10 Captivating Nonfiction Audiobooks

Book of hope audio book on a phone on a plaid, fall-inspired blanket

We love nonfiction audiobooks because they keep our minds engaged whether we’re in the car, at the gym, or even curled up on the couch. These must-hear audiobooks cover a wide range of topics, from climate change to community, class to identity, and more topics that will open your mind to the world around you.

By Brandon Miller

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

By Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams

Narrated by the authors. 6 hours and 49 minutes.

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, the world’s most famous living naturalist, has been a messenger of hope and environmental advocate ever since leaving the forests of Gombe and her research work with chimpanzees. In this timely book, written as a thought-provoking dialogue between the two authors, she reflects on how she has maintained her hope throughout the worst times and shares inspirational anecdotes from her renowned career. Listening to Dr. Goodall’s poignant message in her own voice is a moving experience that should not be missed.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Tell Me Who You Are

By Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi

Narrated by Elizabeth Liang, Dominic Hoffman, and others. 10 hours and 47 minutes.

We are in the midst of a much-needed public reckoning on race and identity. At the same time, many of us are hesitant to engage in tough conversations about who we are. For this reason, Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi’s Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity is especially fascinating fare. The authors, who together spent a year traveling America to speak with 150 individuals from all walks of life, compile their collected first-person accounts into a kaleidoscopic portrait of intersecting identities and experiences. Their resulting narrative encourages us to both celebrate our differences and find commonality, and it shows us how to develop a vocabulary to have productive conversations about race and identity.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Cover of Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell

Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It

By LaDoris Hazzard Cordell

Narrated by the author. 12 hours and 33 minutes.

Part memoir and part call to reform, Judge Cordell’s Her Honor takes listeners behind the bench for a variety of cases — from juvenile felonies to drunk driving and adoption — that she tried during her groundbreaking career as the first Black female judge in Northern California. Her stories illuminate the broken parts of the judicial system, stir to action those willing to fight for change, and show the importance of being an informed voter and willing juror in America.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana

By Abe Streep

Narrated by Shaun Taylor-Corbett. 10 hours and 30 minutes.

From award-winning journalist Abe Streep, Brothers on Three is a powerful coming-of-age narrative that takes place on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. At its center are Phil and Will, two high school basketball players for the Arlee Warriors, who lead their team to victory and bring home the state championship title. The winning game quickly becomes the stuff of legend, transforming Phil and Will into local heroes. The book follows the two young men as they carry the hopes and dreams of their community, navigate a mental health crisis, and seek out their own place in the world amidst outside pressures and the biases of the collegiate sports recruitment system.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi

Narrated by Sunil Malhotra, Cassandra Campbell, and more. 5 hours and 35 minutes.

In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and #1 New York Times bestseller, Paul Kalanithi contemplates the eternal question of what makes life worth living. Yet what distinguishes When Breath Becomes Air from other philosophical texts is that Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, examines life while facing the certainty of his own demise. In 2013, 36-year-old Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He died in 2015 while finishing this book, but his words and ideas live on. This is a heartbreaking, absorbing memoir that’s worth multiple listens.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Here We Are

By Aarti Namdev Shahani

Narrated by the author. 9 hours and 38 minutes.

In Here We Are, author Aarti Namdev Shahani narrates her family’s immigrant story, from their roots in India through their time in Morocco to their eventual settling in Queens, New York. Shahani, an NPR correspondent, poignantly relates her life as an undocumented child turned prep school student, contrasting her experience with that of her father, a salesman who unknowingly gets caught up with a dangerous drug cartel. Beautifully told, Here We Are is a captivating memoir about the complications of immigration, assimilation, and family.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Between the World and Me

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Narrated by the author. 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Between the World and Me, written and narrated by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is an award-winning memoir about race, identity, history, and legacy. The book is presented as a letter to Coates’s young son in which the author shares the story of his personal awakening. Coates candidly discusses the experiences that shaped him in conjunction with America’s racial legacy, connecting past injustices of a systemically racist society with what it means to be a Black person living in America today.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York

By Elon Green

Narrated by David Pittu. 8 hours and 11 minutes.  

Elon Green’s true-crime book Last Call offers intimate and nuanced portraits of the victims of the Last Call Killer, a lesser-known serial murderer who targeted gay men in New York City in the ’80s and ’90s. With precision and care, Green sheds light not only on the crimes and subsequent investigation but on the reasons why the murders went underreported by the media and how the queer community remained resilient in the face of so much tragedy. This audiobook ends with an insightful bonus conversation between Green, the narrator, and the producer.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

By Neil deGrasse Tyson

Narrated by the author. 3 hours and 41 minutes.

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the farthest reaches of space and then makes it accessible for the rest of us. With expert clarity and wit, Tyson guides us through a constellation of topics, from the big bang and black holes to quantum mechanics. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry does an excellent job of presenting complex scientific knowledge in a digestible way, allowing laypeople the world over to better understand the cosmos and our place within it.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

Sapiens Audio Book Cover

Sapiens

By Yuval Noah Harari

Narrated by Derek Perkins. 15 hours and 17 minutes.

You’ll have a tough time turning off the audiobook version of Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, as the bestselling narrative is absolutely enthralling. A renowned historian, Harari traces human existence from 70,000 years ago to the present day, charting the ebb and flow of empires and examining existential questions like why just one species of humans survived while the other types went extinct. As Harari explores the distant past and its impact on our present, he invites us to consider our shared role in the world and what we as a species wish to become.

Available at Audible and Libro.fm.

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