We wondered how those accolades aligned with our own readers’ preferences, so we polled our Book Club newsletter subscribers about their favorite audiobooks of the past year. Here are their top 10 picks, in alphabetical order.
“Anxious People,” by Fredrik Backman, narrated by Marin Ireland
This funny, poignant novel, by the author of “A Man Called Ove,” takes advantage of Ireland’s impeccable comic timing with the story of a bank robber who accidentally takes a group of wacky people hostage during an apartment open house.
“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” written and narrated by Isabel Wilkerson
Wilkerson, a Pulitzer winner and author of “The Warmth of Other Suns,” narrates her own story here — a detailed examination that compares America’s racial hierarchy to the rigid caste systems in India and Nazi Germany.
“Deacon King Kong,” by James McBride, narrated by Dominic Hoffman
The popularity of McBride’s novel was assured with the one-two punch of an Oprah Book Club pick and a spot on Barack Obama’s list of favorite 2020 books. (“Caste,” incidentally, got the same treatment.) The book is set in a New York housing project during the 1960s, where an elderly man jump-starts the plot by shooting a drug kingpin.
By far the most popular pick from our readers was this historical novel about the death of Shakespeare’s only son. The novel, which was one of The Post’s 10 best books of 2020, recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.
“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue,” by V.E. Schwab, narrated by Julia Whelan
Whelan — a fan favorite who won an Audie in 2019 for her narration of Tara Westover’s “Educated” — brings her talent to Schwab’s story of a woman who makes a deal with the devil in the 1700s to avoid getting married and winds up, centuries later, questioning that decision.
While this is a 2021 release — so not eligible for an Audie Award until next year — we had to include it because of the large number of recommendations. The new novel by Ishiguro, a Nobel Prize winner, concerns a robot who begins caring for a sickly girl.
“The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey Mulligan
Mulligan is up for an Academy Award for “Promising Young Woman,” but she’s already a winner with our readers, who enjoyed her rendition of Haig’s novel about a woman who attempts suicide and finds herself able to relive different versions of her life had she made other choices.
Part horror novel, part social commentary, Jones’s book follows a group of Native American friends haunted — literally — by killing a pregnant elk years earlier.
“Tokyo Ueno Station,” by Yu Miri, narrated by Johnny Heller
The winner of the 2020 National Book Award for translated literature is a ghost story, of sorts, about a dead man haunting a railway station and looking back at his tortured life.
Stephanie Merry is editor of Book World.