1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The star of the Channel 4 TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, Elisabeth Moss, has narrated the audiobook edition of Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel. Recording in between filming Season 3 of the TV show in Toronto, sometimes in costume, Elisabeth was joined in the narration by a number of other actors from The Handmaid’s Tale, who gave voice to characters who appear in the Historical Notes. Listen to a preview of the audiobook.

 

2. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming is an intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. With the audio read by Michelle herself, that’s nearly twenty hours of wisdom, reflection and stories about her life. From growing up in Chicago, studying at Harvard Law, her relationship with Barack to motherhood and of course, becoming the first African-American First Lady of the United States, this deeply personal read is full of humour, honesty, hope and inspiration. 

 

3. Mythos by Stephen Fry

In Mythos, Stephen Fry turns his attention to the Greek myths of old; some of the most famous and long-lasting stories of humanity. Read by Fry, here he delves into those tales, retelling and re-evaluating the tragedies and comedies, loves and losses of the Greek gods and goddesses, told with his trademark wit and intelligence. Although part of a long tradition of retelling these stories, Fry still manages to bring something new and fresh to them, taking on Hercules, Theseus, Persephone, and Hermaphroditus among others.

 

4. The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

Michael Sheen’s spine-tingling narration of Philip Pullman’s return to Oxford and daemons is a treat for readers of all ages. A prequel to the original His Dark Materials trilogy, this book follows the events leading up to Lyra’s arrival at Jordan College from the perspective of 11-year-old Malcolm and his daemon Asta. Sheen will be back for the next instalment in the trilogy, The Secret Commonwealth, coming this autumn. Winner of the Audiobook of the Year at the Nibbies, this is a must-listen for fantasy fans. 

 

5. The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Known for the bestselling Alex Rider series, and taking on the mantle of not one but two iconic authors through writing official Sherlock Holmes and James Bond novels, Horowitz has turned his hand to his own series of mysteries. The first of these, The Word is Murder, begins with the death of a wealthy women just hours after she’s arranged her own funeral and a very private detective, and is read by Rory Kinnear, who also has a Fleming connection, having played Bill Tanner opposite Daniel Craig’s Bond. 

 

 

6. The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

Read by Benedict Cumberbatch, this is the winner of the 2018 National Book Award for best audiobook and the next book from Rovelli, author of the bestselling Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. This time Rovelli is tackling time; bringing together science, philosophy and art in his characteristically beautiful, wonder-filled way, to explore one of the biggest mysteries of all. Cumberbatch gives the book even more gravity and charm, covering everything from quantum theory and Einstein, to the concepts of nostalgia and longing. Listen to a preview of the audiobook.

 

7. A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre

Le Carre’s 2017 novel functions as both a sequel and a prequel to his 1963 novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, selected as one of Time’s Top 100 novels of all time. Featuring Peter Guillam, colleague of the iconic George Smiley, who has retired to a farm in Brittany – until a letter from the British Secret Service summons him back when his past in the Cold War rears its head. This adaption is read by actor Tom Hollander, who recently starred in the BBC adaption of another of Le Carre’s novels, The Night Manager

 

8. The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla

The Good Immigrant anthology began life via crowd-sourcing publisher Unbound, but became a cultural touchstone and helped frame a national conversation – it’s also spawned a US edition, a regular literary journal, and a literary agency. Edited by author Nikesh Shukla, the book brings together essays by 21 black, Asian and minority ethnic voices about immigration in the UK, and this audio version is read by the authors, who include poet Salena Godden, actor Riz Ahmed, and journalist Reni Eddo Lodge. 

 

9. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

In double Oscar-winner Hanks’ debut short story collection, he covers a Second World War veteran dealing with the aftermath of war, four friends trying to get to the moon via their backyard, and an unsuccessful actor who is suddenly shot to stardom. Read by Hanks himself, this collection of 17 stories – all linked by his love of old-fashioned typewriters – are smart and surprising, and full of the warmth and intelligence that has made Hanks beloved by watchers, and now readers. 

 

10. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Arguably best known for his heartbreaking runaway-successful children’s book, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Boyne is also critically acclaimed for his adult fiction. This unabridged audio version of Boyne’s 2017 novel is read by Irish actor Stephan Hogan, and follows Cyril Avery, adopted as a boy and on a journey to find his roots. Discovering that he was the child of an unmarried teenage girl who was cast out of her rural community in the 40s, and then taken under the wind of an eccentric couple in Dublin, Cyril finds himself adrift trying to find an identity and home of his own. 

 

11. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

It’s a phrase thrown around too regularly, but in many ways it feels as though Alderton is the voice of a generation of women, or at least a generous portion of that generation. In her debut book, which has swept up awards, sales and adoration and kicked off a nationwide tour, Alderton talks about growing up and love of all kinds, in her characteristically witty, warm, and smart style. Full of wisdom, kindness and very funny anecdotes, and all read by Alderton herself. 

 

12. Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz
Several authors have been given official sanction by the Ian Fleming estate to write James Bond novels, and Anthony Horowitz is the most recent, following on from names including William Boyd and Sebastian Faulks. Forever and a Day is a prequel to Fleming’s Casino Royale, and takes place immediately after Bond received his 00 status and is sent on his first mission to the south of France. A gritty, glamorous origin story brought stylishly to life by narrator, actor Matthew Goode. 

 

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