Books

On Disabilities

Posted on October 1, 2022 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

October is World Blindness Awareness Month, and thanks to our volunteers, we have a number of books that deal with blindness and other disabilities. Let’s have a look at 10 of these gems from our catalog.

When it comes to Blindness Awareness, few have done more here than Helen Keller. An illness took her sight at an early age, and she had to learn to use her other senses to find her way around The World I Live In.

The world Sir Gibbie lives in is a dreary one. The motherless boy roams the Scotland moors to avoid his alcoholic father. But even though he can’t speak (and may be autistic), he finds ways to touch everybody he meets in the novel by George MacDonald.

The story of Kaspar Hauser, the foundling of Nuremberg, still touches people. His early childhood was spent in a dark bunker, deprived of any human contact. Anselm von Feuerbach became Kaspar’s guardian and tells the story as he knows it.

Judith doesn’t know how her cousin was murdered in her very presence – of course not, since she is deaf. Detective Ferguson is called to solve what he thinks is an inside job in The Unseen Ear by Natalie Sumner Lincoln.

Private detective Max Carrados takes on numerous cases, the more difficult, the better. His blindness is not an obstacle, as he trusts the observations of his butler, Parkinson, in the well-loved series by Ernest Bramah.

Trusting somebody is fine – until you’re taken advantage of. The Blind Hannah finds this out when her parents arrange her marriage. Her husband obviously has a secret, but what is it? Jacob Steinberg tells you in his short story.

Overcoming the limits of disabilities can be the secret to success in life. In The Privilege of Pain, Carolin Everett discusses the lives of disabled artists, politicians, philosophers, scientists, poets…

Alfred Castner King is one of them. A mining accident blinded him, and with insufficient education and money, he feared to be completely useless. Until he picked up a pen during convalescence and opened up in Mountain Idylls and Other Poems.

Vladimir Korolenko tried to analyse the inner life of the blind in what he calls a psychological study. The Blind Musician weaves together the stories of several blind people, all with their own struggles, setbacks, and successes.

The lives of 14-year-old Tom and his Blind Brother Bennie are equally intertwined. Together they work in Pennsylvania coal mines to pay for Bennie’s surgery. But in Homer Greene’s novel, which we made into a dramatic reading, life isn’t easy…

Enjoy – and remember: it’s Blindness Awareness Month!

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Licentious Literature

Posted on September 1, 2022 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Licentious Literature

The worst heat waves should be over, so we can think about getting “hot” in a … ahem … different kind of way. Let’s explore classic adult-rated literature with 10 sexy gems from our catalog.

From the very beginnings of humanity, Phallic Worship had its fixed place in religious practices. Follow Hargrave Jennings through times, cultures and countries and see how both male and female genitalia became deified.

The Garden God is the only friend of lonely boy Graham. When he finally enters boarding school, he meets Harold, who is the statue’s spitting image. A loving friendship soon blossoms – until tragedy strikes in the novel by Forrest Reid.

“Tragic” is the perfect summary of Mathilda’s life: Her mother dies soon after her birth and her father disappears. When the girl is 16, her father re-emerges to confess his – not quite paternal – love for her… Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel was considered so scandalous that it was only published 100 years after her death.

Pierre Louÿs claimed to have rediscovered the works of a Greek poetess from Sappho’s circle. Whether this is true or not, Les Chansons de Bilitis are one of the prime examples of poetry with lesbian themes. We also have this book in a German translation.

A great variety of themes are found in The Perfumed Garden, a 15th-century Arabic sex manual. Sheikh Nafzaoui skilfully mixes aphrodisiac recipes, descriptions of sexual techniques and intercourse with erotic stories to get in the mood.

“The mood” is a fickle thing, as Severin knows, and so he demands to be treated as a slave from his lover Wanda… Venus in Furs, or rather, its author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch lends his name to a whole range of sexual preference.

Similarly immortalized is Giacomo Casanova. Chiefly known for his womanizing, the Venetian was also an adventurer and a writer – a pretty good one too, if his Memoirs are any indication.

George Bernard Shaw’s Overruled shows perfect indications of a love quadruple: Two couples meet unexpectedly at a hotel. But they are all married to the partners of the others… A serious conversation leads to an unexpected result.

The only serious thing about Nana is that she destroys every man who pursues her. No wonder, she’s a prostitute, after all. Émile Zola shows in his famous novel that the life of even a high-class courtesan is no fairy tale.

Fairy tales are already in the name here: Braune Märchen are a mix of Grimm’s fairy tales and the Decameron, with a sprinkle of erotic on top. These 20 fairy tales stem from the pen of Alexander von Ungern-Sternberg.

