The Best Audiobooks Under 9 Hours

Searching for a truly immersive audiobook journey? These listens will reward you with a story and performance you won’t soon forget. Here are the best audiobooks under nine hours.

Sometimes, the perfect audiobook is one that fills a specific amount of time. For instance, I'm planning a road trip this week, and I know my drive there and back will take exactly nine hours—so if I want to finish the story by the end of the trip, I need to find an audiobook under nine hours. Or maybe you just like shorter listens and find it easier for a book to hold your attention if you don't have to hang on to the same storyline for 15 hours or more. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of short audiobooks that are definitely worth a listen. Looking to hear the best short memoirs, the best short YA books, the best sci fi short stories, or the best short nonfiction? There's all that and more on this list. Here are 20 of the best audiobooks under nine hours.

 

Best Fiction Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

A National Book Award-winning novel, Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing follows a troubled family's road trip in rural 21st-century America. When her husband is released from prison, Leonie drives north with her two children and a friend to the state penitentiary in the heart of Mississippi. This is the story of Leonie's struggle to be there for her kids while dealing with drug addiction and visions of her dead brother. It's the story of Leonie's 13-year-old son Jojo, who's trying to learn what it means to be a man from complicated men, including his Black grandfather and his white convict father. And it's the story of the strengths and limitations of family bonds when pitted against the cruelties of poverty, racism, and violence. This audiobook is beautifully narrated by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley (True Blood), and Chris Chalk (Gotham).

The Death of Vivek Oji

In Akwaeke Emezi's The Death of Vivek Oji, listeners bear witness to one family's heartbreaking struggle with the loss of a loved one that they may have never truly known. The novel, set in a small town in Nigeria, begins with Vivek Oji's mother finding his dead body wrapped in colorful fabric on her doorstep. What follows is the family's journey to get to the truth about what happened to Vivek, uncovering all of the many sides of himself that Vivek hid from them. Yetide Badaki and Chukwudi Iwuji narrate this audiobook with emotion and a genuine sense of vulnerability that will bring tears to your eyes.

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club)

Though released just a few years ago, An American Marriage already feels like a classic because of the way Tayari Jones encapsulates the struggle to find the American Dream and the harsh realities of contemporary marriage, the justice system, and a country full of empty promises. Celestial and Roy are newlyweds and madly in love when Roy is suddenly pulled away and incarcerated for a crime that Celestial knows he didn't commit. As Roy spends years in prison, Celestial finds comfort in Andre, her childhood friend. Chapters are split between Roy's perspective and Celestial's perspective, and narrators Sean Crisden and Eisa Davis bring these two very complicated characters to life.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's famous gothic novel, Frankenstein is an enduring classic that has shaped and influenced numerous horror, literary, and science fiction novels over the 200-plus years since it was written. This version of the audiobook, available exclusively from Audible, is narrated by Dan Stevens. The accomplished Downton Abbey actor delivers a restrained but spine-tingling reading of this story of a man who aims to do something no other scientist has ever done: create life.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A National Book Award-winning novel, Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing follows a troubled family's road trip in rural 21st-century America. When her husband is released from prison, Leonie drives north with her two children and a friend to the state penitentiary in the heart of Mississippi. This is the story of Leonie's struggle to be there for her kids while dealing with drug addiction and visions of her dead brother. It's the story of Leonie's 13-year-old son Jojo, who's trying to learn what it means to be a man from complicated men, including his Black grandfather and his white convict father. And it's the story of the strengths and limitations of family bonds when pitted against the cruelties of poverty, racism, and violence. This audiobook is beautifully narrated by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley (True Blood), and Chris Chalk (Gotham).

The Death of Vivek Oji

In Akwaeke Emezi's The Death of Vivek Oji, listeners bear witness to one family's heartbreaking struggle with the loss of a loved one that they may have never truly known. The novel, set in a small town in Nigeria, begins with Vivek Oji's mother finding his dead body wrapped in colorful fabric on her doorstep. What follows is the family's journey to get to the truth about what happened to Vivek, uncovering all of the many sides of himself that Vivek hid from them. Yetide Badaki and Chukwudi Iwuji narrate this audiobook with emotion and a genuine sense of vulnerability that will bring tears to your eyes.

