We all have our favorite audiobook narrators, and Emily Woo Zeller sits at the top of my list. Back in grad school, I first discovered Zeller’s incredible talent and, ever since, I’ve been picking up books purely because she narrates them. If you’re looking to get into her work, here are some of my favorite audiobooks narrated by the incredibly talented Emily Woo Zeller.
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
I listened to my very first audiobook narrated by Emily Woo Zeller back in 2014 with the collection The Opposite of Loneliness. The book is made up of the various works of Marina Keegan, a young woman who died in a tragic accident. Keegan’s mentors and family wanted to share her work with the world and collected a variety of essays and short stories for this book. Even though I listened to this audiobook five years ago, several pieces of this collection have stayed with me.
Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen
Set in the early months of the Chinese Revolution, Bury What We Cannot Take follows a family seeking to flee to Hong Kong. But the government will only let them go if they leave one of their children behind. A family drama filled with twists and turns, this story had me anxiously sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War is the first in a series of novels that comprise one of the best epic fantasy series to be published in the last few years. With 20th century Chinese history as an inspiration, Kuang crafts the story of Rin, an orphan who passes the most difficult academic test in the country to qualify for a place at the best military academy in the nation. From there, a war starts and Rin must use all of her wit and skill to survive.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Perfect for romance lovers, The Bride Test follows Esme Tran, a biracial young woman from Ho Chi Minh City who accepts an offer to try to seduce a Vietnamese American woman’s eligible son, Khai Diep. Khai is neurodivergent and processes his emotions differently, but the women he’s dated in the past have never accepted that part of him. Will Esme be able to woo her reluctant new love interest? (Spoiler: yes, she can.)
The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee
If you love history, The Making of Asian America is right in your wheelhouse. Lee’s comprehensive book looks at the history of Asian Americans from the 1500s to recent times. She follows different waves of Asian immigrants, and their descendants, across the decades to give us a broad view of the important role Asian Americans have played in America’s history.
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
In her stellar debut novel, Lisa Ko tells the story of Deming Guo, a young Chinese American boy whose mother goes to work one day and never comes home. A white couple adopts Deming, changing his name to Daniel, but he never feels quite at home. The Leavers follows Deming’s search for his lost mother and a place to call home.
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, Narrated with James Fouhey
In the world of The Book of M, a pandemic starts when people’s shadows began to disappear. Once their shadow was gone, the afflicted would soon begin to forget things until they finally didn’t even remember their own name. In this page-turning novel, Peng Shepherd establishes herself as a brilliant new voice in fiction.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Ever Wong expected her summer to be filled with a strict program focused on academics. Instead, she finds herself on Loveboat: a free-for-all of endless parties and teenage hookups. But Ever soon discovers that Loveboat is far from paradise. Secrets abound, and not everyone is who, or what, they say they are.