The holidays mean festive family gatherings, cozy evenings beside a fire, and — hopefully — some well-deserved time to yourself. That’s why we put together a list of excellent audiobooks to keep you engaged and entertained all season long. Whether you’re traveling to see loved ones, preparing your home to host, cooking up a delicious meal, or in need of a little break from all that family bonding (hey, everyone needs space sometimes), these acclaimed audiobooks are for you. Happy listening — and happy holidays!
13 Entertaining Audiobooks to Brighten Your Holidays
Tune in to these must-hear audiobooks for a very merry season.
Big Heart Little Stove
By Erin French, narrated by the author. 11 hours and 46 minutes.
Erin French, the renowned chef and author of the New York Times bestselling food memoir Finding Freedom, returns with a delectable new cookbook that’s sure to brighten your next gathering. Big Heart Little Stove is bursting with joy, and the audiobook edition, which is read by French herself, brings the celebrated cook right into your kitchen. Not only does this audio cookbook let you cook along with French while you make each recipe, it’s also stocked with exclusive bonus content like interviews with her family, beloved restaurant staff, and even a few fellow cooks, like Ina Garten. Along with charming conversations and mouthwatering recipes, French serves up some of her best hosting tips for an unforgettable get-together with your loved ones. This season, gather around the table and add some extra warmth to your kitchen with Big Heart Little Stove.
Magic: The Life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson
By Roland Lazenby, narrated by the author and JD Jackson. 30 hours and 2 minutes.
Taking a long flight back home for the holidays? This epic sports biography of NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson is for you. Written by career sportswriter and biographer Roland Lazenby (author of Michael Jordan: The Life), Magic chronicles Johnson’s astonishing rise to superstardom, capturing the athlete both on and off the court as he dazzles fans and elevates American basketball to world-class entertainment. Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to greatness during the team’s Showtime era of the 1980s. Then, in 1991, at the height of his fame, he shocked the public when he announced he was HIV-positive. The disclosure brought his basketball career to a halt — but it was far from the end. Johnson turned the moment into a chance at reinvention, transforming himself into a successful entrepreneur and sexual health advocate during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Lazenby interweaves hundreds of interviews with coaches, teammates, rivals, loved ones, and more to tell Johnson’s incredible story. Read by AudioFile Golden Voice narrator JD Jackson, Magic is a rousing biography of a sports icon that will keep you enthralled through the holidays and beyond.
Being Henry: The Fonz...and Beyond
By Henry Winkler, narrated by the author. 9 hours and 22 minutes.
The whole family is sure to enjoy this bighearted new celebrity memoir by Henry Winkler. The Emmy Award–winning actor, producer, and comedian first found fame as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli on the sitcom Happy Days — and indeed, his memoir boasts plenty of showbiz tales from the sets of movies and television shows, like Arrested Development and Barry, that will delight longtime fans. What makes Being Henry so special, however, is its vulnerability. Winkler shares difficult truths from his childhood, opens up about his lifelong struggles with severe dyslexia, candidly relates the rewards and burdens of embodying such an iconic role, and discusses the complicated experience of achieving your dreams and not knowing where to go next. Narrated by Winkler himself and radiating his signature warmth and charm, Being Henry will be a welcome addition to your holiday season.
While You Were Out
By Meg Kissinger, narrated by the author. 11 hours and 8 minutes.
Winner of an AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award, While You Were Out by journalist Meg Kissinger is a thought-provoking memoir about mental illness and the enduring strength of familial love. From the outside, the Kissingers were hearty and healthy, a boisterous Midwestern family of eight in the Chicago suburbs of the 1960s. Behind closed doors, however, a different story unfolded. Meg Kissinger’s father was manic and prone to violence, her mother was hospitalized for anxiety and depression, and her siblings struggled with bipolar disorder and bouts of depression. Yet mental health wasn’t something you really talked about in the 1960s, so the Kissingers suffered in secret within a stifling culture of silence. Sadly, not every member of the family survived their battles. Years later, Meg Kissinger became an award-winning journalist, documenting America’s flawed approach to mental health care and advocating for change. While You Were Out is the culmination of her personal and professional journey. Powerfully narrated by the author and told with insight, compassion, and flashes of loving humor, Kissinger’s memoir is a moving depiction of mental illness and her family’s quiet resiliency.
