Can you believe it’s already December? Time sure flies when you’re lost in the world of great stories. Today, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible audiobooks that have graced our ears this year.
We’ve handpicked a selection of the best audiobooks 2023 with the help of Libro.fm and their community of independent bookstores. Not familiar with Libro.fm? It’s actually one of my favorite audiobook services because, among other things, it splits its profits with independent bookstores (read my Libro.fm review).
From swashbuckling adventures on the high seas to raw and unflinching memoirs to heartwarming tales that tug at your heartstrings, these audiobooks have made a lasting impression. So, grab your headphones, find a comfortable spot, and allow yourself to be transported to worlds both real and imagined as we dive into these top listens of 2023.
- Happy Place by Emily Henry
- The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
- Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
- I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
- The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
- Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
- No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister
- Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
- Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
- Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
- The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon
- Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
- The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers
- All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby
- Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
- The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
- None of This is True by Lisa Jewell
Happy Place by Emily Henry
Read by Julia Whelan.
“Another great beach read from Emily Henry! I found myself unable to stop listening to this book. Henry just knows how to write a love story that makes you go noooo then yeeees then whaaaat then yeeees! The story of Wyn and Harriet will make your heart throb. And Harriet’s journey to find herself and keep her friends will prove that self-love is worth fighting for.” – Rae, Titcomb’s Bookshop
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Read by the author.
“A sweeping, enthralling and passionate multi-generational saga that’s difficult to put down (or stop listening to), this is a brilliant story of land, family and unforgettable characters in South India.” – Anne, Newtonville Books
Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Read by the author.
“I deeply relished every drop of the tea spilt in this memoir. I would recommend it on that alone. However, I was most impressed with Prince Harry’s clear passion for the things and the people he cares about. In his narration of the audiobook you can feel how much he loves his family, how proud he is of his time in the military, and how much he wants certain things (and certain people) to be different. This memoir is not just about a prince. It’s about a person coming into his own and finding the confidence to stand his ground and confront those he once assumed would always have his best interests at heart. I was riveted from beginning to end.” – Jenni, Mysterious Galaxy Books
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
Read by Julia Whelan & JD Jackson.
“A scorching, compelling read, this is a calling out of violence against women: how it’s reported, poorly prosecuted, lightly punished, sensationalized, ignored, held against us, and so deeply ingrained in our culture. A New England prep school is the perfect setting for this collision of podcasts, old secrets hidden deep, racism, sexism, growing pains, and the lenses we have, shed, and change as we grow. Julia Whelan’s narration is, as always, phenomenal. I could not stop listening – this is a 10/10 for me.” – Ashleigh, Wellesley Books
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
Read by Lameece Issaq & Amin El Gamal.
“Conjuring the magic of The Arabian Nights, you can imagine yourself sitting around a campfire on a cool desert evening as Amina al-Sirafi tells of her adventures. And I hope you aren’t sensitive because she is brash, brazen, and foul mouthed! A truly singular and compelling voice, Amina reminded me of all the heroic tales I grew up reading. This is a must listen for anyone who fancies themselves a pirate, swashbuckler, magic hunter, and mother.” – Kristine, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Read by Eunice Wong.
“This book is a cozy mystery about the soul-healing power of found family. What hooked me was Vera’s indomitable personality – and her cooking. The descriptions of meals had my mouth watering. Jesse Sutanto weaves humor and lightness into a story about loneliness and finding yourself again after years of manipulation. With such likeable characters, I forgot I was reading a murder mystery!” – Courtney, Greene Books
No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister
Read by a Full Cast.
“A remarkable novel that appeals directly to our relationships with our books. Each chapter describes a different person’s encounter with the same fictional novel – from the original author to slush pile reader to student reading for class – and explores how no one reads the same book or gets the same experience out of a book. Some characters’ lives intersect with other characters in later chapters; others seem tied together only by the words on the page. Absolute catnip for readers.” – Ginger, Quail Ridge Books
Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
Read by Rebecca Soler & Teddy Hamilton.
“I have never in my life been on such an extraordinary roller coaster of emotions as I have with this book. I have never smiled this much, cried so hard, or felt my heart beat so fast while reading. Dare I say? This is the best fantasy book I have ever read. It is deliciously dangerous, dark, and full of fire and blood, with strong and stubborn characters who fight daily to survive the dangers, deceptions, and enemies at the Basgiath War College. Oh! And dragons. Lots of dragons. WOW!!! I wait with bated breath until the next book is released. This book consumed my every thought. I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading.” – Anna Rose, The Well-Read Moose
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
Read by Marin Ireland.
“Funny and full of heart, this book follows three women in an affluent Brooklyn Heights family. While the Stocktons have extreme privilege, author Jenny Jackson has somehow made them relatable, and I found myself rooting for their happiness. Against the backdrop of an opulent home, the novel poses important questions about how wealth shapes a person, the responsibilities that should come with it, what belonging means, and the love of family, despite everything.” – Courtney, Greene Books
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Read by Maura Tierney.
