Finding diversity on Audible


I’m extremely new to audiobooks, with my only prior experience being the short stories listed in my “Audio Gems in The New Yorkerpost from last month. That said, I was interested to explore something new, and got a discounted subscription to Audible on Livingsocial. My first (very successful) listen was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I knew that for my next one, I’d want it to pick something both more recent and more in line for a blog dedicated to diverse lit.

I’m reading A Little Life right now, which is extremely interesting, and will no doubt be so throughout the 32 hours. However, I did notice that the homepage is extremely lacking in great diverse recommendations (besides Ta-Nehisi Coates). It’s a shame, because when you get deep into the website, Audible actually happens to have a wide array of multicultural choices! Here’s a list of just a few, in order from longest (27 hours) to shortest (2 hours and 25 minutes).

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Written by: Nelson Mandela
Narrated by: Michael Boatman
Length: 27 hrs and 44 mins

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Written by: Isabel Wilkerson
Narrated by: Robin Miles, Ken Burns
Length: 22 hrs and 42 mins

The Blackbirds
Written by: Eric Jerome Dickey
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
Length: 18 hrs and 5 mins

Invisible Man
Written by: Ralph Ellison
Narrated by: Joe Morton (Scandal fans, you might know him as Papa Pope!)
Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins

Written by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel García Márquez
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Written by: Michelle Alexander
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins

Written by: Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (my review here)
Written by: Bryan Stevenson
Narrated by: Bryan Stevenson
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Written by: Junot Diaz
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Staci Snell
Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins

The Wrath and the Dawn
Written by: Renee Ahdieh
Narrated by: Ariana Delawari
Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins

Everything I Never Told You (My review here)
Written by: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min

Second House from the Corner
Written by: Sadeqa Johnson
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins

Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1
Written by: Octavia E. Butler
Narrated by: Aldrich Barrett
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League
Written by: Dan-el Padilla Peralta
Narrated by: Dan-el Padilla Peralta
8 hours 2 min

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Written by: Shonda Rhimes
Narrated by: Shonda Rhimes
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins

The Fire Next Time
Written by: James Baldwin
Narrated by: Jesse L. Martin
Length: 2 hrs and 25 mins

 That was just a fraction of the books that I found on Audible, which bodes well. I’d obviously love to see even more, especially more from the Asian diaspora. What are the best audiobooks you’ve ever read? I know the Harry Potter books, read by Jim Dale, come highly recommended by everyone who’s ever listened.

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  1. […] Finding Diversity on Audible […]


  2. I heard that the audio book for You by Caroline Kepnes is great (if you’re into thrillers). I suggest that based on what others have said because I haven’t experienced it for myself. I don’t get on well with audiobooks. I like to pay attention to what I read and I zone out when listening to things.
    How is A Little Life so far? I’ve heard and read varying reviews of it. It seems polarizing. Some readers love it and exclaim that it’s one of the best books they’ve ever read while others say it’s a bit manipulative because it’s written mostly for shock value and is unrealistic. Personally, I’m not sure yet if I really want to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Im over half way done and I can see both sides. There’s a LOT going on, and I really have had a hard time with some parts. That said, I can’t stop listening. Yeah some parts might be overwritten, but it’s such a well done book. I do get the feeling sometimes that she’s just layering troubles on this character. Also, this particular narrator is fantastic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Junot Diaz’s book has a ton of footnotes, so I wonder how that is handled. I know he narrated his most recent collection himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point– I actually have no idea how it’s handled! If I had to pick a work of his to listen to, I’d rather go for something he read himself, honestly. From what I’ve heard of him reading short stories, his voice is pretty good. I also think authors know how to read their work better than anyone else, short of a prolific actor.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He does read his stuff really well. I go to a lot of readings at colleges, and there are definitely a few folks out there who read their own books like they’ve never seen the words before. Combo of shy and awkward 😦


  4. I’m happy to know you are reading A Little Life! I love hearing that people are reading it. Can’t wait to see your review for it!


      1. IT IS. So many emotions. I knew after reading one chapter that it wasn’t going to be your ordinary book. I just got that feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been putting off A Little Life because it’s so massive. I think your idea to read it as an Audiobook is brilliant. I may try it out. Otherwise, it will take me the rest of my life to finish it :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I felt. This audiobook is really really intense, though. I love it so far, but it’s not a light read at ALL.


      1. When has that EVER stopped us from reading a book? Controversial and dense books be damned.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s such a great idea! I’ve gotten into audiobooks last year and started using audible. As usual diversed reads are seldom advertised but usually I use the search function to see if tbr are available there. Live this list though, it will come in handy. Have you read the Ahdieh? Would this be a great one to listen to? I don’t have access to a physical copy but really want to read it 🙂


    1. I have Ahdieh on e-reader, which means I’ll get to it… someday when I’m stuck on a train commuting home from work. Right now, the only audiobook in my sights is A Little Life. It’s so big, I can’t even think about any others at the moment.

      Honestly, I haven’t even seen many diverse audiobooks reviewed, which is interesting. You’re completely right about having to use the search function– that’s how I found a good number of these.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow A Little Life as audio book, that could take a while 😉 I miss my subway commute, got so much reading done. So now I listen to audiobooks before bed. Which means I need suspenseful or funny ones but nothing too heavy. I’ll give the Ahdieh excerpt a try to see how the narrator sounds, so important. Enjoy your audiobook 🙂


      2. Right now, the project I’m working on is so mindless and monotonous that an audio book is the only way to stay awake!


      3. Wow yeah totally different audiobook needs! Intense long books sound perfect for that. Hope you have a more interesting project soon!


  7. Thank you so much for putting this list together! I definitely wish Audible (and Amazon, for that matter) would catch up and start featuring more diverse authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I was trying to find something to listen to for this blog, and I felt like I had to trudge through, or search directly for an author. Virtually no diverse authors on the home page!


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