Enjoy – and be naughty!

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Another Year!

Posted on August 1, 2022 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Another Year!

Next week, LibriVox will turn 17! In the last year, our volunteers have worked together to create more than 1300 new books for our catalog. Let’s have a look at 10 of these gems to kickstart our celebrations.

What would the world look like if people worked together? 12 German authors gave it a try and wrote Der Roman der XII, one chapter each. Interestingly, who wrote which chapter isn’t known – can you figure it out?

International understanding would be easier with a common, easy to learn language. In comes Esperanto, the only “created” language in the world. Edmont Privat tells more about its creator in Vivo de Zamenhof.

Alternatively, you could just hope for a genie to set things right, like the one Aladdin found in his lamp. Adam Oehlenschläger took the story and added a few twists – and we added a dramatic reading.

Things get very dramatic when Mr. Catesby is hit by a bird carrying a tin box. In it, he finds clues about The Wreck of the Corsaire including chests of gold… Expect a great adventure in the novel by William Clark Russell.

Gallant knights are always looking for adventures, and when The Lavender Dragon roams the lands and abducts lonely people, he must be stopped. But not everything is what it seems in the little book by Eden Phillpotts.

Nabakumar’s hunting trip takes an unexpected turn when he becomes a sacrifice for the goddess Kali. Young Kopal-Kundala comes to his rescue and follows him to the city, with tragic consequences. This is considered the best work by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.

Another masterpiece is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. In this roman à clef, a group of expats travels from Paris to Pamplona for the bull run, but not everybody escapes unscathed…

Nobody is safe in war, not people, not property. The Nazis systematically looted the countries they had attacked and hid many priceless art pieces in Salt Mines and Castles. After WWII, Thomas Carr Howe helped return the stolen art to their rightful owners, a process that is still not settled.

Neither is the Russian-Ukranian conflict, which has been brewing for decades. Already after WWI, Ukraine struggled for independence. Our Friends of Ukraine Publications collects 9 essays by various authors about the situation in the country at that time.

Let’s end this on a positive note – we’re celebrating, after all – and poetry by Harold Vinal. His collection White April showcases in 5 different sections his deep feelings towards people, places, and the eternal beauty of nature.

Enjoy – and a big THANK YOU! to all our volunteers who keep making audiobooks!

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Safe Travels!

Posted on July 1, 2022 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Safe Travels!

It’s that time of the year again: next item on the schedule is a holiday. Or get out of the house and travelling with 10 gems from our catalog.

Any favourite destinations? For Russian writer Nikolay Gumilyov, it was Africa. His poetry inspired by giraffes and hippos is collected in “The Tent”, which is a part contained in Романтические Цветы, Шатер.

Riding a white goose as part of a flock of wild geese? Selma Lagerlöf was asked to write a geographic reader for Swedish school kids. The result is her most famous book: The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. We also have this novel in Spanish, German and in Dutch.

In contrast, the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands is a true story of a woman who travelled to help wounded soldiers. Jamaican-born, of Scottish-Creole descent, Mary Seacole was born adventurous!

Much less so is the Moulton family, travelling through Europe. But their relative Catalina has more exciting ideas for the trip… Find out if doom and disaster really lie ahead in Gertrude Atherton’s novel The Travelling Thirds.

You never know what lies ahead when you go to unknown places. When a young woman, an Exile From Space, visits Earth for the first time, it takes a while to find her way around. But then, the unexpected happens… Judith Merril’s sci-fi story tells you more.

Surely, nothing out of the ordinary could happen on a train trip? Then again, when travelling through the night, the supernatural is never far off. Stefan Grabiński explores what could happen in 8 stories collected in Wybrane opowiadania.

Many passengers find their way onto the cross-country train from Chicago, and not a few have something to hide. But Excuse Me! when those secrets are revealed in Rupert Hughes’ comedy.

Uncovering secrets may have been the reason for The Pilgrimage of Etheria in the 4th century. In this voyage to the Holy Land, Etheria follows the footsteps of Christ to Mt. Sinai, Constantinople and Jerusalem.

Decidedly not Christlike was Robert Louis Stevenson, even though he Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. Together with Modestine, he walks through South-west France, always with a keen eye for the landscape, the people, and their lives.

Tristan Bernard’s travelling companion has more donkey…, sorry, horsepower – it’s a car. In the 53 vignettes of Les veillées du chauffeur he tells us of little trips on four wheels when the car was still young.

Enjoy – and have a great vacation!

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