The Best Audiobooks of 2020 (So Far)

2020 has brought some exceptional new audiobooks, with a mix of bestselling authors and narrators at the top of their game! From thought-provoking memoirs to page-turning mysteries, 2020 has something to offer to every audiobook listener. Check out our list of the best audiobooks 2020 has to offer so far!

Dear Edward

Dear Edward

Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run time: 11h 36min

Why it’s worth a listen: Edward Adler, a 12-year-old boy, is the sole survivor of a plane crash that takes the lives of his family and 183 other passengers. Although the nation is enraptured with Edward’s story, he struggles to find a place in a new world without his family. A heartbreaking novel that will make you ponder life’s big questions, Dear Edward is not to be missed. Cassandra Campbell narrates the audiobook, and her excellent voice work keeps the many time shifts and characters in focus, creating a visceral and poignant listening experience. 

 

Big Lies in a Small Town

Big Lies in a Small Town

Narrator: Susan Bennett
Run time: 13h 19min

Why it’s worth a listen: In Big Lies in a Small Town, two stories unfold: In 1940, Anna was hired to paint a post office mural in a small Southern town rife with racism, and soon after, she went missing. In 2018, Morgan is hired to restore that very same mural and discovers clues to Anna’s disappearance within the layers of paint. Susan Bennett does an outstanding job of differentiating each character’s voice and capturing the perfect Southern drawl. 

 

The Splendid and the Vile

The Splendid and the Vile

Narrator: John Lee & Erik Larson
Run time: 17h 49min

Why it’s worth a listen: World War II buffs and fans of biographical fiction will appreciate Erik Larson’s latest novel about Winston Churchill during his years as the British prime minister. Erik Larson is known for his ability to make history feel cinematic and atmospheric, and he succeeds again with The Splendid and the Vile. Despite knowing the outcome of the war and of Churchill’s eventual triumphs, John Lee’s narration is propellant and suspenseful. Plus, Lee does a fantastic rendition of Churchill’s voice. 

The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel

Narrator: Dylan Moore
Run time: 10h 28min

Why it’s worth a listen: Two stories collide to create an exhilarating novel. A Ponzi scheme collapses, obliterating numerous fortunes. And years later, a woman mysteriously disappears off a container ship— and her disappearance end up being investigated by one of the scheme’s victims. Lyrical but full of unease, The Glass Hotel is literary fiction at its best and offers readers the opportunity to unpack numerous layers of meaning. The novel drifts almost hypnotically between stories, and the narrator, Dylan Moore, with deft shifts in accent, tone, and cadence, keeps readers grounded in this exceptional novel.

Untamed

Untamed

Narrator: Glennon Doyle
Run time: 8h 22min

Why it’s worth a listen: Both a memoir and feminist rallying cry, Untamed is told with incredible insight and humor by activist and author Glennon Doyle. The author narrates the audiobook version of this Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and pivots between emotional poignancy and hope, empowering women to shed societal expectations and tune into their best selves. 

 

The City We Became

The City We Became

Narrator: Robin Miles
Run time: 16h 12min

Why it’s worth a listen: New York City is gaining sentience in the form of six human avatars that represent the city’s boroughs — but all is not well. An ancient enemy threatens these avatars and the soul of New York. Adept at communicating the gamut of emotions and at creating distinct voices for all the novel’s players, Robin Miles delivers an enthusiastic and daring performance and does a more than credible job turning this fantasy novel into an impressive listening experience.

A Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Run time: 9h 47min

Why it’s worth a listen: Spanning decades and crossing continents, A Long Petal of the Sea follows Roser, a pregnant young widow, and Victor, the brother of her lost husband, as they flee the 1930 Spanish Civil War. To survive, they marry out of convenience and escape to Chile. At its core, the novel contemplates notions of belonging, and Edoardo Ballerini’s sensitive and emotionally insightful narration makes for an affecting audiobook.

 

My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa

Narrator: Grace Gummer
Run time: 15h 36min

Why it’s worth a listen: Fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes embroiled in an affair with her charismatic teacher Jacob Strane. Seven years later, amid the wave of allegations against men in power, Vanessa is contacted by a student accusing Strane of sexual abuse. Will Vanessa reject the man she considers her first love and still has a presence in her life? Is the nature of their relationship different from what she perceived at the time? Juxtaposing memory and trauma, My Dark Vanessa is a brutal and truthful novel about harm, power, and sexual assault. Grace Gummer’s nuanced narration skillfully walks listeners through Vanessa’s difficult journey of reflection.

 

More Myself

More Myself

Narrator: Collected Narrators
Run time: 9h 56min

Why it’s worth a listen: More Myself is part autobiography and part narrative documentary. Grammy Award–winning music icon Alicia Keys shares her rise to superstardom, including a candid exploration of personal struggles she’s faced. Interspersed are anecdotes from family and friends who accompanied her on the journey. Keys is the primary narrator of More Myself, adding authenticity to the audiobook, which is only heightened by guest appearances of friends like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Jay-Z!

Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road

Narrator: Sean Pratt
Run time: 13h 8min

Why it’s worth a listen: Narrative nonfiction fans, especially those interested in psychology and medicine, will be riveted by Hidden Valley Road. An Oprah Book Club pick, the novel is the story of the Galvin family and their 12 children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The Galvins were one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute for Mental Health and have informed decades of research. Voice actor Sean Pratt delivers sensitive yet straightforward narration that provides a compelling listening experience.

The Book of Lost Friends

The Book of Lost Friends

Narrator: Collected Narrators
Run time: 15h 6min

Why it’s worth a listen: Three women who survived the Civil War search for family in the aftermath. In the present day, a teacher learns of these women’s stories and makes the vital connection to the students she now teaches. A story about families both lost and found, Wingate’s novel is historical fiction at its best. The audiobook narration is sweeping — carrying listeners into an unforgettable tale of love.