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April 2, 2009

Best Free Audio Books Online

Here we have showcased 50 of the top free audiobook downloads available online. For the past three years we've featured a Free Audio Book every Friday as part of our Free Resource of the Day Emails. From these resources we've selected the top 50 free audiobook downloads. You can check them all out by clicking the titles below.

1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Podcast

This edition of Mark Twain's great American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the top free audio books on the internet. It is professionally narrated by Marc Devine and offered as an unabridged, 9-1/2 hour mp3 audiobook from Literal Systems. Listen to the classic tale of Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave Jim as they take a raft down the Mississippi River to escape the confines of civilized life. This audio book is available as a podcast and it can be downloaded or subscribed to. Enjoy this classic work of American literature!

2. The Scarlet Letter

Listen to one of the all-time great works of American literature: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This newly published edition from LoudLit.org is professionally narrated by Mary Woods and available unabridged on MP3 download. Hear the tale of Hester Prynne who is forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her bosom after she commits adultery and becomes pregnant in the 17th-century Puritan village of Boston, Massachusetts. Download and listen to this American classic today!

3. Pride and Prejudice Podcast

Download Jane Austen's undeniable classic Pride and Prejudice. Hear the story of the courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in early 19th century England. Published in 1813 this classic tale of love, reputation, and class remains one of the most beloved books of all time. This edition is well narrated by Karen Savage at LibriVox. She has a British accent and a nice flair for character narration. This unabridged novel has a running time of 10 Hrs. 25 Min. and is available on MP3 download from LibriVox.org.

4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Here's a great short story you can listen to. It is written by Washington Irving, one of the first acclaimed American authors. It tells the tale of a Dutch settlement called Sleepy Hollow which is haunted by the legend of a Headless Horseman. This story is read by Chip at LibriVox and his narration is magnificent. It's available on MP3 Download.

5. Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka's novella is a bonafide 20th century classic about a traveling salesman that wakes up one morning to find his body has been transformed into that of a giant dung beatle. This highly symbolic tale about the plight of the modern working man, human alienation, and the eternal need to fit in has gone on to be Kafka's signature work. The audio version is brought to you through Thought Audio, and is narrated in a crisp performance by Michael Scott. If you've ever been interested in Kafka or have heard of the story's premise but never checked it out, now is the time. This book really is as good as everyone says!

6. The Law

Frederic Bastiat's "The Law" produced by FreeAudio.org is one of the best free audio books available. Bastiat's brief treatise on law is a passionate cry for his belief that law should only be put in place to maintain life, liberty, and property. He denounces legislators and philosophers who seek legalized plunder, moral coercion, and numerous other methods of force through law which encroach on liberties. The production quality is professional and Marvin Payne's narration is superb. You can download this title through LearnOutLoud.com on MP3 or MPEG-4 (if you want to bookmark it in your iPod).

7. The Age of Innocence

Listen to Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence. Brenda Dayne has narrated a very fine unabridged recording of the book and put it out in its entirety as a podcast. Immerse yourself into the upper class of New York City, in an age when "being things" was better than "doing things"!

8. Macbeth

Listen to William Shakespeare's famous tragedy Macbeth on streaming audio and MP3 download. This full cast dramatization of the play is offered by Wired for Books. Hear all the drama of Macbeth's bloody grab for power and his subsequent unraveling. The play stars Mark Mann as Macbeth and Laura Lee Parrotti as Lady Macbeth.

9. Alice in Wonderland by Storynory Podcast

Listen to Lewis Carroll's fantastic tale of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland offered as a podcast by Storynory. Follow Alice down the Rabbit Hole as she meets the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and many other curious characters. The story twists logic in ways that have entertained both kids and adults since it was first published in 1865. This 12-chapter, unabridged audio book is professionally narrated by actress Natasha Gostwick, and is available on MP3 download.

10. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Ejunto.com presents this free unabridged edition of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Written by Benjamin Franklin over the course of 20 years, this autobiography follows major events of Franklin's life including his publication of Poor Richard's Almanac, his quest for "moral perfection", and many other significant events reflecting life in 18th century America. The book is well narrated by Andrew Julow. Download this 6 hour audio book on MP3 from ejunto.com.

11. A Tale of Two Cities Podcast

Check out this free unabridged professional recording of A Tale of Two Cities, released by Literal Systems. Listen to this sweeping historical novel set in London and Paris around the time of the French Revolution. The audio quality is top notch and Jane Ayer's narration is superb. This classic 14-hour audio book is available on MP3 download as a podcast from Literal Systems.

12. Poetry Out Loud: Audio Guide

Download and listen to this series of MP3s from the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Out Loud program. This audio guide features some of the most famous poems of all time read by distinguished actors and writers.

13. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Published in 1845, this autobiographical memoir written by the ex-slave Frederick Douglass tells of the treatment he endured as a slave and was a key work in promoting the abolition of slavery in America. This classic audio book is published by FreeAudio.org, and they've allowed us to offer it as a free MP3 download through LearnOutLoud.com.

14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A gentleman over at LibriVox has recently narrated James Joyce's first novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This classic tale of Stephen Dedalus follows the young man during his formative years as he breaks away from the Irish Catholic conventions of his past to become an artist who will "encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." The narrator is Peter Bobbe and it sounds like he's done a fine job with a high quality recording. Download this unabridged audio book on MP3 from LibriVox.

15. The Republic

The Republic by Plato is one of the most influential works of philosophy in history. In the form of Socratic dialogue, Plato's teacher and protagonist Socrates sets out to find an answer to the question: "What is justice?". Along the way Socrates discusses the ideal city-state and his theory of forms, which includes his famous allegory of the cave. This is a new, freely available, unabridged edition of The Republic. It is well read by narrator Doug McLeod and is available on MP3 download from ejunto.com.

16. Heart of Darkness Audiobook Podcast

Joseph Conrad's classic novella Heart of Darkness has recently been made available for free on audio download. LoudLit.org and LiteralSystems have produced this professional sounding audio book that is narrated by Tom Franks. Listen to the highly symbolic tale of Marlow's journey down the Congo River. This unabridged audio book is available on MP3 Download from and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.

17. Bartleby, the Scrivener

Far from Melville's sea-faring novels, is this short story which is set on Wall Street. A lawyer hires a peculiar scrivener who soon begins living in the law office. Similar to themes in many Kafka stories, this short story is one of the most famous in American literature.

18. Anthem

Ayn Rand's books are made for audio. In these busy times very few people have the time to sit down and read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. But get these audio books and pop them on in your car while you're commuting and you can finish them up in a month or two. It's a great testament to the opportunity represented by audio learning. If you would like to check start off with a more bite-sized portion of Rand's wisdom check out ThoughtAudio's production of Anthem, one of Rand's earlier novels. Anthem sets the stage for what's to come in Rand's later works. It's an entertaining science fiction novella and a great introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy. This audio book is available on MP3 download through ThoughAudio.com and narrated by Michael Scott.

19. Uncle Tom's Cabin

Listen to Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic American novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. One of the bestselling novels of its time, the book vividly depicts African American slavery and it had a profound influence on the abolitionist movement. This unabridged 18-hour audio book is dynamically narrated by John Greenman and available on MP3 download through LibriVox.org.

20. The Iliad

Listen to Homer's ancient Greek epic poem The Iliad, translated by Samuel Butler. Learn about the wrath of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, along with a whole cast of Greeks, Trojans, and gods that battle throughout the final year of the siege of Troy. Attributed to Homer in the 8th century B.C., The Iliad stands as the oldest work of European literature still in existence. It is read by a number of different volunteer narrators at LibriVox and the quality sounds pretty good for each of them. It is unabridged with a running time of 14 Hrs. 30 Min. and is available on MP3 download through Librivox.org.

