World Tour 2020: Asia

Posted on October 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

In times like these it is almost natural to dream of far away lands and exotic encounters. Asia promises all of that. Make your dreams come true (well, almost) with 10 gems from our catalog.

Get in the mood for dreaming with 10 poems in Tagalog, the native language of the Philippine islands. This collection, entitled Mga Piling Tula mula sa Buntong Hininga was written by Pascual de Leon.

Tagalog plays an important role in José Rizal’s novel El Filibusterismo. Manila students fight – so far with words – against the friars and the government. But in the background, the jeweller Simoun weaves a dangerous web, for he wants nothing less than a revolution…

Revolutions and civil wars weaken a country from the inside. The leaders of the Mahratta Empire were so busy fighting amongst themselves that they were an easy target for the British Empire. G. A. Henty tells the story how India became British in At the Point of the Bayonet.

Many, many years before that, the subcontinent faced another empire – that of Alexander the Great. In the play by Jean Racine, the great Macedonian needs all his wit to overcome two kings and one queen of India.

From a great king to a great poet: Rabindranath Tagore was one of India’s greatest storytellers, who even received the 1913 Nobel Prize for literature. Let him guide you through his country with some of his letters containing Glimpses of Bengal.

Separated by the heavenly river (the Milky Way), Cowherd and Weaver Girl (牛郎織女傳) can only glimpse at each other from afar. But when the Celestial Emperor hears about their love, he allows them to meet – for a single night each year. This old Chinese legend is retold by Mingshi Zhu.

Sadly very real was the opium crisis in 18th century China, which had practically the whole population addicted, and eventually led to the collapse of the Chinese Empire. As explained by Samuel Merwin in Drugging a Nation, once again, the British were responsible …

… just as they were for The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80. At that time, they fought with Russia for dominance over central Asia in the mountains of Afghanistan. Read Archibald Forbes’ book on a topic that has left Afghanistan a war-torn country to this very day.

In contrast, Japan was at peace with its neighbors and itself for all of the 250 years of the Edo period. Tales of Old Japan contains stories of true incidences, folk lore, Buddhist sermons, and a few observations on everyday life in Edo, collected by Lord Redesdale.

Indonesia is a collection of more than 17,000 islands (picture that!), where a multitude of local languages are spoken. Sekar Karya contains 21 pieces in poetry and prose by various authors, all tied together by their language: Javanese.

Enjoy – and keep dreaming!

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