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The 16 Audible Books that CNET Staff Love to Read

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

CNET staff
James Bricknell Senior Editor
James has been writing about technology for years but has loved it since the early 90s. While his main areas of expertise are maker tools -- 3D printers, vinyl cutters, paper printers, and laser cutters -- he also loves to play board games and tabletop RPGs.
Expertise 3D printers, maker tools such as Cricut style vinyl cutters and laser cutters, and traditional paper printers Credentials
  • 6 years working professionally in the 3D printing space / 4 years testing consumer electronics for large websites.
James Bricknell
6 min read
Audible sale promotion with book covers on the front

While we can all agree that reading books is great, listening to them can often be better. You can easily listen to an audiobook while cooking, commuting or just lying in bed with your headphones on in the dark. 

Known for its vast library of audiobooks, Audible has added podcasts, guided wellness content and Audible Originals in recent years, making it the perfect place to get your audio content. 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 four 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 $24 over the next four months, and even keep four 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time, and whatever books you downloaded with a credit remain yours to listen to and enjoy even if your membership is no longer active.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 are some of our favorite audiobooks that are worth your time -- from nonfiction and provocative social commentary to much more escapist fare.

Before watching the movie, I had already fallen in love with The Martian. Originally read by R.C. Bray and now read by the ever-wonderful Wil Wheaton, the Martian feels custom-made to be an audiobook. Because it's mostly written in the first person, you really feel like you're listening to the mission logs of a man struggling to survive alone on a planet. I have both versions, though only Wheaton's version is currently available, and I urge you to get a copy. It's perfect commuting fodder. -- James Bricknell

Getting to Yes was not a book I would have tried to listen to on my own, but it was recommended to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea behind it is pretty simple: Negotiate arguments without feeling like you've given in. I was skeptical that it could help me, but it goes through tons of examples and I found new ways to get through tough discussions and make them more productive for everyone. I strongly recommend this to people who are facing issues with friends, coworkers and even family. -- Jared DiPane

I'm not sure I would've liked Amal El-Mohtar's and Max Gladstone's novel This Is How You Lose The Time War if I had not accidentally gotten it in audiobook form -- and I swear it's even more superb heard than read. The science fiction book tells the story of the titular time war from the perspective of two characters who, at first on opposite sides of a bloody conflict, become slowly intertwined.
This epistolary storytelling is made richer by Cynthia Farrell and Emily Woo Zeller voicing the novel's two agents who circle each other across battlefields in different times and spaces. They leave messages that taunt and frustrate the other in alternating accounts, but soon that turns to connection and more -- all voiced more compellingly by Farrell and Zeller than I could imagine, turning a sci-fi book with queer characters into a slow-burn audio drama. -- David Lumb

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

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

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

Amazon/Screenshot by CNET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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