21. Herman Melville's Typee

Listen to Herman Melville’s first book Typee available from Americana Phonic on MP3 download. The narrative recounts Melville's real life experiences when he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands in 1842, and became a captive of a cannibal island tribe. This 11 1/2 hour audio book is available unabridged with excellent narration by Michael Scherer, who doesn't overdramatize yet still does a great sailor's voice!

22. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Podcast

Listen to Arthur Conan Doyle's classic collection of twelve stories entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. These are the first Sherlock Holmes short stories Doyle wrote, and they serve as an excellent introduction to the greatest fictional detective of all time. Each of these stories are available on the podcast feed as separate downloads, so you can listen to any one of them. They've been made available by the podcast host SwitchPod, and the British narrator for these stories is absolutely superb.

23. The Time Machine

Travel into the future with H.G. Wells' classic novel The Time Machine. Bear witness to Morlocks and more in the year 802,701 A.D. This audio book is available on MP3 Digital Download from Project Gutenberg. It is well narrated by Roy Trumbull who runs The Story Spieler site which features many other stories and interesting audio programs.

24. The Federalist Papers

Michael Scherer at Americana Phonic has completed the narration of all 85 of The Federalist Papers which were written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. These 85 articles argued for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and have remained as some of the most influential political philosophy composed in the United States. Highlights include Federalist No. 10, Federalist Paper No. 51, and Federalist No. 84. Download all of The Federalist Paper on MP3 from Americana Phonic.

25. Spirits in Bondage

Download C.S. Lewis' first book "Spirits in Bondage" available from LibriVox. It was published in 1919 and consists of 40 poems that the 20-year-old Lewis wrote shortly after his service in World War I. Written before Lewis' conversion to Christianity, these poems contain a pessimistic outlook on religion, God, and nature along with numerous references to mythology. This audio book is well narrated by Robert Garrison and available on MP3 download through LibriVox.

26. The Red Badge of Courage

Audiobooks.org is now offering a free unabridged recording of Stephen Crane's Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage. Listen as the soldier Henry Fleming enters the American Civil War, and is forced to transform from fear to courage. Told in an unflinchingly realistic and journalistic style, this novel ranks among the best American war stories. It is professionally narrated by Scott Brick and available on MP3 download from Audiobooks.org.

27. Moby Dick

Ready to listen to a free unabridged recording of Moby Dick? LibriVox narrator Stewart Wills has put forth the service of recording this entire 135-chaptered classic, and he does quite a good job. Listen to Herman Melville's epic whaling tale, available on MP3 download.

28. Ethan Frome

Listen to American author Edith Wharton's classic novel Ethan Frome. Set in the wintry New England town named Starkfield at the turn of the 20th century, this novel tells the story of Ethan Frome as he seeks to escape his sickly wife Zeena for his young, beautiful cousin Mattie. Running a modest 3 Hrs. and 15 Min., it's a great quick listen for newcomers and fans of the literature of Edith Wharton. This title is well narrated by Elizabeth Klett and is available to download on MP3 from LibriVox.org.

29. Utopia Podcast

Download Sir Thomas More's famous work Utopia, published in 1515. This title refers to an imaginary society More developed in order to show the virtues of a place where private property does not exist, almost complete religious toleration is practiced, and other things took shape which More imagined would lead to societal perfection. This controversial novel is superbly narrated by Patrick Horgan and available as a downloadable podcast courtesy of SwitchPod.

30. War of the Worlds

Listen to this free unabridged edition of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Published in 1898, this classic science fiction novel depicts for the first time an alien invasion of Earth. Rebecca (a British man) delivers a splendid narration. This audio book is available from LibriVox on MP3 download.

31. The Man Who Was Thursday Podcast

Listen to G. K. Chesterton's metaphysical thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. Chesterton sets this novel in turn-of-the-century London, as Scotland Yard sends a poet named Gabriel Syme undercover to investigate a group of anarchist poets. He is soon elected to the Central Council of Anarchists and given the code name Thursday. Chesterton includes many metaphysical and theological discussions in the book. This audio book is unabridged and well narrated by Zachary Brewster-Geisz. It is available on MP3 download and can also be subscribed to as a podcast through iTunes.

