The Best Celebrity Narrated Audiobooks
These celebrity narrated audiobooks include all-time classic literature as well as modern favorites read by the stars.
May 3, 2021
It’s likely you have a favorite actor, someone you can’t wait to see in a new movie or television series. But many of your favorite performers are also acclaimed audiobook narrators. It’s always a delight to pick up a familiar story and find an unexpected famous friend in the narrator’s booth, especially when that celebrity has a spectacular talent for narration. From classics narrated by celebrities (such as Anne Hathaway’s magical rendition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) to modern favorites (like Wil Wheaton’s energetic take on Ready Player One), this list features some of literature’s greatest stories brought to life by some of Hollywood’s greatest talents. We’ve gathered the best celebrity audiobooks to get you started with this category.
(Oh, and if celebrity narrated memoirs are more your style, check out our collection of star-studded autobiographies.)
Claire Danes Narrates Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition
The Handmaid’s Tale is the chilling tale of Offred, a woman who is stripped of her personal identity and forced to work as a surrogate for wealthy and powerful couples in a near-future dystopia, the Republic of Gilead. It explores themes of misogyny, totalitarianism, and morality, but Margaret Atwood’s master storytelling ability also elevates this story to a thriller. Emmy Award winner Claire Danes brings this unforgettable modern classic to vivid, eerie reality with her exquisite performance—but that’s not the only reason this audiobook is special. This listen also features exclusive extended material narrated by Atwood herself. Famously, the original novel ends with a question: "Are there any questions?" and this exclusive edition might just offer some answers.
Jesse Eisenberg, Kaitlyn Dever, Finn Wolfhard Narrate When You Finish Saving the World by Jesse Eisenberg
Academy Award nominee, playwright, and author Jesse Eisenberg steps in as co-narrator of his When You Finish Saving the World, a stirring tale of family, future, and connection. This listen follows Nathan, Rachel, and Ziggy—a husband, wife, and son—at various stages of their life as they seek to better relate with and understand one another. Told in three parts marked by dramatic shifts in time and perspective, the story is intimate and universal in a way that’s effortlessly engaging and incredibly charming. Eisenberg’s cast is rounded out by two buzzy up-and-coming stars: Finn Wolfhard, of Stranger Things and It, and Kaitlyn Dever, star of Booksmart and Unbelievable. Together, the trio craft a genuinely affecting tale that will break your heart—and give you hope—over and over again.
Reese Witherspoon Narrates Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman
The natural southern accent of Louisiana-born superstar Reese Witherspoon is the heart behind this audio adaptation of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Drafted three years before it was set aside for Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, this listen features characters and storylines that many listeners will be quite familiar with. The story is again told by Jean Louise Scout Finch, now a 26-year-old living in New York, who is jolted when she returns to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. Like Mockingbird, the story is driven by a judicial case and Scout’s lawyer father’s handling of that case. But don’t expect to hear the message of inclusivity and equality Atticus Finch espouses in the famed novel. In Watchman, it seems he might have regressed in his thoughts about justice and racism since the trial that first made him a household name in Maycomb.
Maggie Gyllenhaal Narrates Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
Poet and literary icon Sylvia Plath, who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1982, is well-known for her confessional poetry, but The Bell Jar, her only full-length novel, is often considered her masterwork. Inspired in part by Plath’s lifelong struggle with both mental illness and the limitations of womanhood in mid-century America, this listen is a raw and painful look at the inner workings of a mind affected with major depression. Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant as the narrator; her performance is at turns lively, dull, and anguished as she mimics the ebb-and-flow of troubled protagonist Esther Greenwood as she navigates the world around her.
Meryl Streep Narrates Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron, screenwriter of rom-com favorites like When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle, made her literary debut with Heartburn. The novel follows the complications that arise when Rachel Samstat, at seven months pregnant, finds out that her husband is in love with another woman. Throughout the story, Rachel teeters between wanting to win her husband back...and hoping for his untimely death. The one constant that remains is Rachel’s love of food and her belief that a good recipe can solve any problem. Heartburn is a hilarious, laugh-out-loud audiobook, made even better by the endearing narration of living legend Meryl Streep. Streep, who holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations of any actor, performs with the perfect combination of heartbreak, agony, and self-deprecating comedy.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo Narrate Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Oscar Wao, an overweight Dominican teenager living in New Jersey, has always dreamed of being the next J. R. R. Tolkien, but a multi-generational curse that’s followed his family for centuries is making his dream seem out of reach. Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao tracks Oscar’s struggles and triumphs, from falling in love to getting beat up in the streets. The Tony Award-winning actor and playwright behind hits like Hamilton and In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda becomes Oscar Wao, giving the listener a window into his deepest desires and fears. Miranda is joined by Karen Olivo, another Tony winner, who rounds out the love story at the core of this tender, funny tale.
