20 Best Classic Audiobooks to Listen to Again and Again

20 Best Classic Audiobooks to Listen to Again and Again

Classics are known for their timeless quality, their ability to endure through generations and still hold something significant for the modern listener — whether it’s commentary on a long-gone era or an ageless tale of adventure. In this roundup, each story is paired with an exceptional, show-stopping narrator who takes the tale to new heights. While you may have read some of the stories below, you’ve certainly never heard them quite like this. Get listening now with the 20 best classic audiobooks in our collection.
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    • By: Jane Austen
    • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
    • Series: Jane Austen's Novels
    • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 08-12-2015
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 2,054 ratings
    • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is among one of the world's most beloved novels, but when paired with a stunning performance by a brilliant narrator, it’s an unforgettable literary event. Narrator Rosamund Pike starred as the protagonist’s sister and best friend, Jane Bennett, in the 2005 film adaptation. Having worked so closely with the story, Pike has an intimate understanding of the narrative and its characters — from the feisty, independent Elizabeth to the dour Mr Darcy — an intimacy that shines through in her performance here. Even if you’ve already read Austen’s tale of feminine wit, unlikely love, and repressive society, this listen is a refreshing take on the classic.

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    • By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 09-04-2013
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,306 ratings
    • Listening to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterwork, The Great Gatsby, only further highlights the novel’s excess-laden world and brilliant character study. Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal brings to life the voice of the iconic narrator, Nick Carraway, and the rest of the cast of characters with ease. It was this skilful performance that made The Great Gatsby an Audie Award finalist in 2014. Although the story is told from Carraway’s point-of-view, it centres around the enthralling life of the mysterious Jay Gatsby, and Gyllenhaal’s subtle, yet captivating performance highlights this juxtaposition. He illustrates the people and events of West Egg with a voice that oozes refinement and style — a perfect complement to the grandeur of Gatsby’s lifestyle.

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    • By: Herman Melville
    • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
    • Length: 23 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 29-12-2002
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 218 ratings
    • In this audiobook, American actor Anthony Heald — seen opposite Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs — takes on the voice of the iconic seafarer Ishmael. Narrating the remarkable quest of Captain Ahab and the crew of the whaling ship Pequod, Heald brings out the richness of Melville’s literary classic while still emphasising the humble nature of the story’s narrator. While it seems the central metaphor of Moby Dick has grown almost more powerful than the story itself, this listen does a fantastic job of demonstrating why it became a classic in the first place, keeping you hooked on every last word.

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    • The Fellowship of the Ring
    • By: J. R.R. Tolkien
    • Narrated by: Rob Inglis
    • Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 1
    • Length: 19 hrs and 53 mins
    • Release date: 26-12-2004
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 2,626 ratings
    • The first instalment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a must-listen for audiences young and old. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task. He must destroy the evil Ring of Power before it falls into the hands of the Dark Lord, Sauron. With a dwarf, three hobbits, a wizard, an elf, and two men alongside him, Frodo sets off on a perilous journey across Middle-earth. His destination? The cracks of Mount Doom, where he can cast the ring into the pits of fire and vanquish Sauron once and for all. Narrated flawlessly by Aussie actor Rob Inglis, listeners will set off on an epic adventure through one of the greatest works of imaginary fiction ever written.

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    • By: Mark Twain
    • Narrated by: Elijah Wood
    • Series: Twain's Tom and Huck, Book 2
    • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
    • Release date: 09-11-2010
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 286 ratings
    • This Audible exclusive is narrated by Lord of the Rings superstar Elijah Wood, who does an impeccable job narrating Mark Twain’s witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue with a wide range of accents and timbres. The story isn’t bad, either — as Ernest Hemingway once famously said, 'All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.' An immersively detailed portrait of America’s Deep South, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is simultaneously a raucous boyhood adventure and a searing indictment of the racism that plagued the U.S. at the time. Wood’s veritable rainbow of accents and Twain’s clever style work together to make this a listen that stands the test of time.

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    • By: Charles Dickens
    • Narrated by: Tim Curry
    • Length: 3 hrs and 31 mins
    • Release date: 01-12-2010
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 170 ratings
    • There are few combinations more perfect than Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and the exquisite skill set of English icon Tim Curry. The Victorian tale of guilt, greed, family, and redemption is matched beautifully by the dynamic (and, at times, appropriately chilling) narration. Curry previously performed the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in 2001’s Madison Square Garden musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and he brings the same stage-crackling energy to this narration of the story. With the arrival of each ghost of Christmas, the listener can hear the indignation, fear, remorse, and then, finally, joy in the voice of Curry’s Scrooge.

