Books

Good Times

Posted on March 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

March 20th is the UN-proclaimed International Day of Happiness in recognition of the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of humans around the world. Let’s get in the mood with 10 gems from our catalog.

Not sure how to do this? Self-help guru James Allen gives profound advice for beginners – or, at least, on how to lay the Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success. From there, it’s up to yourself.

The choice is up to Harriett: She has fallen in love with the man engaged to her best friend. Will she seize what people think is the one chance to happiness for a women of her time? Read all about the Life and Death of Harriett Frean in May Sinclair’s novel.

In The Blue Bird For Children, adapted by Georgette Leblanc from Maurice Maeterlinck’s play, Tyltil and Myltil must find the Blue Bird of Happiness to cure Fairy’s granddaugher. Will they succeed with the help of inanimate things?

The search for happiness is the one thing the nine short stories by Henry van Dyke, which are collected in The Blue Flower, have in common. It’s nice to see how people, no matter when and where, are essentially the same…

Happiness is also the ultimate goal in the fourth, final epistle of An Essay On Man. In this philosophical poem, Alexander Pope tries to find man’s place in the endless chain of being.

If everyone ultimately strives for happiness, then why are we not already living in A Modern Utopia? This proposal for social reform that would in the end lead to a happy life for everyone comes from an unexpected source – H. G. Wells.

Pollyanna’s approach to reform herself and all around her is simple: It’s called glad game; finding something to be glad about in every situation. Learn how infectious this can be in our dramatic reading of Eleanor H. Porter’s novel.

Whether Michael O’Halloran ever met Pollyanna we cannot tell, but the newsboy certainly knows how to play her little game. The optimistic orphan spreads his sunny nature far and wide in the book by Gene Stratton Porter.

Surely equally likable is our next protagonist; after all, what can you expect from somebody called Happy Jack? Follow the squirrel of the Green Forest and his friends through their adventures in another of Thornton W. Burgess‘ nature books.

Final happiness overload? Arthur Schopenhauer obviously had it too. Follow the 19th century German philosopher’s Studies in Pessimism and make your own choice of whether the glass is half full or half empty.

Enjoy – and be well and happy!

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Mother Tongues

Posted on February 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

On February 21st is the International Mother Language Day. What a great occasion to celebrate with 10 non-English gems from our catalog.

Let’s start with the latest language addition to our catalog. Three short stories – 단편 소설 – by 현진건 (Jin-geon Hyun), finished only in November last year, mark our very first solo project in Korean.

The Indonesian archipelago with its thousands of islands is the home of numerous languages. Puisi Dari Indonesia is a collection of ancient and modern poems in five of them, written by various authors.

Up for something new? Why not learn Dholuo, one of the Kenyan languages spoken around Lake Victoria, with A Handbook of the Kavirondo language. This phrasebook was collected by the Fathers of St. Joseph’s Society.

Equally interesting, but probably much less useful in daily conversation, is Church Slavonic, used during the services of the Orthodox Church. St. Dimitri of Rostov has written about Жития Святых, т. 06 – февруарий – The Lives of the Saints for February in this language.

Apparently no saint was the man who gave the speech recorded by Plato in Ancient Greek. After all, The Apology of Socrates did not save the man from being condemned to Death. This famous work is also available in English, German, and French.

Death may also be unavoidable for Erik Poulsen, a young Danish chemist who discovered a way to turn any metal into gold. Clearly, people in power are not eager to have his knowledge come out in the sci-fi novel Guld og Ære by Otto Martin Møller.

Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri is the story of another fugitive, Apollonius. Having incurred the wrath of a king, he has to flee and survives many adventures. This is an ancient story of unknown origin, which has been translated into many languages, among them Latin.

Languages usually evolve over a long time, but Esperanto has been designed to be especially easy to learn and has many speakers all over the world. La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando is the translation of Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland, which we also have in German.

Benito Pérez Galdós is famous for is National Episodes, a 46 volume work recounting Spanish history. Everything starts out at the Battle of Trafalgar, in which Gabriel Ariceli plays a role. This novel recounts the life of the then 14 year old up to the battle.

Faust: Der Tragödie erster Teil by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is allegedly the most quoted work in German. We have only recently completed – in a tour the force that took 7 years – a dramatic reading of the original. Our English version took much less time.

Enjoy – and brush up your language skills!

