Top 20 Trendsetters | Hear & Now | Audible.com
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Be it true crime, dystopian fiction, or food memoir, everyone has to gain inspiration from somewhere. There’s no Capitol for Katniss to rebel against if Big Brother never watched Winston Smith. If Anthony Bourdain never wrote Kitchen Confidential, the only way we’d know what it was like to be a chef would be our trusty cookbook. Our editors wanted to know which books catalyzed recent (and some not-so-recent) trends by exploring the books that influenced authors to write what would become the “next big thing.”

These are the books we feel ignited some big literary trends, both new and old, but know there are different opinions. Do we expect you to agree with us? Not entirely. Is it up for debate? Of course! Click here to tell us about your favorite Trendsetters and the books they inspired.

Enjoy!


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  • In Cold Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2025)
    Performance
    (843)
    Story
    (844)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s a story that most people know, told here in an unforgettable way – an audio masterpiece that rivals the best thrillers, thanks to Capote genre-defining words and Brick’s subtle but powerful characterizations. On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

    Lisa says: "Still the Best"
    This book truly defined the true crime genre and may have influenced another classic in Helter Skelter.
  • Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By John Grogan
    • Narrated By John Grogan
    Overall
    (1226)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (119)

    John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wriggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

    Reade says: "One of the worst"
    Marley and Me really kicked off the recent trend in dog books, with The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Dog Who Danced to follow.
  • 1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3425)
    Performance
    (2022)
    Story
    (2048)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Jay Stone says: "Enduring Classic"
    This Orwellian dystopia's Oceania feels an awful lot like Panem from recent hit The Hunger Games
  • The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Max Brooks
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (983)
    Performance
    (485)
    Story
    (492)

    The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

    Bev says: "I am now Zombie Proof"
    The tongue-in-cheek survival guide may have officially roused the hordes of books that followed, including Ex-Heroes and Flesh Eaters.
  • Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Julie Powell
    • Narrated By Julie Powell
    Overall
    (365)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (82)

    With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

    Elizabeth says: "A good laugh"
    The first blog-to-book we remember was followed by other digital denizens like Stuff White People Like and Sh-t My Dad Says.
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Dale Carnegie
    • Narrated By Andrew MacMillan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8745)
    Performance
    (3545)
    Story
    (3523)

    You can go after the job you want...and get it! You can take the job you have...and improve it! You can take any situation you're in...and make it work for you!

    Ralph says: "This is well worth listening too! Main points are."
    An absolute classic in the business/self-dev genre that opened the door for businesspeople everywhere, and whose spirit is felt in books like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The 4-Hour Workweek.
  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Anthony Bourdain
    • Narrated By Anthony Bourdain
    Overall
    (3254)
    Performance
    (1180)
    Story
    (1169)

    Last summer, The New Yorker published chef Anthony Bourdain's shocking, "Don't Eat Before Reading This." Now, the author uses the same "take-no-prisoners" attitude in his deliciously funny and shockingly delectable audiobook, sure to delight gourmands and philistines alike.

    Holly says: "Kitchen Confidential"
    Certainly not the first book about food, but the one we remember best for showing us what it's really like inside a kitchen. Influenced: Blood, Bones & Butter
  • Emotional Intelligence

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (875)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (303)

    Is IQ destiny? Not nearly as much as we think. This fascinating and persuasive program argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, ignoring a crucial range of abilities - emotional intelligence - that matter immensely in terms of how we do in life.

    Stephanie says: "Good info, hard to listen sometimes"
    Audible listeners particularly love books on the brain, and Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was one of the first to really stand out; Susan Cain’s Quiet and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit are two of our favorites of late.
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Helen Fielding
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (93)

    From its beginning as a weekly column in a British newspaper, Bridget Jones’s Diary quickly became a best-seller in England. After gaining international popularity, it also shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. A 30-something single professional, Bridget Jones prefers a diary to a day planner for tracking her life. Each entry is an honest and hilarious step in her endless quest for self-improvement.

