Audio Books to Try While You Work From Home

By Lynn Ann Lobash, Associate Director, Readers Services and Engagement
March 26, 2020

Many New Yorkers lost their designated reading time along with their commutes. We suggest listening to a good audiobook during these work-from-home days. Consider listening during a  half hour "commute" on your couch every day before and after you put in your working hours. Or take one along on a solo walk. Here are a few e-audiobooks we recommend.

Really Long Classic Fiction

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (e-audio)

Determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will, Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the Tsars, commits an act of murder and theft and sets into motion a story which, for its excrutiating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its profundity of characterization and vision, is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world. The best known of Dostoevsky's masterpieces, Crime and Punishment can bear any amount of rereading without losing a drop of its power over our imagination.

The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (e-audio)

A tale of patricide and family rivalry that embodies the moral & spiritual dissolution of an entire society (Russia in the 1870s). 

Moby Dick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (e-audio

An 1851 novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book is sailor Ishmael's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee.

War and Peace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (e-audio)

The novel chronicles the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. 

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (e-audio)

This is the story of the savage, tormented foundling Heathcliff, who falls wildly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor, and the violence and misery that result from their thwarted longing for each other. A book of great power and strength, it is filled with the raw beauty of the moors and an uncanny understanding of the terrible truths about men and women. It is an understanding made even more extraordinary by the fact that it came from the heart of a woman who lived most of her brief life in the remote wildness of the moors.


Middlemarch by George Eliot (e-audio)

Enter the provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830, where the individual destinies of tradespeople, middle classes, and country gentry shape and are shaped by the community.

Les Miserables

Les Misérables: Radio Drama of the Classic Victor Hugo Masterpieceby Victor Hugo (e-audio—read by Orson Welles!)

Les Miserables tells the story of ex-convict, Jean Valjean, and his valiant struggle to redeem his past. A potent social document of the poverty, ignorance, and brutality of man, Les Miserables is also a rousing adventure story, famous for such unrivaled scenes as the brilliant depiction of the Battle of Waterloo. Victor Hugo reached the peak of his powers in this far-reaching novel of nineteenth-century France. 

Don Quixote

Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes (e-audio)

Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth century Spain. 




History Lessons

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1 by Edward Gibbon (e-audio)

Recounts the events that led to the fall of the Roman Empire, from the second century A.D. to the fifteenth century A.D.

The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolutionby Richard Pipes (e-audio)

Looks at the decay of the Czarist regime and the causes of the Revolution, discusses the aims of the Bolshevik party, and recounts the major events of the conflict.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the Untied States

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (e-audio)

Told from the point of view of Native Americans, challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how the policies against the indigenous peoples were genocidal and imperialist.

The History of the Medieval World

The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer (e-audio)

Chronicles the period between the 4th and 12th centuries, when religion became the justification for political and military action, a time that included the development of Islam, the crowning of Charlemagne, and the rise of the T'ang Dynasty.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (e-audio)

Chronicles the Nazi's rise to power, conquest of Europe, and dramatic defeat at the hands of the Allies.





Recommended Fiction

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (e-audio)

In 1969 India, Rahel and her twin brother Estha struggle to forge a childhood for themselves amid the destruction of their family and the discovery that the entire world can be transformed in a single moment.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (e-audio)

A story of the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family explores the fallout of the drowning death of Lydia Lee, the favorite daughter of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.


Frankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson (e-audio)

A transgender doctor falls in love with a celebrated professor who is leading the debate about artificial intelligence and conducting controversial experiments impacting cryogenics and the sex trade.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Harcastle

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (e-audio)

Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden Bishop must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle in order to escape the curse, in a world filled with enemies where nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Love In the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (e-audio)

The story of a fantastic wedding, the return of the bride to her parents in disgrace, her brothers' resolve to seek revenge on her corruptor, and the townspeoples' refusal to depart from routine.

The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (e-audio)

In a novel of alternative history, aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election, negotiating an accord with Adolf Hitler and accepting his conquest of Europe and anti-Semitic policies.

Casino Royal

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (e-audio)

In order to rid the British Secret Service of "Le Chiffre," a lethal Soviet operative with a weakness for gambling, James Bond is to bankrupt him in a French casino, but the secret agent's cards are not cooperating.





Never a Better Time

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (e-audio)

This best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!