Blog

Time to get started!

Posted on January 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

Happy New Year everyone! A new year has just begun, and we are also looking at beginnings in 10 gems from our catalogue.

The Prelude is always a good start, and this particular one has the distinction to be the first major narrative poem dealing with a spiritual journey. In this case, it’s the journey of William Wordsworth, and although begun in 1798, it was refined throughout his life and published only after his death, more than 50 years later.

Good things do take time, and Prehistoric Men lived for thousands of years without ever learning how to write. However, they did leave us exciting artifacts, and Robert J. Braidwood explains how we can learn from them – through then brand new methods like carbon dating – about the lives of our ancestors.

A very important step in human history was taken by John Gutenberg, First Master Printer, who invented the movable letter press. He has set in motion (no pun intended) widespread literacy with his easy way of reproducing books, and Franz von Dingelstedt sketches the last few years in Gutenberg’s life.

One small step for a human – a giant leap for mankind. That’s what Adam Crag wants to be: First on the Moon. However, there is a traitor amongst his crew, and it is vital to find out who it is before he can sabotage the mission. Read whether he is successful in the short novel by Jeff Sutton.

Seaman Redburn’s First Voyage does not take him quite that far, only from London to New York. However, the fact that he has never set foot on a merchant ship before makes this a very exciting and difficult endeavour. Herman Melville worked his own first experiences on board a ship into this story.

Edward Ormondroyd tells the lovely story of David and the Phoenix. When they first met, the Phoenix was shocked about Davids’ ignorance in many fields, so he took it upon himself to further his education. When this is firmly on its way, they need to thwart the designs of a scientist to catch the Phoenix – will they succeed?

Lady Sarah Wilson did get caught by the enemy, but she came free in a prisoner exchange. She was the first female war correspondent and covered the Boer War for the Daily Mail. Her South African Memories, part of that coverage, tell further details about the Siege of Mafeking and her capture.

Together with Goethe Friedrich Schiller is responsible for creating the Weimar Classicism.  He was the founder of the Weimar theatre, which greatly influenced theatre all over Germany.  One of Schiller’s most famous dramatic works is Mary Stuart, about the ill fated Queen of Scots. You can also listen to the German original of this drama.

Even the big ones have to start somewhere, and usually it’s small. When Jane Austen was but 14 years of age, she penned the short epistolary novel Love and Freindship for her friends and family. Spelling errors notwithstanding, she turned into one of the most beloved authors of her time.

He is credited to be a pioneer of the self-help movement, and has written many books on various topics during his lifetime: James Allen. The Divine Companion is the last book of his to be published, and he writes about it: “The story of my soul … should be read last of all my books…”

Enjoy – and let’s get started!

Tags:

Christmas Podcast

Posted on December 21, 2016 by | Posted in Blog | Comments: 0

Listen to LibriVox Community Podcast #144: LibriVox Christmastime plans; thoughts on Christmas; poems, short stories, and other Christmas-related readings; exclusive radio play; Christmas interview; LibriVox bloopers.
Duration: 1:40:39

