The World’s Favourites

Posted on July 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

There are stories that have been told and retold so often, they have become universal and known throughout the world. Let’s delve into the world’s collective memory with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Western civilisation is deeply rooted in the stories of ancient Greek and Rome. From Zeus to Venus, from Hercules to Ulysses, you probably know most of Thomas Bulfinch‘s Mythology: The Age of Fable by heart already.

The story of Jesus, as told for example in the Evangelium nach Matthäus, has been equally influential to our modern world. For the German translation, Martin Luther coined a number of new phrases that have found their way into common usage of the language.

When Alexander Afanasyev wrote down a selection of Russian Fairy Tales that before had only been transmitted orally, he didn’t expect to influence Russian culture so heavily. These stories are now known by Russian kids everywhere.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood have made everyone who takes from the rich and gives to the poor a namesake. However, this Victorian-age retelling for kids by Howard Pyle hasn’t much to do with the real medieval outlaw…

A similar feat was accomplished by Robert Louis Stevenson. His swashbuckling adventure Treasure Island – here as dramatic reading – has given us a rather romantic view on pirates that is quite far from the truth. We also have this book in a Spanish translation.

The Truth is out there – and aliens too, probably. H. G. Wells‘ idea of hostile aliens on a mission to kill or enslave all humans has a firm place in our consciousness ever since The War of the Worlds, which we also have as Spanish version.

Nobody has done more to explore human (un-) consciousness than Sigmund Freud. His thoughts Über Psychoanalyse influenced generations of psychiatrists and can now be considered general knowledge, even if poeple are still reluctant to discuss mental health. These lectures are also available in English.

Only one topic is more taboo: Sex. And yet, most people have heard of The Kama Sutra. Some may have even tried one or more of the 64 arts of love as written down in detail more than 1400 years ago by Mallanaga Vatsyayama.

Much tamer are Shakespeare’s Sonnets. In these 154 poems, playwright William Shakespeare, who changed theater forever, writes about love, beauty, mortality and other human feelings.

From feelings to logics and the best sleuth ever: Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably his best-known adventure, and the brilliant detective character has become a staple in crime novels all over the world. Our readers love this book too, and we have recordings in German, Spanish, and Polish.

Enjoy – and have fun exploring your own memories!

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