“As a bookseller, it’s common to read through books at a breakneck pace; always on to the next tale, the next genre, the next page-turner. When you come a cross a book so achingly beautiful as Hello Beautiful…time slows. Or, you wish it would. I wanted to spend YEARS within this story. I adored the complexity AND simplicity of the sisters’ relationships with each other. Reading Hello Beautiful was like spending time with the friend who ‘knew me when…’ and the sister who knew me always. This book is the very definition of a GEM.” – Kathy, The Well-Read Moose
The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon
Read by a Full Cast.
“It was pretty tempting to write a to-the-point, one-word review for this novel. That word would start with a capital F, end in a ‘ck’ and have a whole lot of U’s in the middle. But you’re a reader, and I have a degree in English, so I’ll try to elaborate. I have read a lot of thrillers and mysteries in my life, but I have never read one that made my pulse rise to the point where it probably counted as exercise. You could probably actually track the entire novel on my fitness watch – stress, pulse, blood pressure – whatever the heck else it measures. It did this not just through cliff hangers and plot twists, but by making me care deeply about the characters – namely, the women who get to narrate this book – and never the brutal man who controls their orbits. The narrative structure of this book is a large part of what makes it so brilliant, like a Greek tragedy told only through the voices of its female chorus. Michallon has written a gorgeous, haunting, and at times terrifying novel, one that I would recommend not just for thriller fans but for literary readers as well.” – Rachel, The Book Table
Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Read by Shayna Small, Aaron Goodson, Michael Crouch & Lee Osorio.
“This book rocked me to my core. Adjei-Brenyah’s writing is soul-shifting. He gives us a devastatingly unvarnished look at the US carceral system and a warning for what may to be come. The deep, multidimensional characters evoke empathy, empowerment, and sometimes disgust. I have never read a more evocative work of fiction. The audiobook is worth it for Singer’s voice alone, but the entire cast is stunning. ” – Grace, The Novel Neighbor
The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers
Read by Ethan Hawke.
“You will have a hard time finding a more joyous listening experience this summer than indulging in Ethan Hawke’s inspired performance of Dave Egger’s touching new novel, The Eyes and the Impossible. Told from the point of view of a wild dog in an urban park, this story of friendship is truly a story that readers and listeners of all ages will delight in.” – Robert, Third Place Books
All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby
Read by Adam Lazarre-White
“S.A. Cosby has given us an early favorite for the best crime fiction novel of the year with All the Sinners Bleed. We are big fans of his two previous books (Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears), and Cosby knocks it out of the park as he writes from the perspective of a town’s first black sheriff and his descent into the mid of a serial killer. It’s riveting while also exploring major issues like race, policing, and religion.” – Jason, Reads & Company
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
Read by Meryl Streep
“Remember the scene in Mama Mia where Meryl Streep is brushing Amanda Seyfried’s hair as they get her ready for her wedding day? Nostalgic music plays in the background as they look through old photos and reminisce together. Watching it you feel cozy and warm and loved. Well that is EXACTLY how reading Tom Lake made me feel. Ann Patchett did a beautiful job of creating a story where you are entranced by the events of the past and engaged with the relationships of the present. In a world and time of stories filled with regrets and missed opportunities it was refreshing to read a novel where the heroine recognizes her life isn’t what she thought it would be, but is so grateful it turned out the way it did. Perfect for mothers, daughters, and everyone else.” – Michelle, Quail Ridge Books
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
Read by Dominic Hoffman
“This novel is so wonderful – with characters that imprint in one’s mind and heart. McBride does a good job with (sadly) all the issues of the livelong day – racism, poverty, white supremacy, etc. BUT with such grace and creativity one cannot step away from his story. He’s top notch in my book and has been for quite a long time. Don’t miss this!” – Sheryl, Copperfield Books
None of This is True by Lisa Jewell
Read by Nicola Walker & Louise Brealey with a Full Cast
“I love a good psychological thriller, but I’m not as keen on unreliable narrators, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, it lays it all out there in the title: none of this is true. So, although I thought I had it all figured out pretty early on, this book really kept me guessing – and second-guessing myself! The title instilled enough doubt in everything going on that I wasn’t sure which characters to trust, whose side of the story was true, and who was manipulating whom. I was dying to find out what really happened, and at the same time, I felt as if I was watching a horror movie while peeking through my fingers. I think Lisa Jewell does a great job with the dark subject matter to create a suspenseful story that you can’t help but get swept up into.” – Mica, The Snail on the Wall
What are your picks for the best audiobooks of 2023? Let me know in the comments section below!
PS – if you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our guide to The Best Audiobooks of All Time.