20 Short Audiobooks You Can Enjoy in Under 6 Hours

Not every book you read or listen to has to be epically long. There are plenty of short audiobooks out there you can listen to when you only have a snippet of time to work with and want to finish one quickly. Whether you are looking for fiction, memoirs, or essays, there’s an audiobook under six hours waiting for you to enjoy.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Read by the author, this award-winning book is a letter to Coates’ son about living in a black body in a world plagued by intolerance and a country built on racism. Coates is a master essayist who adds his own personal experiences to help readers understand how history shaped the country that was supposed to be created around freedom. 

Duration: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

A cast of narrators, including Woodson, brings to life the story of Iris and the generation that came before and after her. When Iris becomes pregnant at a young age, she doesn’t want to give up her dreams of college and an untethered life. In this short novel, Woodson explores race, gender identity, and the impact of major world events on the lives of individuals. It’s a beautiful read with depth.

 Duration: 3 hours and 52 minutes

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

This memoir is full of trigger warnings, so know that going in. Mailhot writes her way through a mental health crisis and bipolar diagnosis, and that means facing the abuse from her past. She shares her experiences as an Indigenous woman navigating grief and the complications of past trauma affecting her current life. 

Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes

Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley

Stanley narrates this delightful collection of essays that uses yoga as a way to question our approach to everyday life. However, you don’t need to be a yoga addict to appreciate Stanley’s honesty when confronting the difficulty of loving ourselves and calling out the hypocrisies we live within daily. 

Duration: 4 hours and 29 minutes

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Brene Brown narrates this story with the warmth and grace that she’s known for in all her work. Brown offers her 10 guideposts for living with your whole heart daily. She reminds each reader that their story matters and is worthy of exploration. The wisdom Brown offers will have a far-reaching effect on your life and everyone you interact with on your journey.

Duration: 4 hours and 31 minutes

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

Sankofa brings death to everything she touches, a power she didn’t ask for and must carry with her. With a fox as her companion, she sets out on a journey to find answers and try to figure out what happened the day her life changed completely. Whether or not you consider yourself a sci-fi fan, Okorafor will draw you in with this story of what it means to be a woman who carries death in her body.

Duration: 4 hours and 7 minutes

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

When Lucy Barton ends up in the hospital after a simple surgery causes complications, her mother comes to visit from her small town in Illinois. Their conversations unwind over a period of days, and the complexity of family dynamics shows itself through gossip, old stories, and what both women choose to ignore. This is the first book in the Amgash series, and it begs to be read more than once.

Duration: 4 hours and 11 minutes

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

You don’t have to be an aspiring writer or artist to appreciate the advice Elizabeth Gilbert offers to anyone looking for the magic within themselves. Gilbert narrates this book of wisdom that helps anyone who wants to be creative in any area of life. She embraces the wisdom of realistic goals and encourages letting go of the idea that we must suffer to live creative lives.

 Duration: 5 hours and 6 minutes

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid is known for his experimental writing that is relevant and honest. After 9/11, Changez’s life in Manhattan is upended. An immigrant from Pakistan, he is in a stable relationship with a solid education to back him when the Twin Towers come down and the landscape of America changes in harsh ways. Told as a conversation between Changez and an American, this story unfolds with intensity to the end.

 Duration: 4 hours and 15 minutes

Passing by Nella Larsen

Two biracial friends grow up passing as white. When they reunite later in life, the story picks up on how their choices to pass have impacted them. Larson’s book was published in the 1920s but is still relevant in our racially divided world.

 Duration: 4 hours and 5 minutes

Sula by Toni Morrison

Two best friends go through life on each other’s side until becoming enemies after a betrayal. Written with Morrison’s signature voice, Sula is a beautiful novel brimming with tension and life. Though this audiobook nears the six-hour mark, it is worth the time and moves quickly.

 Duration: 5 hours and 46 minutes

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s ability to write creepy fiction that pulls back the veil on what we consider normal and acceptable within society is her trademark. In this short novel, she explores loneliness and isolation by introducing the three survivors of the Blackwood family. Four members of their family were poisoned six years ago, and a cloud hangs over their home and leaves them sequestered from the rest of the town. Secrets about the family members’ deaths are uncovered when a visitor comes and threatens the Blackwood’s place in the home.

 Duration: 5 hours and 32 minutes

Solo by Kwame Alexander

The author narrates his own story of music, love, and loss. Blade is the child of a formerly famous musician who has an addiction problem that impacts Blade’s life. When his girlfriend is no longer a part of his life, Blade struggles to understand his family and the loss he’s experienced. Though heavy, Solo is ultimately a book full of hope and discovery.

 Duration: 4 hours and 2 minutes

Sisters by Lily Tuck

When the ghost of her husband’s first marriage haunts her, our unnamed narrator becomes obsessed with learning everything she can about the first wife. Secrets emerge, and this twisty tale crashes to an ending that few readers expect.

Duration: 1 hour and 28 minutes

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Julia Whelan narrates this bite-size story of terror from the author of Gone Girl. An unnamed narrator scams people with her psychic abilities, but she gets more than she planned when Susan Burke takes her to her home to help deal with the unsettling presence in the house. Not sure who or what to trust, the narrator must figure out what is happening and if there is an escape.

Duration: 1 hour and 17 minutes

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When boyfriend number three is killed, Korede comes to the rescue again, ensuring her sister, Ayoola, isn’t blamed for the murder. When Korede falls for a coworker, Ayoola’s interest in him will test their bonds of sisterhood as Korede has to decide how far to go for her sibling. This is a witty book about murder and sisterhood that will keep you guessing.

Duration: 4 hours and 15 minutes

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Yeong-hye decides to stop eating meat, and this decision impacts her and those around her profoundly. As she struggles to make her own decisions, those around her attempt to control her decisions and their outcomes This South Korean novel unfolds in three parts, and the different perspectives give this affecting novel an even more emotional pull.

Duration: 5 hours and 13 minutes

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

It’s hard enough to navigate life entering your 30s without adding the pressure of caring for an ailing parent. However, 30-year-old Ruth must do just that when her father starts losing his memory. Her return home leads her to see the changes in both of her parents and to deal with the tangle of love and loss that comes with family.

Duration: 4 hours and 59 minutes

Weather by Jenny Offill

Lizzie is an accidental librarian who answers letters from a doomsday podcast where listeners write in concerned about climate change and the world at large. She also takes care of her extended family’s problems as those arise, but her mental health starts to buckle under the pressure. Even her home life with her immediate family struggles as her optimism fades. This book is both beautiful and unsettling. 

Duration: 3 hours and 46 minutes

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Follow Santiago, a shepherd boy, who travels from Spain to Egypt in search of a dream. The characters he meets along the way enhance the story further, and this is a short dose of hope about taking a journey to follow the dream within your heart.

Duration: 4 hours

What’s your favorite short audiobook? Let me know in the comments below!

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