By By Mya-Rose Craig, narrated by the author. 9 hours and 30 minutes.
Mya-Rose Craig sees the world through a unique lens. Having grown up in a family of birders, she knows firsthand the wondrous beauty of nature. And as a leading conservationist and youth climate activist, she’s also dedicated her life to defending the environment and ensuring equal access for all. Craig’s inspiring new nature memoir Birdgirl documents her journey thus far — and it’s sure to set your spirit soaring this holiday season. In it, the 21-year-old ornithologist chronicles her family’s birding trips around the world as they search for exotic specimens and document Earth’s splendor and fragility. Craig also opens up about her mother’s struggles with mental illness, revealing how birding offered a guiding light through the darkness. With each new bird, there’s a fresh moment of joy, feeding Craig’s love of nature and fueling her activism. Listening to Birdgirl narrated by Craig makes an already moving account even more compelling. “Mya-Rose Craig’s narration of her debut memoir is full of youthful exuberance, wisdom, and wit” (AudioFile Magazine).
Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery’s Borderland
By Scott Shane, narrated by Rhett Samuel Price. 10 hours and 1 minute.
In Flee North, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Scott Shane presents the riveting true-life story of Thomas Smallwood, a heroic freedom fighter and abolitionist in 19th-century America who risked his life to free hundreds of enslaved people from bondage and coined the term “underground railroad.” Audie finalist Rhett Samuel Price narrates the audiobook version of Flee North, and his commanding delivery makes for an ideal American history narrative to get lost in this holiday season. Smallwood was born into slavery in 1801. After buying his own freedom at the age of 30 and establishing a shoemaking business, he began orchestrating mass escapes of enslaved people to freedom in the North. Together with activist Charles Torrey, Smallwood smuggled hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children across the northern border and away from what he called “the most inhuman system that ever blackened the pages of history.” Afterward, Smallwood would taunt the enslavers and their lot by chronicling his victories in satirical newspaper columns. A gripping chapter of untold history, delivered here in its entirety for the first time, Flee North is excellently written and strikingly narrated.
You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live
By By Paul Kix, narrated by Jaime Lincoln-Smith. 10 hours and 20 minutes.
Written by journalist Paul Kix and narrated by actor and performer Jaime Lincoln-Smith, You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live powerfully recreates Project C, the 10-week 1963 campaign to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, that changed the tide of the Civil Rights Movement. Moving at the pace of a thriller, the new nonfiction narrative brings to life every twist and turn of the pivotal campaign in Birmingham, taking you behind the scenes and into the minds of some of the most influential leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. An AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award winner, the audiobook version of You Have to Be Prepared to Die turns Kix’s captivating prose into a must-hear experience.
By By Ali Abdaal, narrated by the author. 9 hours.
Looking to reset your sense of focus and revive your productivity this holiday season? According to Dr. Ali Abdaal, the world’s most-followed productivity expert, the key to productivity isn’t about buckling down and suffering through long work hours — it’s about joy. In Feel-Good Productivity, set for release on December 26 and narrated by the author, Abdaal takes aim at outdated approaches to discipline and productivity and introduces a healthier, happier way to get stuff done. Arming listeners with an understanding of what he calls “energizers,” “blockers,” and “sustainers,” Abdaal offers practical guidance not just for doing more but for doing it better and enjoying the process. A rich conversation starter and an inspirational listen as you approach the new year, Feel-Good Productivity is “a much-needed antidote to hustle culture” (Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck).
Beyond That, the Sea
By By Laura Spence-Ash, narrated by Ell Potter. 12 hours and 18 minutes.
