The 10 Best Audiobooks of March 2020

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The 10 Best Audiobooks of March 2020

March boasts dozens of must-listen audiobooks, and the full list of our favorite books this month was originally 27 titles long. That we managed to narrow it down to 10 is truly a wonder.

As we approach the sunset of Paste Books, which we’re heartbroken to say is shutting down at the end of March, we’re encouraged to see that the audiobook market is only growing bigger and more diverse. As an inveterate audio obsessive, your humble list-maker will continue shouting about her favorite audio finds when and where she can. But in terms of Paste’s documentation of the most exciting new releases each month, this is us signing off.

As always: Happy listening!

Editor’s note: The titles below are organized first by release date and then by run time.

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Under the Rainbow by Celia Laskey

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Narrated by: Phoebe Strole, Abigail Revasch, Will Damon, Lisa Flanagan, Michael Crouch, Kaleo Griffith, Kristen Sieh, Jonathan Todd Ross, Dani Martineck, Brittany Pressley, Lorna Raver

Run time: 7 hours and 40 minutes

Release date: March 3rd

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Ultimately about the power of community, Celia Laskey’s Under the Rainbow is an ideal candidate for the audiobook treatment. Laskey’s multigenerational tale follows a group of queer activists who move to a small, homophobic Kansas town and mount a two-year campaign of normalization. Featuring long sections told from a dozen different points of view, the audio version brings together ace narrators from all over the audiobook landscape. Avid YA listeners will be drawn in by Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch and Brittany Pressley, while listeners of genre and literary fiction will appreciate hearing Will Damon, Kaleo Griffith and Lisa Flanagan. The warm, immersive performances of everyone on the team will make your Under the Rainbow experience a joy.

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These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

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Narrated by: Karl O’Brian Williams

Run time: 9 hours and 55 minutes

Release date: March 3rd

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

One of the main reasons to pick up These Ghosts Are Family in its audiobook form is the variations on a Jamaican accent that narrator Karl O’Brian Williams deftly juggles. That said, the stories those accents frame—both of the consequences following one man’s decision to lie for decades about having stolen another man’s identity, and of the man’s true family history from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem—are deeply compelling all on their own. That Williams’ performance adds so much to Maisy Card’s reading experience? It’s a happy bonus.

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The Death of Sitting Bear: New and Selected Poems by N. Scott Momaday

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Narrated by: N. Scott Momaday

Run time: 2 hours and 29 minutes

Release date: March 10th

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

It’s hard to imagine a more sonorous voice than that of Kiowa poet N. Scott Momaday. So it’s fortunate that The Death of Sitting Bear, Momaday’s new collection of poems rooted in the traditions of his upbringing on Indian reservations in the American Southwest, has gotten the audiobook treatment. He performs all 200 poems with a storyteller’s resonant deliberation, but at just two and half hours, this is still a quick listen. As with all poetry in audiobook form, however, listening in shorter bursts and taking time to reflect between poems will make the experience even richer.

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

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Narrated by: Jason Reynolds

Run time: 4 hours and 11 minutes

Release date: March 10th

Audible | Libro.fm | SoundCloud

As author and historian Ibram X. Kendi’s original book, Stamped from the Beginning, was a National Book Award-winning blockbuster. In his introduction to this “remix” of the same title for a teen audience, he explains that he partnered with YA novelist Jason Reynolds because Reynolds was the perfect fit: “A great writer snatches the human eye in the way that a thumping beat snatches the human ear, makes your head bop up and down.” As listeners well-versed in the YA audio scene will know, this is especially apt in Reynolds’ case, as his rhythm and flow as an audiobook narrator is just as organically compelling as his skill with the written word. Stamped shines not only because it finds Reynolds at his thumping-beat sharpest, but because it splices literal beats into its short tracks throughout. The result is critical listening—for all ages.

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Wanderlust, USA: An Uber-Curious Guide to Sassy American Pastimes by Flula Borg

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Narrated by: Flula Borg (and friends)

Run time: 4 hours and 26 minutes

Release date: March 10th

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

German YouTuber and joyful entertainer Flula Borg has been a part of online pop culture for years. And with Wanderlust, USA, his new audiobook-only memoir, he’s made the leap to publishing. Performed by Borg in his signature good-cheer-or-bust German accent (complete with his equally signature B+ English grammar) and textured with a silly, on-brand soundscape, Wanderlust, USA is a casual romp into the the American wanderings of Borg’s past—a past populated with friends who happily add their own voices to the audiobook when appropriate. It can be challenging to appreciate the goofy parts of America these days, and rightly so. But it’s worth it to give Borg a few hours to share the weirdest and most wonderful parts of American culture through his outsider’s eyes.