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club)

Though released just a few years ago, An American Marriage already feels like a classic because of the way Tayari Jones encapsulates the struggle to find the American Dream and the harsh realities of contemporary marriage, the justice system, and a country full of empty promises. Celestial and Roy are newlyweds and madly in love when Roy is suddenly pulled away and incarcerated for a crime that Celestial knows he didn't commit. As Roy spends years in prison, Celestial finds comfort in Andre, her childhood friend. Chapters are split between Roy's perspective and Celestial's perspective, and narrators Sean Crisden and Eisa Davis bring these two very complicated characters to life.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's famous gothic novel, Frankenstein is an enduring classic that has shaped and influenced numerous horror, literary, and science fiction novels over the 200-plus years since it was written. This version of the audiobook, available exclusively from Audible, is narrated by Dan Stevens. The accomplished Downton Abbey actor delivers a restrained but spine-tingling reading of this story of a man who aims to do something no other scientist has ever done: create life.

 

Best Mystery/Thriller Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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Her Royal Spyness

Agatha Award-winning author Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness is a delightful cozy historical mystery performed by Audible Hall of Fame narrator Katherine Kellgren. Kellgren's voice and accent work for this audiobook is so thoughtfully done that it almost sounds like an entire cast recording. It's 1930s London, and Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie—or Georgie for short—is down on her luck, without a penny to her name. And just when she thinks things couldn't possibly get any worse, Georgie finds a dead body in her bathtub. If this listen is your cup of tea, you're in for a treat: it's the first in a series of more than a dozen mysteries, many running under nine hours.

The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me is a short audiobook, lasting only eight hours and 49 minutes. But with all of the twists, turns, and heart-pounding suspense, Laura Dave's thriller will feel even shorter. Hannah Hall thought that Owen Michaels was the love of her life. But then he mysteriously disappeared. Hannah, with the help of Owen's 16-year-old daughter Bailey, sets out to figure out what really happened to Owen Michaels. But the deeper Hannah gets into the case, the more she realizes Owen was never the man he said he was.

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is a New York Times best-selling novel that examines one woman's violent act against her husband through the lens of the therapist who is trying to uncover her motive—with a motive of his own. This gripping audiobook is performed expertly by Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey, two outstanding narrators who know how to build tension through narration. This audio version also includes an exclusive interview with the author, Alex Michaelides.

Her Royal Spyness

Agatha Award-winning author Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness is a delightful cozy historical mystery performed by Audible Hall of Fame narrator Katherine Kellgren. Kellgren's voice and accent work for this audiobook is so thoughtfully done that it almost sounds like an entire cast recording. It's 1930s London, and Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie—or Georgie for short—is down on her luck, without a penny to her name. And just when she thinks things couldn't possibly get any worse, Georgie finds a dead body in her bathtub. If this listen is your cup of tea, you're in for a treat: it's the first in a series of more than a dozen mysteries, many running under nine hours.

The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me is a short audiobook, lasting only eight hours and 49 minutes. But with all of the twists, turns, and heart-pounding suspense, Laura Dave's thriller will feel even shorter. Hannah Hall thought that Owen Michaels was the love of her life. But then he mysteriously disappeared. Hannah, with the help of Owen's 16-year-old daughter Bailey, sets out to figure out what really happened to Owen Michaels. But the deeper Hannah gets into the case, the more she realizes Owen was never the man he said he was.

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is a New York Times best-selling novel that examines one woman's violent act against her husband through the lens of the therapist who is trying to uncover her motive—with a motive of his own. This gripping audiobook is performed expertly by Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey, two outstanding narrators who know how to build tension through narration. This audio version also includes an exclusive interview with the author, Alex Michaelides.