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Bright Lights

Posted on January 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

Happy New Year!
Did you know that 2015 will be the International Year of Light? Let’s get it started properly with 10 gems from our catalog.

Light, especially sunlight, is something wonderful – and mysterious and interesting too! Follow Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments on Opticks, one of the first scientific treatises of light and its properties: reflection, refraction, etc.

Much more simple are the duties of Janet of the Dunes, in her little community of people living round a lighthouse. Her story and how it is intertwined with that of her “Cap’n Billy Daddy” can be found in the novel by Harriet T. Cornstock.

Surely, the people there must have read the Instructions to Light Keepers of the US Lighthouse Board. You can do so too – you’ll never know when there is a summer job on a remote island available.

Even more remote is the moon that Chet Ballard is just passing, but wait – isn’t that a distress signal? Charles W. Diffin describes what happened during The Finding of Haldgren who was not the only inhabitant of that distant place…

The moon and his light play an important part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta occurs at various places and times. Follow them through fairyland in our production of Shakespeare’s comedy.

Both light and darkness are invoked by Novalis in his Hymns to the Night, a mixture of poetry and prose concerned with life, death, and mourning. This recording is also available in the original German.

Another way to face such things is described by James Allen. In his book Light on Life’s Difficulties he explores diverse topics like self-control and -sacrifice, values, individual liberty, and many more.

Dick Heldar’s life – spent mainly in London, but also in India and the Sudan – is not without difficulties. Find out how he deals with losing the most important thing for a painter: his eyesight. Read the novel The Light that Failed by Rudyard Kipling.

Not allowed to fail is Ruth Thorne, who has been invited to spend time with her aunt. But, why is she not there to greet her niece? And why did her aunt insist on Ruth lighting a candle in the attic each night? See how the mystery unfolds in Myrtle Reed’s book Lavender and Old Lace.

Jules Verne presents another mystery, that of Doctor Ox’s Experiment. Doctor Ox offers to install free lighting in the little village of Quiquendone. But is he really acting out of simple goodwill or is there a hidden agenda? We also have a German version of this book.

Enjoy – and shine a light!

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Around the World

Posted on August 1, 2014 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

It’s LibriVox’s 9th anniversary this month! Let’s celebrate with our contributors and listeners from all over the world with 10 gems from our catalogue.

In April 1884, a man started out from San Francisco on his trusty Ordinary on a journey Around the World on a Bicycle. He ended his trip after cycling about 13500 miles in December 1886 in Yokohama. Read the account of Thomas Stevens about his voyage.

Much less time for sightseeing had Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, a journalist writing under the name of Nellie Bly. She made her trip Around the World In 72 Days, thus beating Jules Verne’s famous character just as she had set out to do.

None of the two found the passage to the Earth’s center though, and brought news from the giants living there. This was left to a Norwegian sailor who tells his story about The Smoky God or A Voyage To the Inner World in Willis George Emerson’s novel.

A journey of different nature has been written by Marie Corelli. The heroine of A Romance of Two Worlds suffers from an illness that almost drives her to suicide. However, during a prescribed holiday she begins to have visions of divine origin that change her life for good.

A similar experience has the protagonist of Henry Fielding’s novel A Journey From This World to the Next, who dies in the first sentence. He then wanders through afterlife, which, unfortunately, seems to be just a continuation of life on Earth.

Well, The Way Of the World never changes, especially when it comes to love. Mirabell wants to marry Millamant, but first he has to seek her aunt’s approval, who would rather see her nephew marry Millamant… Find out if the right ones get together in the end of the comedy from the 1700′s by William Congreve.

G. K. Chesterton knows exactly What’s Wrong With the World: “I am”, he confesses, but despite that, he still felt compelled to write a number of essays on the topic, covering many more aspects of this difficult  issue – even optimism!

Maybe the application of outside ideas would help to cure the world from evils? William Shuler Harris covers Life In a Thousand Worlds and talks about how alien philosophy from other worlds could help to fix the Earth’s problems.

Sergeant Bellews is not sure whether the signals that blow up transmitters all over the planet are of alien origin. Still, the inventor is taking up the fight – will he be able to construct The Machine that Saved the World in time in the novella by Murray Leinster?

In the end, only we ourselves can make a this a better world. Stopping to fight each other would be a good start, after all, we all feel the same. Read the entries of our First World War Centenary Poetry Collection – would you know where the various authors came from?

Enjoy – and Happy 9th Anniversary, LibriVox!

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