20 Best Celebrity Audiobooks for Storytelling by the Stars

20 Best Celebrity Audiobooks for Storytelling by the Stars


December 30, 2019
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. We’ve gathered some of the 20 best celebrity audiobooks to get you started with this star-studded category.
    • By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
    • Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood, Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Series: The Handmaid's Tale, Book 1
    • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
    • Release date: 04-04-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 30,798 ratings
    • 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.
    • A Novel
    • By: Harper Lee
    • Narrated by: Reese Witherspoon
    • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
    • Release date: 07-14-15
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 15,046 ratings
    • 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.
    • By: Sylvia Plath
    • Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 02-02-16
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,665 ratings
    • 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.
    • By: Nora Ephron
    • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
    • Length: 5 hrs and 30 mins
    • Release date: 07-09-13
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 3,061 ratings
    • 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 by 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.
    • By: Junot Diaz
    • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
    • Length: 16 hrs
    • Release date: 12-31-06
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,598 ratings
    • 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 being beat up in the streets. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Award-winning actor and playwright behind hits like Hamilton and In The Heights, becomes Oscar Wao and gives the listener a window into his deepest desires and fears. Miranda is joined by Karen Olivo, another Tony winner, who helps round out the love story at the core of this tender, funny tale.
    • By: L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated by: Anne Hathaway
    • Series: Oz, Book 1
    • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 03-08-12
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 7,431 ratings
    • 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 shows her fans that she also has 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.
    • By: Virginia Woolf
    • Narrated by: Nicole Kidman
    • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
    • Release date: 01-01-12
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 625 ratings
    • 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 her unique manner of presenting the inner struggles of her character.
    • By: Lucy Maud Montgomery
    • Narrated by: Rachel McAdams
    • Series: Anne of Green Gables, Book 1
    • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 11-22-16
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 8,407 ratings
    • 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.
    • A Series of Unfortunate Events #1
    • By: Lemony Snicket
    • Narrated by: Tim Curry, Full Cast
    • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1
    • Length: 2 hrs and 29 mins
    • Release date: 12-28-03
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,998 ratings
    • The first in a 13-novel series 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. The series has become very popular, inspiring its adaptation into video games, films, and most recently, a critically acclaimed Netflix series. But nothing shines quite like the 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 entracing as he and a full cast of narrators team up for a grim, gothic romp that will leave you utterly transfixed.
    • By: Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated by: Thandie Newton
    • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
    • Release date: 04-17-16
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 7,945 ratings
    • Thandie Newton’s narration of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a stunning testament to the power of a magnificent story paired with the perfect performer. The plot of the story follows its protagonist all the way from childhood to marriage in the English countryside, and was composed in sprawling complex prose. But Newton breezes through the Victorian storytelling, making the language digestible and the characters all the more relatable. Newton’s ability to narrate 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.
    • By: Jane Austen
    • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
    • Series: Audible's Jane Austen
    • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
    • Release date: 08-14-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,308 ratings
    • 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 narrator, 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 is the narrator of 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.
    • By: Ernest Cline
    • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
    • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
    • Release date: 08-16-11
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 224,593 ratings
    • In his 2011 best seller Ready Play One, Ernest Cline creates a futuristic dystopian paragon. In the year 2044, the universe is plagued by 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.
    • By: Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid
    • Length: 15 hrs and 42 mins
    • Release date: 02-06-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,568 ratings
    • 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 endeavour. 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.
    • By: Bram Stoker
    • Narrated by: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley
    • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
    • Release date: 02-20-12
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 16,200 ratings
    • 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.
    • By: Douglas Adams
    • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
    • Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Book 1
    • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
    • Release date: 04-28-05
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 38,603 ratings
    • 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 tells him that the world is about to end and that the two of them must leave the planet immediately and 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 listeners have come to expect from him. 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.
    • James Bond, Book 1
    • By: Ian Fleming
    • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
    • Series: James Bond: The Collection, Book 1, James Bond (Celebrity Performances), Book 1
    • Length: 5 hrs and 2 mins
    • Release date: 08-27-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,502 ratings
    • 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 who you 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 and edgy, modern feel, making it perfect for any listener with a taste for espionage.
    • By: Truman Capote
    • Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
    • Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
    • Release date: 02-11-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 8,640 ratings
    • 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.
    • Book of Dust, Volume 1
    • By: Philip Pullman
    • Narrated by: Michael Sheen
    • Series: His Dark Materials, Book 0
    • Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
    • Release date: 10-19-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,195 ratings
    • 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.
    • By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 04-09-13
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 16,496 ratings
    • 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 that Fitzgerald layered throughout.
    • By: Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated by: James Franco
    • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
    • Release date: 11-03-15
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 12,561 ratings
    • 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.


Inclusion in Audible’s “best audiobooks” series is based on a number of factors, including presence on Audible best seller lists,
listener ratings and reviews, Goodreads ratings, and input from the Audible Editors. All audiobooks featured here have a minimum
of 500 reviews averaging at least 4.5 stars, with some exceptions made for outstanding stories and performances.





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