The origins of audiobooks can be traced back to 1932 when the American Foundation for the Blind first had books read and recorded, on the earliest LP’s (long playing records). It was a wonderfully innovative way to expand access to literature for people with vision loss at a time there were few other options. Over the ensuing 90 years, recordings moved from vinyl discs to tape recording to digital recordings, which are today consumed by the masses. In fact, audible content is booming, clearly evidenced by the millions of audiobooks and podcasts published annually. Newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, BuzzFeed and Vogue are also boosting their audiences with narrated articles. The growth of audio content is simply a matter of convenience and completely connected to the smartphone’s usually in hand.
There is a special sense of freedom in reading audiobooks because you can listen while commuting, working out, walking, running, or doing work around the house. By now, with the ever expanding audio content available in our mobile devices, we are better acclimated to listening. It is not unusual for book lovers with vision loss to need some time to adjust from seeing the words to hearing them. In good time the love for books is equally satisfied and the stress involved in reading is lifted away.
Now is the perfect time to get absorbed by a great audiobook, or two. There are plenty of lists online with best rankings and recommendations, a few are linked below. Audible is most known for audiobooks, but there are also plenty of others, including Apple Books, Google Play and Chirp Books… just to name a few.
Need help selecting a book? Here are some titles, shared on the best audiobooks lists from Wired, Esquire, Chirp and Audible, with a sneak peek at the top 5 on each list and a link to the rest.
20 Audiobooks You Should Listen to Right Now
1. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
2. Tremors in the Blood by Amit Katwala
3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
4. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
5. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry
The 30 Best Audiobooks of All Time
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
4. Night by Elie Wiesel
5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
31 of the Best Audiobooks of All Time
1. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
2. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
3. Educated by Tara Westover
4. How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith
5. The Anthropocene by John Green
The Best Selling Audiobooks Right Now
1. Finding Me by Viola Davis
2. Atomic Habits by James Clear
3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
4. Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens