Listening Recommendations for Awards Season

Listening Recommendations for Awards Season

January 10, 2020
There’s nothing better than finding the perfect show to binge-watch or a newly released film that really resonates with you…that is, until it ends, and the dreaded sensation of Now what? settles in. But don’t fret—as we prepare to cheer on our favorites at the Academy Awards (and recover from some seriously painful Golden Globe upsets), we’ve compiled a list of audiobook recommendations based on this season’s most acclaimed series and cinema. Whether your top-ranked movie of the year was Jojo Rabbit or Judy, read on to find a suggested listen that just might satisfy that post-watch craving.
Alanna, Audible Editor
    • By: Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
    • Length: 19 hrs and 9 mins
    • Release date: 04-28-08
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 3,641 ratings
    • If you liked 1917...

      If you found yourself furiously biting your nails in a fit of anxiety brought on by Sam Mendes’s dazzling—but incredibly intense—WWI epic 1917, listen to Barbara W. Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history The Guns of August. Tuchman’s celebrated exploration of the events and circumstances that led to the first World War provides a detailed and gripping background set three years before the events of the film, at 1914’s turning point that jumpstarted the conflict. Actress Wanda McCaddon mirrors Tuchman’s attention to detail in her smart, skillfully paced narration. The result is a masterpiece as expertly researched as it is gorgeously performed.
    • A Novel
    • By: Mi-ae Seo
    • Narrated by: Greta Jung
    • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
    • Release date: 02-11-20
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 2 ratings
    • If you liked Parasite

      While Bong Joon-ho’s exquisite film Parasite raised the profile of South Korean cinema even higher on the world stage, savvy listeners already know that the country’s literature is just as compelling. South Korean author Mi-ae Seo’s debut novel features complicated family dynamics and chilling suspenseful elements that Parasite fans will appreciate, and like the film’s famous Jessica Only Child jingle, the temperamental young girl at the heart of this thriller is, well, an only child. Quiet and subdued, she appears on criminal psychologist Seonkyeong’s doorstep housing more than a few secrets. At the same time, Seonkyeong is assigned to interview an enigmatic serial killer who offers her a bit of advice. Pervasively creepy with a truly twisted conclusion, The Only Child is made even more chilling through Greta Jung’s taut, commanding performance.
    • Elton John Official Autobiography
    • By: Elton John
    • Narrated by: Elton John, Taron Egerton
    • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
    • Release date: 10-15-19
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 4,057 ratings
    • If you liked Rocketman...

      The script of 2019’s Rocketman was devised by screenwriter Lee Hall in conversation with Elton John, whose anecdotes and outlook served as the basis for the film’s plot. If you loved the movie’s shifts between rollicking rock-n-roll gigs and heartbreaking reflections on excess and identity, you won’t want to miss John’s autobiography Me, narrated by Taron Egerton, who won a Golden Globe for his on-screen portrayal of pop’s most outrageous living legend.
    • A Novel
    • By: David Benioff
    • Narrated by: Ron Perlman
    • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
    • Release date: 12-28-08
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,012 ratings
    • If you liked Jojo Rabbit...

      In 2019, screenwriter, director, and star Taika Waititi managed to do what many audiences felt was practically impossible: find some semblance of humor amid the dreadful landscape of Nazi Germany. Fans of Jojo Rabbit’s take on toxic masculinity, insidious nationalism, and the hope of youth will find a similar tone in David Benioff’s City of Thieves. The coming-of-age narrative follows unlikely bedfellows Lev and Kolya through wartime Leningrad with warmth, intimacy, and humor, all punctuated by the resounding, droll delivery of Hellboy’s Ron Perlman.
    • By: Agatha Christie
    • Narrated by: Judi Pennington
    • Series: Hercule Poirot, Book 1
    • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 01-02-12
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 132 ratings
    • If you liked Knives Out...

      Nearly a decade after Rian Johnson, writer/director of Looper and The Last Jedi, first expressed interest in making an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery, his Globe-nominated Knives Out finally hit the big screen. And since Johnson has stated that Christie is among his favorite authors, there’s no better place for fans of the star-studded whodunit to start than with the mystery maven’s very first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The crisp, polished accent of English voice actress Judi Pennington effortlessly handles each twist and turn as the inimitable Hercule Poirot sets out to solve the case.
    • A Novel
    • By: Emma Cline
    • Narrated by: Cady McClain
    • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
    • Release date: 06-14-16
    • Language: English
    • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3,649 ratings
    • If you liked Once Upon a Time in Hollywood...

      Like Quentin Tarantino’s Golden Globe-winning film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Emma Cline’s The Girls sets out to reframe both the disconnected, isolating feel of Los Angeles in the 1960s and the unthinkable acts of violence committed by the Manson family at the tail end of the decade. If you enjoyed how Hollywood tackled the cult and subverted its crimes, you’ll appreciate this dark and shocking listen that imagines the inner lives of the women caught in Manson’s intoxicating spiral of influence and acceptance. Emmy-winning actress Cady McClain’s soft, pained delivery underscores the novel’s gorgeous, stark prose.
    • A Dark and Stormy Knight
    • By: Travis Langley, Michael Uslan, Dennis O’Neil
    • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
    • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
    • Release date: 08-06-12
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,513 ratings
    • If you liked Joker...