Laura Spence-Ash’s acclaimed historical fiction debut wowed readers across the country when it hit shelves earlier this year, and its beautifully produced audiobook version is the ideal listen to cozy up with this holiday season. When World War II hits London, working-class parents Millie and Reginald Thompson make the heart-wrenching decision to send their 11-year-old daughter Beatrix to America so that she might escape the horrors of war. Soon after arriving in Boston, Bea is taken in by the wealthy Gregory family — Mr. and Mrs. G, and their two boys. At first, the displacement shocks Bea. Yet as the days and months go by, she begins to relax into her new life in the States, making friends, settling into the Gregory home, and establishing a second family an ocean away from her mom and dad. When the war in Europe ends, however, Bea is summoned back to London, pulling her between two worlds as she’s forced to once again leave behind the life she’s grown to love. “Listeners will be captivated” (AudioFile) by Laura Spence-Ash’s beautiful coming-of-age narrative, narrated by the talented Ell Potter.
The Connellys of County Down
By By Tracey Lange, narrated by Barrie Kreinik. 9 hours and 21 minutes.
Award-winning narrator Barrie Kreinik delivers a moving performance of Tracey Lange’s compelling family saga The Connellys of County Down. Tara Connelly is 30 years old and ready for a second chance at life. But with nowhere else to go after serving 18 months in prison on a drug charge, she’s forced to move in with her brother and sister. Their lives aren’t much simpler: Tara’s brother is struggling to cope with long-term medical issues while raising a child as a single parent, and Tara’s sister is buckling under the pressure of the secrets she’s been keeping. As if that weren’t enough, Tara’s arresting officer keeps showing up unannounced while she’s just trying to put her life back together and keep her family from falling apart. But when big family secrets threaten to boil over, the entire Connelly clan must come together if they hope to thrive. A story of loyalty, love, and plenty of family drama, The Connellys of County Down is sure to delight as you gather with your loved ones this holiday season.
If We're Being Honest
By By Cat Shook, narrated by Kathleen McInerney. 11 hours and 8 minutes.
“Narrator Kathleen McInerney’s range is perfect in this touching comedic drama” (AudioFile Magazine), making the audiobook version of Cat Shook’s If We’re Being Honest an all-around treat for your holiday festivities. When family patriarch Gerry Williams passes, the entire Williams clan gathers in the small town of Eulalia, Georgia, to mourn the loss and celebrate his life. But when a surprise secret of the heart is revealed during the eulogy, shocked siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles scramble to make sense of their grief while navigating their own complications of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery. Packed with a host of complex and compelling characters, Shook’s fresh and funny family dramedy explores the nuances of heartache, love, and family with humor and undeniable storytelling talent.
By By Stephen Amidon, narrated by Cassandra Campbell. 11 hours and 26 minutes.
Narrated by Audible Hall of Famer Cassandra Campbell, Stephen Amidon’s engrossing literary mystery Locust Lane will make your travel hours fly by this holiday season. When a young woman is found dead in the posh New England suburb of Emerson, Massachusetts, affluent residents lock their doors and turn their backs on their neighbors. But as the investigation deepens, three young suspects emerge, and their parents must prove how far they’re willing to go to protect their family, no matter who gets caught in the cross fire. Gripping through and through, Locust Lane is sure to captivate — and Campbell’s transfixing narration will keep you guessing right up until the shocking reveal.
The Angel Maker
By By Alex North, narrated by Rosalie Craig. 8 hours and 1 minute.
Looking to keep the chills coming as the snow begins to fall this holiday season? Press play on Alex North’s creepy thriller The Angel Maker, narrated by award-winning theater actress Rosalie Craig. Katie Shaw’s life is forever changed when her little brother, Christopher, is the victim of a violent attack. Years later, still trying to cope with the guilt and trauma of that awful day, Katie gets a call that her brother is missing, propelling her on a desperate quest to save her sibling. Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page is faced with investigating the brutal murder of a professor of fate and free will. As he looks into the slaying, mysterious connections emerge between two seemingly disconnected cases — the attack on young Christopher and the vile crimes of a serial killer who, rumor has it, could see into the future. Suspenseful and layered, The Angel Maker is an excellent story for a night by the fire.