By Emma Volk, OffTheShelf.com
I grew up surrounded by books—and even more memorably, by the sound of books. I did my math homework while playing Harry Potter audiobooks, fell asleep to the sound of my mother reading aloud, and listened to countless mystery novels on tape during family road trips. To this day, I’m hard-pressed to think of an experience as simple yet as satisfying as listening to a beautiful story read aloud. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but judging by the immersive experience these eleven audiobooks give us, a sound can be worth a whole lot more.
What I Know For Sure
By Oprah Winfrey
When Oprah speaks, you listen. Her uniquely soothing voice will make you want to soak up all of her story’s power and wisdom in one sitting, and since the audiobook clocks in at just under four hours, you’re likely to do just that.
Narrated by Oprah Winfrey
All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr
The lives of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy become intertwined amidst the devastation of World War II in this stunningly intricate exploration of heartbreak, morality, and survival. Through simple yet tender narration, the audiobook highlights the profound humanity of the story.
Narrated by Zach Appelman
By Stephen King
When a murderous reader takes his obsession with a reclusive author too far, a trio of unlikely heroes must work together to rescue his newest targets. Stephen King’s mastery of suspense is on full display thanks to the vocal talents of beloved narrator Will Patton.
Narrated by Will Patton
By Lisa Genova
At once beautiful and terrifying, this extraordinary debut is a vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The audiobook is made even more moving by the fact that the author herself narrates, lending an intimate note of compassion to the tale.
Narrated by Lisa Genova
The Children’s Crusade
By Ann Packer
This dazzling book charts the secrets and desires of a California family over the course of five decades. One by one, the family’s children take turns telling the story—and in the audiobook adaptation, so do the narrators, drawing you ever deeper into the life of the novel.
Narrated by Cotter Smith, Frederick Weller, Thomas Sadoski, Marin Ireland, Santino Fontana
We Are Not Ourselves
by Matthew Thomas
In this sweeping family saga, an Irish-American family chases the American Dream even as tragedy threatens to undermine the life they have worked so hard to achieve. Oscar-nominated actress Mare Winningham’s melodic narration captures the powerful love at the novel’s core.
Narrated by Mare Winningham