Best Audiobooks of 2017

A man walking with a black rucksack on a busy street in New York, Texas

There's nothing like sitting on a comfy couch with a toasty beverage and turning the pages of a good book. But if you're like me and have a long commute, audiobooks are pretty great too! And in my opinion, the production caliber of audiobooks keep getting better and better. Celebrity narrators, special sound effects, and accompanying music and a really good story can help make that commute fly by. Not in any order, here are some of the best audiobooks published in 2017.

Best Adult Audiobooks

Hunger : A Memoir of My Body
Roxane Gay’s memoir feels so much more intimate in audiobook format as it is read by the author herself. Hunger covers food, body image, and self-care with Gay’s trademark style of writing that blends candor, humor and vulnerability. Some authors can flail when reading their own work, but Gay absolutely nails it.

Human Acts
If you read last year’s acclaimed The Vegetarian, you know that Han Kang is a complex and talented storyteller. Human Acts is no different and the many narrators, including Sandra Oh and Greta Jung, do this violent yet compelling story justice.

Exit West
Critically-acclaimed, Kirkus-nominated, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s second book club pick, Exit West was one of the most buzzed-about books of 2017. The audiobook, which is read by the author, also lives up to the acclaim. Exit West is told through the lens of a detached observer, which Hamid reflects in his narration.

Lincoln in the Bardo
The audiobook version of this widely acclaimed novel might hold the record of the most narrators ever. There are in fact 166 individual narrators, including Nick Offerman, Carrie Brownstein, David Sedaris, Miranda July, and the author himself. Why so many narrators? Lincoln in the Bardo is narrated by ghosts in the Georgetown Cemetery where the young Willie Lincoln has been laid to rest. His father, President Abraham Lincoln, keeps returning to the cemetery to deal with his grief.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is a hard pill to swallow in the first few chapters of this book. Unfiltered, awkward, and stuck to routine, her life suddenly changes when she encounters Raymond. Cathleen McCarron keeps the story moving with her smooth pacing and brings some charm to the difficult, yet endearing, Eleanor.


Best Five Children's Audiobooks

Jake the Fake Keeps It Real
A jokester fakes his way into a music academy.

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Unicorn Training
Pip has to get a frightened unicorn ready for the big unicorn competition.

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package
Practical Eugenia is being tormented by a troublesome package. What ever could it be?

She Persisted
Chelsea Clinton introduces thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer.

See You in the Cosmos
Along with his dog Carl Sagan, Alex records extra terrestrial life with his iPod.


Best Young Adult Audiobooks

The Sun Is Also A Star
Against all of her best intentions, Natasha falls in love with Daniel and the two must determine which path they will choose in order to be together.

When Dimple Met Rishi
At a summer program at Stanford University, Dimple is avoiding her parents' obsession with marriage, but hopeless romantic Rishi hopes to woo her into accepting arranged marriage with him.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Before she was a superhero, Doreen Green was just another California teen...with a tail and the proportional strength of a squirrel.

American Street
After her mother is detained by U.S. immigration when coming from Haiti to Detroit, Fabiola turns to her Haitian spirits (lwas)—as well as a mysterious street man—for guidance.

Before the Devil Breaks You
The third book in the Diviners series has the supernaturally gifted heroes battling the King of Crows. The narrator captures the diverse characters' personalities through different voices and affects.


Most Popular 2017 Audiobooks at SMCL

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's popular and succinct audiobook (narrated by the author) on the universe took top place in circulations for our OverDrive and Hoopla eAudiobook platforms.

Astrophysics for People in A Hurry

On Axis 360, JP Delaney's thriller The Girl Before got the most checkouts.

The Girl Before

As for the most popular physical audiobooks (books on CD), David Baldacci's latest Amos Decker novel got the most checkouts this year.

The Fix

Most in-demand (holds) audiobook at San Mateo County Libraries:

What Happened

What was your favorite audiobook of the year? Tell us in the comments.

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