Our Readers’ Favourites – Old and New

Posted on March 18, 2010 by | Posted in For Volunteers, mystery, News, Uncategorized, Weekly Picks | Comments: 37 Comments

Here are some suggestions from the heart of our LibriVox community – audio books which have given our readers particular pleasure to listen to.

We have three versions of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in our catalogue, with two more recordings in progress. It is clearly a book which many readers want to record. Our first version, which was a collaborative project with over a dozen different readers, was released only 6 months after LibriVox started, and is still one of our most popular downloads.

John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps has been adapted for several films and television productions, but in a member’s view none measure up to the original book. Here we offer you Adrian Praetzellis’ recording. As a reviewer says: “His voice characterisations were first class…

All you mathematicians out there will know that it was Pi Day on March 14th, but have you heard our ground-breaking The First Fifty Digits of Pi? A true feast – the first 50 digits served up by 56 readers each to his/her own recipe.

March 14th was also the birthday of Albert Einstein, and you can hear an introduction to Einstein’s space-bending, time-stretching theory of Relativity, written by the master himself at Relativity: The Special and General Theory.

If that is rather heavy fare, how about a light snack of short stories? The Parenticide Club by Ambrose Bierce, read by Peter Yearsley, consists of four grotesque short stories about murder within the family.

Not to be missed is The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer, superbly read by Elaine Tweddle.

Also highly recommended is J. M. Smallheer’s reading of a top ten bestseller of 1906, The House of a Thousand Candles by Meredith Nicholson. If you like mystery, adventure and romance, you will love this.

If you prefer science fiction, The Door Through Space, an early work of Marion Zimmer Bradley, may be to your taste. When the door swings open, erstwhile Terran Intelligence agent Race Cargill finds himself facing a plot designed to destroy the Terran Empire. Read by Christie Nowak and Clive Catterall.

Notable for its vivid descriptions of the eponymous hero (no mean feat!) The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells is a classic of science fiction. This version from 2006 is read by Alex Foster.

H. P. Lovecraft lists among his greatest influences works by William Hope Hodgson including The House on the Borderland. This recording, by Alan Winterrowd, has been highly recommended by aficionados of the horror and fantasy genres.

And for a little bonne bouche at the end of this banquet of fine things, here is some delicious poetry: Selected Poems by Christina & Dante Gabriel Rossetti, read for you by Leonard Wilson.

All previous listening suggestions may also be found on the Recommended Listening List in the LibriVox Wiki.

If you have a favourite recording you would like me to include next time, feel free to leave a comment here or visit us on this forum thread What are your favourite recordings? and tell us about it.

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37 comments

  1. David Copperfield says:

    fictional

  2. Diane says:

    One of my favorite LV productions is the Orzcy triology, Scarlet Pimpernel, Elusive Pimpernel, El Dorado, all read by the same great reader.

  3. As for me, my favorites are El Dorado, Elusive Pimpernel and The Invisible Man

  4. Feanne says:

    I absolutely love Jack London’s White Fang, especially as read by Gord Mackenzie (a voice like chocolate! :D) and Bread Overhead by Fritz Lieber– a delightful and fun little sci-fi short.

  5. Mary Pat Kleven says:

    My son and I thoroughly enjoyed the recording of The Secret Garden. It’s such a delightfully classic story for all ages and was beautifully recorded by Librivox. Thank you!

  6. sarah says:

    It’s so hard to choose a favorite! I believe The Woman In White would be at the top of my list. Great story and wonderful reading! It was captivating! I love old books, and I love mysteries so I am working my way through them on here. I can’t express how pleased I am to be able to listen to these wonderful stories I may have otherwise never discovered!

  7. Dick Sherman says:

    I just found this site several weeks ago and have already listened to a dozen or so books, all while I’m out working in the yard. What a wonderful site and blessed with such great readers. I especially like when they tell their locations – readers from around the world. I finished yesterday “The South Pole” and on a warm day I found it cool and refreshing. “Pathfinder” is also one of my favorites and that led to reading “The DeerSlayer”. Next week I will listen to “The Last of the Mohicans.” Is there any way I can financially aid LibriVox? Its wonderful that its all free, but I would sure be willing to send a few bucks every now and then. Thanks again for many hours of reading books I missed in my younger years.

  8. nandapala wickramasooriya says:

    how could I thank you all.It’s amazing.

  9. Michelle says:

    I agree with Sarah that The Woman in White was wonderfully read; I also loved Enchanted April, and The Rosary – I could listen to them again and again. Also, most things read by Ruth Golding are just a pleasure to listen to in general!

