilliantly meticulous work of investigative journalism, Ronan Farrow is determined to unveil the dark truths behind the world of wealth, connections, and abuse of power. No matter the consequences.
Catch and Kill shows the never-before-told story of an elaborate intrigue of intimidation meant to threaten journalists and silence the victims of abuse.
This half excellent spy thriller, half journalist tour de force, is guaranteed to leave you slack-jawed.
What it’s like: An eye-opening account of the lengths powerful individuals will go to cover up the truth.
Length: 10 hours 43 minutes
7. Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
Written by master (short-) storyteller Jason Reynolds, Look Both Ways follows the lives of ten students after the school bell rings.
Some are bullies, some are friends, some are first loves; their stories are woven with fears, hopes, and anxieties, and filled with ups and downs.
For young people and about young people, this beautiful book is perfect for middle-grade readers.
What it’s like: An incredibly well-written short story that will capture the hearts of children and adults alike.
Length: 3 hours 58 minutes
8. Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir
Ruth Reichl, narrated by Ruth Reichl
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?
This delightful read follows the story of a former Berkeley hippie cautiously entering the corporate world, worried about losing her soul. It is a deeply personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams.
Warm, intimate and captivating, Save Me the Plums is the literary equivalent of well-made comfort food.
What it’s like: Delicious, nutritious, and (very) juicy – a true delight for foodies.
Length: 7 hours 55 minutes
9. Inside Out: A Memoir
Demi Moore, narrated by Demi Moore
Get a deeply personal, raw inside look into the life of one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood in this brilliant memoir audiobook written and narrated by Demi Moore herself.
In this deeply personal and reflective account of her rise to stardom, Demi reveals a much different, more sensitive side, as a woman who struggles to calm the tumultuous relationship with her mother and balance fame and family. Follow her life as she rises to fame, as she relives her doubts and insecurities, as she battles addiction, and as she continues to heal from her past.
What it’s like: An incredibly raw and personal memoir of the great Demi Moore.
Length: 6 hours 31 minutes
10. Agent Running in the Field
John le Carré
At the dawn of his 47 birthday, badminton-loving Nat believes the days as an agent runner for MI6 are long gone. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him.
This chilling page-turner has it all – dirty trade deals, deceitful politicians, and a lovable middle-aged main character.
What it’s like: A gripping tale of espionage in the age of Brexit.
Length: 9 hours 33 minutes
Michelle Obama, narrated by Michelle Obama
A remarkable story of a remarkable woman, this memoir prides itself exactly on what its author, former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, personifies – warmth, wit and, above all, a great deal of wisdom.
Written in a readable, intimate, and honest way, Becoming is a deeply personal account of a woman who defied expectations time and time again.
One thing’s for sure – this book will leave you motivated and inspired to make some big changes to your life. Who knows, maybe it’ll help you become First Lady of the US too.
What it’s like: An honest, warm, and incredibly well-written biography of one of the greatest role models of our time.
Length: 19 hours 3 minutes
12. The Body: A Guide for Occupants
From the bestselling, prize-winning author and master humorist Bill Bryson comes yet another brilliant book that makes science not just understandable, but fun as well.
This time, Bryson puts the curious oddities of the human body under the microscope, revealing amusing facts, debunking myths, but most importantly – making you look at your own body a different way, all with his trademark sense of humor and a natural storytelling gift.
Did you know that passionate kissing alone transfers about 0.7mg of protein, 0.45mg of salt, and 0.7mg of fat from one mouth to another?
Or that a teenager’s brain is only about 80% developed, and all the synapses aren’t fully wired until a person is in their mid to late twenties?
This book will leave you saying “I didn’t know that” after every page.
What it’s like: An insanely witty, quirky, and entertaining science lesson about our own bodies.
Length: 14 hours 4 minutes
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