Staff Pick: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Title: Charlotte’s Web
Author: E. B. White
Narrators: Meryl StreepRobin MilesKirby HeyborneCassandra CampbellKimberly FarrLincoln HoppeMark DeakinsTavia GilbertDanny CampbellEmily RankinJanuary LavoyMacleod Andrews, Bahni Turpin, Julia Whelan

“Terrific.” “Radiant.” “Humble.”

It turns out that the words of praise Charlotte the spider writes in her web to describe Wilbur the pig, are equally suitable when considering the audiobook of this classic story.

Helmed by the unparalleled Meryl Streep as the narrator, this recent version is the first re-release since author E. B. White’s beloved original recording from 1970. It’s a short and sweet listen – only 4 hours long – but one I know I’ll return to. The adventures of Charlotte, Wilbur and the Arable children are phenomenally brought to life in this full-cast production, in which no narrator does double-duty. For audiobook lovers, the supporting cast is a who’s who of nearly two dozen prolific narrators: January Lavoy plays Charlotte with superb subtlety; Cassandra Campbell is a nuanced Mrs Zuckerman; Tavia Gilbert is a very fun Goose; Emily Rankin expertly plays Fern; Bahni Turpin is a wonderfully memorable Lamb; even Julia Whelan makes a small cameo as Charlotte’s daughter, Joy.

Charlotte’s Web is a masterpiece of juvenile literature for its moral sensibility, quotable truisms, depth of feeling, and fantastic sense of humor. White’s prose, while of course suitable for children, can truly be appreciated only in adulthood. I was particularly touched by the gentle melancholy with which he describes the changing of the seasons – so resonant for me at this time of year:

The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into fall the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.

Everybody heard the song of the crickets. Avery and Fern Arable heard it as they walked the dusty road. They knew that school would soon begin again. The young geese heard it and knew that they would never be little goslings again. Charlotte heard it and knew that she hadn’t much time left. Mrs. Zuckerman, at work in the kitchen, heard the crickets, and a sadness came over her, too. “Another summer gone,” she sighed. 

Sad, sweet, and true – and when read to you by Meryl Streep (et. al.), nothing short of breathtaking. Charlotte’s Web is my staff pick for September for now is truly the perfect time of year to enjoy this story, but it’s also now one of my top recommendations of all time.

Publisher Summary:

Brought to life by Meryl Streep and a full cast, this beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is ‘just about perfect.’

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spider web tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Includes an appreciation written and read by Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet, the cover artist of this edition and author/illustrator of Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White.

Read more and sample the audio →


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Celebrate Black History Month with These Audiobooks

It’s February, which means it’s time to celebrate Black History Month. Whether you’re looking for an informative historical listen, a powerful memoir, or even a notable fiction audiobook, we’ve got something for you. Click here to see our full booklist for Black History Month.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Colson Whitehead, JD Jackson 

From Colson Whitehead, author of the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel, The Underground Railroad, comes his heartbreaking follow-up, The Nickel Boys.

Whitehead is at the height of his powers in The Nickel Boys, as he brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

Read more and sample the audio →


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, narrated by Maya Angelou

If you’re looking for a listen that is joyous and painful, and as mysterious and memorable as childhood itself, look no further. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is an American classic that is beloved worldwide. It captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas became a #1 bestseller and was the Goodreads Choice 2017 Winner. Not only that, but Bahni Turpin also won Best Female Narrator at the 2018 Audies for her narration of the audiobook.

Thomas’ debut novel follows sixteen-year-old Starr Carter as she moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Great Stain by Noel Rae, narrated by Steven Crossley 

Noel Rae weaves firsthand accounts together in The Great Stain to create a narrative from an intensely consequential chapter in human history: the transatlantic slave trade.

Rae has provided all viewpoints to eliminate any historical blindspots, and to ensure that the full story is told. The Great Stain tells of good and evil, of greed and kindness, and of a civilization as it develops, evolves, and continues to move toward the future. Full of in-depth research, this audiobook is an important work of history that is relevant to the world today.

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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, narrated by Shvorne Marks 

Named by both The Times and NPR as one of the 100 Best Books of the Year, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

In Queenie, we meet the relatable Queenie Jenkins — a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places. As she continues to make questionable decisions, she tries to quiet the noise from the outside world as she discovers who she really is and what she really wants.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Our Top Staff Picks of 2019 So Far

We’re just past the halfway point for 2019 and so far there have been so many fabulous listens both classics and new releases. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some of our favorite Audiobooks.com Staff Picks from 2019.