  10. Samanem says:

    So far, my favorites are anything (and everything) by:
    Ruth Golding
    Karen Savage
    Cori Samuel
    Andy Minter
    Peter Yearsley
    and Clive Catterall

    What I would give to be able to listen to a conversation with these people at the table!

  11. Pete says:

    What a wonderful concept. My thanks to all those who give their time, expertese and enthusiasm to this valuable project. It is really great for pensioners, like me. Keep up the good work.

  12. korak says:

    i have just found out about your great site. and have read [ rather listened to ] only one book : The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. It has been read by different pepole, my general impression was Male readers were better than the female ones – also American readers with their awful accent were definietly unpleasant to listen to ! i also felt that reading slow was better than reading fast. the later chaptrs in the book – from Book iv onwards, i think , has been read by a single Male reader [ who doesnt introduces himself in the introduction ] but obviously British – the intonation, the voice quality, the clarity was excellent and i thoroughly enjoyed listening – the characters and the events in the book seemmed to come alive. i would advice any one volunteering to read and records to better hear this guy – he is fantastic. can any one tell me whats his name and email id so i can thank him

  13. Renata Koutsoumba says:

    You have offered to me great services. I am a teacher of English and with a poor eyesight. Your work has given me the chance to “read” excellent literature that otherwise would be inaccessible to me. Thank you all. I wish my fellow countrymen had created such a web site for Greek listeners, too!

  14. Ravinder says:

    For the last couple days have been spending most of my time to listen this wonderful website (vibrivox.org) MP3 audio books. It is amazing and simply superb site one must to have at-least once a week. Because we hardly get time to read books, at this point of time listening MP3 books immensely increasing once ability to learn things and boost listening skills.
    Please suggest UK accent best readers and writers.

  15. Mike says:

    FNH is surely of the best readers too. I love the readings on his Cthulhu Podcast site and his reading of the Death of Lord Nelson. Ravinder, he is English and has done great readings of Algernon Blackwood, Lovecraft, and Poe.

  16. Rowensor Dapitan says:

    i just found this site three days ago and i have listened to easop’s fables and brothers Grimm’s fairy tales i really like Jorinda and Jorindel read by Randy philipps

  17. Jake Frond says:

    I am afraid I have become strongly opinionated on the readings of Gregg Margarite. He is nothing short of perfection and has ruined all other readings by others on Librivox for me. Please, Gregg M., read them ALL! Simply excellent!

  18. Jeff says:

    Whoever it is that reads part 14 of Poe’s Gordon Pym is, frankly, terrible. Everyone else has been great so far, but please, no more of her, it’s ruined the whole story.

  19. John Dinsmore says:

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The White Company” brings the 14th century idiom to life through the skillful reading of Clive Catterall — cn’t wait to listen to his reading of “Sir Nigel” when it is completed.

  20. Pete Kapelke says:

    I’m a big fan of Mil Nicholson’s Dickens reading (hers are the second or third version readings of these novels on librivox I believe) . Those are Dombey and Sons, Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge, and Our Mutual Friend. Her vocal characterizations are amazing!

  21. Kristin Rodier says:

    Martin Clifton’s “Crome Yellow”

  22. Richard says:

    What about Douglas Adams? An English humorist and a science fiction novelist

    Just love his all the works… One of my favorite quotes is:

    He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

  23. Kel says:

    This is a great site. I have downloaded all the Wizard of Oz series by L Frank Baum and my kids listen to them at night in the dark before they go to bed. It’s great for kids just to be able to lie quietly and listen without need the visual stimulation of video games, movies and TV. There are lots of great kids classics on Librivox! Thanks so much to Librivox and all the readers!

  24. Kes says:

    Cori Samuels is an amazing reader—I see that she’s popped up on several lists here. I loved her readings of E. Nesbit: The Ebony Portrait and My School Days.

  25. Catherine says:

    I have listened to over 30 novels via Librivox over the past two years and love finding new “veins” of wonderful readers and their recordings. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Mil Nicholson (Dombey & Son is a masterpiece)
    Alan Chant and Hazel Chant (Wouldbegoods)
    Ellis Christoff (Little Dorrit)
    Karen Savage (Anne of Green Gables, Pimpernel, etc.)
    Elizabeth Klett (The House of Mirth is marvelous)
    Rachel Lintern (Under the Greenwood Tree)

    I’m so grateful to Librivox, I can’t express it. You’ve changed my life — I never would have read all the books I’ve listened to!

