August, 2013


Posted on August 31, 2013 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Unreadable

Banned Books Week gives us a good excuse to contemplate past and current cencorship with 10 gems – all banned at some time and place – from our catalogue.

Let’s start with Areopagitica, a small pamphlet written by John Milton opposing the censorship laws in the UK at the time – and promptly banned by their application to the text.

Censorship is not a new phenomenon. The epic poem Jerusalem Delivered, describing the first crusade, written in 1581 by Torquato Tasso, was banned for undermining the rule of the French kings.

Governments still don’t like to be criticised. The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s thoughts about political justice is banned today in Iran.

You can’t please everyone at the same time. Adam Smith’s book on economy The Wealth of Nations was banned in the UK and France for criticising mercantilism and in communist countries for being too capitalist in its views.

Voltaire’s satire on religion and philosophy, Candide was widely banned, for example by Geneva and Paris, and was put on the Church index of forbidden books as well. We also have this book in the original French and in a German translation.

The Catholic Church was always keen on protecting her sheep, and many author’s complete oevre made it onto the index. Emile Zola is only one of them, and his book L’Assommoir about the conditions of the working class in Paris.

Jack London’s Call of the Wild about a freedom seeking dog was deemed too radical for Italy and Yugoslavia in 1929 and it was subsequently burned by the Nazis. We have this book in a Dutch translation as well.

South Africa banned Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – because of the contents advocating animal welfare? No, because of the word “Black” in the title…

Somewhat better to understand is the 1821 US ban on grounds of obscenity of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, published in 1748. The ban was lifted only in 1966.

Probably the worst type of censorship is self-censorship by authors and publishers. The – at first anonymously published – pamphlet 1601 by Mark Twain was deemed unprintable until the 1960s. Times have changed though and we have produced a dramatic reading of it.

Enjoy – and: Free Speech for everyone!


LibriVox 8th Anniversary Podcast: New Beginning

Posted on August 10, 2013 by | Posted in For Volunteers, Librivox Community Podcast, News, Podcast | Comments: Comments Off on LibriVox 8th Anniversary Podcast: New Beginning

Listen to LibriVox Community Podcast #133 hosted by Ruth Golding (RuthieG).


Duration: 40:37

LibriVox 8th Anniversary: New Beginnings

Featuring Hobbit, francesb, moniaqua, WoollyBee, commonsparrow3, Piotrek81, Hugh McGuire and many more.

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0:00 Introduction

0:30 Back to the very beginning. Hugh interviewed by Paula Berinstein on The Writing Show.

1:31 The early years and the evolution of LibriVox up to the present

6:22 Imminent changes (very new LibriVoxers may wish to skip this)

8:22 Interviews with New Volunteers francesb, moniaqua and WoollyBee (Hobbit)

18:53 All sorts of people are LibriVoxers!

19:38 My experiences at LibriVox: (commonsparrow3)

22:22 Branching out into new areas of LibriVox: (piotrek81)

25:13 Piotrek81’s group project, The Deluge

25:41 A common misconception: readers don’t make slips or have mishaps while recording – oh really?

26:27 Blooper Reel (WoollyBee)

31:29 A few words about the LibriVox 8th Anniversary Collection

32:31 Back to… the future? (Hugh McGuire and Paula Berinstein)

33:05 Birthday wishes and thanks (Hugh)

36:29 A gentle reminder to people about the fund-raising drive.

37:03 The LibriVox 8th Anniversary Song (Hobbit, Darvinia, TriciaG, Availle, lezer, Tlaloc, BellonaTimes, Loveday, commonsparrow3, Rapunzelina, JemmaBlythe, moniaqua, carolb, philchenevert, ppcunningham, Cori, kathrinee, BookAngel7, francesb, MaryAnnSpiegel, ShiNeko, downey8kids, WoollyBee, RuthieG, Peter Why)

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We are interested in whatever feedback – positive or constructively critical – anyone has about our podcasts. Add a comment below or pop over to this forum thread.

Any member of the community who has contributed readings to the LibriVox catalog can host a podcast and is most welcome to do so. Visit this thread on the forum to express an interest and float your ideas.

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To Subscribe to the Librivox Community Podcast, go to:

Or hit this itunes link to get you to the subscribe page:

Recent past LibriVox Community Podcast files can be found at our spot on: and archived shows for previous years can be found at: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and 2012.

Archived shownotes for the Community Podcast can be found at:

And the rss feed for those shownotes is:


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