From uplifting self-help bestsellers to fantasy oldies, but goodies, the staff at Audiobooks.com have been keeping their ears busy with some great audiobooks and, may I say, some stellar reviews to boot.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, narrated by Jennifer BealsJudy GreerBenjamin BrattPablo Schreiber
Staff Pick by: Pam

Now a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club alumni, Daisy Jones & The Six tells a compelling story of one of the biggest (fictional) bands of the seventies and what lead to their split at the height of their popularity.

In her review, Pam describes how Taylor Jenkins Reid paints such a vivid picture that she had to keep reminding herself that this wasn’t an actual band from the seventies. Read more about what made this such a buzz-worthy listen this year in Pam’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Staff Pick by: Lena

On the Come Up follows Bri, a sixteen year old who, an aspiring rapper. With the odds stacked against her and her family, she no longer just wants to make it, she has to.

In Lena’s review, she dives into how she came to love On the Come Up and how it should be equally revered as Thomas debut, The Hate U Give. Click here to read Lena’s full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Farm by Joanne Ramos, narrated by Fran De Leon
Staff Pick by: Chrissy

In The Farm, Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is searching for a better future and finds it at Golden Oaks (the Farm). Now, pregnant and vulnerable, she grows desperate to reconnect with her life on the outside.

Chrissy was drawn into this listen from the eye-catching cover and I don’t blame her! Read more about what made Ramos The Farm stick with Chrissy long after she was finished reading it.

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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Lenny Henry
Staff Pick by: Graeme

After Fat Charlie Nancy’s dad drops dead on a karaoke stage, Fat Charlie finds out that not only was his dad a god, but he also has a brother he never knew about.

Graeme loved this listen from Gaimanclick here to find out why!

Read more and sample the audio →


Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston, narrated by Catherine Taber
Staff Pick by: Jennifer

In E. K. Johnston‘s second Star Wars novel, Queen’s Shadow, we are reunited with Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo. When she resigns from her position she is asked to become Naboo’s representative for the Galactic Senate. Now, Padmé must navigate her new role and all of the politics that come with it.

Jennifer’s review goes deeper into why this story is so important when it comes to Star Wars canon. Click here to read her review.

Read more and sample the audio →


Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis
Staff Pick by: Caitlin

In this self-help book, Rachel Hollis aims to inspire women to break the pattern of defining themselves in light of other people, and she challenges them to pursue their dreams.

In Caitlin’s review, she chats about how Girl, Stop Apologizing spoke to her and helped her overcome her own self-doubt. Read Catilin’s full review here.

Read more and sample the audio →


Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark, narrated by Paul Giamatti, Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark
Staff Pick by: Kylie

This debut novel from the hosts of the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder touches on important cultural issues while also overlaying never-before-heard personal stories from Kilgariff and Hardstarks pasts. This listen was so fun and made me laugh, cry, and feel inspired. Click here to read my full review.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

STAFF PICK: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Title: On the Come Up
Author: Angie Thomas
Narrator: Bahni Turpin 

Two years ago, when I was attending a publishing program in New York City with a big group of book-minded people, one debut had made a particularly big splash. Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give dominated conversations amongst professors and classmates alike; I simply couldn’t escape the hype around it. However, it wasn’t until my roommate left several teary Snapchat messages to me a year later praising the book to the heavens that I finally picked it up. Needless to say, I am fully on the Angie Thomas bandwagon now.

The Hate U Give was such an emotional and eye-opening book for me—and many, many others I’m sure—that it almost seems unfair that On the Come Up would have to live in the shadow of Thomas’s phenomenal debut. But, no matter how high expectations were for her follow up novel, Thomas has shattered them again. On the Come Up absolutely stands on its own, and it is already making huge ripples with Fox—the studio that brought The Hate U Give to the big screen—picking up the film rights.

On the Come Up begins after the events of The Hate U Give, with Garden Heights still reeling in the aftermath of protests and riots. Sixteen-year-old Brianna “Bri” Jackson yearns to be a rapper. She breathes flow and rhymes and dreams about her chance to break out when she should be focusing on ACT prep. Bri has lived a life marred by violence and struggles: her father, the legendary underground rapper Lawless, was murdered when she was a child; her mother, who battled addiction and has been eight years clean, just lost her job; and her brother, Trey, can only find menial work at a pizza shop despite graduating from college with honors.