32. The Souls of Black Folk

Listen to an unabridged recording of W.E.B. Du Bois' classic work of African-American literature The Souls of Black Folk. Published in 1903, Du Bois begins his collection of essays on race with the statement that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line." The essays that followed were instrumental to the intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century. This audio book is read in a straightforward manner by Torias Uncle at Librivox and is available on MP3 download.

33. Robinson Crusoe

From audiobooks.org comes this free edition of Daniel Defoe's classic adventure tale Robinson Crusoe. The novel tells the story of an English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote island. This unabridged recording seems to be from a narration conducted in the 1970s, but the narrator and audio quality still sound good. This title is available on MP3 download.

34. The Magic Shop

This H.G. Wells' short story follows a young boy named Gip and his father as they enter a magic shop. Gip's wonder at the magic is contrasted with his father's skepticism about the magic tricks. It's a fun story about the wonder of magical beliefs. It is available for MP3 download from ThoughtAudio.com and narrated by Michael Scott.

35. Beowulf

Listen to the epic tale of Beowulf as he fights off Grendel and his venomous mother. Beowulf stands as one of the first and greatest works of English literature. Originally written in Old English, this translation by Francis Barton Gummere updates it to Modern English. A great story to be listened to, this audio book is well read by a group of seven narrators at LibriVox. It is available on MP3 Download.

36. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This F. Scott Fitzgerald story was recently adapted into a major motion picture. Hear the story behind the film, as Fitzgerald tells the fantastic tale of Benjamin who is born as a seventy-year-old man in 1860 and grows younger throughout his entire life. This audio book is available on MP3 download from ThoughtAudio.com.

37. Bleak House

Want to take on an ambitiously long novel that you may never get a chance to read? Try listening to Charles Dicken's 43-hour novel Bleak House. This vast novel features an ensemble cast of Dickensian characters filling the novels numerous plots and subplots, with the focus being on the British judiciary system in the 19th century. This audio book is entirely narrated by Cynthia Lyons over at LibriVox and is available on MP3 download.

38. Leo Tolstoy - What Men Live By and Other Tales

Listen to this collection of four short stories by Russian author Leo Tolstoy, entitled What Men Live By and Other Tales, published in 1885. The stories included are "What Men Live By", "The Three Questions", "The Coffee-House of Surat", and "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" These stories focus on how men should live and what is most important in life. These stories are well read by David Barnes and Alan Davis Drake. Download these classic stories today!

39. The Odyssey

Listen to Homer's epic poem The Odyssey which follows the Greek hero Odysseus on his journey from Troy to his home of Ithaca after the Trojan War. This unabridged edition is a collaborative effort from LibriVox involving 16 narrators, and they all seem to have adequate sound quality and narrating ability. Download this 24-book, 11 hour audio epic on MP3 from LibriVox.

40. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

We thought we'd spice up our free audio book offerings with a bit of contemporary science fiction literature. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is the first novel by blogger and science fiction author Cory Doctorow and it was the first novel released under one of the Creative Commons licenses allowing for it to be recorded on audio and distributed for free. Sean Puckett at Voices in the Dark does a fine job of narrating this 4-hour audio book. The novel follows the story of the 100-year-old Jules as he fights to redeem the the artistic purity of Disney World in the 22nd century. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2004. This audio book is available for free on MP3 download from Voices in the Dark.

41. Common Sense

Listen to Thomas Paine's classic political pamphlet published in 1776, during the American Revolution. This hugely popular book argued for independence from British rule and persuaded many to believe that revolution was necessary. We'd like to thank
FreeAudio.org for allowing us to offer this superb 2-hour unabridged audio book. Download this classic work of American political prose available on MP3 download directly through LearnOutLoud.com.

42. Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse

Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. It is the first and only novel written by the English author Anna Sewell and it was published shortly before she passed away in 1878. The story is written in the form of an autobiographical memoir told by a horse named Black Beauty. As we follow Black Beauty throughout her life the story contains many allegorical lessons that teach us to treat both people and animals with kindness and respect. The novel is narrated by one of Librivox.org's best volunteer narrators Cori Samuel. It is available on MP3 download from Librivox.org.

43. Free: The Future of a Radical Price (Unabridged)

Editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine Chris Anderson follows up his bestselling book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, with his new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price. And in practicing what he preaches, Anderson and his publisher Hyperion are giving away his new audio book for free! We've listened to the prologue and it sounds like a very interesting book regarding the future of business in the digital age. You can download this audio book unabridged on iTunes, Audible.com, and Wired.com. This version is narrated by Mr. Anderson himself.

44. Jane Eyre

A new film version of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel Jane Eyre comes out in theaters today. Whether or not you're going to check out the film, you should definitely give a listen to this great novel if you never have before. In this first-person narrative you follow the title character as she matures from childhood to adulthood. Its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman led it to sometimes be regarded as an important early feminist novel. Librivox.org offer three versions of this novel and we think we picked out the best one narrated by Elizabeth Klett, who is one of the most prolific and talented volunteer narrators at Librivox. Enjoy this novel on MP3 and now even M4B bookmarkable audiobook download.

45. The Words of Christ: From the Book of Matthew

Listen to The Words of Christ: From the Book of Matthew. This audio book, released by ThoughtAudio.com isolates everything uttered by Christ in the gospel according to Matthew. Extracted from the narrative of the Bible, Christ's message is distilled to its core values. Simple in its language yet still potent in its ever-present challenge to humanity, this is as unfiltered of a view of the gospel as one might ever find. This recording is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the gospel from a new point of view. This audio book is available to download in multiple MP3 segments.

46. Leaves of Grass

Listen to the unabridged final edition of Walt Whitman's seminal work of American poetry Leaves of Grass. First published in 1855, Whitman continued to expand and revise this work from 12 poems to nearly 400 poems in 1891 when he published his "deathbed edition". Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's The Poet essay, Whitman answered Emerson's call to create a uniquely American poetry. This 19-hour unabridged edition is read by a collective of volunteer narrators over at LibriVox.org.

47. Madame Bovary

Listen to this classic French novel about Emma Bovary who tries desperately to escape her provincial life in 19th century France. After her marriage to a French doctor, Emma finds him dull and through adulterous affairs she escapes the boredom of their marriage. She also buys luxuries outside of her means, but as her debts began to mount up she has to face reality. This novel is narrated by a troop of volunteers over at LibriVox.org and is available on MP3 download. The translation is by Eleanor Marx.

48. The Turn of the Screw

Listen to Henry James' classic Victorian ghost story of a governess and the children she cares for as the deal with the mysterious spirits of their estate. The ambiguous nature of the novel has kept literary critics guessing its meanings for over a century. This spellbinding tale is narrated by Nikolle Doolin over at LibriVox.org and is available on MP3 download.

49. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

We all know the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde", but how many of us have read the book which created this classic example of a split personality? Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is full of mystery and intrigue as the lawyer Mr. Utterson seeks to discover who Mr. Hyde is after a series of bizarre crimes committed by Hyde. Utterson seeks out the advice of the respectable Dr. Jekyll who has an interesting relationship with Mr. Hyde. This novella has a running time of 3 Hrs. with a fine Brit narration by David Barnes. It is available on MP3 download from LibriVox. If you're traveling somewhere this Labor Day weekend, then this is a perfect classic audio book to listen to on a long car ride.

50. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Download Mark Twain's fantastic tale about a 19th-century resident of Hartford, Connecticut who, after a blow to the head, awakens to find himself inexplicably transported back in time to early medieval England at the time of the legendary King Arthur. Published in 1889, this is the novel Twain wrote right after Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Underneath the entertaining story is a sharp social satire. This novel is read by John Greenman who has voiced over a dozen Mark Twain books over at Librivox.org.

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