Highlighting language diversity

Posted on January 6, 2019 by | Posted in Blog, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Highlighting language diversity

Happy New Year 2019!

In 2018, our readers, proof listeners, and coordinators have been hard-working as ever. We have completed 1037 projects last year! Among these are works of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, dramas, short story collections and long novels. We have also completed 120 projects in languages other than English! Let some of our readers recommend projects completed in 2018 to you.

Leni starts us off with a recommendation of Contos in Portuguese:

“Os Contos de Eça de Queirós são uma recolha póstuma de algumas das melhores narrativas curtas do autor português, mais conhecido talvez por seus romances. Ainda assim, seus contos, publicados em revistas e jornais, são alguns dos melhores da língua portuguesa. Vários deles foram e são ainda hoje usados em escolas, vestibulares e concursos, traduzidos para outras línguas e adaptados para outros meios, o que demonstra a sua vitalidade e importância.”

And we continue with poetry as Basquetteur recomends Rimas in Spanish:

“Las “Rimas” de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer son parte de sus obras más conocidas y halagadas. En ellas encontramos referencias sobre todo al amor, y también a otros sentimientos. Las “Rimas” fueron publicadas después del fallecimiento de Bécquer a la temprana edad de 34 años, como recopilación de sus poesias, dispersas en parte hasta entonces, en homenaje suyo. Son poesías románticas clásicas imprescindibles, llenas todavía hoy de gran frescor.”

Sonia highlights the French classic Le Rouge et le Noir:

“Le célèbre roman de Stendhal, publié en 1830, raconte l’histoire de Julien Sorel, jeune homme d’origine modeste, mais ambitieux et doué d’intelligence pour réussir dans la vie. Son destin sera lié étroitement à celui de deux femmes bien différentes, Madame de Rênal, femme mariée riche mais provinciale et Mathilde de la Mole, jeune coquette de la haute société parisienne. Leur amour et liaisons aideront à former d’abord la carrière de Julien mais mèneront ultérieurement à la tragédie.”

Foon warmly recommends the cute Dutch poems Alles zingt:

“In Alles Zingt van Pieter Louwerse vindt u 150 liedjes en rijmpjes voor het Nederlandse volk. Sommigen hiervan zullen u bekend voorkomen, en sommigen zullen helemaal nieuw (of juist oud!) zijn. De rijmpjes zijn geschreven voor kinderen, maar jong én oud zal hier veel plezier aan beleven!”

In German, Schrm, supported by Monika, calls our attention to Das Haus des schwarzen Magiers:

“Es war das erste LibriVox Hörbuch, das ich anhörte. Ich mochte früher Hörbücher nicht, dachte: “Zuhören ist anstrengend” (zumindest als Telefonist, manchmal). Das Buch ist gruselig, handelt von “real erfahrenem” Okkultismus, entstand in der magischen viktorianischen Zeit, in der die großen Gruselgeschichten dieser Welt geschrieben wurden, hat eine extrem dichte, spannende Atmosphäre auch durch die Leserin (und den Akzent) und ist eine rundum empfehlbare “Audiolektüre”.”

And because it is difficult to pick just one, Schrm adds the German book of poetry Bunte Beute:

“Meine ersten Beiträge auf LibriVox las ich für dieses Buch. die Gedichte sind in sich jeweils eine kleine Geschichte, ein Dankes-und Huldigungsbrief, einmal eine (das Herz bluten lassende) Anklage, dann kommen wieder augenzwinkernde Anekdoten darin vor. Ein extrem vielseitiges Gedichte-Buch mit lauter kreativen, intelligenten kleinen Kostbarkeiten. Bunte Beute, die ich wärmstens empfehlen kann!”

Piotrek spotlights the monumental Faraon in Polish:

“W miarę jak jak nowy faraon, Ramzes XIII, ma okazję bliżej przyjrzeć się funkcjonowaniu kraju, zaczyna dostrzegać coraz więcej rzeczy, które chciałby zmienić. Szybko jednak przekonuje się że swoją władzą- a także bogactwem Egiptu- będzie musiał dzielić się z kapłanami. Lekceważy jednak potęgę klasy kapłańskiej, nie zdając sobie sprawy z tego, jakimi środkami dysponują jego przeciwnicy.”

