The Best Neil Gaiman Listens of All Time

Whether you're a longtime devotee or a new fan looking for where to start, these are the best Neil Gaiman books for every listener.

Are you someone who’s heard about how great Neil Gaiman’s stories are, but don't know where to start? Or maybe you’re a fan of Gaiman and curious about how your favorites compare to other enthusiasts’ top picks? Either way, this list contains some real gems for you.

"I make things up and write them down"—that’s how Neil Gaiman has humbly described his work. And he must be pretty good at it too, because many, many people count themselves as fans. The English author has won numerous accolades, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Award. He’s written novels, short fiction, nonfiction, comic books, books for children, graphic novels, films, and audio dramas in genres from mythic fantasy to horror. Many of his books have landed him on The New York Times Best Seller list. And many have been adapted into films and television shows.

With so many Neil Gaiman works to get through, which ones should you listen to first—or next? If you must limit yourself to just 10, here are the best Neil Gaiman works you won’t want to miss in audio. 

The Sandman

The Sandman is a wholly unique audio experience, featuring the acting talents of acclaimed performers Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, James McAvoy, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, Michael Sheen, and Neil Gaiman himself. While The Sandman was initially a comic book series, a talented cast of performers breathes new life into the audio production.

In the world of this story, the Sandman, or Lord Morpheus, is the immortal king of dreams and the imagination. A cult has taken him from his realm and imprisoned him on Earth. But now that he’s finally escaped imprisonment after decades, the Sandman has to rebuild his dominion. To do that, he has to find the three tools that will restore his power and his kingdom. Join along on the quest.

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

American Gods is now a STARZ original series starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber. But before the show came the excellent novel on which it was based—and the absolutely impeccable tenth anniversary audio recording, which features a full cast.

This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning listen is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and ancient mythology. This is the story of Shadow, who has been locked behind bars for three years and longs to get out so he can return to Laura, the woman he loves, and start a new life. But just days before his scheduled release, an accident on the outside changes his life forever, and suddenly Shadow is unsure of his path forward. With nothing keeping him in his hometown and no other prospects, Shadow accepts a job offer from a stranger named Mr. Wednesday. But life as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard and personal assistant is nothing like Shadow imagined...and Shadow begins to suspect something strange going on beyond Mr. Shadow’s mysterious facade.

Coraline

Coraline is a dark fantasy children’s novella that also makes a beguiling listen for adults. Coraline lives in a flat with 14 doors. All of the doors open and close and lead to other places—except for one. When Coraline opens the 14th door, all she sees is a brick wall. Then one day, she opens the door and finds a passage to another flat that’s alarmingly similar to her own. Some things are better on the other side. The toys are better. The food tastes nicer. But there’s a different mother and father on the other side, and they want Coraline to stay and be their daughter. And that’s not all—there are other children trapped there, and Coraline might just be their only chance at escape. Neil Gaiman narrates this audiobook himself, and does a wonderful (and appropriately creepy) job.

Stardust

Stardust was my introduction to Neil Gaiman, and so naturally, I like to encourage listeners who are new to his works to start with this one. Compared to other Gaiman novels, this 1997 fairy tale tells a pretty streamlined story that works as a great gateway to some of Gaiman’s more complicated fantasy worlds.

Stardust is set in Wall, a small town in the sleepy English countryside. This is where the lovesick Tristran Thorn pines after the beautiful Victoria Forester. One night, Tristran and Victoria watch in awe as a star falls from the sky, and Victoria tells Tristran that if he can retrieve the star for her, she will marry him. So begins Tristran’s adventure beyond the wall in search of the star that could finally bring him the love he’s always wished for. Gaiman narrates this audiobook with wonder and whimsy.

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology is, as the title suggests, Neil Gaiman’s take on the great myths. If you’ve heard any of Gaiman’s other works, then you’re probably well aware that the author is heavily influenced by tradition. In this gem, Gaiman takes his love for and knowledge of mythology and uses it to create a narrative that weaves all the great Norse stories together. It begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and culminates in Ragnarӧk. Accompanied by a PDF reference guide to enhance your listening experience, this audiobook is yet another that the author brilliantly narrates himself.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book marks the first time an author won the Newbery and the Carnegie Medal for the same book. For that accomplishment alone, this title belongs on this list—but it also just so happens to be an excellent listen. Nobody Owens is an unusual boy who lives in an unusual place. He is the only living inhabitant of a graveyard, and he was raised by ghosts, werewolves, and other such spooky creatures. Being raised by ghosts does have some benefits, however. For instance, Nobody knows how to fade away so that normal people can’t see him. But when Nobody decides he wants to step into the world of the living, will he be able to take what he’s learned from the denizens of the graveyard and survive the terrifying mortal world?

