Author Archive

Let’s hear it for the kids!

Posted on June 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

Summer is approaching and while the kids will be mostly outside in their holidays, it’s never too early to prepare for the occasional rainy day with 10 gems from our catalog especially for children.

Do you remember your favourite toy? Margery Williams‘ favourite stuffed animal was a Velveteen Rabbit. This lovely story about how toys become real and what it means to live and love is read by a mother-daughter duo.

Two teenagers, Jack and Don, are pursuing a jewel thief onto a desolate island full with haunted temples and other deadly perils… Read the exciting book by John Robert Hutchinson to find out if their Quest of the Golden Pearl is successful.

Very successful – in a sense – is Fritz who finds a rocket in the basement and lights it. On its way up, it meets families in 20 apartments! Peter Newell’s The Rocket Book was a new kind of picture book with holes where the rocket had passed through…

When passing through the German region called Riesengebirge, Carl Hauptmann encountered a magical, mystical being living in the mountains. Das Rübezahlbuch tells nine of the best stories of the (in-) famous mountain giant.

Bugs can be quite mysterious creatures too, but Jean-Henri Fabre is happy to dispel the myths. Follow him on his Insect Adventures with bees, spiders, caterpillars, crickets, …

Speaking of following somebody, this is exactly what King Bubi I is doing. When Perez the Mouse visits Bubi to pick up the tooth he has lost, Bubi follows him to his next appointment. Read this delightful little story by Luis Coloma either in the original Spanish or in English.

Fourteen-year-old Dutch girl Elsje had to leave her sick grandmother’s house in the countryside. Her new family in the city tries to make a “proper young lady” out of her, but things are not quite as easy as they thought in the book by A. C. Kuiper.

Definitely not easy was the 19th century Indian Boyhood of Charles Alexander Eastman. Young Ohiyesa grew up on the Dakota territory of the Sioux and had to learn woodcraft, hunting and horsemanship. Interspersed in his memoir are old stories from his tribe.

The fairy siblings Sylvie and Bruno live in Outland, the land of the fairies. Together, they encounter our world and strange things are happening in both worlds… This is a dramatic reading of the classic by Lewis Carroll.

Did you like our selection? Or would you prefer to make up your own stories? Sara Cone Bryant teaches you the art of oral storytelling in her book How to Tell Stories to Children. Don’t worry, it’s not just dry theory, a number of stories to practise are given too!

Enjoy – even if you don’t have kids! ;-)

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The Quest for Freedom

Posted on May 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on The Quest for Freedom

Freedom is among the highest goods and society has made great steps forward in this respect. However, this was not always the case, as we will show with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Russian gentleman Aleksandr Petrovich is sent to a prison camp in Siberia. Given his class, he finds it much harder to adapt to life in The House of the Dead than his fellow inmates who are mostly peasants. Read this novel where Fyodor Dostoyevsky writes from his own experience, having spent 4 years in a Siberian prison himself.

George William Foote also writes about his own experiences in Prisoner for Blasphemy. The founder of the – still existing! – atheist journal “The Freethinker” was sentenced to 1 year in prison with hard labour for printing irreligious cartoons in 1882. Sound familiar?

The unfamiliar is the source of great fear and overshooting reactions. When telepaths evolve on Earth, they are sent to The Penal Cluster 50 million miles away. The “Psychodeviant Police” are charged to find telepaths, but there might be one of them in their midst complicating things, as described in the book by Randall Garrett.

Extremely complicated was the Dreyfus Affair in France about a Jew who was sentenced to life imprisonment for treason in 1894 – a crime he did not commit. When Emile Zola found out about evidence being suppressed, he wrote his famous piece J’accuse and risked being trialed for libel.

Did she or did she not? The Trial of Callista Blake is meant to find out whether the 19-year-old did indeed murder her lover’s wife. Although not conventionally beautiful, men find her very alluring. The resulting label of  a witch does not work in her favour in the book by Edgar Pangborn.

Another one who must have been very attractive to the opposite sex was L. A. Abbott. In search for “the right one” he got married numerous times. Unfortunately, he was not always careful in getting divorced… This leads to a number of rather comical situations that he describes in Seven Wives and Seven Prisons: Or, Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Monomaniac.

Rosa Luxemburg, founding member of the German Communist Party, was imprisoned twice, for a total of 5 years and 8 months. Her letters, collected in Briefe aus dem Gefängnis, serve as the legacy of her thoughts and views. She was murdered only 2 months after her second release.

Another legacy, this time consisting of poetry, is that of Ralph Chaplin. Being a member of the left-leaning Industrial Workers of the World, he was imprisoned as the US entered WWI. The collection of 30 poems he wrote in prison is entitled Bars and Shadows.

That’s all that Claude Gueux ever sees after his sentence to 5 years in prison for stealing bread and firewood. On top of the already harsh conditions, the prison’s director makes his life as miserable as possible because he “felt like it.” Since this is a novel by Victor Hugo, a happy ending is unlikely…

An unlikely visitor has come to Spain during the time of the Inquisition: Jesus Christ has returned and is performing miracles again. He is promptly jailed where The Grand Inquisitor explains why he will be burnt on the stake. This is a dramatic reading of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s famous story.

