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10 best Audible books to download today

Four women staring out of a window
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Audiobooks are the perfect way to experience those classic novels you never got round to reading, or to discover new reads. They're great for when you're exercising, and are also the perfect accompaniment to doing household chores or even mindful activities such as jigsaws (see our best jigsaw puzzles). Or, you can always sit in quiet contemplation and lose yourself completely in an audiobook.

Audible has a huge selection of audiobooks to explore, and there's currently a free 30-day trial, as well as a huge money saving deal on the Premium Plus plan (US only).

To help you pick from the massive variety of options, we’ve gathered together 10 amazing novels that appear on most or all of these platforms; some even read by A-list actors. Classics in the true sense of the word, these novels continue to inspire spin-off TV and movies today, but if you’ve not experienced the originals, you’re really missing out. So take the plunge today, and get downloading...

01. Little Women

Greta Gerwig's recent movie adaptation has brought Little Women back into the spotlight (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Louisa May Alcott’s family saga Little Women may have been written in 1868, but its influence still reverberates around the world today. Indeed, when Greta Gerwig’s movie was launched earlier this year, it was striking how many women around the world spoke of reading it as a key memory from their childhood. 

If that doesn’t include you (and believe us, this is a book for all ages and genders), we’d urge you to find out what all the fuss is about. You’ll soon fall in love with the March sisters, who experience hard times while their father is away at war, testing the bonds between them.

02. The Invisible Man

There have been lots of TV, comic and movie adaptations inspired by The Invisible Man, including the 2020 thriller that hit cinemas earlier this year. Yet none save the 1933 black and white movie actually follow the original story by HG Wells, so if you haven’t read that yet, you’re in for a real treat. 

Published in 1897, this dark and punchy tale follows an optics scientist who turns himself invisible and then, despite his best efforts, can’t figure out how to reverse the experiment. Gripping from start to finish, this chilling novel helped established Wells as "the father of science fiction". 

03. Pride & Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen in 1813 that still captivates audiences around the world today. Why? In part because, rather than being either pure fluffy romance or misery porn, there’s an underlying realism at its beating heart that reflects social relationships authentically. 

And so while society may have changed over the years, the challenges and trials faced by the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, remain compelling. This is a beautifully written story embracing universal themes; one which continues to entrance readers across the globe.

04. Dracula

The face of Dracula, covered in blood

Enjoyed the latest BBC adaptation of Dracula, now available on Netflix? Then check out the audiobook of the original too (Image credit: BBC/Netflix)

A century before Buffy and Twilight captured the hearts of emo kids everywhere, Irish author Bram Stoker’s novel first popularised vampires within the world of literature. But in all that time, and despite spawning generations of questionable genre fare, this 1897 novel has never ceased to be a must-read. 

The story tells the tale of Count Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England to find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a group led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. It’s told not as a straight narrative, but as a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, and ships' log entries; but once you get used to that, you’ll soon be hooked.

05. Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre might be an academic staple now, but on its publication in 1847, it was very controversial, due to its intimate, first person narrative. From the first line to the last ("Reader, I married him"), the book's main character addresses us personally and intensely, and the potency of the effect remains strong even today, especially in audiobook form. Packed with twists and turns, emotion and tragedy, this romantic, but not sentimental story really packs a punch with a modern-day audience.

06. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Yes, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a children’s book. But if you’re looking for the ultimate escapism during lockdown, then you can’t do better than this weird and anarchic tale of a young girl’s nightmarish trip down a rabbit hole to a magical land. If you haven’t glanced at it since your own childhood, you’ve probably forgotten how brilliantly and wittily written it is, and how mindbogglingly surreal it gets in places. What's more, some of the social and political metaphors that passed over your head back then will probably gain new meaning now you're all grown-up.

07. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in 1992, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells the story of a man who ages in reverse: born with the appearance of an 80-year-old man, he then spends his life looking younger and younger. If the 2008 movie starring Brad Pitt went on too long for you, then good news: the original is actually a short story. And it’s a brilliant one, too, effortlessly pulling you into the character's mysterious world, and making you empathise with his struggle as the ultimate outsider from society. 

08. Around the World in 80 Days

Written by Jules Verne in 1872, this classic tale sees Phileas Fogg of London and his French valet attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days for a big-money bet. It’s quite simply a rollicking adventure featuring well-crafted characters and a ton of excitement. While times may have changed, there’s a grand vision and an underlying humanity to this story that makes it as enticing and entertaining as when it was first published.

09. Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway and a group of women looking bedraggled and desperate

The audiobook of Les Miserables is a very different experience to the musical movie featuring Anne Hathaway (Image credit: Working Title Films)

Long before it became a hit musical, or was turned into a film, Les Miserables was a much-loved historical novel by Victor Hugo. Published in 1862, it follows the lives and interactions of several characters in the period culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. Pulling in multiple themes, from politics and moral philosophy to architecture and urban design, this isn’t a light read, nor a particularly happy one, but you will find it a profound experience you won’t regret, and will never forget.

10. The Jungle Book

Written in 1894 by English author Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book is a collection of children’s stories set in a forest in India. Telling the tales of a series of animals, including Shere Khan the tiger, Baloo the bear, and Mowgli, a boy raised in the jungle by wolves, it may have inspired the Disney adaptations, but only broadly: it’s very much its own set of stories. Charming, entertaining and often thrilling, this is a must-read for audiences of all ages.

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Tom May
Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.