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    • By: Tim Winton
    • Narrated by: Peter Hosking
    • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 31-10-2008
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 748 ratings
    • Australian actor Peter Hosking brilliantly narrates Tim Winton’s classic family saga about the Pickle family, who are struggling to rebuild their lives after a disaster. The Pickles have just inherited a large house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, and have chosen to take in the God-fearing Lambs as tenants. Having suffered their own set of catastrophes, the Lambs are determined to survive and open up a grocery on the ground floor. From 1944 to 1964, the shared experiences of these two rural families run the gamut from drunkenness, adultery, and death to resurrection, marriage, and birth. The result is a story that warms the heart, and reminds us of humankind’s ability to love and survive amidst adversity.

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    • By: Mary Shelley
    • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
    • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 29-10-2013
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 704 ratings
    • Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking story of a troubled scientist and the murderous monster he unleashes into the world is made even more suspenseful when it is performed by Dan Stevens, who may be most familiar to listeners as Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey. The majority of the story is presented from the perspective of the protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, as he recounts the events leading up to the creation of his monster. Stevens’s cool yet clearly pained voice crafts an intricate portrait of Frankenstein’s inner turmoil. For those who may only be familiar with the horror-film version of the creature and his story, the audiobook is sure to surprise with its deep, cutting themes of grief, isolation, guilt, and the dangers of knowledge.

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    • By: Harper Lee
    • Narrated by: Sissy Spacek
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Release date: 08-07-2014
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,915 ratings
    • In this listen, Academy Award-winning film star Sissy Spacek, who first rose to fame with her portrayal of the titular character in the adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie and the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, gives a new voice to Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her subtle, charming Southern American accent is perfectly suited for the story’s setting, while her tender delivery brilliantly brings to life the voice of little Scout Finch. The novel is filled with heavy storylines concerning racism, miscarriage of justice, and the difficulties of coming of age in the American Deep South, but Spacek’s gentle narration helps remind listeners that the story’s protagonist is actually a naive six-year-old who is just coming to terms with the far-from-perfect world she’s been born into.

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    • By: L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated by: Anne Hathaway
    • Series: Oz, Book 1
    • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 08-03-2012
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 165 ratings
    • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is generally considered one of the greatest and best-loved American fairy tales ever written. While most people are familiar with the 1939 film adaptation, which starred Judy Garland and brought the story global fame, L. Frank Baum’s original tale contains a host of adventures and details left out of its on-screen counterpart. Anne Hathaway’s performance puts its original beauty on display with her enchanting, dreamlike retelling of Dorothy’s journey and her ability to seamlessly shift between each character, from the cackle of the Wicked Witch to the high-pitched chirp of the Munchkins. Hathaway’s exquisite performance earned her a nomination for an Audie Award in 2013, and it’s not hard to understand why.

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    • By: Charlotte Brontë
    • Narrated by: Thandiwe Newton
    • Series: Jane Eyre, Book 1
    • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
    • Release date: 17-04-2016
    • Language: English
    • 5 out of 5 stars 851 ratings
    • Thandie Newton’s narration of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is a stunning accompaniment to the masterpiece that won praise over a century ago for its novel introspective approach to the telling of Jane’s story. The plot, which follows its protagonist all the way from childhood to marriage in the English countryside, is written in prose that can be rather complex. But Newton breezes through the Victorian storytelling, making the plot easy to follow and the characters all the more relatable. In fact, Newton explains Brontë’s classic by saying, 'I think the reason we're so struck by [Jane Eyre] is how Charlotte Brontë manages to relate, expertly, what it means to be a human being... and that never changes.' (And don’t worry: even though Newton is most famous for the roles in which she played American characters, she narrates Jane Eyre in her pitch-perfect native London accent.)

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    • An Audible Exclusive Performance
    • By: Emily Brontë, Ann Dinsdale - introduction
    • Narrated by: Joanne Froggatt, Rachel Atkins - introduction
    • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
    • Release date: 30-11-2017
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 449 ratings
    • This Audible exclusive earned Joanne Froggatt (who most notably played maid Anna Bates in Downton Abbey) the 2017 Audible UK Narrator of the Year Award. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a gothic novel about love, gender, and revenge. Froggatt offers a passionate performance of the thrilling story, providing an element of persuasiveness that makes the characters’ outlandish behaviours feel completely justified. As an added bonus, the audiobook includes an introduction written by Ann Dinsdale, Chief Curator of the Brontë Museum. This introduction puts the rest of the story in historical perspective, and it offers insight about the author from one of the world’s leading Brontë experts. With rich language and a cast of brilliant, three-dimensional characters paired with Froggatt’s flawless performance, this classic is truly unforgettable.

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    • By: Bram Stoker
    • Narrated by: Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley
    • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
    • Release date: 20-02-2012
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 929 ratings
    • Bram Stoker’s classic vampire thriller, Dracula, is riveting in its own right, but the audiobook is truly hair-raising, bringing together a cast of award-winning narrators to tell the bloodsucking story that would come to inspire countless works of horror fiction. This unparalleled performance is perhaps the best way to become acquainted with the origin story of one of the most ubiquitously terrifying characters in literature. Full-cast narration is especially suited for the telling of Dracula because the story is told through a series of letters written by its many characters. Cinema icons Alan Cumming and Tim Curry lend their instantly recognisable tenors to voice Dr. John Seward and Abraham Van Helsing, while Simon Vance and Katherine Kellgren skillfully bring Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray to life. With these heavy-hitting narrators working alongside a host of equally talented supporting actors, Dracula won the 2013 Audie Award for Multi-voiced Performance.

