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World Tour 2020: North America

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

Welcome to the final leg of the LV World Tour 2020! We have circled the globe once and now return to where LibriVox is from. Explore North America with 10 gems from our catalog.

Of course, everything is better with a friend. Therefore, a group of friends decide to spend A Summer in a Canyon, chock full with camp adventures. Follow Kate D. Wiggins’ story to California and enjoy the scenery on the way.

Exploring the American wilderness was a dangerous part of early settlers’ lives. But even among friends you thought you could trust, things can go terribly wrong… Read The Song of Hugh Glass by John Neihardt as a proof.

How much of the above story is true is debatable, but “history is written by the winners” is not a hollow phrase. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a Spanish conquistador, details his version of Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España.

Phillip Whittemore finds himself between truth and lies when he happens upon the Fort of God deep in the woods of Canada. Now he tries to find out who these people are, where they are coming from and what they are hiding in Flower of the North by James Curwood.

Lots of secrets surround a legendary Aztec gold mine, and only their last descendant knows its location. Travel to Mexico with Mark Venner and see if he can crack The Mystery of the Four Fingers in the novel by Fred White.

The last leader of the Shawnee, Tecumseh, is one of the great heros of the Canadians. Opposing the US in the war of 1812, he died on the battlefield. Ethel T. Raymond details his life in Vol. 17 of The Chronicles of Canada.

Rosanna Leprohon penned an interesting family chronicle: Bookish Armand Durand is the son of Paul Durand and his first wife. His half brother Paul jun. is his polar opposite, and they do their best to reconcile their differences.

Even more different are the families of Blessed, an educated young man, and Zora, an unschooled girl from the swamps of the South. W.E.B. du Bois tells a haunting story of love in a world long gone in The Quest of the Silver Fleece.

Equally haunting when read with modern eyes is the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. How he raised himself Up From Slavery and helped many other black people to do the same is an excellent example for everyone.

Sadly, there are many bad examples too. When the Spanish conquered Mexico, they brought Christianity with them – and the inquisition. Vicente Riva Palacio set his novel Monja y Casada, Vírgen y Mártir in a convent during the inquisition.

Enjoy – and stay safe and curious!

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Happy 20th to Distributed Proofreaders!

Posted on October 1, 2020 by | Posted in Blog, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Happy 20th to Distributed Proofreaders!

Today we mark the 20th Anniversary of Distributed Proofreaders. Over the last 20 years, nearly 55,000 DP volunteers from around the globe have contributed to creating nearly 40,000 e-books for release into the public domain through Project Gutenberg. Friends of LibriVox will recognize Project Gutenberg as a major source of material for our volunteers, so LibriVox readers and listeners are among the many who have benefited from the work of DP over the years.

To mark this milestone, LibriVox volunteers have created two special audiobooks from the DP collection.

In The Shores of the Polar Sea by Edward Lawton Moss, we join the crew of the HMS Alert as they leave England in 1875 with orders to “attain the highest northern latitude, and, if possible, reach the Pole.” This was DP’s 35,000th title and they celebrated with this blog post.

The Living Animals of the Natural World, subtitled “a popular Natural History”, proposed to present the most updated version of the wonders of the Animal World in a new and clearer form. It used photography instead of the traditional illustrations and eminent specialists from the world of science and practical discovery contributed to the descriptions. The result is a very thorough picture of human knowledge of the animal world at the time it was published in 1902. When the book was completed by DP in 2019, it became Project Gutenberg’s 60,000th title and DP celebrated with this blog post.

You can read more about DP’s history and current activities here.

Congratulations DP on 20 years of great books!

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World Tour 2020: Asia

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

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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World Tour 2020: Eastern Europe

Posted on September 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on World Tour 2020: Eastern Europe

September has arrived and things are cooling down, except for Covid19, that is… So, if you’d like to get away from it all for a while, we’ll invite you onto a tour to Eastern Europe with 10 gems from our catalog.

Or maybe we need to give you a stronger motive to follow us, like the flute of the Pied Piper? You are probably familiar with the story, but in Krysař, Victor Dyk gives his own version of it. This recently completed solo is our very first stand-alone project in Czech!

Since we are already nearby, we can just pop into the Golden City of Prague. It is said that the maid Libussa founded the city and became the first queen of Czechoslovakia. Read the famous legend as written down by Johann Musäus.

From a first to a last, the last queen of Romania, Marie Alexandra Victoria. In her interesting novel The Dreamer of Dreams, the painter Eric sets out to find a woman he only ever saw in his dreams. Will he be able to meet her and complete his masterpiece?

Yuly Aykhenvald paints many little Silhouettes of Russian Writers (Силуэты русских писателей) in his 3-volume work. These focus on the respective author’s oeuvre in a very personal manner, rather than being simple biographies.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is the topic of many biographies, but here we showcase on of his own books: Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution contrasts the reform programs of the Bolsheviks and the Social Democratic Labor Party of early 20th century Russia.

The story of the long fight of the Bulgarians against the Ottoman Empire is told by Ivan Vazov in the Epic of the Forgotten (Епопея на Забравените). The long narrative poem is one of the classics of Bulgarian literature.

Outcast, persecuted, forgotten. This would be an apt summary of The History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, leading up to the late 19th century. Simon Dubnow, the author of this 3-volume work, himself had to flee from the Nazis before he was eventually killed by them in 1941.

Still, just as he wanted, many Eastern-European Jews took to writing, like the Ukranian Hayyim Nahman Bialik. In his short story penned in Hebrew, the rich Jew Arye Ba’al Guf (אריה בעל גוף) invites his town’s Christian dignitaries to a celebration, which does not have a happy ending…

It doesn’t look good either for the maid Hanka, who is pregnant from her mistress – Mrs. Duska’s – son. He wants to do the right thing and marry her, but first he has to overcome The Morality of Mrs. Duska (Moralnosc pani Dulskiej). This is one of many plays by prolific Polish writer Gabriela Zapolska.

The Hungarian Mór Jókai must have written hundreds of short stories in his lifetime. Nine of them are collected in Tales from Jókai, and they range from the classic Atlantis story “City of the Beast” to the lighthearted “Hostile Skulls”.

Enjoy – and we hope you can stay light hearted and take things with a smile!

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