      Todd Phillips’s Joker did not feature the Caped Crusader, turning its lens toward the origins of his most challenging foe instead. And unlike the typical comic book adaptation, the powerhouse film was far darker, grittier, and realistic, electing to focus on Arthur Fleck’s mental illness and nihilistic outlook. Like Joker, Batman and Psychology takes an interior look at the Dark Knight’s world, from his affliction with PTSD to why he chooses vigilantism. With narrator Mike Chamberlain’s authoritative yet conversational tone at the helm, even the most dedicated fans are sure to find a new way of looking at some of their favorite heroes and villains.
    • By: Megyn Kelly
    • Narrated by: Megyn Kelly
    • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
    • Release date: 11-15-16
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,810 ratings
    • If you liked Bombshell ...

      In Settle for More, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly shares the private moments behind public controversy—from the moments leading up to her taking a seat at the anchor’s desk to the famous feud that began in 2016 with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. While Charlize Theron’s exceptional portrayal of Kelly in Bombshell won her plenty of praise and a Golden Globe nomination, there’s something special about hearing Kelly’s story in her own voice, as she candidly details the highs and lows of her personal life, her career, and her dauntless journey through the male-dominated world of television news.
    • A Novel
    • By: Elizabeth Letts
    • Narrated by: Ann Marie Lee, Elizabeth Letts
    • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
    • Release date: 02-12-19
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 298 ratings
    • If you liked Judy...

      Judy, an on-screen adaptation of the Broadway play End of the Rainbow, earned praise for its honest portrayal of legendary performer Judy Garland’s struggles with substance abuse and the repercussions of an exhausting childhood spent working in show business. If you found the film’s flashbacks to Garland’s teenage years working with MGM compelling, you’ll be likewise enraptured by Elizabeth Letts’s Finding Dorothy, a novel that imagines the casting and production of The Wizard of Oz as L. Frank Baum’s widow strives to ensure her husband’s work is adapted with the same heart and spirit in mind. The sweet sing-song of Anne Marie Lee captures the behind-the-scenes magic of one of America’s most beloved films.
    • By: Mindy Kaling
    • Narrated by: Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels, B. J. Novak
    • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
    • Release date: 09-15-15
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 14,131 ratings
    • If you liked Late Night...

      Mindy Kaling not only wrote the screenplay for the talk show comedy Late Night—she also starred as the film’s bright-eyed, intrepid comedy newcomer, Molly Patel. If you LOLed at the banter between stodgy, stubborn host Katherine Newbery and the relentlessly cheerful, determined Patel, check out Kaling’s essay collection, Why Not Me? Kaling’s signature sense of humor—timely, relatable, and gleefully tongue-in-cheek—soars with the help of her delivery, as she nails each punchline and showcases a remarkable sense of comedic timing.
    • A Novel
    • By: Lauren Groff
    • Narrated by: Will Damron, Julia Whelan
    • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 09-15-15
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 4,354 ratings
    • If you liked Marriage Story...

      The trailer for Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story teased the story perfectly: one half of the trailer was told from the perspective of Scarlet Johansson’s Nicole and the other from the point of view of her husband, Adam Driver’s Charlie. The devastating, genuine look at a marriage’s collapse has generated praise from critics and audiences alike. If you felt yourself drawn into Nicole and Charlie’s story, try out Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, a novel that similarly draws on the dual perspectives of partners bound together by lies, hurt, and, beneath it all, love. Two narrators, Will Damron and Julia Whelan, voice husband and wife Lotto and Mathilde with depth and dimension, adding to the story’s touching realism.
    • A Novel
    • By: Gaby Dunn, Allison Raskin
    • Narrated by: Allison Raskin, Gaby Dunn
    • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
    • Release date: 10-10-17
    • Language: English
    • 4 out of 5 stars 556 ratings
    • If you liked Booksmart...

      If you left the theater after a showing of Booksmart wondering what would become of best-pal pair Amy and Molly after they parted ways following graduation, look no further than I Hate Everyone But You. This clever, snarky listen told entirely in back-and-forth emails between two lifelong friends who set off to college at opposite ends of the country. Authors Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin joyfully narrate their own exploration of female friendship, first loves, and the trials and tribulations of self-discovery.
    • Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever
    • By: Gavin Edwards
    • Narrated by: Jeremy Arthur
    • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
    • Release date: 10-29-19
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 27 ratings
    • If you liked A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...

