Best Audiobooks of 2022 | Nonfiction

Nonfiction listeners have a panoply of choices on this year’s best nonfiction audiobooks list. There are several memoirs by stars, a range of crime stories, and even a science book about deadly animals.

Best Audiobooks of 2022 | Nonfiction

Bradbury, Neil. A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers Who Used Them. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781250821690. CRIME

Physiology and biophysics professor Bradbury debuts with a captivating examination of poisons and how they kill. Bradbury describes 11 deadly chemicals, explicating their history, discovery and uses, and their effects on the human body. He then recounts how these chemicals were used in horrifying real-life crimes. Narrator Derek Perkins provides an exemplary performance, delivering this gripping mix of true crime and medical fact with a tone that is both engaging and edifying.

Bucci, Andra and Tatiana Bucci. Always Remember Your Name. Blackstone Audio. ISBN 9798200881550. MEMOIR

Andra and Tatiana Bucci’s poignant memoir bears witness to their childhood experiences in Auschwitz and their lives after the war. In March 1944, six-year-old Tati and four-year-old Andra were taken to Auschwitz, sentenced to live precariously in the grim children’s barracks. They managed to survive, aided by their mother’s admonishment to “always remember your name.” Narrator Gabrielle De Cuir’s lightly accented, somber voice honors the sisters’ memories and the power of their words.

Davis, Viola. Finding Me: A Memoir. HarperAudio. ISBN 9780063037342. MEMOIR

Raw and unflinchingly honest, Davis’s powerful memoir will have listeners celebrating her resilience and drive, and her courageous quest to find her voice. Narrating her own story, Davis describes her life’s many challenges, from growing up in an abusive household to developing her remarkable acting skills. This utterly transfixing and deeply moving account, relayed with intimacy, passion, and humor, is not to be missed.

Fierstein, Harvey. I Was Better Last Night. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780593551011. MEMOIR

The only thing better than reading Fierstein’s memoir is listening to him read it with his trademark gravelly rasp. Fierstein delights and charms with his tales of writing his many Broadway hits and deals honestly with his alcoholism and a failed suicide attempt. This big-hearted, hilarious, and life-affirming memoir of his gay activism and life in the theatre will have listeners clamoring for more.

Gadsby, Hannah. Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780593210154. MEMOIR

Award-winning stand-up comic Gadsby’s disarmingly frank memoir is indeed a “memoir situation”—part history lesson of LGBTQIA+ rights in Australia, part close conversation with a longtime friend, and part reflections on the trauma that she endured as a queer person who received diagnoses of autism and ADHD as an adult. Gadsby is a consummate performer, and it is a privilege to listen to her wryly and unapologetically share her story.

Jenek, Shane. Caught in the Act. Bolinda Audio. ISBN 9781038617606. MEMOIR

Jenek’s cheeky debut memoir details his journey from growing up in Brisbane, Australia, to his transformation into the fabulous drag queen, Courtney Act. Jenek’s effervescent voice brims with warmth, wonder, and devil-may-care sauciness as he describes his many adventures exploring his sexuality, talents, and passions. He also candidly shares his life’s struggles, from addiction to agonizing over coming out to friends, family, and even himself.

McCurdy, Jennette. I’m Glad My Mom Died. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781797147949. MEMOIR

In this harrowing memoir, former child actor McCurdy reflects on her grim childhood, forced into an acting career she never wanted, just to please her obsessive-compulsive and abusive mother, who saw her as the family’s meal ticket. Her mother’s iron-fisted control over her life paved the way for McCurdy’s later spiral into anorexia, bulimia, and alcoholism. This utterly genuine and unmediated presentation, peppered with edgy humor and ringing with compassion, is unforgettable.

Ndiaye, Mamadou. 100 Animals That Can F*cking End You. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781668608012. NATURAL HISTORY

Environmental science field technician Ndiaye, who gained a huge following posting animal-related videos on TikTok during COVID, offers a gleeful exposition of the world’s deadliest creatures. Narrating his own work with relish, Ndiaye treats listeners to fabulous facts and ingenious turns of phrase—that swans “are supposed to represent love and peace, but they wake up and choose violence every day,” for example. Jam-packed with hilarious, yet fascinating scientific facts, this audio is irresistible.

Wheaton, Wil. Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir. HarperAudio. ISBN 9780063080508. MEMOIR

Author, narrator, and actor Wheaton gets self-reflective, narrating his updated and annotated version of his 2004 memoir, Just a Geek. Ruefully reflecting on the cringeworthy hubris and privilege of his younger self, Wheaton remembers his painful relationship with his parents and shares his current views about celebrity culture and the fight to destigmatize mental health. Wheaton’s sincere narration shines with a range of emotions, from effervescent joy to agonized regret.

White, Richard. Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University. Tantor Audio. ISBN 9798765025901. CRIME

Stanford professor emeritus White traces the stranger-than-fiction death of Jane Stanford, wife of railroad magnate Leland Stanford and cofounder of Stanford University. Jane died in Hawaii of strychnine poisoning, but her murder was covered up and kept from public scrutiny. Narrator Christopher P. Brown’s smooth delivery and excellent pacing guide listeners through the ins and outs of the case, employing a conversational lecture style that meshes perfectly with White’s detailed, yet absorbing account.


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