20 Best Classic Audiobooks to Listen to Again and Again

20 Best Classic Audiobooks to Listen to Again and Again


December 9, 2019
Classics are known for their timeless quality, their ability to endure through generations and still hold something significant for the modern listener—whether it’s commentary on a long-gone era or an ageless tale of adventure. In this roundup, each story is paired with an exceptional, show-stopping narrator who takes the tale to new heights. While you may have read some of the stories below, you’ve certainly never heard them quite like this. Get listening now with the 20 best classic audiobooks in our catalog.
    • By: Jane Austen
    • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
    • Series: Audible's Jane Austen
    • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 12-08-15
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 16,199 ratings
    • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is undoubtedly one of the world's most beloved novels,but when paired with a stunning performance by a brilliant narrator, it’s an unforgettable literary event. Narrator Rosamund Pike starred as the protagonist’s sister and best friend, Jane Bennett, in the 2005 film adaptation. Having worked so closely with the story, Pike has an intimate understanding of the narrative and its characters—from the feisty, independent Elizabeth to the dour Mr. Darcy—an intimacy that shines through in her performance here. Even if you’ve already read Austen’s tale of feminine wit, unlikely love, and repressive society, this listen is a refreshing take on the classic.
    • 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 16,802 ratings
    • Listening to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterwork, The Great Gatsby, only further highlights the novel’s excess-laden world and brilliant character study. Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal brings to life the voice of the iconic narrator, Nick Carraway, and the rest of the cast of characters with ease. (In fact, it was this skillful performance that made The Great Gatsby an Audie Award finalist in 2014.) Although the story is told from Carraway’s point-of-view, it centers around the enthralling life of the mysterious Jay Gatsby, and Gyllenhaal’s subtle, yet captivating performance highlights this juxtaposition. He illustrates the people and events of West Egg with a voice that oozes refinement and style—a perfect complement to the grandeur of Gatsby’s lifestyle.
    • By: Herman Melville
    • Narrated by: Frank Muller
    • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
    • Release date: 10-27-08
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,905 ratings
    • In this audiobook, Hall of Fame Narrator Frank Muller—one of the most accomplished audiobook superstars in the medium’s history—takes on the voice of the iconic seafarer Ishmael. Narrating the remarkable quest of Captain Ahab and the crew of the whaling ship Pequod, Muller brings out the epicness of Melville’s nautical classic while still emphasizing the humble nature of the story’s narrator. While it seems the central metaphor of Moby-Dick has grown almost more powerful than the story itself, this listen does a fantastic job of demonstrating why it became a classic in the first place, keeping you hooked on every last word.
    • A Novel
    • By: Ralph Ellison
    • Narrated by: Joe Morton
    • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
    • Release date: 12-21-10
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 7,043 ratings
    • Originally published in 1953, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is still a painfully relevant listen in the modern state of American race relations. The utterly enchanting story follows a black man growing up in trying conditions and striving to make his way in a predominantly white world—a struggle that leads him to ultimately feel a deep sense of invisibility. This profound story, filled with questions about Marxism, black nationalism, and black identity, is brought to life by actor Joe Morton, who is renowned for his captivating portrayals of strong black characters on the stage, in film, and in television. He narrates with a gentle empathy, offering a genuine undercurrent of understanding that demands an audience.
    • By: John Steinbeck
    • Narrated by: Dylan Baker
    • Length: 21 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 06-15-11
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 8,315 ratings
    • This Pulitzer Prize-winning story by John Steinbeck centers on the plight of a family of impoverished farmers who, plagued by drought and the Dust Bowl, are forced to leave their home in Oklahoma in hopes of a better future in California. Steinbeck’s protagonists—the working poor of the Great Depression—had a very distinct vocabulary and manner of speaking. Emmy Award-winning actor Dylan Baker offers a fully-realized performance, crafting a unique cadence and drawl for each character, subtly shifting between emotions. Baker’s excellent narration coupled with a timeless story focusing on the dangers of greed makes this listen a classic you’ll want to hear again and again.
    • By: Mark Twain
    • Narrated by: Elijah Wood
    • Series: Twain's Tom and Huck, Book 2
    • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
    • Release date: 11-09-10
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 8,033 ratings
    • This Audible exclusive is narrated by Lord of the Rings superstar Elijah Wood, who does an impeccable job narrating Mark Twain’s witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue with a wide range of accents and tambers. Oh and the story isn’t bad, either—as Ernest Hemingway once famously said, All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. An immersively detailed portrait of antebellum Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is simultaneously a raucous boyhood adventure and a searing indictment of the racism that plagued the American South. Wood’s veritable rainbow of accents and Twain’s clever style work together to make this a listen that stands the test of time.
