Great Audio Books for First Listens | Audible Editor Recommended Great Audio Books
Great First Listens
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Not sure what to use your first credit on? Begin your Audible journey with these can't-miss listens. Ready to recommend your favorite audiobooks? Click 'Submit Your Story'.
  • I, Claudius

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Robert Graves
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger

    Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.

    Chris says: "Unsurpassed, addictive brilliance"
    Dive Into the World of Roman Emperors
    Reviewer: Teresa, AudibleListener
    I already knew and loved this book. When I bought the audio I didn't realize that it would become one of my favorites to listen to. The story of Claudius and his rise to power is so well read by the narrator that it is easy to get sucked into the story. I find myself just starting at any spot in the book to enjoy a few "pages" whenever I have time. A great book, and great narrator — almost the perfect audiobook.
  • Into Thin Air

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Jon Krakauer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Into the Wild. Read by the author. Also, hear a Fresh Air interview with Krakauer conducted shortly after his ordeal.

    David says: "Being There"
    Awesome Reality
    Reviewer: ziggycat, AudibleListener
    This book really turned my interest from novels to nonfiction. Life is sometimes more interesting than fiction. This book is proof positive. Jon Krakauer is one of the best writers I've ever read. I have since read every book he has ever written and continue to seek biographies and histories to listen to.
  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Diane Setterfield
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    All children mythologize their birth... So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's beloved collection of stories, long famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale. The enigmatic Winter has always kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she summons a biographer to tell the truth about her extraordinary life: Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth remains an ever-present pain.

    PA Law says: "Haunting and beautiful tale"
    A Most Haunting Ghost Tale
    Reviewer: Julie, AudibleListener
    This story is among my top 10 favorites to listen along with. I loved both narrators, they conveyed the characters so well that I almost believed they were real. I have listened to this book over and over again. I love the timelessness. It has a Victorian feel to it and it is positively addictive. I have continued to listen long after my chores are finished, I just get mesmerized by the "voices" of the characters. A truly excellent ghost story!
  • Hot Money

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Dick Francis
    • Narrated By Tony Britton

    Malcolm Pembroke never expected to make a million pounds without making enemies. Nor did he expect his latest wife to be brutally murdered. All the clues suggest the killer comes from close to home, but after five marriages and nine children, that still leaves the field wide open. When he find his own life in danger, Pembroke entrusts his safety to his estranged son, Ian, an amateur jockey; and through him discovers a compulsive new outlet for his financial expertise.

    Mary A. says: "Another Dick Francis Great!"
    A HOT First Read!
    Reviewer: Scott Carlisle, AudibleListener
    I am a blind AudibleListener and I now have several hundred books in my listening library. But, this book, Hot Money by Dick Francis, is one that I keep going back to re-read on a regular basis. What an author and what a great book to read to introduce you to his work!
  • The Power of One

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower

    Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.

    Bob says: "Compelling story lifted higher by the narration"
    Enthralling, Uplifting
    Reviewer: nkemp, AudibleListener
    My husband and sister-in-law told me about this wonderful book. They read it years ago. I never liked my husband's choice of books (mostly fantasy and sci-fi) so I ignored them. I was wrong! What a grand story for male or female listeners. Bower is extraordinary. So many voices and accents. I wish I could hear it again for the first time. Now I'm trying to get everyone I know to read it. LISTEN TO THIS BOOK!
  • A Dirty Job

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Fisher Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    People start dropping dead around Charlie, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death.

    Janie says: "Great Listen!"
    Listen, and then listen again!
    Reviewer: jands, AudibleListener
    My husband and I repeatedly turn to this terrific audiobook for long drives. The first time we listened to it, we spent several 'driveway moments', sitting in the cold car, waiting for a good moment to pause, so that we could dash inside and hook up the iPod to the speakers and find out what happens next. And then we listened again when we were snowed in over Christmas time. And sometimes we put it on just to have in the background while we are reading the paper. We'll throw things at each other when our favorite parts come up, and repeat them aloud with the narrator. Since this book, we are hooked on audiobooks altogether. Any time we are traveling, we make sure to load up the 'pod' with some good stories to take along. I have been working 1,000 miles from home for six months. Listening together, even so far apart, even for the 10th time, makes the distance bearable.
  • The Ruby in the Smoke: Sally Lockhart Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser

    In search of clues to the mystery of her father's death, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart ventures into the shadowy underworld of Victorian London. Pursued by villains at every turn, the intrepid Sally finally uncovers two dark mysteries, and realizes that she herself is the key to both.

    Bonita says: "A Must Read For All Ages"
    A New Detective Takes the Spotlight
    Reviewer: zreea, AudibleListener
    I am an avid fan of Sherlock, Marple, Poirot, and now, of Sally Lockheart. I originally got this because I had read one or two of Pullman's other works and I thought that it would provide a little entertainment for me and my friends before we went to the movies to meet our dates. Most of my friends had never really listened to audiobooks before, but I thought I would give it a try and see how it worked out. One hour later found first me, then my friends, calling off our engagements. We then lit a few candles and sat huddled together with our cups of hot chocolate while we lived Sally's adventure along with her. I must say that our dates were bewildered the next day when we told them what was so urgent...but, as I told mine, some things in life are just too good to miss. All in all, if you like mysteries and good storeis I believe this to be a good place to start. Happy Listening!
  • The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Diane Ackerman
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw - and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts.

    Joan says: "Very Disappointing, Terrible Narration"
    One of the Best Books I Have Heard
    Reviewer: pat, AudibleListener
    I don't know when I have enjoyed listening to any book as much as this one. I have loved nearly every book from Audible, but this one kept me awake in bed (listening) until three o'clock or longer because it was so good I couldn't bear leaving it just to sleep. It was one of the very best. It was well written and the narration was extremely good. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an absolutely great book.
  • Life of Pi

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Yann Martel
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon it's just Pi, the tiger, and the vast Pacific Ocean - for 227 days. Pi's fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they reach the coast of Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle.

    Theresa says: "Best audio of the year for me"
    Life-Changing Experience
    Reviewer: Hinzega, AudibleListener
    When I started this book, I had no idea it would literally change my life. I enjoyed the book so much, I couldn't take off the headphones. I was finding things that I could do while listening, just so I could keep "reading" while still feeling productive. I don't know if my house was ever cleaner prior to that day. Since then, I am constantly listening to something while working around the house. If I don't have any books to listen to, I usually don't get much cleaning or laundry done. Needless to say, my husband tends to make sure my audio library never runs dry!
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice

    In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.

    DCinMI says: "Review of First 5 Books"
    When Length and Quality Meet
    Reviewer: jcons, AudibleListener
    When I first joined Audible I equated length with value. I struck out to find a series of books that would keep me occupied, as well as entertained, for long periods of time. Seeing the many positive reader reviews, I picked up Game of Thrones, despite my suspicion about fantasy epics. Since then the series has become a regular part of my life. I firmly believe that this is the single greatest audio performance of all time. This enormously complex and textured book is made dynamic and alive through Dotrice's unparalleled rendering of the many characters (complete with different accents, voices, and mannerisms). Since I picked up this wonderful book, not only have I devoured the remaining volumes in the series, but I have made it my personal mission to turn as many friends on to this masterpiece as I can. So far, I have had no dissatisfied customers. Though I have gotten over my equation of length and quality, I can say with absolute certainty that this long listen is an investment you will not regret.
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We spent hours and hours debating which of our favorites would make the cut for this list of essential experiences.

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