    Jill says: "Fun, Fun, Fun"
    We couldn’t contain our excitement when we saw the unabridged edition of Bridget Jones’s Diary added to our store last week. The mother of chick lit, Helen Fielding gets the genre off to an unforgettable start, and the fun continues in Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic.
  • Bridget Jones's Diary

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Helen Fielding
    • Narrated By Tracie Bennett
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    A dazzling urban satire of modern human relations? An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family? Or the confused ramblings of a pissed 30-something?

    Raissa says: "v good book"
    We couldn’t contain our excitement when we saw the unabridged edition of Bridget Jones’s Diary added to our store last week. The mother of chick lit, Helen Fielding gets the genre off to an unforgettable start, and the fun continues in Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic.
  • Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3553)
    Performance
    (2563)
    Story
    (2564)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Noe says: "Outstanding story of post-apocalyse."
    While there are plenty that could fill this spot, this is one of the earliest and most popular examples of life on post-apocalyptic earth that inspired future classics like The Stand and Swan Song.
  • Postmortem: A Scarpetta Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Patricia Cornwell
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (776)
    Performance
    (627)
    Story
    (630)

    Four young women have been found murdered—tortured and strangled in their own beds—all victims of the same brilliant monster. Using a skilled hand and the latest technology in forensic medicine, Kay Scarpetta begins the process of gathering the microscopic clues the latest battered body has to give.

    Wayne says: "Serial killer vs Dr. Scarpetta"
    Patricia Cornwell's novel was there at the start of the wave of forensics stories that have dominated screen, page, and audio over the past 20 years. Influenced: Deja Dead
  • Salt: A World History

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (840)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (345)

    So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play...Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.

    Karen says: "More than SALT"
    World history is so much more manageable when framed within a single, inanimate object. Influenced: A History of the World in 6 Glasses
  • Interview with the Vampire

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Anne Rice
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (868)
    Performance
    (691)
    Story
    (697)

    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force - a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write. From the Paperback edition.

    James says: "Compelling, Simon Vance does it again!"
    We know vampires have existed for centuries, but Anne Rice romanticized them and inspired future human/vampire love stories like Twilight and Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4121)
    Performance
    (1817)
    Story
    (1818)

    In The Tipping Point, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in society happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.

    David says: "Makes sense to me."
    Who knew science could be fun? Or so quotable at cocktail parties? Malcolm Gladwell popularized the pop-science trend in his ever-fascinating The Tipping Point, which has spurred even more “brain candy” in Steven D. Levitt’s Freakonomics and more.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3413)
    Performance
    (822)
    Story
    (853)

    Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

    Caitlin says: "Great audiobook!"
    We see a lot inspiration from C.S. Lewis' classic in recent epic fantasy for all ages. Influenced: Eragon
  • The Secret Agent

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Secret agent Mr. Adolph Verloc operates from a seedy Soho shop, where he deals in pornography and espionage. Idle, treacherous, and self-righteous, he makes the life of his wife, Winnie, one of silent misery. When Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb at Greenwich Observatory, his plans go terribly awry, and his family has to deal with the tragic repercussions of his actions. Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, while rooted in the Edwardian period, remains strikingly contemporary.

    One of the first entries in the espionage genre may have inspired the greatest spy of them all, James Bond, in Casino Royale.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (1934)
    Performance
    (947)
    Story
    (951)

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.

    Katelyn says: "One word - Awesome!"
    A simple mash-up equation: a classic + monsters = AN EVEN BETTER CLASSIC! Influenced: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Jane Slayre
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By David Case, Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    The year 1866 was marked by a unique incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, and rumors agitated the maritime population and excited the public mind, especially seafaring men. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.

    Tad Davis says: "Lousy translation"
    Every clockwork man and steam-powered vessel in Infernal Devices or The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack owes a debt of gratitude to Jules Verne's steampunk style.
  • 1776

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4250)
    Performance
    (1479)
    Story
    (1485)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you ever thought history was boring, David McCullough’s performance of his fascinating book will change your mind. In this stirring audiobook, McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence, when the whole American cause was riding on their success.

    Shawn says: "Great Book"
    No one brings history to life like the Pulitzer Prize-winning David McCullough; his Audible Essential 1776 will appeal to fans of such sweeping historical nonfiction as Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, Ben Macintyre’s Operation Mincemeat, and more.
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