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Recommended Reads

Quick & captivating audiobooks under 6 hours


May 23, 2024

Warmer weather is on the horizon and whether you're lounging by the pool, taking a walk, relaxing at home, or hitting the road, audiobooks are the perfect summer companion. I personally gravitate toward audiobooks that I can start and finish in one go, so I'm always on the lookout for quick, captivating listens. And with the Libby app, my audiobooks are 100% free through my local library and can be downloaded to my device for offline listening anytime, anywhere.

Whether you're looking for family-friendly adventures, self-help inspiration, classic literature, or a captivating romance, these 25+ awesome audiobooks are sure to keep you entertained and engaged wherever life takes you.


We’ve all heard of them, and maybe you even read them back in school, but classics are classic for a reason! There’s always something to learn from these powerful narratives. Here are six classics everyone should listen to:

Classic audiobooks

Animal Farm (3 hours) is George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution that follows a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, only to face challenges within their own ranks.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (5 hours) is a modern classic by John Boyne. This moving story is about a young boy during World War II who befriends a boy on the other side of a concentration camp fence.

The Call of the Wild (3 hours) follows Buck, a half St. Bernard, half shepherd, on his journey from California ranch dog to sled dog and beyond during the gold rush. Throughout this classic, Buck experiences kindness and love but also discovers the brutality and cruelty of man.

The Giver (5 hours) is Lois Lowry’s quintessential dystopian novel about a society that has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness," a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives.

Of Mice and Men (3 hours) is John Steinbeck’s classic and controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression. George and Lennie are an unlikely pair of friends who share the same dream: owning their own piece of land.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (4 hours) is C. S. Lewis’s beloved fantasy novel where four children enter the magical land of Narnia through a wardrobe and embark on an adventure to defeat the White Witch. And if you get hooked, the rest of the books in the Narnia series are also quick listens ranging from 4-6 hours each.

Family listens

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to bond, and these choices are perfect for listeners of all ages. They offer engaging stories that can entertain both kids and adults, making the time fly by:

Family listening audiobooks

Charlotte’s Web (4 hours) is one of America’s best-loved children’s books. Discover the timeless story of the pig named Wilbur and his friend Charlotte the spider. Together, Charlotte and a barn rat named Templeton work to save the pig’s life and turn Wilbur into a sensation.

The Demigod Files (3 hours) is the perfect listen for the family that loves Percy Jackson. Discover more of Percy’s exciting adventures and interviews with your favorite characters. Become an expert on everything in Percy's world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

How to Train Your Dragon (4 hours) is the first book in Cressida Cowell’s series that inspired the hit film series. Follow along as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III learns to catch and train his first dragon.

Matilda (4 hours) is Roald Dahl’s classic about an exceptional young girl with extraordinary powers, who overcomes adversity in her school and family life.

Mary Poppins (4 hours) is P. L. Travers’s timeless story of the world’s favorite nanny who brings a world of enchantment to the Banks family.

Quidditch Through the Ages (3 hours) is the perfect choice to dive deeper into the world of Harry Potter with J. K. Rowling’s whimsical guide to the wizarding world’s favorite game.

Fiction & romance

Add some excitement to your day with these six short fiction and romance reads:

Fiction and romance audiobooks

The Alchemist (4 hours) tells the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. Since its release in 2005, this masterpiece has sold over two million copies around the world.

Finding Cinderella (4 hours) is Colleen Hoover’s sweet and romantic novella about a chance encounter that leads to a search for a mysterious girl.

This Is How You Lose the Time War (4 hours) is a short novel chronicling an epic love story spanning time and space. Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, this Hugo Award Winner is a captivating listen.

Maybe Not (3 hours) is another charming novella by Colleen Hoover, exploring the complexities of a budding romance between two unlikely roommates who navigate their way through love and misunderstanding.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (4 hours) and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (4 hours) make up the sci-fi series Monk & Robot by Becky Chambers. These books explore a hopeful and philosophical future where a tea monk and a robot meet and form an unlikely friendship. They journey together, contemplating life’s big questions in a post-industrial world.


Poetry and novel-in-verse can be especially powerful when listened to in audiobook format. Here are three choices that explore important societal topics:

Poetry audiobooks

Call Us What We Carry: Poems (5 hours) is Amanda Gorman’s collection of poems that address history, language, identity, and erasure. Her work is a call to action and a profound reflection on the past and present.

The Poet X (4 hours) is an acclaimed audiobook, read by author Elizabeth Acevedo, about an Afro-Latino heroine who tells her story with passion and power.

Starfish (3 hours) is a powerful novel-in-verse about Ellie, a young girl who is tired of being fat-shamed. With the support of her father, her therapist, and her neighbor, Ellie works to push past living by the Fat Girl Rules and become her own fabulous self.

Self-help and personal growth

Audiobooks are not only great for stories, but also for personal reflection and growth. These five self-help audiobooks provide valuable insights and practical advice to help you improve your life:

Self help audiobooks

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World (4 hours) by Max Lucado offers a roadmap to overcome anxiety and discover a life of calm and serenity. He shares practical biblical insights to manage stress and worry.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (4 hours) is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quick and entertaining guide to the cosmos for busy people. It covers everything from the big bang to black holes in an accessible and engaging manner.

Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades You Need to Make Them Stick (5 hours) by Jen Sincero provides a step-by-step guide to building and maintaining good habits as well as emphasizing awareness and boundary-setting to achieve personal growth.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High (4 hours) is your key to learning effective communication skills for high-stakes situations. This guide helps you navigate important conversations with confidence and poise.

Get Your Sh*t Together (5 hours) by Sarah Knight offers a no-nonsense guide to organizing your life, overcoming procrastination, and achieving your goals with practical advice and humor.

*Title availability may vary by library & region.

Download the Libby app to start listening to these great audiobooks from your library. All you need is your library card.

🎧 Want more audiobook recommendations? Subscribe to Libby Life for a weekly dose of new releases and what to listen to next.

RELATED READ: Audiobooks you can finish in 3 hours or less

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About the Author

Madison Stoneburner Simon is a Marketing & Communications Specialist for OverDrive. When she’s not working, you can find her reading or creating content for her Bookstagram, teaching Pilates, or spending time with her husband and their three perfect pups. She is a proud member of The Junior League of Cleveland and loves volunteering in her community.


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