11 famous actors and actresses who read audiobooks
Having someone read to you is great. It’s part of what makes audiobooks so magical. A voice can really add to the story and sometimes it’s as though the reader is there in the room with you. What if a few of those voices were famous actors and actresses? Wouldn’t it be nice to have them in the room?
Whether you’re struggling to choose what book to listen to next, you don’t know here to start with the vast array of titles out there, or if you want to branch out from your usual genre, why not have some well-known voices influence your decision.
So, have a browse of this list, then sit back and have one of these celebrities read to you while you relax, wash up, or go for a walk – whatever takes your fancy!
1. Richard Armitage
Richard Armitage, known internationally for playing Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit films, first had his baritone voice noticed after appearing as Guy of Gisborne in the TV drama Robin Hood. Since then he has voiced many audiobooks, gaining critical claim, including The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell and Georgette Heyer’s romance novels The Convenient Marriage, Sylvester and Venetia.
2. Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls fame both wrote and voiced her book Someday, Someday, Maybe. The story follows a struggling young actress trying to get ahead―and keep it together―in New York City. So if you’re nostalgic for Gilmore Girls and can’t wait until the Netflix revival, this can fill the Lauren Graham shaped hole in your life.
3. Dan Stevens
You might know Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley from Downtown Abbey, but his audiobook narration fame should be overlooked! We have six titles read by Dan in the Listening Books catalogue, not least Going Solo by Roald Dahl and The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. These two books are loved by so many (rated 4.8 and 4.4 respectively on Amazon), and if you enjoy Dan’s reading, there are four other titles that you can get stuck into! Head over to our library catalogue and search “Dan Stevens” to see what else he has voiced.
4. Tom Hiddleston
Tom Hiddleston, AKA Loci in the Avengers films, is a great actor. You can listen to him read The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, a well-loved Young Adult book about a remarkable boy called Yann Margoza; Tetu the dwarf, his friend and mentor; Sido, unloved daughter of a foolish Marquis; and Count Kalliovski, Grand Master of a secret society, who wants Yann dead. And who wouldn’t want Tom Hiddleston to take them through all that excitement?!
5. Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike, who you may know from the film of Gone Girl among many others, reads Restless by William Boyd. This book takes you back to 1939… Eva Delectorskaya is a beautiful 28-year-old Russian emigree living in Paris. As war breaks out she is recruited for the British Secret Service and learns to become the perfect spy, to mask her emotions and trust no one, including those she loves most. Since the war, Eva carefully rebuilt her life as a typically English wife and mother. But once a spy, always a spy. She must complete one final assignment, and Eva can’t do it alone this time: she needs her daughter’s help. I know you’re just itching to hear it already!
6. Juliet Stevenson
In the mood for some classics? Juliet Stevenson is your woman. Perhaps best known for playing Jules Paxton’s mum in Bend It Like Beckham, she has voiced Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, as well as A Room of One’s Own, Mrs Dalloway and The Voyage Out & To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf. And if you think that’s plenty to get your teeth stuck into, that’s only the beginning. Listening Books’ library has over 25 audiobooks read by Juliet Stevenson, so if you like her voice, you won’t be short of listening!
7. Anne Hathaway
You saw Hathway in the movie of Princess Diaries, but have you ever heard the books? Or maybe you haven’t seen the films? Well, even more reason to give Anne’s reading of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot a listen. This teen novel is follows Mia Thermopolis, a normal, slighty geeky school girl who finds out she is in fact a princess and air to the throne of Genovia. It’s a classic, what’s not to love?!
8. Kate Winslet
When she’s not hogging that whole plank of wood so Jack can’t fit on (Titanic reference), or winning a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Steve Jobs, or appearing on the red carpet, or doing countless other acting jobs, Kate Winslet has voiced a few audiobooks. You’re a bad man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton, is a great children’s book that parents won’t mind hearing over and over.
I can’t say it better than this blurb:
“Mr Gum is a truly nasty old man. He’s a complete horror who hates children, animals, fun, and corn on the cob. This book’s all about him. And an angry fairy who lives in his bathtub. And Jake the dog, and a little girl named Polly, and an evil, stinky butcher all covered in guts. And there are heroes and sweets and adventures and everything.”
9. Johnny Depp
Perhaps you’re in the mood for a memoir? How about Life by Keith Richards? But why have Keith read it to you when you could have Johnny Depp and singer/songwriter/actor, Joe Hurley tell you the story?!
I know what you’re thinking: “So I can hear about the Rolling Stones from Jack Sparrow??”
Yes, my friend, you can.
Dame Maggie Smith narrates true story The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett. As you may know, she played Miss Shepherd in the theatre and then the film of The Lady in the Van, and she’s widely said to be pretty darn great. The story is about the homeless Miss Shepherd who, in 1974, moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett’s garden. Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant. And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord. And yet she lived there for fifteen years.
Best of all, you can experience the book, with the actress from the film, but feel all self righteous for choosing book over movie… this has got to be win-win!
But I still couldn’t resist embeding the clip above Maggie doing her thing.
11. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep… Where do I start with her accolades?! She’s known for The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!, The Iron Lady and more recently Suffragette to name a few. Her voice over career is not as extensive as some, but she does narrate Heartburn by Nora Ephron. Nora Ephron is screenwriter of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, so you’re in for some good writing, and with Meryl at the reading reigns you’ve got yourself a great audiobook.
What accomplished company we find ourselves in, eh? We hope you find something, or someone, on this list that makes you think, “Yeah, I’d love to give that a listen”.
And we’d love to know who your favourite audiobook reader is, famous or not, so do let us know in the comments below!
All of the books listed in this article can be found in the Listening Books library catalogue for members to either borrow on MP3 CD or download and stream.
This post was written by Holly Newson.