    • By: Charles Dickens
    • Narrated by: Tim Curry
    • Length: 3 hrs and 31 mins
    • Release date: 12-01-10
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 11,828 ratings
    • There are few combinations more perfect than Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and the exquisite skill set of English icon Tim Curry. The Victorian tale of guilt, greed, family, and redemption is matched beautifully by the dynamic (and, at times, appropriately chilling) narration. Curry previously performed the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in 2001’s Madison Square Garden musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and he brings the same stage-crackling energy to this narration of the story.With the arrival of each ghost of Christmas, the listener can hear the indignation, fear, remorse, and then, finally, joy in the voice of Curry’s Scrooge.
    • By: Zora Neale Hurston
    • Narrated by: Ruby Dee
    • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
    • Release date: 12-26-04
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 7,290 ratings
    • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a seminal work of American fiction which follows Janie Crawford, a black woman trying to navigate life in Jim Crow-era America. The inimitable Ruby Dee (whose talents have been recognized with a litany of awards, including an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Obie) is the perfect narrator to enliven this necessary selection. (Her career was punctuated by this kind of critical storytelling, from her turn as Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun to Spike Lee’s iconic Do the Right Thing.) The story follows Crawford as she grows from a naive and hopeful teenager to a woman, hardened and empowered by difficult experiences in life and love. As Crawford matures, she is faced with the hard realities of life as a black woman in the American South, and Dee’s powerhouse performance brings emotional depth and power to the role.
    • By: Mary Shelley
    • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
    • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 10-29-13
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 7,766 ratings
    • Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking story of a troubled scientist and the murderous monster he unleashes into the world is made even more suspenseful when it is performed by Dan Stevens, who may be most familiar to listeners as Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey. The majority of the story is presented from the perspective of the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, as he recounts the events leading up to the creation of his monster. Stevens’s cool yet clearly pained voice crafts an intricate portrait of Frankenstein’s inner turmoil. For those who may only be familiar with the horror-film version of the creature and his story, the audiobook is sure to surprise with its deep, cutting themes of grief, isolation, guilt, and the dangers of knowledge.
    • By: Harper Lee
    • Narrated by: Sissy Spacek
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Release date: 07-08-14
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 32,686 ratings
    • In this listen, Academy Award-winning film star Sissy Spacek, who first rose to fame with her portrayal of the titular character in the adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie and the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, gives a new voice to Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her subtle, charming southern accent is perfectly suited for the story’s southern setting, while her tender delivery brilliantly brings to life the voice of little Scout Finch. The novel is filled with heavy storylines concerning racism, miscarriage of justice, and the difficulties of coming of age in the American Deep South, but Spacek’s gentle narration helps remind listeners that the story’s protagonist is actually a naive six-year-old who is just coming to terms with the far-from-perfect world she’s been born into.
    • 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 7,491 ratings
    • According to the Library of Congress, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is generally considered America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale. While most people are familiar with the 1939 film adaptation, which starred Judy Garland and brought the story global fame, L. Frank Baum’s original tale contains a host of adventures and details left out of its on-screen counterpart. Anne Hathaway’s performance puts its original beauty on display with her enchanting, dreamlike retelling of Dorothy’s journey and her ability to seamlessly shift between each character, from the cackle of the Wicked Witch to the high-pitched chirp of the Munchkins. Hathaway’s exquisite performance earned her a nomination for an Audie Award in 2013, and it’s not hard to understand why.
    • 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 8,179 ratings
    • Thandie Newton’s narration of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a stunning accompaniment to the masterpiece that won praise over a century ago for its novel introspective approach to the telling of Jane’s story. The plot, which follows its protagonist all the way from childhood to marriage in the English countryside, is written in prose that can be rather complex. But Newton breezes through the Victorian storytelling, making the plotline easy to follow and the characters all the more relatable. In fact, Newton explains Brontë’s classic by saying, I think the reason we're so struck by [Jane Eyre] is how Charlotte Brontë manages to relate, expertly, what it means to be a human being...and that never changes. (And don’t worry: even though Newton is most famous for the roles in which she played American characters, she narrates Jane Eyre in her pitch-perfect native London accent.)
    • An Audible Exclusive Performance
    • By: Emily Brontë, Ann Dinsdale - introduction
    • Narrated by: Joanne Froggatt, Rachel Atkins - introduction
    • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
    • Release date: 11-30-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,179 ratings
    • This Audible exclusive earned Joanne Froggatt (who most notably played maid Anna Bates in Downton Abbey) the 2017 Audible UK Narrator of the Year Award. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a gothic novel about love, gender, and revenge. Froggatt offers a passionate performance of the thrilling story, providing an element of persuasiveness that makes the characters’s outlandish behaviors feel completely justified. As an added bonus, the audiobook includes an introduction written by Ann Dinsdale, Chief Curator of the Brontë Museum. This introduction puts the rest of the story in historical perspective, and it offers insight about the author from one of the world’s leading Brontë experts. With rich language and a cast of brilliant, three-dimensional characters paired with Froggatt’s flawless performance, this classic is truly unforgettable.