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The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy #3) by Hilary Mantel

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Narrated by: Ben Miles

Run time: 38 hours and 11 minutes

Release date: March 10th

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive

The epic conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s equally epic Thomas Cromwell series has arrived at the perfect time; anyone spending more time at home due to the corona virus will appreciate all 38 hours of this audiobook blockbuster. That it’s nimbly narrated by actor Ben Miles, who played Cromwell in the Broadway, West End and Royal Shakespeare Company adaptations of the series’ first two novels (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies), only adds to that fact. So yes, you probably didn’t need us to tell you to read The Mirror & The Light, but we’ll champion this gripping book anyway.

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Little America: Incredible True Stories of Immigrants in America by Epic magazine with an introduction by Kumail Nanjiani

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Narrated by: Deepti Gupta, Je Nie Fleming, Kumail Nanjiani, Lamarr Gulley, Matt Godfrey, Natalie Naudus, Natasha Soudek, Ramon de Ocampo, Vanessa Marroquin, Vikas Adam

Run time: 4 hours and 4 minutes

Release date: March 17th

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive

Given how much we loved the TV mini-series version of Little America, it’s only natural that we’re jumping at the chance to cry even more with this new audiobook collecting the true stories that inspired the Apple Original Series. Read by Kumail Nanjiani, Vikas Adam, Ramon de Ocampo, Je Nie Fleming, Matt Godfrey, Lamarr Gulley, Deepti Gupta, Vanessa Marroquin, Natalie Naudus and Natasha Soudek, Little America tells the stories of diverse immigration experiences by the people who live them. Stock up on tissues for this must-listen audiobook.

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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston (edited and with an introduction by Genevieve West, with a foreword by Tayari Jones)

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Narrated by: Aunjanue Ellis

Run time: 8 hours and 57 minutes

Release date: March 17th
Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Collecting eight of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston’s “lost” short stories, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick gives readers a chance to enjoy Hurston’s writing at its most biting and economical. Short stories are an art all their own no matter their format, but we especially love them on audio, where the borders between stories are particularly concrete. As performed here by actress Aunjanue Ellis (Quantico, When They See Us), the stories are well-paced and immersive, while Hurston’s characters and all their various accents are both dynamic and nuanced. Whether you’ve been waiting for the right moment to read Hurston or waiting for new content to be uncovered, Hitting a Straight Lick is worth checking out.

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The Last Human by Zack Jordan

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Narrated by: Bahni Turpin

Run time: 17 hours and 19 minutes

Release date: March 24th

Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Sometimes, we just need a good space opera. Other times, we just need a new Bahni Turpin-narrated listen. The two together, like they are here in the audiobook version of Zack Jordan’s sci-fi romp The Last Human, are the perfect match! We already know how talented Turpin is at bringing alien goofiness to life (check out The True Meaning of Smekday). So we’re certain that when it comes to launching the tale of Sarya, the last person left after a mysterious cataclysm wiped out the rest of humanity, she’ll have us all (including Sarya’s rebellious spacesuit) in stitches.

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The Sisters Grimm (The Sisters Grimm Book #1) by Menna van Praag

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Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh

Run time: 15 hours and 34 minutes

Release date: March 31st

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | Soundcloud

This list has been woefully light on fantasy books, so thank goodness Menna van Praag and Adjoa Andoh are dropping The Sisters Grimm before the month wraps up. Following the story of four elementally-powered half-sisters thrust from their magical home and flung to different corners of Earth, The Sisters Grimm promises to bring listeners a sweeping fantasy experience. With Paste favorite Andoh in the narrator’s booth, we’re confident the sisters’ story will be rendered even more compelling in audio form.

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Bonus: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

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Narrated by: Warwick Davis, Noma Dumezweni, Jason Isaacs, Jude Law, Evanna Lynch, Sally Mortemore, Bonnie Wright

Run time: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Release date: March 31st

Audible (Exclusive)

Coming exclusively to Audible at the end of the month, this multicast recording of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard bridges the gap between nostalgic fantasy classic and novel short story collection. In other words, it’s an audiobook lover’s dream. Performed by a collection of actors from Harry Potter’s film and stage worlds—including Warwick Davis reading “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” Noma Dumezweni reading “The Tale of the Three Brothers” and Evanna Lynch reading “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”—this short collection will be available for free to all Audible members until January 7, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT.



Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. She can be found @AlexisKG.

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