Our favorite audiobooks for fall include powerful memoirs and anticipated follow-up novels.
By Stephen Lovely
Fall is for sweater weather, stunning foliage, and a slew of top-notch audiobooks. This season, we’re putting on our headphones and becoming emotion scientists, revisiting the world of Gilead, and following a human-and-canine pet detective team on a heartwarming mission to find missing cats.
Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett, Ph.D., read by the author
Marc Brackett, a professor and the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, knows the secret to raising successful children, improving your family life, and excelling in your career: understanding emotions. In the audiobook Permission to Feel, Brackett teaches readers how to become emotion scientists through a system called RULER (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating Emotions), and he shows them how to apply these strategies to their everyday lives.
Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares by Aarti Shahani, read by the author
Journalist Aarti Shahani’s powerful memoir of the immigrant experience is the right book for the right time. At turns funny and heartbreaking, Here We Are follows the story not just of Shahani but of her whole family, who journeyed from India to Queens, New York to find their version of the American dream. Shahani shares her family’s experiences as undocumented immigrants, their success in getting their green cards, and the one life-changing event that landed her father in Rikers Island and serves as a reminder that the immigrant experience is complex and conflicted.
RELATED: Read an excerpt of Here We Are
Molly by Colin Butcher, read by the author
If you’re looking for a feel-good audiobook for fall, then look no further than Molly, the incredible true story of a human-and-canine team of private eyes who specialize in tracking down missing cats. Molly’s owner and author Colin Butcher reads his own audiobook, narrating the story of this talented cocker spaniel rescue, how he adopted and trained her, and the heartwarming cases of the many animals they have saved over the years.
RELATED: Read an excerpt of Molly
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, read by the author, Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, others
The Hulu original series has brought new attention to Margaret Atwood’s most enduring work, The Handmaid’s Tale. Now Atwood, too, is returning to the world of Gilead. The Testaments is a direct sequel to the original novel, inspired by readers’ questions to Atwood, as well as current events, and it finally reveals what happened to Offred 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson, read by the author
Bill Bryson’s amusing and insightful prose has taken us to Britain and back again, not to mention the Appalachian Trail. This time around, Bryson is turning his gaze inward: His latest book is a tour of the human body that puts Isaac Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage to shame. The Body: A Guide for Occupants will drop in hard copy and audiobook in October, and Bryson will read his own work for the audiobook version.
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, read by Joe Morton
Ta-Nehisi Coates can do it all. He won the National Book Award with the nonfiction book Between the World and Me, and then he started writing comic books for Marvel. Now he’s releasing a new novel, The Water Dancer, in which a boy born into slavery finds himself with a “mysterious power.”
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow, read by the author
Ronan Farrow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal open in a 2017 New Yorker article, but getting the work done was an uphill battle. Farrow and his producer encountered obstacle after obstacle, and that was no accident: Rich and powerful abusers have the resources that it takes to cover up their misdeeds. In October’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Farrow will return to the Weinstein scandal and examine the ways in which predatory elites suppress the ugly truths about themselves.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness read by the author
Queer Eye fan favorite Jonathan Van Ness’ memoir drops this September, and it’s bound to be an inspiring read. Van Ness grew up in a small Midwestern town, where his sexuality and identity made him a target for bullying. Clearly, it didn’t keep him down. In Over the Top, Van Ness shares personal stories from his childhood and teen years with the goal of making readers laugh, cry, and internalize the author’s unique brand of self-love.
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac, read by the author and Holter Graham
Uber was rocked by a series of scandals in 2017, and they culminated in the ousting of CEO Travis Kalanick by his own board of directors. The world learned the details thanks to Mike Isaac, The New York Times’ man on the ground in Silicon Valley. Isaac is back with a full book on the subject, diving deeper into the weird and wild story of how a boardroom coup changed Uber forever.
Me by Elton John, read by Taron Egerton
Elton John has had a big year — his biopic, Rocketman, was released to critical acclaim in May. Now, his official autobiography, which reportedly pulls no punches in its depiction of the singer’s serious substance abuse issues and personal traumas, is set to publish in October. Elton won’t read his own audiobook, but listeners will get the next-best thing: Taron Egerton, who played Elton John in Rocketman, will be on the mic instead.