    • 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 16,371 ratings
    • Bram Stoker’s classic vampire thriller, Dracula, is riveting in its own right, but the audiobook is truly hair-raising, bringing together a cast of award-winning narrators to tell the bloodsucking story that would come to inspire countless works of horror fiction. This unparalleled performance is perhaps the best way to become acquainted with the origin story of one of the most ubiquitously terrifying characters in literature. Full-cast narration is especially suited for the telling of Dracula because the story is told through a series of letters written by its many characters. Cinema icons Alan Cumming and Tim Curry lend their instantly recognizable tenors to voice Dr. John Seward and Abraham Van Helsing, while Hall of Fame Narrators Simon Vance and Katherine Kellgren skillfully bring Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray to life. With these heavy-hitting narrators working alongside a host of equally talented supporting actors, Dracula won the 2013 Audie Award for Multi-voiced Performance.
    • By: Jack London
    • Narrated by: Pablo Schreiber
    • Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 07-31-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,859 ratings
    • The Call of the Wild, the classic adventure thriller written by Jack London and narrated by Pablo Schreiber (known for his roles in American Gods, Orange Is the New Black, and The Wire) is told from the perspective of its canine protagonist, Buck, who is stolen from his home in California and forced to train as a sled dog in the Yukon. It’s a unique challenge to voice an animal, but Shreiber expertly exhibits the character’s transition from tame pet to feral—and sometimes, ferocious—beast. Schreiber is an especially apt choice to narrate this story considering his Yukon-based childhood, a unique background which allows him to understand the harsh conditions of the region better than most.
    • By: Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    • Length: 35 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 07-12-16
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,530 ratings
    • Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is universally considered one of the most formative works in history, and the author himself has said it was his first true novel. Unfortunately to many who would seek to experience the classic, it’s also an incredibly challenging read of over 800 pages, with a giant cast and a wide variety of settings. That’s why Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 2016 performance feels like both a work of art and a gift to the literary community. It won the title of Audible’s Best Classic the year it was published, and Gyllenhaal’s description of her narrating experience makes it clear that she earned the praise. She told Audible, If I don't give [each character] the utmost respect and understanding, I'm not doing justice to this brilliantly compassionate book. But at the same time, I also wanted to have a light touch in the way I played the different characters, so that the magnificence of the novel could shine through. Her passion for Tolstoy’s masterpiece definitely shines through in her narration, making this classic story more enticing than ever.
    • By: Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa - translator
    • Narrated by: John Lee
    • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 01-28-14
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,107 ratings
    • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is one of our list’s most recent classics, originally published in 1967. Its epic quality and magical realism elements made it an instant bestseller and one of the author’s most celebrated works—which is saying a lot, considering Márquez was named the Nobel Laureate in Literature in 1982. The story follows a Colombian family through seven of its generations, interweaving themes of fate, identity, and the link between the past and the present. Narrator John Lee approaches the text with a rhythmic lilt, underscoring the poetic beauty of the author’s language.
    • An Audible Original Drama
    • By: Robert Louis Stevenson, Marty Ross - adaptation
    • Narrated by: Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale
    • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
    • Release date: 08-17-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 23,718 ratings
    • This listen is a reimagined, full-cast rendition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island. It follows young Jim Hawkins as he and his mother (played by the incomparable Catherine Tate, who’s a standout) are unwittingly caught up in a hunt for buried pirate treasure, and wind up among the ranks of the iconic Long John Silver and his crew. There have been a number of adaptations of this story, but this audiobook stands out as remaining remarkably close to the original text in its interpretation: the narrators in this full-cast super-star performance don’t rely on outlandish, over-the-top performances but instead allow the grimy realities of pirate life to shine through on their own. It’s a coming-of-age story, a tropical adventure, and a piece so influential it’s been referenced in a variety of other works from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to The Shawshank Redemption.
    • By: Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated by: Tim Robbins
    • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 10-21-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 20,280 ratings
    • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian and nightmarish look into a world without books. Tim Robbins, the Academy Award-winning actor best known for his superb portrayal of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (based on Stephen King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption), narrates the story with a smart yet approachable voice. His tone works remarkably well as the voice of Guy Montag, the protagonist who lives his monotonous life by the rules—which, in Guy’s line of work, is to destroy printed literature and the homes of those who smuggle it—until he’s provoked by his enigmatic young neighbor, Clarisse. A critique on censorship and complacency and a celebration of individuality, this listen is a surefire hit for anyone who really knows the value of a good book.
    • By: Sun Tzu
    • Narrated by: Aidan Gillen
    • Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
    • Release date: 03-31-15
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 12,074 ratings
    • Written during the fifth century B.C., The Art of War by Sun Tzu is the oldest classic on our list. Stil, its enduring popularity proves its relevance in the 21st century. The nonfiction classic’s principles (which are organized into 13 chapters, each concerning a different aspect of warfare) are applicable to modern-day professions and everyday life. Nevertheless, the narrator, Aidan Gillen, makes the guide less of a straightforward manual and more of a lively and provocative collection of war stories. Gillen, who listeners may recognize as Lord Littlefinger Baelish in HBO’s Game of Thrones, channels that cuttingly cunning, whip-smart delivery into his performance of Sun Tzu’s collection of war strategies.


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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