Neil Gaiman also narrates this novel. You might have noticed Gaiman narrates a lot of his own works, and that’s for the best, because he’s really, really good at reading aloud. To invent such incredible worlds, one has to have a sense of wonder, and that same sense of wonder can be heard in the author’s voice when he brings the stories to life for his audiobooks. In fact, Gaiman’s narration on The Graveyard Book is so good that this novel won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year in 2009.

Good Omens

Good Omens is a novel Gaiman co-wrote with author Terry Pratchett. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on Saturday. Not just any Saturday. This Saturday. And since this is the only accurate book of prophecies out there, it’s got to be true. So far, the end of the world seems to be going according to plan. The armies of Good and Evil have gathered. The only setback? The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley don’t want the Rapture to happen at all. So in an effort to prevent it, they try to stop the antichrist…only they can’t find him. The novel is narrated by Martin Jarvis, whose narration works so well that one Audible listener remarked, Once I heard Martin Jarvis reading in the characters’ voices, I can no longer imagine their voices any other way.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere is yet another audiobook narrated expertly by Neil Gaiman himself. This listen is about Richard Mayhew, an ordinary young man whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he sees bleeding on a sidewalk. But what Richard thinks is a small act of kindness propels him into a strange world of adventure he never could have imagined for himself. Neverwhere started out as companion novelization to a television show of the same name, co-created by Gaiman. Allowing him to expand on elements in the series, the novel became his preferred version of the story. This is also one of Gaiman's stranger stories, so if you prefer Gaiman when he goes full-on weird, go for this listen.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Gaiman’s imaginative exploration of the nature of identity and the disconnection between childhood and adulthood. When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, he sees the farm at the end of the road and recalls an encounter he had with a young girl when he was seven. Her name was Lettie Hempstock, and looking at where he once spoke with her takes him back to his past and forgotten memories. This audiobook is filled with both joyful and heartbreaking revelations, and Gaiman’s narration brings those important moments to life.

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning is Neil Gaiman's third short story collection, and it's also probably his best. It offers a wonderful mixture of all the types of storytelling Gaiman excels at, from fairy tales to ghost stories and everything in between. There are even some more experimental formats, such as his responses to fan tweets about the months in A Calendar of Tales. This is an amusing and thought-provoking collection, and as the last listen on this list, it's only appropriate that we end with another audiobook narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. Who else could deliver such a wide array of stories with this much energy and wonder?

The Sandman

The Sandman is a wholly unique audio experience, featuring the acting talents of acclaimed performers Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, James McAvoy, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, Michael Sheen, and Neil Gaiman himself. While The Sandman was initially a comic book series, a talented cast of performers breathes new life into the audio production.

In the world of this story, the Sandman, or Lord Morpheus, is the immortal king of dreams and the imagination. A cult has taken him from his realm and imprisoned him on Earth. But now that he’s finally escaped imprisonment after decades, the Sandman has to rebuild his dominion. To do that, he has to find the three tools that will restore his power and his kingdom. Join along on the quest.

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

American Gods is now a STARZ original series starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber. But before the show came the excellent novel on which it was based—and the absolutely impeccable tenth anniversary audio recording, which features a full cast.

This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning listen is a blend of Americana, fantasy, and ancient mythology. This is the story of Shadow, who has been locked behind bars for three years and longs to get out so he can return to Laura, the woman he loves, and start a new life. But just days before his scheduled release, an accident on the outside changes his life forever, and suddenly Shadow is unsure of his path forward. With nothing keeping him in his hometown and no other prospects, Shadow accepts a job offer from a stranger named Mr. Wednesday. But life as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard and personal assistant is nothing like Shadow imagined...and Shadow begins to suspect something strange going on beyond Mr. Shadow’s mysterious facade.

Coraline

Coraline is a dark fantasy children’s novella that also makes a beguiling listen for adults. Coraline lives in a flat with 14 doors. All of the doors open and close and lead to other places—except for one. When Coraline opens the 14th door, all she sees is a brick wall. Then one day, she opens the door and finds a passage to another flat that’s alarmingly similar to her own. Some things are better on the other side. The toys are better. The food tastes nicer. But there’s a different mother and father on the other side, and they want Coraline to stay and be their daughter. And that’s not all—there are other children trapped there, and Coraline might just be their only chance at escape. Neil Gaiman narrates this audiobook himself, and does a wonderful (and appropriately creepy) job.