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    • By: Jack London
    • Narrated by: Pablo Schreiber
    • Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 31-07-2018
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 212 ratings
    • The Call of the Wild, the classic adventure thriller written by Jack London and narrated by Pablo Schreiber (known for his roles in American Gods, Orange Is the New Black, and The Wire) is told from the perspective of its canine protagonist, Buck, who is stolen from his home in California and forced to train as a sled dog in Yukon, Canada. It’s a unique challenge to voice an animal, but Shreiber expertly exhibits the character’s transition from tame pet to feral — and sometimes, ferocious — beast. Schreiber is an especially apt choice to narrate this story considering his Yukon-based childhood, a unique background which allows him to understand the harsh conditions of the region better than most.

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    • By: Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated by: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    • Length: 35 hrs and 35 mins
    • Release date: 12-07-2016
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 807 ratings
    • Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is universally considered one of the most formative works in history, and the author himself has said it was his first true novel. Unfortunately to many who would seek to experience the classic, it’s also an incredibly challenging read of over 800 pages, with a giant cast and a wide variety of settings. That’s why Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 2016 performance feels like both a work of art and a gift to the literary community. It won the title of Audible’s Best Classic the year it was published, and Gyllenhaal’s description of her narrating experience makes it clear that she earned the praise. She told Audible, “If I don't give [each character] the utmost respect and understanding, I'm not doing justice to this brilliantly compassionate book. But at the same time, I also wanted to have a light touch in the way I played the different characters, so that the magnificence of the novel could shine through.” Her passion for Tolstoy’s masterpiece definitely shines through in her narration, making this classic story more enticing than ever.

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    • By: Peter Carey
    • Narrated by: Gianfranco Negroponte
    • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
    • Release date: 11-04-2018
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 120 ratings
    • True History of Kelly Gang is Peter Carey's stunning, Booker Prize-winning novel about Australia's most famous outlaw. In the novel, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate, but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, he's a hero for opposing the English. With an enthralling performance by Italian actor Gianfranco Negroponte, True History of Kelly Gang offers a captivating glimpse of how Ned Kelly went from a prisoner to the most wanted man in Victoria.

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    • An Audible Original Drama
    • By: Robert Louis Stevenson, Marty Ross - adaptation
    • Narrated by: Philip Glenister, Daniel Mays, Catherine Tate, Owen Teale
    • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
    • Release date: 17-08-2017
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 246 ratings
    • This listen is a reimagined, full-cast rendition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island. It follows young Jim Hawkins as he and his mother (played by the incomparable Catherine Tate) are unwittingly caught up in a hunt for buried pirate treasure, and wind up among the ranks of the iconic Long John Silver and his crew. There have been a number of adaptations of this story, but this audiobook stands out as remaining remarkably close to the original text in its interpretation: the narrators in this full-cast super-star performance don’t rely on outlandish, over-the-top performances but instead allow the grimy realities of pirate life to shine through on their own. It’s a coming-of-age story, a tropical adventure, and a piece so influential it’s been referenced in a variety of other works from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to The Shawshank Redemption.

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    • By: Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated by: Tim Robbins
    • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
    • Release date: 21-10-2014
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,121 ratings
    • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian and nightmarish look into a world without books. Tim Robbins, the Academy Award-winning actor best known for his superb portrayal of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, narrates the story with a smart yet approachable voice. His tone works remarkably well as the voice of Guy Montag, the protagonist who lives his monotonous life by the rules — which, in Guy’s line of work, is to destroy printed literature and the homes of those who smuggle it — until he’s provoked by his enigmatic young neighbour, Clarisse. A critique on censorship and complacency and a celebration of individuality, this listen is a surefire hit for anyone who really knows the value of a good book.

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    • By: Sun Tzu
    • Narrated by: Aidan Gillen
    • Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
    • Release date: 31-03-2015
    • Language: English
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,959 ratings
    • Written during the fifth century B.C., The Art of War by Sun Tzu is the oldest classic on our list. Still, its enduring popularity proves its relevance in the 21st century. The nonfiction classic’s principles (which are organised into 13 chapters, each concerning a different aspect of warfare) are applicable to modern-day professions and everyday life. The narrator, Aidan Gillen, makes the guide less of a straightforward manual and more of a lively and provocative collection of war stories. Gillen, who listeners may recognise as Lord Littlefinger Baelish in HBO’s Game of Thrones, channels that cuttingly cunning, whip-smart delivery into his performance of Sun Tzu’s collection of war strategies.

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Audiobook lists are hand-picked by Audible editors; inclusion is based on a number of factors including
listener ratings, narrator performances, presence on Audible best seller lists and cultural relevance.

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