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Best Contemporary Audiobooks

The best contemporary audiobooks in one handy list. 

Contemporary audiobooks wear hats of all shapes and sizes. Visit Audible or Amazon and you'll find everything from Nick Hornby’s satire to the saucy works of Jilly Cooper to Anne Rice's darker Interview with a Vampire in the contemporary audiobooks section. 


​What is Contemporary Fiction?

 

​This is not to say that the literary world has abandoned the task of defining contemporary fiction. The general consensus is that contemporary audio books must be set after World War II, Beyond that, criteria are less clear, but usually include character based stories based in reality. They tend to examine aspects of society, politics and social interactions. 

 

​Phew. That narrows it down a bit. And does start to bring certain authors to mind. That done, I think it's time to meet some of our lovely contestants. Book 1: What's your name and where'd you come from? (Apologies all non-UK readers. This reference will elude you. And those who do understand, I'm sorry for the song now stuck in your head).


Contemporary Audiobooks 2021
 

In 2021, contemporary means murder, with audiobooks such as How To Kill Your Family and The Thursday Murder Club at the top of bestseller lists. 

Top 10 Contemporary Audiobooks

1

By

Nick Hornby

Read By

Scott Brick, Simon Vance, Kate Reading

Endearing, witty, an entertaining commentary on human nature.

2

By

Gail Honeyman

Read By

Cathleen McCarron

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Charming

3

By

Paul Torday

Read By

John Sessions, Samantha Bond, Fenella Woolgar

Simply Ex-squid-site, Gill-Splitting Brilliance.

5

By

Marian Keyes

Read By

Marian Keyes

Utterly charming. A touch (or shove) too long.

6

By

Nick Spalding

Read By

Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan

Big Fat Fun - Great For Fans of Nick Hornby and Mike Gayle.

7

By

Graeme Simsion

Read By

Dan O'Grady

Sweet, Uplifting Perfection

8

By

Gill Sims

Read By

Gabrielle Glaister

Hilarious tribute to unmumsy mums.

9

By

Liane Moriarty

Read By

Caroline Lee

A Marital Mystery Cleverly Deconstructed

10

By

Fredrik Backman

Read By

Joan Walker

Heartwarming, but slow at times.

Rest of the Best: Contemporary Audiobooks

Phew. That was difficult. Selecting just ten top contemporary audiobooks was a wrench. So here are yet more brilliant examples of this genre, listed A-Z.

A Calling for Charlie Barnes

By

Read By

Joshua Ferris

Nick Offerman

Combine a bit of Shameless, some Modern Family and a touch of The Royal Tenenbaums with a soupçon of sadness.

A Tidy Ending

By

Read By

Joanna Cannon

Lissa Berry

This Year’s Eleanor Oliphant

Brackish Waters

By

Read By

Matt Boren

Christina Applegate

Bitterness Is Such Sweet Sarcasm

Bricking It

By

Read By

Nick Spalding

Napoleon Ryan, Heather Wilds

Think Homes Under The Hammer interpreted as an awfully British comedy. Maybe performed by the cast of Outnumbered or Teachers.

Everything Is Fine

By

Read By

Gillian Harvey

Olivia Mace

An Easy Listen

Existentially Challenged

By

Read By

Yahtzee Croshaw

Yahtzee Croshaw

A Religious Experience

Mammy Banter

By

Read By

Serena Terry

Serena Terry

Fun, Lighthearted MumCom

New Teeth

By

Read By

Simon Rich

Fred Berman

Braces yourself for a wild ride

Nightbitch

By

Read By

Rachel Yoder

Cassandra Campbell

This is a literary art installation. Think Damien Hirst meets American Beauty.

One of the Girls

By

Read By

Lucy Clarke

Natalie Simpson, Sofia Zervudachi

Intrigue and Frenemies and Secrets

Quite Ugly One Morning

By

Read By

Christopher Brookmyre

David Tennant

Witty, gritty, dark and entertaining. If a cosy mystery got thrown in a blender with the works of David Wong. In Scotland.