And we end this year’s round with Tovarish’s recommendation of the Russian short stories Pассказы для детей и взрослых:

“Рассказы для детей и взрослых” Всеволода Гаршина заслуживают особого внимания слушателя. Написанные доходчивым языком и понятные людям разного возраста, они найдут дорогу к сердцу даже самого требовательного любителя книг, особенно в замечательном исполнении Марка Чульского. Слушаете ли вы все рассказы сразу или возвращаетесь к ним после перерыва, каждая история вызовет особый резонанс в Вашей душе.”

We hope you enjoy listening to these books as much as we enjoyed making them!



Epic Resolutions

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

Happy New Year 2019! Any New Year’s Resolutions? “Reading more books” is on your list, right? But sometimes, reading a single book can be enough of a challenge, as the following epic 10 gems from our catalog will show.

What is the longest book you can think of? War and Peace, of course! Leo Tolstoy depicts Russian society in the Napoleonic Wars from 1805 to 1820. He needed 17 volumes for that – and our volunteers needed 64 hours to read it all.

Even longer than this – 66 hours –  is Henry Gray’s textbook on the Anatomy of the Human Body. First published in 1858, it is still used by medical students to this day, although our 1918 edition may be not 100% up-to-date.

LibriVox is very much up-to-date and brings you the complete version of Historias de Herodoto in Spanish. The nine books of ancient history of the Middle East, Persia, and Greece, written by Herodotus around 440 BC was completed only a few days ago, and a single soloist read all 36 hours of it!

Equally long (38 hours even), equally daunting, and packed into a single volume is Middlemarch. It is a study of provincial life in the Midlands of the 1830s, with a hint of social commentary, masterfully written by George Eliot.

Ms. Eliot apparently had a liking for long tomes, since she translated David F. Strauss’ book The Life of Jesus Critically Examined into English. This book about the historical person Jesus clocks in at 58 hours and cost the original author his job.

Much more than that was at stake for Edmond Dantes in the famous novel by Alexandre Dumas. It took him years to become Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, and it takes more than 51 hours to tell the story.

Another life story (in two parts) is that of the scholar Faust. At a mere 11 hours 40 minutes, it seems pretty tame on this list, but don’t forget that Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote this as play to be performed on stage!

No mere childs play is the story of The Virginians, two brothers who end up at different sides of the American War for Independence. In some 40 hours, William M. Thackeray explores what can happen if you fall for the wrong woman.

Well, not every woman can be a Faerie Queene. With a runtime of 32 hours, Edmund Spenser produced one of the longest poems in English. And he didn’t even complete his goal to “fashion a gentleman in virtuous and gentle discipline”.

Don’t worry, not everything that is long has to be dead serious. Although, in a sense, our longest book on this list – 67 hours in 3 parts – is exactly this: Varney the Vampyre started as a “penny dreadful” serial by Thomas Prest, and became the mother of all vampire stories ever written.

Take your time and enjoy – and we hope that you’ll read more than one book this year! ;-)


There’s Always Hope!

Posted on December 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on There’s Always Hope!

It’s December, and at the end of the year, many people hope for things to improve in the year to come. Let’s have a look at 10 gems from our catalogue, filled to the brim with hope.

For the Feland Family, there is nothing better than a holiday in Switzerland. However, at this occasion, their younger daughter, Little Miss Grasshopper, gets unexpectedly into trouble… Read the lovely story by Johanna Spyri and find out what happens next.

Mercy’s trouble is that she is living on the streets, without class or connections. When she volunteers in the Franco-Prussian War, a fellow nurse is killed, and Mercy takes her name to become The New Magdalen. Will she get the better life she was hoping for in the novel by Wilkie Collins?

Penelope Delta was not concerned with names, she wrote Παραμύθι χωρίς όνομα (Tale Without Name). There, the kingdom of Moirolatres is doing so badly, even the heir to the throne wants to leave for good. However, something happens that gives him hope to stay and turn things in this story for kids and adults alike.

Dick Whittington and His Cat have just arrived in London, where the “streets are paved with gold”. This is not really true, but Dick is determined to make the best out of his plans. This hilarious pantomime by E.L. Blanchard is a perennial favourite of British audiences.