  26. Seamus Farrell says:

    Wonderful, wonderful facility! My commute, which used to be a bore, is now a pleasure.
    My favourites seem to follow the readers, especially
    Elizabeth Klett,
    Andy Minter,
    Mil Nicholsen,
    Kara Shallenberg,
    Karen Savage . . . . .

    Thank you all so much.

  27. Liz Abbott says:

    I just finished the well read, great adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel & El Dorado and I see with delight,(on this site) there is another, Elusive Pimpernel, which I shall download today. I also loved King Solomon’s Mine, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and suprisingly, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, of which I have always heard, but never read. They all were amazingly well done. Come what may, I loved Uncle Tom and all the good characters, & of course, detested the evil-doers. I was amazed at how you only hear the bad, and never the good about this book. It was actually a very good book.

  28. Kathy says:

    My very favorite recording is peac’s reading of Earl Derr Biggers’ “The Agony Column.” His droll and pitch-perfect reading transformed a lightweight mystery novel into a classic, and I never tire of listening to it. Another favorite is Martin Clifton’s readings of “Tales of the Five Towns” and “Diary of a Nobody,” wonderful Victorian comedies I’d never heard of before.

    For me, it’s really enjoyable to hear one reader throughout the book, and they’re both great.

    Thank you both so much!!!

  29. Lisa says:

    I have ( unfortunately) just finished the anee of green gables series. Karen savage is marvellous. Don’t know how I will ever get to sleep now! As well as missing Anne and lately Rilla terribly. I tell everyone about this amazing site. I work in a second hand bookshop and tell a lot of customers too. I hope to record a book one day soon, just trying to decide which one !

  30. Janet says:

    I listen to audio books due to my failing site. This website has given me many hours of pleasure listening to books that I can not read to myself anymore.
    For this, many thanks.
    On the other hand I want to say that there are many readers here who should not be readers. Accents are too thick, pronunciation is incorrect, punctuation is lacking.
    For this reason there are quite a few books here that I simply could not listen to. After two or three paragraphs what should have been my joy turned to absolute horror and I stopped the audio.
    Shame on you proof listeners!

  31. LibriVoxer says:

    Hello, Janet!

    We do not proof listen for accent, punctuation (style) or pronunciation unless the reader specifically asks us to do so. We are all-volunteer, and we are open to ALL readers. As long as they’re understandable, they’re welcome.

    What is one person’s horrible listening experience is another person’s joy. We have listeners that like the accents! And keep in mind that English is a global language; one country’s pronunciation is often different than another’s.

    I suggest you try to stay with solo recordings, so that you’re not disappointed with a chapter read by someone with an accent or other stylistic issue. You can also click on the Archive.org link on the project page to go to the Archive page for the project, where there is an online audio player. You can “preview” the accent or style of the reader before downloading the file.

    Hope this helps!

  32. Garry says:

    To all those readers who’s styles and accents jarred with me and lessened my enjoyment for a chapter or two … I say thank you thank you thank you! Librivox for me is one of the finest things on the web and anyone who gives up 10/15 hours of their time to read to us is quite frankly a star.

    I too prefer less of an accent but one of my librivox highlights was Tom Sawyer read in a deep south accent – just fabulous. Take me away to the Mississippi….!

    This year again we’ll be driving a 2500 mile round trip on holiday and this time I think I’ll drive with the Pimpernesl. They sound like a firm favourites on here.

  33. oladimeji azeez olawale says:

    wwwaooo! the sonorous,ear-piercing and in fact, baritone voices of your readers are undoubtedly,irresistable……………

  34. Ken says:

    As I scanned the preceding comments, I am very surprised that Adrian Praetzellis’ reading of Treasure Island was not mentioned. His exceptional mastery of the characters really brings this classic to life!

  35. GM says:

    I highly recommend a reader called Tadhg (I think his last name is Hinds). I just listened to his rendition of David Copperfield and it was really awesome. There was energy and enthusiasm in every single word and his ability to capture Dickens’ phrasing, pace and humour was just spot on. I’m starting into his Oliver Twist – no loss of form. Fantastic work.

  36. Mike says:

    I come to sing the praises of the great Peter Yearsley, whose superb reading of M R James’ _Ghost Stories of an Antiquary_ has been one of my greatest joys from this site. Thank you Peter!

  37. Sam says:

    The recordings of H. Rider Haggard are brilliant. I have fond memories of listening to “King Solomon’s Mines” last summer, and anyone that enjoys a good adventure/exploration book will love it!

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