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AudioFile Magazine's 2021 Best Audiobooks
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AudioFile Magazine's 2021 Best Audiobooks

AudioFile Magazine is proud to present our list of the 2021 Best Audiobooks, including excellent listening for kids, teens, and adults across a range of genres.

Black Boy Joy

17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

By: Kwame Mbalia
Narrated by: Amir Abdullah & Taj Leahy
Length: 6 hours 29 minutes

Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors--including Jason Reynolds (the Track series), Jerry Craft (New Kid), and Kwame Mbalia (the Tristan Strong series)!

Black boy joy is…
 
Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic... Read more

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Kaleidoscope

By: Brian Selznick
Length: 3 hours 1 minute

An astounding new feat of storytelling from Brian Selznick, the award-winning creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabretand Wonderstruck.A ship. A garden. A library. A key. In Kaleidoscope, the incomparable Brian Selznick presents the story of two people bound toeach other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their... Read more

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Stuntboy, in the Meantime

By: Jason Reynolds
Narrated by: Guy Lockard, Nile Bullock, Angel Pean, James Fouhey, Soneela Nankani, Leon Nixon, Chanté McCormick, Lamarr Gulley & DePre Owens
Length: 2 hours 47 minutes

“Have you ever wanted someone to take the fall for you, like fall down the stairs for you so you don’t get hurt? Well you’re in luck! Stuntboy will do exactly that for you, but SHH don’t tell anyone he’s actually DUN DUN DUN Portico Reeves. If I could listen to the audiobook for the first time again I would. With a wide array of narrators and the... Read more

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By: Eric Carle
Narrated by: Kevin R. Free & Eric Carle
Length: 8 minutes

Brought to life by narrator Kevin R. Free with sound effects and music, this The Very Hungry Caterpillar audiobook includes a special read-along track of Eric Carle narrating his all-time classic story.
 
One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. On Monday, he ate through one apple; on Tuesday, he ate... Read more

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Apples Never Fall

By: Liane Moriarty
Narrated by: Caroline Lee
Length: 18 hours 3 minutes

“Does anyone else have vivid memories of when and where they were reading books? For me, the most powerful sensations occur with audiobooks and the narrators that read them. Caroline Lee expertly narrates all of Liane Moriarty's books. I can still remember her crisp, hilarious Australian accent when I was moving into my first NYC apartment. It was... Read more

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Cloud Cuckoo Land

A Novel

By: Anthony Doerr
Narrated by: Marin Ireland & Simon Jones
Length: 14 hours 51 minutes

“Anthony Doerr's novel Cloud Cuckoo Land is a triumph. This cautionary yet hopeful tale of five very different people obsessed with one ancient book will transport you to Constantinople 600 years ago, present-day Idaho, and to a spaceship a generation or two in the future. It's not too late to be good stewards of Mother Earth. Cloud Cuckoo Land... Read more

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Harlem Shuffle

A Novel

By: Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 10 hours 35 minutes

“A wonderful evocation of a time and place, which is not to say it doesn't have the tension of a crime thriller. It's fun to ride along with Ray, who may be more than a little bent, but will likely become your favorite furniture salesman, nevertheless. Read more

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Matrix

A Novel

By: Lauren Groff
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 8 hours 51 minutes

“Groff’s imagining of Marie de France and a convent that she molds into a feminist utopia is magical and moving. Read more

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Justine

The Alexandria Quartet

By: Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 8 hours 51 minutes

Justine is the first volume in The Alexandria Quartet, four interlinked novels set in the sensuous, hot environment of Alexandria just before the Second World War. Within this polyglot setting of richly idiosyncratic characters is Justine, wild and intense, wife to the wealthy businessman Nessim, a Mari complaisant. Her emotional and sexual... Read more

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Balthazar

The Alexandria Quartet

By: Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 8 hours 24 minutes

‘The politics of love, the intrigues of desire, good and evil, virtue and caprice, love and murder, moved obscurely in the dark corners of Alexandria’s streets and squares, brothels and drawing-rooms – moved like a great congress of eels in the slime of plot and counter-plot.’ In Balthazar, the second volume in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, the... Read more

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Clea

The Alexandria Quartet

By: Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes

‘I knew that Clea would share everything with me, withholding nothing – not even the look of complicity which women reserve only for their mirrors.’ In Clea, the concluding part of The Alexandria Quartet, Darley returns to Alexandria now caught by war-fever. The conflagration has its effect on his circle – on Nessim and Justine, Balthazar and... Read more

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Mountolive

The Alexandria Quartet

By: Lawrence Durrell
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
Length: 11 hours 32 minutes

‘Mountolive who had already found the open sesame of language ready to hand, suddenly began to feel himself really penetrating a foreign country...’ In Mountolive, the third volume in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, the events surrounding the interwoven community of Nessim, Justine, Narouz, Pursewarden and the other major characters are given a... Read more

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

An Oprah’s Book Club Novel

By: Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo, Karen Chilton & Prentice Onayemi
Length: 29 hours 48 minutes

“This is the best book I’ve read this year. An ambitious debut novel tracing the history of one family against the backdrop of American history and showing the stories that are remembered and the ones that are forgotten. Read more

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Facing the Mountain

A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

By: Daniel James Brown
Narrated by: Louis Ozawa
Length: 17 hours 39 minutes

“Hooked by page 5! Daniel James Brown crafts a story as compelling as Isabel Wilkerson's Warmth of Other Suns. Told in the voices of those who lived it, Facing the Mountain describes the Japanese experience in American during WWII in the words of Japanese American soldiers and their interred families. Heroes every one. Read more

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Four Hundred Souls

A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

By: Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain
Narrated by: Various
Length: 14 hours 1 minute

“An absolutely stunning history of African America for people who do not normally read history. Compiled of short stories, essays, and poems, it is perfect for someone who is intimidated by lists of names and dates. Each individual voice stands on its own but together they truly make a 'choir' that flows together beautifully. This is a... Read more

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Somersett

Benjamin Franklin and the Masterminding of American Independence

By: Phillip Goodrich
Narrated by: Phillip Goodrich, Simon Jones, various narrators, Euan Morton, Nicola Barber, Joe Morton & Robert Petkoff
Length: 13 hours 41 minutes

An Audiobook OriginalThere is no dearth of writings about the founding of America, but in this under-reported and under-taught story of the American Revolution, light is shed on the role Benjamin Franklin played in bringing the northern and southern colonies together against corrupt British rule. Along with an “Inner Circle” of British... Read more

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Tom Stoppard

A Life

By: Hermione Lee
Narrated by: Stephen Crossley
Length: 37 hours 47 minutes

A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOK OF THE YEAR • One of our most brilliant biographers takes on one of our greatest living playwrights, drawing on a wealth of new materials and on many conversations with him.

“An extraordinary record of a vital and evolving artistic life, replete with textured illuminations of the plays and their performances,...
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Tony Hillerman

A Life

By: James Mcgrath Morris
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 10 hours 50 minutes

The author of eighteen spellbinding detective novels set on the Navajo Nation, Tony Hillerman simultaneously transformed a traditional genre and unlocked the mysteries of the Navajo culture to an audience of millions. His best-selling novels added Navajo Tribal Police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee to the pantheon of American fictional... Read more

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You Don't Belong Here

How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War

By: Elizabeth Becker
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
Length: 9 hours 16 minutes

The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war
 
Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared... Read more

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Just as I Am

A Memoir

By: Cicely Tyson
Narrated by: Cicely Tyson, Viola Davis & Robin Miles
Length: 16 hours 8 minutes

“In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only exceeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.” –President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Honor ceremony""Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. Here, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been... Read more

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