Enjoy – and keep fighting for freedom!

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A Man’s World

Posted on April 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 3 Comments on A Man’s World

In the true spirit of equality, we celebrate the other half of the population this month! Let’s have a look at all kinds of men with 10 gems from our catalogue.

It all begins with the most important relationship, the one between Father and Son. In this memoir, the poet Edmund Gosse describes his childhood in a fundamentalist Christian home which, unfortunately, did not have a happy ending.

Find out for yourself if there’s a happy ending for The King of Ireland’s Son. Just when he had won Fedelma, the enchanter’s daughter, she is kidnapped by the King of the Land of Mist… This is an old Irish fairytale, retold by Padraig Colum.

Deep down, orphan Eddie of Jackson’s Gang also hopes for a fairytale, and his case this means finding his parents. But he’s only 9 and just got “adopted” into a group of thieves, so it doesn’t look good for him in the book by Brother Ernest Ryan.

It doesn’t look good for the American Mr. Jones either, who find himself in London with a mere 10 $ in his pocket. But then he meets a British Earl who has it all, status, money – and Jones’ face… What happens next to The Man Who Lost Himself can be found out in the book by H. De Vere Stacpoole.

When a young and single doctor ends up in a small town in the countryside, his future is quite predictable: The ladyfolk endeavour to make him a part of their social circle and try to find him a wife in the process. But when the time comes for Mr. Harrison’s Confessions, nothing is what it was before in the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.

There’s not much to confess, really, for Richard Barlow, who was one of the most accomplished cricketers of the late 19th century. In his autobiography Forty Seasons of First-Class Cricket he describes highlights of his career and gives hints to umpires and young cricketers alike.

Henry James describes another teacher-pupil relationship in his novel The Lesson of the Master. A young and very promising writer meets his idol, and the old man is ready to share his wisdom about women. however, things sound good in theory, but everything changes when they need to be applied in practice…

Two men with lots of practice are George and Robert Stephenson, the former being known as the Father of the Steam Locomotive. Born in abject poverty, he worked his way up to becoming one of the foremost engineers in the 19th century railway world. Read this interesting biography written by Samuel Smiles.

Another man of excellence is John Lomax, who built the core body of work for the Library of Congress Archives and is one of the big names in American Western & Country music. The collection Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads contains more than 150 song lyrics collected all over the country.

Of all the men described above, the best kind is definitely The Good-Natured Man, like Honeywood who is generous to a fault to friends and foes alike. However, his uncle tries to cure him from what he perceives as foolishness, which does not turn out the way he intended in the fun play by Oliver Goldsmith.

Enjoy – and celebrate the men in your life!

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Women’s March

Posted on March 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Women’s March

March is women’s month, and even if you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, let’s celebrate the occasion with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Throughout the ages, there have been women renowned for their achievements. In ancient Greece, poetess Sappho was one of them. Unfortunately, only a few of her poems have survived, but Bliss Carman used what was there and added a few of his own to create Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics.

An enormous achievement was the one of Mabel Annie Stobart and her Women’s Sick & Wounded Convoy Corps. The women went to the Balkans during the 1912/13 war and set up a hospital for soldiers of all colors. Read her memoir War and Women to find out how they fared.

In Defense of Women was meant to elaborate on women’s issues and discuss the relationship between the sexes, but it caused quite an outcry. Its author, H. L. Mencken, was called both “great defender of women’s rights” and “greatest misogynist since Schopenhauer. Read the book and find out where you stand!

Firmly in the middle stands Ansas, right between his soft wife Indre, and the new servant Busze. The latter wants Ansas for herself, and convinces him to kill Indre… What will happen when Indre and Ansas go on Die Reise nach Tilsit in the novella by Hermann Sudermann?

The rich heiress Regina van Berchem walks Langs en omweg in the book by A.L.G. Bosboom-Toussaint. Convinced that everyone is just after her money, she refuses the hand of Eckbert Witgensteyn, friend of her youth. He, in return, swears revenge…

Revenge might have well been the motife for the murder of Agatha Webb. However, she was well-beloved by everyone in the neighborhood, so who could it have been? Follow the twists and turns in another of the perfectly crafted murder mysteries by Anna Katharine Green.

You know when a novel is perfect, if you fell and live with the characters through the story. William Dean Howells presents his favourite Heroines of Fiction, invented by men and women alike, but who have all inspired many readers throughout the ages.

Speaking of age: Juliette is now La Femme de trente ans, and her father’s objections against marrying her first love proved to be correct. However, love comes along again in the novel by Honore de Balzac – with dire consequences for everyone involved.

Hopefully, the outcome of The Parson’s Wedding will be better, although it doesn’t look good at the outset. This fun play by Thomas Killigrew was the first one ever to be performed by an all-female cast, and so did we here on LibriVox!

Only women live in Herland, where, thanks to asexual reproduction, men are not needed at all. however, things do change in the utopia penned by Charlotte Perkins Gilbert, when, quite unexpectedly, three men show up on the scene…

Whether you’re a man or a woman, feminist or not – enjoy!

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