See Jane Snap

By

Read By

Bethany Crandell

Xe Sands

A Sweet, Sardonic, Fruit Throwing Frolic

Seeing Other People

By

Read By

Mike Gayle

David Morley Hale

Funny, Engaging, But Depressing

Sushi for Beginners

By

Read By

Marian Keyes

Juanita McMahon

Quirky and Hilarious

The Accidental Family

By

Read By

Rowan Coleman

Juanita McMahon

The second instalment of the series is just as engaging as the first.

The Baby Group

By

Read By

Rowan Coleman

Phoebe James

Funny, endearing and filled with colourful characters.

The Babymoon

By

Read By

Melanie La'Brooy

Federay Holmes

Snort out loud funny

The Devil Wears Prada

By

Read By

Lauren Weisberger

Laurel Lefkow

A classic. The audiobook that started it all.

The Diary of a Bookseller

By

Read By

Shaun Bythell

Robin Laing

Charming and funny, sardonic and quirky.

The Echo Chamber

By

Read By

John Boyne

Richard E. Grant

#loved #5stars #UstymKarmaliuk

The House We Grew Up In

By

Read By

Lisa Jewell

Karina Fernandez

An Epic, Stunning Family Saga

The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce

By

Read By

Paul Torday

David Rintoul

A full-bodied, fruity satire that hits all the right notes.

The Last Anniversary

By

Read By

Liane Moriarty

Caroline Lee

Tangled webs as only Moriarty knows how.

The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek

By

Read By

Rhett McLaughlin

Link Neal, Vikas Adam

A layer cake of secrets, lies and divisive characters, addictive to the last bite.

The Maid

By

Read By

Nita Prose

Lauren Ambrose

The Rosie Project Meets Murder Mystery

The Midnight Library

By

Read By

Matt Haig

Carey Mulligan

Mesmerising Story, Powerfully Delivered by Carey Mulligan and with a Kate Atkinson Feel

The Nix

By

Read By

Nathan Hill

Ari Fliakos

Not Quite Dark Comedy, Not Quite Fable

The People We Hate at the Wedding

By

Read By

Grant Ginder

Dan Bittner, Khristine Hvam

Salty and Bittersweet

The Secret Next Door

By

Read By

Rebecca Taylor

Libby McKnight

Big Bad Lies

The Sellout

By

Read By

Paul Beatty

Prentice Onayemi

Interesting Concept, Unique Execution

The Time Traveler's Wife

By

Read By

Audrey Niffenegger

Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole

Staggeringly Beautiful. Incomparable

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

By

Read By

Joanna Cannon

Paula Wilcox

Quirky and Endearing. Plot takes Second Place.

The Undomestic Goddess

By

Read By

Sophie Kinsella

Phoebe James

Funny and Sweet: A Satisfying Life Makeover

The Wives of Bath

By

Read By

Wendy Holden

Suzy Aitchison

Awesomely snarky, sharp and good fun.

Touching Strangers

By

Read By

Stacey Madden

Cherlanda Estrada and Nate Drury

A Satisfying Rummage Through Tangled Minds and Stories

Vernon God Little

By

Read By

D.B.C. Pierre

Nick Landrum

Where Love and Hate Collide

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****!  (Why Mummy #3)

By

Read By

Gill Sims

Gabrielle Glaister

The ultimate in mum-lit is back.

Why Mummy Swears

By

Read By

Gill Sims

Gabrielle Glaister

More Marvellous Mummy Madness

Why Mummy’s Sloshed

By

Read By

Gill Sims

Gabrielle Glaister

A Fond Farewell

Wife Support System

By

Read By

Kathleen Whyman

Natalie Dew

A fun, playful, witty listen with plenty of personality.

William Walker's First Year Of Marriage: A Horror Story

By

Read By

Matt Rudd

Simon Shepherd

If you like your comedy as British as the queue to Wimbledon, this is for you.

William's Progress: Another (sleepless) Horror Story

By

Read By

Matt Rudd

Simon Shepherd

A Chip Off The Old Book

You Again?

By

Read By

Nick Spalding

Henrietta Meire, Will Watt

Pure Fun

Young Wives' Tales

By

Read By

Adele Parks

Phil Hearne, Sara Markland, Clare Wille, Peter Kenny

Snarky, brilliant, fun