Great Audiobooks To Listen To In Lockdown

Is your brain struggling to focus on a book right now? Perhaps you’re working from home and have lost your precious commuting time to read, or have blasted through all your usual podcasts and you’re looking for something a little longer? Then audiobooks could be the perfect solution.

This selection of our favourite audiobooks will keep you entertained, whether you’re listening in your too quiet home office, settling down on the sofa, or if you just fancy a good old fashioned bedtime story. With great narration, and fresh recordings of old favourites, there’s never been a better time to start listening.

With thousands of fantasic audiobooks available, if you’ve always pretended to have read the classics but have never made it past page 30 – we’ve all been there at one time of another – then this could be your opportunity to make that fib a reality. Even Shakespeare, when read by Jim Belushi, suddenly feels less intimidating than a hardcover book of plays. The right narrator breathes life into the words, makes the characters 3D like and ensures the humour jumps off the page.

Of course, one of the great things about audiobooks is that if you put your headphones in, no one else knows what you’re listening to. So enjoy that guilty pleasure, revisit a childhood favourite, or try new author. The world of audiobooks is your oyster.

Buried, by Lynda La Plante

Our April HIF Book Of the Month, Buried is the gripping first book in a brand new thriller series. Exploring origins, nature vs nurture and how easy it can be to find yourself slipping to the wrong side of the law, all whilst telling a gripping new story, deftly interwoven with characters you may recognise.

DC Jack Warr and his girlfriend Maggie have just moved to London to start a new life together. Though charming, Jack can’t seem to find his place in the world – until he’s drawn into an investigation that turns his life upside down.

As the line of the law becomes blurred, how far will Jack go to find the answers – and what will it cost him?

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Travel to Barkley Cove, where rumors of the mysterious Marsh Girl are all that disturbs the quiet town – that is until Chase Andrews is found dead. Suspicions turn to Kya Clark of Marsh Girl fame, but she’s not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand

Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, this story reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us and how the experiences of our young selves have travelled with us throughout our lives.

If I Die Before I Wake, by Emily Koch

If I Die Before I Wake is a startlingly original crime fiction debut with an unforgettable narrator. The book remains singularly captivating from beginning to end.

Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend needs to move on, he can only listen. Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.

The story plays out to a mesmerising and powerful conclusion. This is an emotive and beautifully crafted novel that is guaranteed to stay with the listener.

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold, by Stephen Fry

Greek mythology can at times feel impossible to understand with all the gods, goddesses and nymphs, and countless stories of love, wrath and revenge. Stephen Fry has made it easily digestible by picking out key events, from the creation of the universe, to the gods meddling in human affairs.

Though your head may boggle at the complex family tree of the Greek gods, with Fry’s soothing tone you’ll learn about the legends that have inspired writers for thousands of years.

Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh

Winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2019 Thirteen turns the courtroom drama on it’s head as Steve Cavanagh makes a serious bid for the top spot in legal thrillers.

With this beautifully crafted and intricately woven tale, illustrating just how strong the power of manipulation can be, this audio book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

It’s the murder trial of the century. And Joshua Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house – and to be sure the wrong man goes down for the crime. Because this time, the killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury. But there’s someone on his tail. Former-conman-turned-criminal-defense-attorney Eddie Flynn doesn’t believe that his movie-star client killed two people. He suspects that the real killer is closer than they think – but who would guess just how close?

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

A story about racial profiling, privilege, and identity doesn’t sound like much fun, but trust us, the audio version will certainly have you gripped. As the book blurs the lines between hero and villain, and victim and tormenter, you’ll find yourself examining your own judgements.

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

Dark Pines, by Will Dean

Originally chosen for the 2018 New Blood With Val McDermid panel at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Will Dean‘s atmospheric crime thriller certainly marked him out as a talent to watch from the beginning.

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer.

Stylish, compelling and as chilling as a Swedish winter, Dark Pines brings fear to the phrase, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende

This epic tale of love triumphing over adversity follows two young refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War in a treacherous journey into a new life unknown. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires and become unlikely partners.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of Allende’s heartstring-tugging novels or coming to her for the first time, this is a beautiful escape into a someone else’s story.

Now You See Them, by Elly Griffiths

A labyrinthine plot and a vintage murder mystery full of likeable characters with all the skill and warmth we’ve come to recognise in an Elly Griffiths novel. A new world is dawning in Brighton, but the city’s dark side is as dangerous as ever

Brighton, 1963. A schoolgirl is missing, it looks as if she’s run away; but there are disturbing similarities to the disappearances of a young local nurse and a tearaway Modette. Three girls have left, but none have been seen or heard from since.

Of course, as with all Griffiths’ books the cast of characters is just as important as the mystery and we join Superintendent Edger Stephens; his wife and former sergeant, Emma Holmes; Edgar’s wartime partner in arms, magician and Hollywood superstar Max Mephisto; and his daughter Ruby a TV star.

Although this is book five in the Brighton Mystery series, the story has moved on to 1963 and so is perfect for returning and new fans alike.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women could be considered a snow globe of girlhood, a snapshot of time that has been shaken and retold, generation after generation, for over 150 years. Since 1917, it has been adapted for film no less than seven times, with the most recent retelling by Greta Gerwig drawing both new and existing fans alike back to the book.

This classic coming-of-age tale that follows the lives of four very different sisters, The March Girls, as they explore personal quests, societal restrictions, family ties, and the end of innocence against a backdrop of the American Civil War.

Sirens, by Joseph Knox

Joseph Knox‘s timeless writing alongside the atmospheric mood of the dark heart of Manchester makes this book read like a classic. With a cast of damaged characters who expertly step off the page, this is an exciting piece of dark urban noir.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again. When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends. Retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearance of a young woman just like her, he realizes Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time. How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

The next time you find yourself in need of a creative way to pass the time, or some time alone in a busy, loud house, break out one of these audiobooks.

The tales might all be very different, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all positively captivating, guaranteed to provide the comfort that only a good story can bring.

For storytime ideas for young children, or our book recommendations for teenagers visit our Family Resources in #HIFAtHome.