19 brilliant audiobooks that will brighten up the colder weeks ahead 8 months ago

19 brilliant audiobooks that will brighten up the colder weeks ahead

Perfect for the morning commute.

We are always going to have a soft spot in our hearts for cracking the spine of a new book on a cold afternoon, curling up with a mug of tea and getting lost in another adventure.

However, there are times where audio versions of the book are a little more practical.

Like, say, on the morning commute. Or when you're taking a long drive. Or if you've got a little bit of a journey while going on vacation (be it flights, road tripping, train journeys).

And with the weather only getting colder, we're in constantly searching for things that will make our mornings better. So, we've rounded up 19 brilliant audiobooks for the colder weeks ahead.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

15 hours and 41 minutes. Read by Michael C Hall. 

The house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle, the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago.

Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat. But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial.

A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

9 hours and 51 minutes. Read by Amy Huberman. 

When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by hearing about her late husband Gerry's letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they're gone.

Holly is sure of one thing: no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It's taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she's ready to move on with her life.

But Holly comes to realise that when you love someone, there's always one more thing to say.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

11 hours and 22 minutes. Read by Elisabeth Moss.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of 21st-century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.

Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness

5 hours and 50 minutes. Read by Jonathan Van Ness.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix's hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn't understand why he was so...over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgment, ridicule and trauma - yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.

Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there's much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.

15 hours and 5 minutes. Read by Susie James. 

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father - Pikeville's notorious defence attorney - devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself - the archetypal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again - and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatised - Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case which can't help triggering the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family nearly 30 years ago won't stay buried forever....

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

12 hours and 33 minutes. Read by Martin Jarvis. 

The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing, and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan.

Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Put New York Times best-selling authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett together...and all Hell breaks loose.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

11 hours and 35 minutes. Read by Rosamund Pike. 

In Pride and Prejudice, the Bennett sisters try to find their way in the repressive strictures of 19th century society.

Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and the experience of falling in love, and she superbly describes a world which, despite being more than two centuries old, still resonates with modern concerns.

10 hours and 22 minutes. Read by Elizabeth Knowelden.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy's biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims - but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother's doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

19 hours and 3 minutes. Read by Michelle Obama. 

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.

As First Lady of the United States of America - the first African American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

7 hours and 48 minutes. Read by Armie Hammer. 

Call Me by Your Name first swept across the world in 2007. It is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.

During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

André Aciman's critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

9 hours and 3 minutes. Read by Sara Arrington, Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Jonathan Davis, Ari Fliakos, Holter Graham, Judy Greer, Pablo Schreiber and more. 

Everyone knows Daisy Jones and The Six. They sold out arenas from coast to coast. Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy. But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy's moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again.

Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you're fighting for.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

33 hours and 45 minutes. Read by Roy Dotrice. 

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must...and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

18 hours and 37 minutes. Read by Dominic Hoffman, Dion Graham, Bahni Turpin, Allan Corduner, Fiona Hardingham and Jorjeana Mare. 

When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood.

Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

4 hours and 49 minutes. Read by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby's lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy's life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters' fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman

13 hours and 14 minutes. Read by Michael Sheen. 

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent first volume of The Book of Dust series.

Eleven- year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them - a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua....

Barefoot Pilgrimage by Andrea Corr

4 hours and 46 minutes. Read by Andrea Corr/

Andrea Corr's Barefoot Pilgrimage is a compelling and honest memoir.

In part, an exercise in coming to terms with and making sense of life and mortality following the loss of a beloved father; in part, a reflection on an unlikely journey with her siblings through the music industry; in part, a meditation on family, on music and on creativity; and, in part, a shout-out for love and for hope.

This is a very personal - at times very funny, at times deeply moving - book from an iconic figure in popular music.

I AM The Border, So I Am by @BorderIrish

4 hours and 2 minutes. Read by Adam Best. 

I was living the quiet life, watching the traffic and the sheep go by, and then Brexit came along, and I listened to people dismissing my importance. I could see the danger coming in the distance, like a cold front on the Tyrone skyline. So I thought, how can an invisible border be heard?

Ninety-seven years young, the Irish Border may be a late adopter of Twitter, but with almost 80k followers including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Piers Morgan and Alastair Campbell, the Border isn't so invisible anymore.

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

21 hours and 2 minutes. Read by Samantha Power. 

The Education of an Idealist traces Power's extraordinary journey, from Irish immigrant to human rights activist to United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Power began her career as a war correspondent and as a vocal critic of US foreign policy, and then put her ideals into practice while working with Obama in the Senate, on the campaign trail, and throughout his presidency. Power's perspective on government is unique, as she takes us from the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the Situation Room and out into the world of high-stakes diplomacy.

In her characteristically gripping prose, Power illuminates the messy and complex worlds of politics and geopolitics while laying bare the searing battles and defining moments of her life. She also reveals what it's like to juggle the demands of a 24/7 national security job with raising two young children. And, in the face of great challenges, she shows us not just how the United States can lead, but why there is always something each of us can do to advance the cause of human dignity. The Education of an Idealist is a humorous, stirring, and ultimately unforgettable account of the world-changing power of idealism - and of one person's fierce determination to make a difference.


A good book can do just about anything; from taking you on a wild and fantastical adventure to making you feel like an all-knowing super sleuth (if you figure out the killer twist).

But what's good to read? Each week, #Bookmarked will help you out - with an insight into the best novels hitting shelves right now and other faves that everyone needs to read at least once in their lives.