Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks — from memoirs to satire, historical fiction to mystery and cultural commentary. These listening recommendations offer plenty of variety, inspiration and escape. Queue up these audiobooks.

A Promised Land
Written and read by Barack Obama | Random House Audio

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

President Obama’s distinctively deliberate delivery, singular cadence and love of words are all fully on display in this, the first volume of his monumental memoir. The sound of his voice — sometimes professorial, sometimes storytelling, occasionally intimate — is well known around the planet. The audiobook is packed with anecdotes and political memories. What sticks with the listener are the family moments: his growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, the love story with Michelle, playing with his children, the influences of his mom, grandad and grandma.

The Office of Historical Corrections
by Danielle Evans | Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Nicole Lewis, Brittany Pressley, Shayna Small, January LaVoy, Adenrele Ojo, Janina Edwards | Penguin Audio

Seven talented narrators bring the complex protagonists of Evans’ short fiction to life. The stories are a dazzling blend of the personal and the universal, a collection of masterfully crafted moments exploring history, guilt, Blackness, womanhood, American racism and trauma. Evans’s writing is confident and spare, and each narrator amplifies the power of the prose in her own particular way.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
by V.E. Schwab | Read by Julia Whelan | Macmillan Audio

Julia Whelan’s steady rhythm perfectly conveys the ups and downs of Addie LaRue’s life, which takes place over 300 years. Addie makes a deal with a dark spirit to live forever. However, the trade-off is being invisible or, more accurately, unmemorable to everyone she meets — until everything changes. Whelan’s tone matches the adventurous experiences that bring Addie pain, pleasure, remorse and so much more. Her voice fits each moment, making Addie’s journey both sobering at times and unforgettable.

Written and read by Matthew McConaughey | Random House Audio

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Matthew McConaughey’s performance is a tour-de-force one-man show. The product of a self-imposed desert exile with his exhaustive collection of personal journals, his nontraditional memoir offers a series of philosophical reflections of his first 50 years and of life itself. Varying his tone, volume and perceived distance from the microphone, he creates an audiobook that is much like an experimental film, the theme of which is that the writer/narrator, as well as all of us, are spiritual beings having a human experience while looking for the green lights along the path.

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
Written and read by Ijeoma Oluo | Hachette Audio

Ijeoma Oluo narrates her insightful writing in a confident and clear tone. Her voice is a welcoming guide as she delves deep into her study of the legacy of white male supremacy in America and the threat it poses to all, including white men themselves. Oluo explores wide-ranging and disturbing histories, drawing listeners in with appropriate indignation and outrage as needed. Listeners will be moved, disturbed and inspired by her words, compelled to listen again and ready to change the world for the better.

The Duke Who Didn’t
by Courtney Milan | Read by Mary Jane Wells

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Mary Jane Wells narrates a sweetly humorous romance between an incognito duke and a woman determined to lead her father’s sauce business to success. Jeremy Wentworth loves Chloe Fong, but the awkward fact that she doesn’t know he literally owns her home and entire village makes romance difficult. Wells perfectly captures Chloe’s brisk focus and Jeremy’s charming fecklessness, and Wells shows the deep respect and profound bond between them, especially with regard to their Chinese heritage. There’s much to love about this audiobook.

Clanlands: Whiskey, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other
Written and read by Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish, Diana Gabaldon (foreword) | Hodder & Stoughton

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Join Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish on their rollicking, rambling tour of the Highlands of Scotland. Heughan, who played James Frazier on Outlander, narrates with a clear, distinctive voice filled with enthusiasm for this adventure. Speaking in a softer burr, Graham McTavish, who played Dougal MacKenzie, shares the journey. Together, they spend seven days on the road driving from Glencoe to Inverness and the Culloden battlefield, recounting history, commenting on the wearing of kilts, and telling stories of their time on the stage and the Outlander film set. It’s a joyful adventure.

Murder in Old Bombay
by Nev March | Read by Vikas Adam | Macmillan Audio

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Vikas Adam performs the role of Captain James Agnihotri, retired from the British army, as he tells of his experiences in 1892 Bombay. The captain follows the methods of his idol, Sherlock Holmes, as he investigates the deaths of two young women he suspects of having been murdered while also getting drawn into political and military issues of the day. Adam makes everyone feel a part of the action of the audiobook. When one character cries, Adam genuinely cries. When another character celebrates, Adam leads listeners in throwing the party.

Long Time Coming
Written and read by Michael Eric Dyson | Macmillan Audio

The manner of George Floyd’s murder — his asphyxiation at the hands of police in the midst of a deadly global respiratory pandemic — appears to have moved some white bystanders to arrive at tough realizations about the realities of white supremacy in the United States. But, author Michael Eric Dyson asks, will this moment actually manifest in meaningful change? This author-narrated audiobook situates our nation’s current white supremacist systems within a larger, and often unacknowledged, historical context of antiblackness. Don’t miss this.

Jane in Love
by Rachel Givney | Read by Billie Fulford-Brown | Harper Audio

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Billie Fulford-Brown’s British accent and charmingly quaint delivery provide the perfect vehicle for this romantic time-traveler’s tale. Author Jane Austen finds herself transported 200 years into the future, into a world she longer recognizes. Jane must find her way back to her time to prevent her life’s work from literally disappearing. But in the future, she has found the love of her life. Can she bring herself to leave him? Fulford-Brown delivers a superlative performance, captivating the listener from the moment she first speaks.

The Awkward Black Man
by Walter Mosley | Read by Mirron Willis | Tantor Media

Mirron Willis, having narrated several Walter Mosley audiobooks, has an experienced grasp of the author’s cadence and language. This familiarity, as well as Willis’s prudent pronunciation, makes for a confident and compelling reading of Mosley’s stories. Like Mosley’s novels, these tales are digressive and imaginative, dealing with, among other things, a fly’s friendship, the sexual prowess of superheroes, and the transmigration of the human soul. Thanks to Willis’s upbeat delivery — check out his voicing of Billy the Texan — and Mosley’s dabs of surrealistic relief, this quirky audiobook always entertains.

This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.