17 Best Audiobooks for First-time Listeners

I love audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks on road trips and to keep my self motivated when I’m feeling down. And no matter how you see it, audiobooks are the ultimate way to enjoy when you are multi-tasking or on your leisure time. However, if you’ve never listened to an audiobook, it can be a bit hard to get started. This is especially true with all the choices you have. I’ve been reading audiobooks for a long time now. So, here are some of the best audiobooks for first-time listeners.

Read: 8 Tips & Tricks to Save Money on Audible

Best Audiobooks for First-timer

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Almost everyone knows about Harry Potter and the noseless baddie. Even if you’ve watched all the Harry Potter movies, I strongly recommend you listen to the audiobooks. The movies left out a lot more interesting story, lore, and character personality to fit the book in a measly two hour-ish format. Add to that, Stephen Fry, one of my favorite audiobook narrators does a tremendous job of narrating the book. The books are kind of long and there are 7 of them but, Harry Potter is a solid audiobook for first-time listeners.

  • Author: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrator by: Stephen Fry
  • Listen time: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.46/5

Download from Amazon

Audiobook for first time listener - 01 - harry potter and the philosophers stone

2. The Martian

The Martian is all about an astronaut getting left behind on Martian surface (Mars). He had to come up with ingenious solutions to communicate with NASA on earth, grow potatoes to survive, create water from thin air and go on a long journey to get rescued. If you like humor combined with science, The Martian is the perfect book to get started.

  • Author: Andy Weir
  • Narrator by: R. C. Bray
  • Listen time: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.4/5

Download from Amazon

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3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

So, what’s the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? Well, it’s 42. If you like comedy and sci-fi with not so accurate science, then The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the best book to listen in your leisure. Trust me, you’ll have a hearty laugh.

  • Author: Douglas Adams
  • Narrator by: Stephen Fry
  • Listen time: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

Download from Amazon

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4. Illuminae

Illuminae is a young adult sci-fi book set in future with lots of action adventure, warships, rogue AI, and wide spreading plague among other things. If you like futuristic stories with heavy conflict and some sprinkled in romance, then Illuminae is for you.

  • Author: Amie Kaufman
  • Narrator by: Olivia Taylor Dudley
  • Listen time: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.31/5

Download from Amazon

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5. The Signal and the Noise

Have you ever wondered about predictions and their accuracy? I mean, how can you predict anything with any sort of accuracy from a universe of data? The Signal and the Noise is a nonfiction book by Nate Silver which discusses the nature of predictions and investigating them to identify the data from all the noise.

  • Author: Nate Silver
  • Narrator by: Nate Silver
  • Listen time: 15 hrs and 43 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4/5

Download from Audible

Audiobook for first time listener - 05 - The Signal and the Noise

6. Ready Player One

Ready Player One is one of the most popular young adult sci-fi books. The book is all about Wade Watts who love to play a virtual reality game called Oasis to escape from the real world. In the game, he needs to solve puzzles to win the fortune. However, the fortune is so great that the other players are willing to kill each other in the real world. So now, Wade Watts needs to face what he hates the most, the real world.

  • Author: Ernest Cline
  • Narrator by: Wil Wheaton
  • Listen time: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

Download from Amazon

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Read: Top 10 Audible Alternatives That Are Cheaper Than Audible

7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is one of the best contemporary books I’ve listened in a long while. In the book, the retired old man named Harold Fry leads his uneventful days one after the other. That all turned upside down when he goes on a journey to deliver a letter to his long-forgotten friend. As the journey progresses, his dormant-sprit wakes up with his memories of old. If you like contemporary or fiction, then this book is one of the must-reads

  • Author: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrator by: Jim Broadbent
  • Listen time: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

Download from Amazon

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8. Little Princes

Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal is a real story about Conor Grennan who goes above and beyond to save lost children of Nepal in a civil war situation.

  • Author: Conor Grennan
  • Narrator by: Conor Grennan
  • Listen time: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.27/5

Download from Amazon

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9. The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City is a nonfiction crime and mystery audiobook that narrates a twisted story of a serial killer who builds a death house with all sorts of torture instruments. If you like crime and mystery, The Devil in the White City is a good start.

  • Author: Erik Larson
  • Narrator by: Scott Brick
  • Listen time: 14 hrs and 58 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4/5

Download from Amazon

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10. Team of Rivals

If you are into biography and history, then Team of Rivals is the best place to start. The Team of Rivals shows the political genius of Abraham Lincoln and how he not only survived but prevailed over his gifted political rivals.

  • Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrator by: Suzanne Toren
  • Listen time: 41 hrs and 32 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

Download from Amazon

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11. How We Got to Now

If you’ve ever wondered how we got here in terms of science, technology and innovation, How We Got to Now is the perfect book for you. The book explores the history of innovation over centuries and goes on to explain complex things in a not so complex way.

  • Author: Steven Johnson
  • Narrator by: George Newbern
  • Listen time: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.08/5

Download from Amazon

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12. The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is one of the best fiction classics of twentieth-century literature. This is a story about Jay Gatsby, a millionaire who throws lavish parties and his faithful and undying love for Daisy Buchanan. If you like fiction, literature, romance, and classics, this book is for you.

  • Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Narrator by: Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Listen time: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 3.9/5

Download from Amazon

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13. 11-22-63

Jake Epping is a normal high school teacher who leads his life like any other. However, due to circumstances, he is teleported to the age of Kennedy and tasked with stopping his assassination. The book has an intriguing story to tell how the history is about to be changed. If you like historical fiction, then you’ll love 11-22-63 by Stephen King.

  • Author: Stephen King
  • Narrator by: Craig Wasson
  • Listen time: 30 hrs and 40 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

Download from Amazon

Audiobook for first time listener - 13 - The Great Gatsby

14. Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1)

If you like detective books, then you’ll also like The Dresden Files. The best thing is, there is magic, werewolves and other extraordinary creatures, events, and things to deal with.

  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Narrator by: James Marsters
  • Listen time: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Goodreads rating: 4/5

Download from Amazon

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15. IT

It by Stephen King is one of the most popular horror books with a fascinating tale to tell that can send shivers up your spine. If you like horror, IT is the way to go. Keep in mind the book is long and it can be a bit over-explained and boring in the middle, but it’s worth it.

  • Author: Stephen King
  • Narrator by: Steven Weber
  • Listen time: 44 hrs and 55 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.22/5

Download from Amazon

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16. Ender’s Game

The Earth is in a war with an alien enemy for over a hundred years. Ender might be the military genius everyone is looking for to end the war once and for all. If you like Sci-Fi and fantasy, Ender’s Game has everything like gruesome war, genius tactics, political intrigue, etc.

  • Author: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrator by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Listen time: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.3/5

Download from Amazon

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17. A Short History of Nearly Everything

We all have questions, some big, some small, some obvious, some not-so-obvious. A Short History of Nearly Everything is a book you should read to know about a bit about everything, even the complicated stuff in a non-complicated way.

  • Author: Bill Bryson
  • Narrator by: Richard Matthews
  • Listen time: 18 hrs and 13 mins
  • Goodreads rating: 4.2/5

Download from Amazon

Audiobook for first time listener - 17 - A Short History of Nearly Everything

That is it for now. Comment below if you think I missed any of your favorite audiobooks for first-time listeners.

Also Read: How to Listen to Audible on Mac and PC

About Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and tinkering with computers and software in general. He especially loves using Windows and writing about it. You can check out his Windows guides at WindowsLoop.