Tune out everyday distractions and enjoy a good free book with your best noise-cancelling headphones. "Free" isn't a common word in the entertainment industry, but free audiobooks are easy to find if you know where to look. Books and other published works fall into public domain (or free use) 70 years after the death of the author or copyright holder. Anything published before about 1943 is generally free to download, read or listen to. Use this list to sink into an old favorite or discover something new in the world of free audiobooks.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Not just for women, this rousing tale of drama is witty, clever and touching. The daily escapades of the Bennett sisters as crafted by Ms. Jane Austen detail the joys of romance, social embarrassments and the importance of family in nineteenth century life.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A discovery, Watson! The original crime and puzzle solver, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, investigate the unique and suspicious happenings of turn-of-the-century London. The astute and wily nature of Holmes will keep you entertained, and the intrigue will keep you guessing every time.
The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann David Wyss
Stranded, deserted and abandoned, the Robinson family survives a shipwreck and fortunately land on a nearby island. Bringing food, animals and supplies from the ship, they are able to set up gardens and huts, and even build a tree house for their new home. The four boys and their father explore the island, taming animals and saving other castaways.
Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
A sweet saga of one girl's journey through childhood, this story follows Anne with an “E” while she makes bosom friends and survives the perils of growing up. With her insatiable curiosity and propensity for daydreaming, Anne runs wild through the beautiful fields of Prince Edward Island, charming all she meets.
The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
When a lonely man moves to a new town, chaos ensues. This scientific inventor with an affinity for theft manages to develop the secret to invisibility and uses his new shroud (or lack thereof) for his own selfish fancies. As he travels undetected among acquaintances and the police, his true nature materializes, unlike his body.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
Being "uncivilized" has never been more fun. Young boys Tom and Huck are always getting into trouble with the townsfolk, but in the most endearing ways. Relish their boyhood exploits as they unwittingly witness a dastardly murder, run away to hide out on an island and uncover hidden treasure.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
This dark tale of love, loneliness and lies isn't all it seems to be. Orphaned Jane is a governess for the adopted daughter of the handsome but bad-tempered Mr. Rochester. As they fall in love, Jane realizes there is more to him, and his house, than meets the eye. Full of redemption, forgiveness and grace, this narrative is bound to captivate your hopeless romantic side and satisfy your morbid fascination.
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Nothing says Christmas time like ghosts, death and greed. Come along with Ebenezer Scrooge while the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future show him how his miserly behavior affects more than himself. This classic tale will warm any humbug heart in need of some Christmas spirit.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Escape down the rabbit hole with Alice and discover a new world where anything goes – where the rabbits wear timepieces and the queens play croquet, travel with young Alice through Wonderland as she searches for the right path.
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Something's lurking under the high seas in this classic novel. Join Captain Ahab and his daring crew as they search high and low for the great white whale, Moby Dick. Full of rough waters, bloodshed and warning omens, this hunt for revenge will keep you wondering what's really in the fathoms.
Finding these books, and many others, is pretty easy. LibriVox, one of the best free audiobook websites, has thousands of public-domain works read by volunteers, even in multiple languages. Books Should Be Free is another easy-to-navigate site where you can search by genre or popularity. Another, Open Culture, has 550 audiobooks, some read by famous personalities and all free to download. Project Gutenberg also has thousands of classics and some, interestingly enough, are read by computers.