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hosted by Twinkle

With contributions from Cheryl Adam (cadam10e), April6090 (adr6090), Molly Craig (mzmolly65), Christine Dufour (Jacquerie), Linette Geisel (linny), Greg Giordano (GregGiordano), larryhayes7 (larryhayes7), Joyfull (Joyfull), Kangaroo (Kangaroo692), Christine Lehman (stoogeswoman), Newgatenovelist (Newgatenovelist), Tomas Peter (WiltedScribe), Rachel (SweetPea), Sandra Schmit (catharmaiden), Kara Shallenberg (kayray), Esther ben Simonides (EstherbenSimonides), Bria Snow (Breeze), Twinkle (Twinkle88), and Peter Yearsley (Peter Why)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Show Notes:
00:00 Introduction – Twinkle
00:48 New and old Christmas-themed projects – Twinkle
02:07 Bloopers – Linette Geisel, Kara Shallenberg, Christine Dufour, Twinkle, Bria Snow, Newgatenovelist, Rachel
05:23 LibriVox Christmas projects and plans Christmas Short Works Collection 2016, Christmas Tales and Christmas Verse, Christmas Carol Collection 2016; poems “Dedication” and “A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior” – Kangaroo
08:20 Upcoming solo London Labour and the London Poor – Volume 1, short story “Why the Chimes Rang” – Peter Yearsley
24:14 Thoughts on LibriVox – Sandra Schmit
25:52 Favorite Christmas broadcast “The Shepherd,” poem “The Shepherd,” short story “The Little Match Girl” – Molly Craig
33:52 Christmas memories, thoughts on Christmas, John 1:1-14 – Joyfull
38:33 Short story “Keeping Christmas,” poem “Sly Santa Claus,” history of “The Festival of St. Nicholas” – April6090
53:17 Poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” – larryhayes7
57:16 Thoughts on A Christmas Carol – Greg Giordano
1:11:34 Radio play “Snowed In: A Penny Parker Christmas” – Cheryl Adam
1:31:26 Christmas Interview – Twinkle, Christine Lehman, Tomas Peter, Esther ben Simonides
1:40:08 Conclusion – Twinkle, April6090, Molly Craig, Greg Giordano, Joyfull, Kangaroo, Sandra Schmit, Esther ben Simonides, Peter Yearsley

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We are interested in whatever feedback – positive or constructively critical – anyone has about our podcasts. Add a comment below or pop over to this forum thread. Any member of the community who has contributed readings to the LibriVox catalog can host a podcast and is most welcome to do so. Visit this thread on the forum to express an interest and float your ideas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To Subscribe to the Librivox Community Podcast, go to: http://feeds.feedburner.com/LibrivoxCommunityPodcast Or hit this itunes link to get you to the subscribe page: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=203970211

Recent past LibriVox Community Podcast files can be found at our spot on: Archive.org and archived shows for previous years can be found at: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013-2016.

Archived shownotes for the Community Podcast can be found at: http://librivox.org/category/librivox-community-podcast/ And the rss feed for those shownotes is: http://librivox.org/category/librivox-community-podcast/feed

Tags:

Shakespeare in Love

Posted on December 1, 2016 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment

British literature has a long history, and many of the best known stories of all times originated on the British Isles. This time, however, we are after the lesser known authors for this year’s final 10 gems from our catalogue.

For almost 200 years, Thomas Kyd had fallen into obscurity, even though the playwright from the 1580s was among the most important figures of Elizabethan drama. Here, we present his most famous play The Spanish Tragedy, where a man (or rather: a ghost) takes revenge…

Winston S. Churchill also saw many people die – he was British Prime Minister during WWII. Besides that, he was a renowned writer of nonfiction and even received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. During his long term in parliament, he had to give many public addresses, some of which are collected in Selected House of Common Speeches.

Being the British Prime Minister does not seem to hinder one’s private pursuits. Another one – Benjamin Disraeli – was a well known literary figure and is credited with the invention of the political novel. One of his best known is Sibyl, or the Two Nations, tracing the plight of the working classes in England.

Definitely not working class was Charlotte Yonge. She was homeschooled by her father, and started writing in 1848. She wrote about 160 novels in her life time, many of them with a historical theme that she painstakingly researched. Her book The Litte Duke is based on the life of Richard, Duke of Normandy.

Samuel Pepys had a number of highborn family members, but he spent his childhood in relative poverty. Only through fastidious studying, which earned him a scholarship at Cambridge, did he climb the ranks and finally became Chief Secretary to the Admiralty. He is best known for The Diary of Samuel Pepys, which he kept from 1660 – 1669.

