On August 10th, LibriVox will celebrate its 11th anniversary! Congratulations! This is the perfect occasion to look back on those years and to reminisce a little with 10 milestone gems from our catalog.
When LibriVox started in August 2005, nobody knew where this would be going, or if this was going at all. But it took a handful of people only 47 days to produce LibriVox’s very first audiobook: The Secret Agent, a yarn written by Joseph Conrad about a band of spies and agent provocateurs planning to blow up Greenwich Observatory.
Only three weeks later, the first solo recording was complete: The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum. The full title tells you what it is about: The Road to Oz: In Which Is Related How Dorothy Gale of Kansas, The Shaggy Man, Button Bright, and Polychrome the Rainbow’s Daughter Met on an Enchanted Road and Followed it All the Way to the Marvelous Land of Oz.
Already in November 2005 the weekly poetry projects were born, and they have served as low level entrance point for newbies and as quick little go-to projects for poetry addicts ever since. The first weekly poem was In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, and we have 7 interpretations of this well-known poem there.
December 23rd of the same year saw the completion of the very first non-English book. The language was German, the book the Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Our English version of the book had been published just 4 days prior.
From now on, things started to run smoothly and with many more volunteers getting to know LibriVox and trying their hands at recording, production sped up. On March 16th 2006 the 100th book was published; a collective recording of Walt Whitman’s collected poetry, written over his entire lifetime: Leaves Of Grass.
It took only 2 more days for the completion of the first volume of the Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm. This German book marked the 10th foreign language book on LibriVox. Seven of them were German, but there were already books in Finnish, Latin, and Japanese as well.
August 9th 2006, exactly 365 days after LibriVox was born, saw a number of projects completed. Among them was the first full-cast recording of an English drama, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, reputed as being the wittiest play in the English language.
Also published on the very same day was the first full-cast recording of a non-English drama: Leonce und Lena by Georg Büchner. It is about a prince and a princess who were betrothed by their families and run away – only to find each other by chance in Italy where they fall in love with each other despite everything…
After that, LibriVoxers buckled down and kept recording more and more books. And already in October 2007 we could announce 1000 completed audiobooks. The one in question was The Murders in the Rue Morgue, probably one of the most famous stories by Edgar Allan Poe.
It took four years and two weeks more to reach the next milestone of 5000 published audiobooks. This time Roderick Hudson by Henry James took the honorable spot. It’s about an American sculptor in Europe and his growth there – a favourite theme of James’.
Enjoy – and raise your glass in celebration on the 10th of August!
Oh, you want to know about our next milestone – 10,000 projects? Well, it will happen, in fact, it is just about to happen: We are approaching this milestone with sonic speed, and with a bit of luck we can announce LibriVox audiobook #10,000 just before our anniversary – as the perfect gift for LibriVox and from LibriVox to you.