Listen to famous actors bring these stories to life.
If you’re hitting the road for a late-summer road trip or looking for something to listen to while you relax on the beach, an audiobook is the way to go. Not only is having someone read to you incredibly relaxing, but with the right narration, the stories you listen to will practically come alive.
Scroll down to see a selection of great books narrated by actors we love. Some of the selections are classic novels told in a new way, and others are recently-released memoirs written by the actors that narrate them.
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All of the books below are available to download through Amazon’s Audible service on their own or, if you’re not already an Audible subscriber (between $14.95 and $22.95 a month, depending on the number of books you want to receive), you can sign up for a 30-day trial and get access to these selections for free. If you’re not interested in membership, you can also purchase each book individually through iTunes.
Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee. Read by Reese Witherspoon.
Only recently discovered in 2014, the To Kill A Mockingbird author Lee delivers yet another masterpiece. Lee’s well-known characters are back and learning to navigate 1950s America, both politically and personally. This version is expertly depicted by another familiar voice and avid reader: Reese Witherspoon.
To buy: $35; audible.com.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Read by Jake Gyllenhaal.
In this narration, Fitzgerald’s enduring classic, The Great Gatsby, feels fresh and new. Gyllenhaal’s performance as Nick Carraway not only does the character justice, but also helps to revamp the 1920s story for a modern audience.
To buy: $15; audible.com.
On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee. Read by B.D. Wong.
Embark on a quest in a dark, future America as the protagonist of Lee's dystopian novel searches for her lover across a corrupt, lawless state. In this riveting audiobook, both the author and actor Wong demonstrate their gift for storytelling and their rich imaginations.
To buy: $28; audible.com.
Emma, by Jane Austen. Read by Emma Thompson, Joanne Froggatt, and four additional cast members.
Thompson channels her inner Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen’s clever heroine, in Emma. Big names like Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt and The Windsors’ Morgana Robinson join Thompson to narrate this renowned comedy about matchmaking gone wrong.
To buy: $22; audible.com.
Available September 4.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Read by Rosamund Pike.
Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike offers a fresh, lively take on this timeless classic about love in the early 19th century. Pike’s stellar performance in the 2005 film rendition makes her that much more qualified to recount the romance, scandal, and melodrama that earned Austen her literary fame. Pike will also narrate an upcoming version of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which will be available on August 14 on Audible.
To buy: $25; audible.com.
Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery. Read by Rachel McAdams.
Anne of Green Gables tells the story of orphan Anne Shirley, who is sent to live with brother and sister pair Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on Canada’s Prince Edward Island. Although it’s considered a children’s book, we say that you’re never too old to join in on Anne’s highly imaginative adventures. McAdams brings this delightful book to life with her lively narration.
To buy: $25, audible.com.
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. Read by Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The Bell Jar, Plath’s only published novel, is a semi-autobiographical story of a girl consumed by mental illness. In this incredibly powerful reading, Maggie Gyllenhaal adds a new dimension to an already complex story.
To buy: $27, audible.com.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion. Read by Diane Keaton.
Joan Didion’s first published work of nonfiction, released in 1968, is considered by many to be a masterpiece. This collection of essays takes readers through San Francisco in the 1960s, and Didion’s memories of the counterculture during that time. In this 2012 audio version of the book, Keaton’s outstanding reading brings readers right into the era while preserving Didion’s signature style.
To buy: $18, audible.com.
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. Read by Claire Danes.
Thanks to the hit Hulu series, this 1985 novel has had a resurgence in popularity, landing it back on numerous bestseller lists in 2017. Atwood's famous dystopian novel explores topics of power and gender, and Danes’ intense performance brings the vivid story to life.
To buy: $25, audible.com.
Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Read by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, and 11 additional cast members.
There are a few different audiobook versions of this classic novel, but we recommend listening to this full-cast version, even if you’re already familiar with the story. Thirteen voices bring to life the various layers of the story often lost in audio, including journal entries, letters, and the dialogue. Big names like Alan Cumming and Tim Curry expertly bring drama and suspense to their roles.
To buy: $30, audible.com.