Rapping for Bri is not just an avenue for honest expression, but also a way to lift her family out of poverty. When she is inspired to pen a bitter song after a particularly violent and targeted incident with a security guard at her school, Bri thinks her time in the spotlight has finally come—and it has, but not in the way she expected.

On the Come Up highlights the difficulty and frustrations of speaking the truth, your truth, in a world full of people who are bent on policing your speech. As Bri’s song goes viral, her words are twisted and used as evidence that she really is an aggressive hoodlum—an image that many around her want her to adopt.

This is a book that demands not just to be read, but also to be heard. Narrator Bahni Turpin returns with the same power and passion that she brought to The Hate U Give. Bri’s lyrics, which are already compelling on the page, are simply brought to life with Turpin’s performance. I can almost see myself standing in the garage-turned-recording studio, watching Bri speak her truths into the mic.

Thomas, who herself was a teen rapper, wrote the book for “black girls who are often made to feel as if they are somehow both too much and not enough in a world that makes wrongheaded assumptions about them.” It’s frankly remarkable that a novel so heavily entrenched in the issue of systemic racism can also be lighthearted and, at times, surprisingly funny. So, plug in your headphones, and treat yourself to a compelling, fun, and earnest story of a girl who finally gets to step into the spotlight.

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. 

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Read more and sample the audio.

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

STAFF PICK: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Cassandra Campbell, Bahni Turpin, and Octavia Spencer

Hey audiobook lovers! I must share my latest listen with you all. I just finished The Help, which I finally downloaded thanks to my sister’s recommendation. It had been idling on my wishlist before that nudge I needed to start. The novel follows three ladies in Mississippi during the 1960’s as they embark on a risky plan to have the voices of colored maids heard. The book is set during the time of segregation in the US, and we are reminded of how much progress has been made, as well as how much has stayed stagnant. Secrets and motivations of the characters are revealed as the book unravels and it truly was hard to stop listening. I loved the three main characters; they were well developed and layered with wit, sass and smarts. 

I loved it even more as an audiobook. The narrators portray each character’s accent, background and personality to a tee. Minny, my favorite character is bold and hot-headed, and her volatile, no-nonsense attitude spills through your ears. This contrasts Aibileen, the other maid in the tale who makes decisions with level-headed calculation. The third main character, Skeeter, is a white lady from the town who uses what advantages and smarts she has to give a voice to the other ladies. Whether you’re determined with Aibileen or tense and worked-up with Minny, the narrators keep you submerged in the story. By the end of the book I was sad to see them go, but very satisfied by a good listen.

The Help is similarly adored by our listeners, with 4.5 stars for the story and a 5-star narration. If you’ve been looking for a new story to dive into, please give this one a listen and let me know what you think!

Page to Screen in May 2017

The month of May will see its fair share of shows and movies adapted from popular books. Check out what’s upcoming and take a listen before they hit the screen!
The Dinner
, by Herman Koch
Expected Release: May 5th

Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, conversation between two couples remains a gentle hum of polite discourse-the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love… Read more and listen to a sample


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
 – a classic legend rewritten many times over. We linked to a great version but search the site for others!
Expected Release: May 12th

Uther Pendragon, High King of Celtic Britain, is nearing death, and his kingdom is being torn apart. Only one man can bring the Celts together as a nation and restore peace—King Arthur. Artorex (Arthur) doesn’t yet seem like the great man he will grow into. We meet him as a shy, subservient twelve-year-old living in the foster home of Lord Ector, who took in Artorex as a babe to protect him from murderous kin. Life has been unremarkable until the arrival of three influential men who arrange for Arthur to be taught the martial skills of the warrior. Little does Artorex know that these three men—one of whom is Merlin—secretly hope that one day he will take Uther’s crown and restore peace to Britain… Read more and listen to a sample


Everything, Everything
, by Nicola Yoon
Expected Release: May 19th

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster… Read more and listen to a sample


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
, by Jeff Kinney
Expected Release: May 19th

A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun… unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget… Read more and listen to a sample

Which of May’s renditions are you most excited for? Let me know!