 

Best Middle Grade/Young Adult Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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Wonder

R.J. Palacio's Wonder is the book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird, and a major motion picture. August Pullman has always been homeschooled because he looks different than other kids. But now, he's entering fifth grade at a mainstream school, and he wants nothing more than to just be treated like any other normal kid. If only his classmates could get past and see beyond his unusual face. This novel is followed by three spin-off stories, available in one audiobook, Auggie & Me.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

For two high school boys with seemingly disparate lives, angry, closed-off Aristotle and outspoken, open-minded Dante end up having quite a bit in common. In the inexplicable way some people are drawn together, these two meet once at a swimming pool and immediately begin an intense friendship that grows gradually into much more. A winding, beautifully crafted tale of growing up and growing in love, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is narrated by actor, artist, and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame.

Howl's Moving Castle

Listeners may be familiar with the fantasy tale told in Howl's Moving Castle from Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-nominated film adaptation. But Diane Wynne Jones's novel is bursting with additional plot intricacies, character details, and humor that make the audiobook a top-quality experience all on its own. Narrator Jenny Sterlin is in her element bringing main character Sophie to life—both as a 17-year-old girl and the old crone she becomes when a powerful witch curses her.

Wonder

R.J. Palacio's Wonder is the book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird, and a major motion picture. August Pullman has always been homeschooled because he looks different than other kids. But now, he's entering fifth grade at a mainstream school, and he wants nothing more than to just be treated like any other normal kid. If only his classmates could get past and see beyond his unusual face. This novel is followed by three spin-off stories, available in one audiobook, Auggie & Me.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

For two high school boys with seemingly disparate lives, angry, closed-off Aristotle and outspoken, open-minded Dante end up having quite a bit in common. In the inexplicable way some people are drawn together, these two meet once at a swimming pool and immediately begin an intense friendship that grows gradually into much more. A winding, beautifully crafted tale of growing up and growing in love, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is narrated by actor, artist, and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame.

Howl's Moving Castle

Listeners may be familiar with the fantasy tale told in Howl's Moving Castle from Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-nominated film adaptation. But Diane Wynne Jones's novel is bursting with additional plot intricacies, character details, and humor that make the audiobook a top-quality experience all on its own. Narrator Jenny Sterlin is in her element bringing main character Sophie to life—both as a 17-year-old girl and the old crone she becomes when a powerful witch curses her.

 

Best Memoir Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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Born a Crime

Want a memoir that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching? Pick up Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, performed by the charismatic author, comedian, and host of The Daily Show himself. In this award-winning audiobook, Trevor Noah tells his story of coming of age as a mixed-race child during apartheid in South Africa. Noah's incredible, vibrant and nuanced narration of his own story earned him the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator in 2018.

In the Dream House

Carmen Maria Machado's innovative In the Dream House really plays with the conventional memoir form and opens up a larger conversation about love, relationships, sexuality, and societal expectations. In this author-narrated listen, Machado analyzes the arc of her first lesbian relationship, how she found herself in a cycle of abuse, and how this relationship shaped the person she is today.

Born a Crime

Want a memoir that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching? Pick up Trevor Noah's Born a Crime, performed by the charismatic author, comedian, and host of The Daily Show himself. In this award-winning audiobook, Trevor Noah tells his story of coming of age as a mixed-race child during apartheid in South Africa. Noah's incredible, vibrant and nuanced narration of his own story earned him the Audie Award for Best Male Narrator in 2018.

In the Dream House

Carmen Maria Machado's innovative In the Dream House really plays with the conventional memoir form and opens up a larger conversation about love, relationships, sexuality, and societal expectations. In this author-narrated listen, Machado analyzes the arc of her first lesbian relationship, how she found herself in a cycle of abuse, and how this relationship shaped the person she is today.

 

Best Personal Development Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers is more than a revelatory audiobook: it's an immersive exploration of communication and how we interact with people we don't know. In this audio production, which at times plays like a podcast, Gladwell narrates his own words while including the voices of those he interviewed—scientists, criminologists, military psychologists, and more. Other sections of the book, like court transcripts, are brought to life through reenactments.