      Between 2018’s uplifting documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the critically beloved Tom Hanks-led biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, it’s safe to say we’re in the middle of a Mr. Rogers resurgence. If you’re looking for your next feel-good fix, look no further than Kindness and Wonder. Gavin Edwards’s love letter to everyone’s favorite sweater-wearing neighbor shines with the help of Jeremy Arthur’s gentle, measured narration.
    • Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955)
    • By: Robert Lacey
    • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
    • Series: The Crown, Book 1
    • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
    • Release date: 10-17-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 119 ratings
    • If you liked The Crown...

      Bringing to life the everyday dramas of home and country at the heart of England’s longest-reigning monarchy, The Crown is a favorite of both fans and critics. Young Elizabeth II’s sudden push towards power is the subject of the show’s first season, but Robert Lacey’s The Crown Official Companion will have fans prepped for their next re-watch. With an in-depth historical look at the show’s source material and the crisp, posh performance of Alex Jennings, this listen will have you looking at Buckingham Palace with new insight. (And don’t worry—there’s an edition for seasons two and three too!)
    • The Road to Freedom
    • By: Catherine Clinton
    • Narrated by: Shayna Small
    • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
    • Release date: 01-24-17
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 253 ratings
    • If you liked Harriet ...

      We sometimes have a tendency to view historical figures as mere reflections of their time, discussing them only in context of the greater movement they contributed to. In historian Catherine Clinton’s Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (deftly narrated by actress Shayna Small), the life of the courageous conductor of the Underground Railroad is unearthed, exploring the singularly human elements of Tubman’s journey. If you were inspired by Cynthia Erivo’s powerful performance in Harriet, you need to hear the abolitionist icon’s story in full.
    • By: Carroll Shelby
    • Narrated by: Chris Abernathy
    • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
    • Release date: 11-15-19
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 51 ratings
    • If you liked Ford v Ferrari...

      Before being portrayed by Matt Damon in 2019’s Ford v Ferrari, Carroll Shelby was already a familiar name for racing enthusiasts around the globe. Both an automobile designer and racer, the small-town amateur turned professional speedster made headlines in 1966—years after his retirement from racing—for designing the Ford GT40, a car he hoped would outpace the Ferrari Racing Team at the 1966 Le Mans. Autobiography The Carroll Shelby Story, narrated in the crackling, genial voice of Chris Abernathy, is an in-depth look at Shelby’s life—perfect for fans of the film his work inspired.
    • Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
    • By: Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
    • Narrated by: Peter Altschuler
    • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 04-08-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 10,138 ratings
    • If you liked Toy Story 4 or Frozen II...

      Undoubtedly, 2019 was a huge year for Disney—with new theme park attractions, a full-on streaming service, and a litany of new big screen releases (Toy Story 4! The Lion King! Frozen II!), it was kind of hard to keep up. Fans of its Pixar gems in particular can get an insider’s take on the creative corporate culture that has kept the animation studio thriving. Pixar cofounder and author Ed Catmull pairs with narrator Peter Altschuler to offer listeners advice and inspiration on working and innovating authentically, joyfully, and passionately.
    • Arkangel Shakespeare
    • By: William Shakespeare
    • Narrated by: Trevor Peacock, Clive Merrison, full cast
    • Length: 3 hrs and 8 mins
    • Release date: 05-19-14
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 178 ratings
    • If you liked Succession ...

      If you can’t get enough of the family drama, power struggles, and truly loathsome characters at the core of HBO’s Succession, check out its Shakespearean counterpart. The Bard’s King Lear follows the tragic fall of the titular monarch as he turns over his wealth and power to his two older daughters—a pair of selfish, vicious tyrants—leaving his youngest daughter, who refused to appeal to his ego, disinherited and banished from the kingdom. It can get dizzying at times—but this full-cast dramatization will keep you on your toes through each twist, turn, and betrayal.
    • The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe
    • By: Serhii Plokhy
    • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
    • Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 05-15-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,310 ratings
    • If you liked Chernobyl ...

      The April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Power Plant is the most devastating nuclear accident on historical record. Between the initial blast and the fallout that followed, an entire generation was left stricken by the release of radioactive contaminants. In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy and narrator Ralph Lister bring to light the stories of the heroes, from firefighters to soldiers to scientists, who sought to contain the toxic blaze. Offering an expanded historical narrative that features both the events leading up to and directly following the disaster, this listen makes an excellent companion piece to the acclaimed HBO miniseries of the same name.
    • By: Joseph Cassara
    • Narrated by: Christian Barillas
    • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 02-06-18
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 191 ratings
    • If you liked Pose ...

      FX’s Pose explores the intricacies of life in New York during the late 1980s, focusing on the city’s LGBTQIA+ and gender-nonconforming communities. The show is centered around the drag ballroom scene and the support systems provided by House culture. Get another perspective on the era in Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beauties, a novel that follows the members of the House of Xtravanganza, the first all-Latinx house in the Harlem ball scene. Featuring a gorgeous, aching performance by narrator Christian Barillas and a story that refuses to balk in the face of difficult topics (from prejudice to the early days of the AIDS epidemic), this listen will stay with you long after it’s over.
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