For a long time, African-American kids had no role models to look up to. In 1920, the inspirational book The Upward Path: A reader for Colored Children was published, counting 67 entries by Various African-American writers, educators, and activists to make a brighter future for those kids.

Helena Swanwick took it one step further to and speaks of The Future of the Women’s Movement. In her book she talks of women’s aim of a better understanding and cooperation with men – something we’re still striving for to this day.

Another place where there is room for improvement still are humanities aspirations for Perpetual Peace, even though we made progress since Immanuel Kant brought forth his views in this philosophical essay on international laws and how lasting peace has to be worked for. We also have a recording of the German original.

Around December, Santa’s workshop is extremely busy producing toys for children on Earth. But what happens to them after they are unwrapped on Christmas Day? Laura Lee Hope has investigated and tells us The Story of a Nodding Donkey.

Probably the biggest story told around this time of the year is the Christmas Story. Nowadays, the essentials may have been buried under presents and fairy lights, but George MacDonald goes back to the roots with his book The Hope of the Gospel.

No matter who you are, where you live, and what you believe, no matter what you are aspiring to, rest assured that It Can Be Done! Listen to more than 200 inspirations poems by various well-known authors from all over the world and improve the world – or just your own tomorrow – just a little bit at a time.

Enjoy – and Happy Holidays to all of you!


WWI – Endings

Posted on November 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on WWI – Endings

The grey and foggy days of November are made for remembrance. And 100 years ago, in November 1918, World War I – the “Great War” ended. We remember the Fallen with 10 gems from our catalogue.

When the Great War started in 1914, people were enthusiastic and convinced that it would be over quickly. Soon, the outlook was not so rosy anymore, and many people began to express antiwar sentiments. One of them was Alfred Noyes. His short play Rada; a Belgian Christmas Eve was written already in 1915, and voices his views on the war without much restraint.

No restraint either showed F. Tennyson Jesse, a journalist who visited female helpers behind the lines in France. She was able to speak to many women working as nurses in numerous field hospitals, and wrote down her experiences and impressions in The Sword of Deborah.

Troy wants to help save his beloved France as well. But he’s American, and only 15, and probably sees the war as nothing more than a big adventure. Still, Edith Wharton lets him experience the war first hand in her book The Marne: A Tale of War.

Not at all romantic is the book by John Dos Passos, in fact, it is hailed as one of the most realistic depictions of war in American literature. Three Soldiers – Americans – are caught up in the trenches where all the glorious speeches give way to the brutality of sheer survival.

How better to depict the horrors of war than on celluloid? Geoffrey H. Malins, a famous cinematographer, was present at the Great Somme Battles, 75 yards away from German lines – and so was his camera. In his How I Filmed the War, he talks about his experiences on filming under fire.

WWI was truly a World War, and our Hebrew/English project Injustice & Excerpt from The Escaping Club tells about an incident on the Turkish-British line after the British had invaded Palestine. Injustice by Yosef Haim Brenner is a short story about an escaped POW being returned to his captors – and said POW, A. J. Evans, tells the true story in The Escaping Club.

Soldier E.E. Cummings was imprisoned for antiwar sentiments in France in late August 1917. However, after 5 months, Cummings was released and could return to New York on January 1st 1918. His autobiographical book The Enormous Room tells the story of these five months, including his father’s distress on receiving a (wrong) note that his son had died in the war.

As you see, Ardours and Endurances are not just required by the people on the front, but also from those at home. This is the title of a collection of war poems by Robert Nichols, who was immortalised as one of 16 Great War Poets in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.

Captain Baldry is shell shocked and suffers from amnesia. And now, The Return of the Soldier brings a reunion with three important women of his life: his wife, his favourite cousin, and a poor innkeeper’s daughter he once was in love with. Will he regain his memory, or must he start afresh – find out in the novel by Rebecca West.

No more war is the cry of pacifists around the world. But Alfred Hermann Fried has a different view on pacifism and explains them in Kurze Aufklärungen über Wesen und Ziel des Pazifismus. Although written in 1914, and thus unable to prevent the two World Wars of the 20th century, his ideas contributed to the establishment of the United Nations.

Enjoy – and never forget, never repeat!


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