Never Split the Difference

In Never Split the Difference, former FBI international hostage negotiator Chris Voss offers an approach to negotiation that works, whether you're in the boardroom or your own home. This practical guide takes the skills Voss developed through years of navigating high-stakes negotiations and translates them for everyday use. Prolific narrator Michael Kramer lends his voice to the audiobook, clearly explaining nine effective principles that anyone can apply to be more persuasive and successful in their career and their personal life.

Talking to Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers is more than a revelatory audiobook: it's an immersive exploration of communication and how we interact with people we don't know. In this audio production, which at times plays like a podcast, Gladwell narrates his own words while including the voices of those he interviewed—scientists, criminologists, military psychologists, and more. Other sections of the book, like court transcripts, are brought to life through reenactments.

Never Split the Difference

In Never Split the Difference, former FBI international hostage negotiator Chris Voss offers an approach to negotiation that works, whether you're in the boardroom or your own home. This practical guide takes the skills Voss developed through years of navigating high-stakes negotiations and translates them for everyday use. Prolific narrator Michael Kramer lends his voice to the audiobook, clearly explaining nine effective principles that anyone can apply to be more persuasive and successful in their career and their personal life.

 

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Audiobooks Under Nine Hours

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For We Are Many

For We Are Many is an Audible Original and the highly anticipated sequel to Dennis E. Taylor's award-winning science fiction novel, We Are Legion (We Are Bob). After being killed in a car accident, Bob Johansson is surprised to wake up as a sentient computer that is the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe. Bob and other versions of Bob have been traveling through the galaxy for 40 years now, looking for inhabitable planets like Earth. And he might just be humanity's last hope. Ray Porter, Audible's 2015 Narrator of the Year, voices the adventures, Bobs and all.

The Midnight Library

Experience The Midnight Library, the fantasy novel that everyone's been talking about. Nora Seed thinks she wants to die, but then she's given an opportunity. She finds herself in a strange library that holds every single possible life she could have lived if she'd made different decisions. As she travels through the Midnight Library and experiences different versions of herself, Nora finds a will to live and gets to the heart of what she truly wants out of life. Author Matt Haig offers a touching story and an affirming reminder of what makes each and every one of our lives so special. This is all brought to life with great care through actress Carey Mulligan's beautiful narration.

The Chosen and the Beautiful

Nghi Vo's The Chosen and the Beautiful is a retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that reimagines the classic novel's characters and world with bold, timely, and topical twists. Specifically, Vo explores the character of Jordan Baker, reshaping her as a queer, Asian, Vietnamese adoptee who feels like an outsider amongst her peers. Oh, and she can do magic.

For We Are Many

For We Are Many is an Audible Original and the highly anticipated sequel to Dennis E. Taylor's award-winning science fiction novel, We Are Legion (We Are Bob). After being killed in a car accident, Bob Johansson is surprised to wake up as a sentient computer that is the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe. Bob and other versions of Bob have been traveling through the galaxy for 40 years now, looking for inhabitable planets like Earth. And he might just be humanity's last hope. Ray Porter, Audible's 2015 Narrator of the Year, voices the adventures, Bobs and all.

The Midnight Library

Experience The Midnight Library, the fantasy novel that everyone's been talking about. Nora Seed thinks she wants to die, but then she's given an opportunity. She finds herself in a strange library that holds every single possible life she could have lived if she'd made different decisions. As she travels through the Midnight Library and experiences different versions of herself, Nora finds a will to live and gets to the heart of what she truly wants out of life. Author Matt Haig offers a touching story and an affirming reminder of what makes each and every one of our lives so special. This is all brought to life with great care through actress Carey Mulligan's beautiful narration.

The Chosen and the Beautiful

Nghi Vo's The Chosen and the Beautiful is a retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that reimagines the classic novel's characters and world with bold, timely, and topical twists. Specifically, Vo explores the character of Jordan Baker, reshaping her as a queer, Asian, Vietnamese adoptee who feels like an outsider amongst her peers. Oh, and she can do magic.

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