Anne Hathaway Narrates The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is so universally treasured that it’s actually recorded in the Library of Congress as “America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.” The classic follows Dorothy, a small-town girl from Kansas, who is swept up into a tornado that leaves her stranded in a new and strangely wonderful universe: Oz. Anne Hathaway’s audiobook performance puts the tale’s original beauty on display with her enchanting, dreamy retelling of Dorothy’s journey. Hathaway has captured the hearts of moviegoers in roles including Mia in The Princess Diaries, Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, and Fantine in Les Miserables (a performance that won her an Academy Award). This listen showcases her exceptional narrative chops; her performance earned her a nomination for an Audie Award for Best Female Solo Narration in 2013, and it’s easy to understand why.
Nicole Kidman Narrates Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse
To the Lighthouse, written by one of the world’s most acclaimed modernist authors, Virginia Woolf, is the story of a family’s seemingly insignificant vacations to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Spanning more than 10 years, the narrative is told from the perspective of multiple characters, making the mood and tone shift frequently. Its plot relies almost entirely on dialogue between characters, and it causes introspection to be a much more important part of the novel than its plot. In 2003, Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for her lead role as Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s film, The Hours. Her narration of To the Lighthouse is a testament to her understanding of Woolf’s skillful prose and unique manner of presenting the inner struggles of her character.
Rachel McAdams Narrates Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is a coming-of-age classic that shows how a rebellious outsider can bring a stagnant community together. Anne, a free-spirited orphan, is sent off to beautiful Green Gables when she is adopted by brother and sister duo Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The story follows her path towards accepting the idiosyncrasies that make her special and the town’s acceptance of the important life lessons she has to offer. Rachel McAdams, a native Canadian like Montgomery and the book’s title character, narrates Anne with a youthful and fast-paced, yet eloquent voice. She is the perfect performer for bringing to life a fresh, energetic young woman with the drive to be taken seriously.
Tim Curry and a Full Cast Narrate The Bad Beginning, Book One in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The first in Lemony Snicket's 13-novel series, The Bad Beginning follows the lives of the orphaned Baudelaire siblings—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—who are adopted by the story’s villain, the odious Count Olaf. It starts with a devastating fire, and the plot only gets more traumatic (and darkly humorous) from there. A Series of Unfortunate Events has become very popular, inspiring adaptations into video games, films, and most recently, a critically acclaimed Netflix series. But nothing shines quite like this audiobook, which has earned nominations for several Audie and Grammy Awards. Its lead narrator, English icon Tim Curry (of Clue, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and It fame), lends a voice that is in turns disturbing and entrancing as he teams up with a full cast of narrators for a grim, gothic romp sure to leave you utterly transfixed.
Thandiwe Newton Narrates Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Thandiwe Newton’s narration of Jane Eyre is a stunning testament to the power of a magnificent story paired with the perfect performer. The plot follows its heroine all the way from childhood to marriage in the English countryside, all composed in Charlotte Brontë's sprawling complex prose. Newton breezes through the Victorian storytelling, making the language digestible and the characters all the more relatable. Her deft narration of the complicated, multifaceted Jane is gorgeous—but it’s no surprise when you look at her resume. With roles in critically acclaimed films such as The Pursuit of Happyness and an adaption of Toni Morrison’s Beloved directed by Jonathan Demme, Newton is a masterful performer with an enviable skillset.
Rosamund Pike Narrates Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility is Jane Austen’s first published novel, a gem that set the stage for the rest of the author’s successful career. It is the story of two sisters as they navigate the difficulties of womanhood in Georgian England. They hope to fall in love and find marriages worthy of society’s expectations, but, as one of the sisters says (and many listeners may agree!): “The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love.” The perfect narrator for this classic, Rosamund Pike is a British actress perhaps best known for her leading role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. She also played Jane Bennett in the 2005 film adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and narrates that audiobook as well. A bonafide Austen aficionado, Pike delivers the author’s words in a thoughtful, understanding tone, crafting a heartful and wholly believable performance.
Wil Wheaton Narrates Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
In his 2011 best seller Ready Play One, Ernest Cline creates a futuristic dystopian paragon. In the year 2044, the universe is plagued by a grim, lifeless existence. The only way to escape the over-encompassing tedium is by entering a virtual world that allows people to experience life on other planets and fictional realms, fall in love...and search for a life-changing puzzle hidden somewhere inside the virtual universe. But when young Wade Watts unlocks this mystery, his life—virtual and otherwise—becomes a nightmare. Wil Wheaton, perhaps best known for his turn as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, narrates this fun, fast-paced listen appropriately, with evident excitement and increasing anxiety.
Dennis Quaid Narrates Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff
In 1972, author and journalist Tom Wolfe was assigned by Rolling Stone to cover the final moonshot of NASA’s Apollo mission. His 1972 article sparked within him a new curiosity, as he wondered how a man could possibly be willing to undertake such a daring endeavor. Tackling this question, The Right Stuff gets inside the minds of the astronauts who chose to be launched into some of the most dangerous conditions in order to make truly incredible discoveries. Dennis Quaid narrates this aeronautical adventure story with a steady tone and authoritative yet inviting voice. Quaid also appeared in the Academy Award-nominated film adaptation of this listen, making him uniquely qualified to bring Wolfe’s words to life.
Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, and a Full Cast Narrate Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale, Dracula is riveting in its own right, but the audiobook brings together a cast of award-winning narrators to make the listening experience even more thrilling. The large cast is especially beneficial because the story is told through a series of letters written (and voiced) by its many characters. Alan Cumming and Tim Curry, both Emmy Award-winning actors, voice Dr. Seward and Van Helsing, leading a full cast in a production that won the 2013 Audie Award for Multi-voiced Performance. Tim Curry’s chilling, ominous tone and eloquent delivery fit perfectly into a vampire story, while Alan Cumming voices Seward with a very fitting doctoral polished, slightly posh cadence. The contrast of these two performances underscores each actor’s embodiment of his character, highlighting their singular, masterful talents.
Stephen Fry Narrates Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by British author Douglas Adams became an instant comedic sensation when it was first broadcast as a radio comedy on BBC 4 in 1978. The story’s protagonist, Arthur Dent is taken by surprise when his friend Ford Prefect declares that the world is about to end, so they must leave the planet immediately. From there, the two enter into an intergalactic search for the answers to life’s most enigmatic questions, such as “What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?” and “Where have all the ball-point pens gone?” Stephen Fry, who is one of the world’s most well-known voice actors and audio performers, narrates with the perfect dry, droll English humor that his fans have come to expect. Though the story has been adapted into films and a television series, it was originally created as a narrative radio story, so listeners can be confident that audio is the best way to experience it.
Dan Stevens Narrates Ian Fleming's Casino Royale
It’s hard to think of a fictional character as illustrious as British Secret Service agent James Bond, codename 007. He is the beloved, roguish sport you can count on to beat the bad guys and win the girl—and always do so in style, with unmatched wit and charm. In Casino Royale, the first in the series of Bond novels, author Ian Fleming illustrates 007 in one of his most gripping adventures as he must neutralize the Russian operative, Le Chiffre. Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey narrates the story with a captivating and seductive voice, channeling the same suave energy that made household names of the film-star Bonds before him. Stevens’s cool, slick performance gives Fleming’s spy classic an edgy, modern feel, making it perfect for any listener with a taste for espionage.
Michael C. Hall Narrates Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's
Though Breakfast at Tiffany’s may be more well-known for its much-adored film adaptation starring the iconic Audrey Hepburn, it was originally published as a novella by Truman Capote in 1958. It’s the account of an unnamed writer’s relationship with his downstairs neighbor, Holly Golightly. Holly, the archetype of the American beauty, struggles with internal strife as she balances upon the pedestal she’s been placed on. Michael C. Hall, an actor known for his titular role on Dexter, displays an impressive understanding of the story’s narrator and the woman Capote attempts to sketch. Hall’s nuanced performance offers listeners a far less idealized window into Holly’s character, instead highlighting a thoughtful and subtle appreciation of her true self.
Michael Sheen Narrates Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage is Philip Pullman’s first expansion on his beloved His Dark Material trilogy. It follows a young spy named Malcolm Polstead, whose family owns an inn on the banks of the River Thames in Oxford. When Polstead finds a secret message at the inn describing a dangerous substance called Dust, he decides to enter into the mystery. BAFTA-winning actor Michael Sheen is widely known for roles such as Tony Blair in The Queen, William Masters in The Masters of Sex, and Aziraphale in Good Omens, but his audiobook credits are also impressive. He has narrated almost 20 full-length novels and plays, ranging from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, and he is a winner of multiple Earphones Awards. He brings that expertise to Pullman’s vivid, vast world, filling each word with a sense of wonder and intrigue.
Jake Gyllenhaal Narrates F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal steps into the shoes of narrator Nick Carraway, voicing the often too-dreamy-to-be-real world of the wealthy and well-connect in a lush 1920s landscape. Though the story is told from Carraway’s point of view, it centers on the enthralling life of Mr. Jay Gatsby, and Gyllenhaal’s subtle yet captivating performance highlights both the glimmering surface of Gatsby’s life and the heartache, despair, and eventual tragedy that lurks beneath. He illustrates the people, places, and parties of West Egg with a voice that oozes refinement and style—a perfect complement to the grandeur of Gatsby’s story—while never losing sight of the morals and critiques Fitzgerald layered throughout.
James Franco Narrates Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five is one of celebrated American author Kurt Vonnegut’s many satiric masterpieces. It starts with the bombing of Dresden, Germany, but from there, all sense of realism and chronology disappears. The story’s main character, Billy Pilgrim has the unfortunate fate of experiencing historical events in no particular order. Sometimes, he’s an actor in these events and other times, simply a witness—but they always seem to make his life a bit more chaotic. James Franco is an actor well-known for his ability to switch from comedy to drama, a valuable trait to wield while narrating a story like Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut is a master of burying deep psychological and sociological commentary into his literary comedies, and Franco does a superb job of showcasing this balance in his performance.