Stardust

Stardust was my introduction to Neil Gaiman, and so naturally, I like to encourage listeners who are new to his works to start with this one. Compared to other Gaiman novels, this 1997 fairy tale tells a pretty streamlined story that works as a great gateway to some of Gaiman’s more complicated fantasy worlds.

Stardust is set in Wall, a small town in the sleepy English countryside. This is where the lovesick Tristran Thorn pines after the beautiful Victoria Forester. One night, Tristran and Victoria watch in awe as a star falls from the sky, and Victoria tells Tristran that if he can retrieve the star for her, she will marry him. So begins Tristran’s adventure beyond the wall in search of the star that could finally bring him the love he’s always wished for. Gaiman narrates this audiobook with wonder and whimsy.

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology is, as the title suggests, Neil Gaiman’s take on the great myths. If you’ve heard any of Gaiman’s other works, then you’re probably well aware that the author is heavily influenced by tradition. In this gem, Gaiman takes his love for and knowledge of mythology and uses it to create a narrative that weaves all the great Norse stories together. It begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and culminates in Ragnarӧk. Accompanied by a PDF reference guide to enhance your listening experience, this audiobook is yet another that the author brilliantly narrates himself.

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book marks the first time an author won the Newbery and the Carnegie Medal for the same book. For that accomplishment alone, this title belongs on this list—but it also just so happens to be an excellent listen. Nobody Owens is an unusual boy who lives in an unusual place. He is the only living inhabitant of a graveyard, and he was raised by ghosts, werewolves, and other such spooky creatures. Being raised by ghosts does have some benefits, however. For instance, Nobody knows how to fade away so that normal people can’t see him. But when Nobody decides he wants to step into the world of the living, will he be able to take what he’s learned from the denizens of the graveyard and survive the terrifying mortal world?

Neil Gaiman also narrates this novel. You might have noticed Gaiman narrates a lot of his own works, and that’s for the best, because he’s really, really good at reading aloud. To invent such incredible worlds, one has to have a sense of wonder, and that same sense of wonder can be heard in the author’s voice when he brings the stories to life for his audiobooks. In fact, Gaiman’s narration on The Graveyard Book is so good that this novel won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year in 2009.

Good Omens

Good Omens is a novel Gaiman co-wrote with author Terry Pratchett. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on Saturday. Not just any Saturday. This Saturday. And since this is the only accurate book of prophecies out there, it’s got to be true. So far, the end of the world seems to be going according to plan. The armies of Good and Evil have gathered. The only setback? The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley don’t want the Rapture to happen at all. So in an effort to prevent it, they try to stop the antichrist…only they can’t find him. The novel is narrated by Martin Jarvis, whose narration works so well that one Audible listener remarked, Once I heard Martin Jarvis reading in the characters’ voices, I can no longer imagine their voices any other way.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere is yet another audiobook narrated expertly by Neil Gaiman himself. This listen is about Richard Mayhew, an ordinary young man whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he sees bleeding on a sidewalk. But what Richard thinks is a small act of kindness propels him into a strange world of adventure he never could have imagined for himself. Neverwhere started out as companion novelization to a television show of the same name, co-created by Gaiman. Allowing him to expand on elements in the series, the novel became his preferred version of the story. This is also one of Gaiman's stranger stories, so if you prefer Gaiman when he goes full-on weird, go for this listen.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Gaiman’s imaginative exploration of the nature of identity and the disconnection between childhood and adulthood. When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, he sees the farm at the end of the road and recalls an encounter he had with a young girl when he was seven. Her name was Lettie Hempstock, and looking at where he once spoke with her takes him back to his past and forgotten memories. This audiobook is filled with both joyful and heartbreaking revelations, and Gaiman’s narration brings those important moments to life.

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning is Neil Gaiman's third short story collection, and it's also probably his best. It offers a wonderful mixture of all the types of storytelling Gaiman excels at, from fairy tales to ghost stories and everything in between. There are even some more experimental formats, such as his responses to fan tweets about the months in A Calendar of Tales. This is an amusing and thought-provoking collection, and as the last listen on this list, it's only appropriate that we end with another audiobook narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. Who else could deliver such a wide array of stories with this much energy and wonder?


Emily Martin received her PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently writes for Book Riot and co-hosts the podcast Book Squad Goals.

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