I love short audiobooks! Six hours feels just right. It’s long enough to build an entire experience, yet short enough to hold attention, especially during reading slumps. But reading slump or not, short audiobooks can serve as great breaks from work or long reads. Some would be perfect for long drives alone or with someone with similar interests. This list is just a jumping off point, but I’d recommend keeping a list of short audiobooks handy the next time you’re bored and not willing to invest too much time or effort.
Here’s a list of six audiobooks of different genres tied together by being great short listens.
We Are The Weather By Jonathan Safran Foer (5 hours 6 minutes)
A lot of people choose to not take responsibility for how human activity causes global warming. Even ones who do understand our impact rarely do anything to shift the part they play in it. We Are The Weather focuses on making this issue feel closer to home with gorgeous prose and relevant data. It also highlights how livestock farming is a major contributor to drastic climate change, an issue ignored by many environment awareness books.
The audiobook is narrated by the author. You can hear how much he cares about the cause. In his tone and examples, you hear how he struggles to do his part but tries a little everyday. If you want to understand more about the climate crisis but don’t know wear to start, this book can be a good introduction.
Clap When You Land By Elizabeth Acevedo (5 hours 32 minutes)
This gorgeous verse novel is performed by the author, who is a phenomenal spoken word poet. It explores themes of ethnicity, race, infidelity, and sisterhood. It also explores objectification and women’s issues and the need to lift each other up. The book is tense, moving, tender, and hopeful throughout. I love how the author portrays important feminist themes with courage and honesty. The beautiful verse format is only made more gorgeous in Acevedo’s sweet yet powerful voice.
Content warnings: airplane crash, death of a parent, infidelity
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (5 Hours 39 minutes)
This novel makes us connect with loss, grief, and the quiet sadness that can sometimes surround us. It is also about friendship and human connections, how we sometimes avoid them and how they find their way back to us. It urged me to slow down and put me in a calm daze. Jorjeana Marie’s soothing voice as the performer enhanced the slow confessional vibe of the book. It’s a book that merges past, present, and future showing how each impacts the others.
Content warnings: death, grief, mental health
Over The Top By Jonathan Van Ness (5 hours 50 minutes)
This raw and gorgeous memoir can be best enjoyed in jvn’s confident, high-pitched voice. Anyone who adores them on Queer Eye and is curious about their journey should definitely check it out. The way she carries herself now, I could not have imagined everything she’s been through. To hear the story of this fierce nonbinary queen in all its difficult glory is an honor. The stories of struggling with self acceptance yet learning to love yourself most days made me go, “YAS QUEEN!”
Content warnings: bullying, sexual abuse, sex work, mental health
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy By Douglas Adams (5 hours 51 minutes)
The first book of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series needs no introduction. It has intergalactic adventures and misadventures, quirky made-up words, and the coolest insults! The way it questions the meaning of life and especially life on Earth is really amusing and refreshing. It is a great break from the troubles and stresses of your day. While the short book is a great read, Stephen Fry’s narration helps brings it to life. It feels like the ultimate armchair travel experience as the character voices flood your ears!
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body By Roxane Gay (5 Hours 58 Minutes)
Roxane Gay’s memoir is powerful in her low sombre voice as she voices her trauma. She talks about being brutally assaulted at age 12 and how it has impacted her life. She opens up about hunger, shame-eating, weight, and body image. It is a painful yet moving narrative of her truth. To me, it felt intimate, difficult to read and important.
Content warning: Sexual assault, body image issues, fatphobia, eating disorders
Also check out 6 Under 6: Quick and Engrossing Audiobooks Under 6 Hours for more recs!