Rita (pen name of Eliza M. Humphreys) on the other hand, received little education. Even so, she became a famous author and wrote 120 novels – one of them even sold 160,000 copies! In The Mystery of a Turkish Bath the guests of an exclusive Hampshire hotel witness the strange and dangerous display of occult powers…

Marie Corelli, an illegitimate child, started writing in 1886 and became the most widely read author of fiction of her time. She even outsold A. Conan Doyle, but was always belittled by critics. In The Secret Power, the female inventor of an airship and the male holder of destructive powers get involved romantically – but question marks remain for both of them.

No question marks are there about the new teacher at Dr. Wortle’s School: It is clear that she is a bigamist. The religious school deals with it in the style of Anthony Trollope. He was one of the most renowned authors of Victorian England, and is best known for the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

Also from the Victorian era hails Sir Henry W. Lucy, a political journalist. He taught himself shorthand and French and worked as a reporter from 1864 for a number of different newspapers. Faces and Places is a collection of articles on travels he made in various countries.

Dora Sigerson Shorter was an Irish Poet and a major figure of the Irish Literary Revival. Sadly, she died at only 51 years of age. The Sad Years is a collection of her poetry concerning WWI, from 1914 – 1918.

Enjoy discovering new British authors!

Tags:

The Man From La Mancha

Posted on November 1, 2016 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

Spanish is the second most spoken native tongue on the planet – and this month, we will celebrate our Spanish speaking librivoxers with 10 gems from our catalog written by Spanish authors.

When discussing Spanish writers, you cannot pass over Miguel de Cervantes. Living in poverty throughout his childhood, and never able to live from his writing, he is now considered the greatest novelist in the Spanish tongue. His Exemplary Novels are a collection of his shorter writings – also available in the original Spanish.

Instant fame was bestowed upon Fernan Caballero on the publication of the first novel. However, behind the pseudonym hides Cecilia Böhl de Faber, who, widowed three times, nevertheless wrote all thorugh her life. Cuentos, Adivinanzas y Refranes Populares collects 39 of her short stories and poems.

By far not so lucky was Doña Juana of Spain, daughter of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. She was devastated at the loss of her husband and was thenceforth known as “the Mad”. Historia de la célebre Reina de España Doña Juana, llamada vulgarmente La Loca is a short biography of hers, written by an unknown author.

Another autobiography on our list is The Life of St. Teresa. St. Teresa of Avila (or: St. Teresa of Jesus) was a Roman Catholic mystic from Spain, and her books about contemplative life are an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature as well as of Catholic literature. We also have a Spanish recording of this book.

An important writer of the Spanish Golden Age is Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Orphaned as a child, he wanted to take orders, but studied law instead. He finally became a playwright and wrote more than 70 plays, some of which were already translated into English in the 17th century. In the comedy La Dama Duende he pokes fun at the prevalent superstition of his age.

Another law student turned writer is Juan Ramón Jiménez, born in Andalucia. He was a very prolific writer as well: His first books were published when he was only 18, and with 74, two years before his death, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Platero y Yo is a cute little prose diary – of a donkey.

You may not know him by name, but many of his stories were made into Hollywood movies: Vicente Blasco Ibañez. Born in Valencia, he studied law, and became a politician, journalist, and best selling author. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a ripping yarn about two Argentinian families in WWI.

Of equally grave consequences was the death of general Francisco Franco of Spain. The Constitución Española de 1978 is the major document to ease the transition from dictatorship to democracy – even more so since this change was supported by both the people, and the royal court in Madrid.

Also set in Madrid is Insolación about a short lived love affair in the city’s unbearable summer heat. It was written by Emilia Pardo Bazán, who was born in Galicia. She counts among the chiefs of the naturalistic movent in Spain, as well as of feminist literature.

There are many more interesting Spanish authors, we cannot list them all here. However, 50 more and their poems are collected in Las Cien Mejores Poesías de la Lengua Castellana.

Enjoy getting to know authors from Spain!

Tags:

Browse the catalog