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13 Audible audiobooks worth your time

Our editors give their recommendations of audiobooks you won't want to pause.

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This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's hard to find the time to sit down and settle in with a good book. But that's where Audible comes in. Known for its vast library of audiobooks, the Amazon-owned service has added podcasts, guided wellness content and Audible Originals in recent years. Normally $15 per month, Audible is currently running one of its best promotions to date: Get an Audible Premium Plus plan for $6 per month for the first three months, including one title per month you can keep. 

That's access to a Netflix-style "all you can eat" library of audio content, as well as one credit per month to redeem toward any audiobook in the catalog as a keeper. That's right -- once redeemed, the book is yours to listen to (and listen to again) even if you eventually cancel your membership, which you can do at any time. After that promo period, the service renews at its normal $15 monthly rate. Former subscribers to Audible don't qualify for this deal, which is good until Dec. 31.

But with a library this vast, where do you start? That's why CNET editors have come together and compiled this list of their favorite books available on Audible. So you can listen to some or all of these titles -- or whatever ones you wish to choose -- for just $18 over the next three months, and even keep three of them.  

Remember, you can cancel at any time, and whatever books you downloaded with a credit remain yours to listen to and enjoy even if your membership is no longer active. And while we've linked to the individual titles below, you need to click on the link above to get the discount

Without further ado, here's some of our favorite audiobooks that are worth your time -- from non-fiction and provocative social commentary to much more escapist fare.

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This book is gorgeously narrated from multiple perspectives. Little Disasters examines the complex nature of motherhood and the secrets that can lurk behind a carefully cultivated image. -- Shelby Brown

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Read by Peter Noble, this Booker Prize winner follows a white South African family as it grapples with race, poverty, politics and the legacy of Apartheid. -- Sarah Lord

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The author's latest book about a dream vacation sidetracked by the pandemic is narrated by Marin Ireland, a truly fantastic NYC-based theater and film actress. -- Sarah Lord

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Narrated by the author, this compelling memoir deals with racism, family violence and a weight-obsessed culture. It intensely and eloquently documents the struggle of a writer confronting tumultuous relationships, unequal education and the burden of America's anti-Black bigotry.  --  Laura Michelle Davis

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People Like Her is a gripping, suspenseful story told from multiple perspectives. The story puts a striking, unflinching light on technology, social media influencers and family. -- Shelby Brown

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Riley Sager's Home Before Dark is a chilling thriller in the vein of Amityville Horror. The story revolves around a young woman who returns to her childhood home and must confront the ghosts of her past. -- Shelby Brown

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A thoroughly researched investigation into the roots of Putin's rise to power in the post-Soviet era, and the extent to which he has consolidated and exercised that power in the years since. -- Rich Brown

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The only Audible-only part of the Star Wars: The High Republic book run is presented in the form of a radio drama, with a full cast acting out all the parts. It's a fantastic story about the life and history of Nihill boss Lorna Dee, and adds a ton of fun color to the universe being built in The High Republic. -- Russell Holly

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A chilling story of a group of theme park employees stranded at work during the storm of the century, and their fight for survival in the weeks that follow. This story works best as an audiobook because every chapter is told with a different voice, which matters a great deal when the story is presented in an interview format. -- Russell Holly

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If you loved The Martian, Project Hail Mary will be pure pleasure. The Earth's very existence is in peril, and we have one last shot to save it. Weir does his typical, incredible job of weaving science and humor into all the drama. I specifically recommend this as an audiobook, though, because there are integral parts of the story that I cannot fathom as text. If I say anything more, I'll ruin the fun. So tick a lock. --  Natalie Weinstein

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A narrator can make or break an audiobook. James Marsters, who has narrated all the Dresden Files books, is a master. He makes Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator, come to life. Battle Ground is Book 17 in this amazing series. But please start with Book 1! EW describes the series as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlowe." I can do no better. --  Natalie Weinstein

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It's narrated by Gollum himself, Andy Serkis. Yes, you get Gollum in all his phlegmy, gurgling glory. Even better, Serkis defty switches among all the characters and manages to make every one of them distinct, keeping you riveted -- even when you know what's coming next. --  Anne Dujmovic

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When a family emergency last Christmas led me on a 10-hour solo drive, I had Trevor Noah's voice to keep me company. The comedian and host of the Daily Show narrates his memoir about growing up in apartheid South Africa, where his even being born was illegal. He shares stories about being a multilingual, biracial kid, and learning to move in and out of various worlds yet fitting in nowhere. In his voice, these stories -- from heartrending to hilarious, but always engrossing -- become even richer. --  Anne Dujmovic

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