Books

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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Colored Leaves in the Dark

Posted on October 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Colored Leaves in the Dark

October brings the cool mornings, early evenings and dark fogs of autumn, but also colorful leaves to go with it. Let’s enjoy the beginning of the autumn season with 10 gems from our catalog.

Speaking of colorful leaves, many poets and writers have been inspired by them to write Autumn Leaves: Original Pieces in Prose and Verse. This particular autumn collection was put together by Anne Wales Abbot.

Equally colorful and fun, but meant for much younger readers are the Seven Autumn Leaves From Fairyland. These lovely one-of-a-kind stories were written by E. Cunningham.

An old story is retold anew by Ramón del Valle-Inclán in Sonata de otoño: Concha, who was once a lover of Bradomin, is dying. When he arrives in her little town, he reflects on their old love and realises that it might not be over after all.

Barely begun has Richard Beresford’s love story with The Rain Girl, when he loses her again. And all that happened on the very first day of tramping the country! Find out if the two find each other again the book by Herbert George Jenkins.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa makes it easier for the young people in his short story Rojyoo. Syunnsuke and Tatsuko also meet in passing in the rain. But a week later, they meet again at a concert, where their romance may finally blossom…

Nowadays, nobody needs to be surprised by rain showers, thanks to modern weather forecasts. They were not always as accurate though; read up on the state of the art of weather forecasting in 1897 in Vol. 8 of the National Geographic Magazine.

No forecast could have helped Anna Christie in Eugene O’Neill’s drama. Reunited with her father after 15 years, she works on his coal barge, and at an accident in the fog she meets sailor Mat. Things look good when they fall in love, but there is Anna’s secret…

Mother Nature does not reveal her secrets easily either, and some discoveries are not accepted for a long time. David Brewster describes the lives of Galileo, Kepler, and Tycho Brahe, and the shadows their work cast on them in his book The Martyrs of Science.

Charles Marlow is not a martyr when taking the assignment as river-boat captain in the Congo. But the longer he works, the more his experiences reveal the Heart of Darkness within the soul. Read the famous novel by Joseph Conrad to find out how he deals with it.

Many people deal with darkness, hardships, and other problems by turning to a higher being. Catholic priest Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani collected his and other’s thoughts masterfully in Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel their Doubts and Allay Their Fears.

Enjoy – and many colorful leaves to brighten your autumn!

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Laughter is Universal

Posted on May 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Laughter is Universal

Nothing is more conducive to international understanding – and should be practiced much more often – than laughter. Have fun with 10 gems from our catalog.

Why laugh, you might ask. Because “Folly is the part of intellect that makes life worthwhile.” Thus wrote Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1509 in the essay Das Lob der Narrheit. The book influenced rhetoric – and even landed on the index of forbidden books! An English version is available.

It’s two weeks before their wedding and Allan Harroby’s fiancee is forbidden to change her mind. So, Allan comes to Lloyds to take out Love Insurance… Read the book by Earl Derr Biggers to see if things go as planned in the next two weeks.

In Russia, things are not according to plan: A government clerk is sent to a small town to end corruption there, and the villagers are worried. When a man at the inn refuses to pay, it is clear: He surely must be The Inspector General… Have fun with Nikolai Gogol’s classic play.

Another classic was taken as the basis for He by Andrew Lang and Walter H. Pollock. From there, the original “She” has to bear hit after hit… Can you decipher all the references in this side-splitting parody?

Bill Nye doesn’t go quite that far, but he does add a number of sarcastic and humorous remarks to the bare facts in order to produce a Comic History of the United States from the European settlement through the Civil War.

Laughing after everything is over is always easy. Henry E. Warner thinks so too and shares his story of That House I bought; a Little Leaf of Life. Read it carefully – you might learn something useful for when you buy your next house!

Knowing how to convey ideas in writing is always useful. The anonymously published book English as She is Wrote teaches you exactly that; and if you want to know how not to write or how to obscure your ideas, you should definitely read it!

We do not know whether Theophile Gautier ever took writing classes. However, the eight stories of his Contes humoristiques certainly turned out well and very funny. Read for example “Two actors for one role”, “About obesity in literature” or “A nightly visit”.

Harry Graham pays a visit to many famous people in his satirical poetry. Teddy Roosevelt, Joan of Arc, and Adam are just three of the Misrepresentive Men he has a sometimes scathing, closer look at.

That’s what the inhabitants of Huckley should have done as well. But now it’s too late, they are an international laughing stock as The Village that Voted the Earth Was Flat. Read the story by Rudyard Kipling to find out if and how this might have been prevented.

Enjoy – and keep laughing (at yourself ;-) )

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Gather ’round, it’s storytime!

Posted on April 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on Gather ’round, it’s storytime!

Although it is slowly getting spring, April weather can be fickle, and kids may be disappointed when they have to stay indoors. Why not entertain them with 10 gems from our catalog.

When you can’t play outside, what better than having a grandmother who tells fairy tales? Poor Jupp has one – and he makes a deal with rich Otto who would like to have one. In Die verkaufte Großmutter by Hanns Heinz Ewers, the two boys first listen, but soon invent their own stories…

The littlest One – His Book is a little boy’s own life story. In 30 humorous verses, Marion St. John Webb tells of various adventures a little boy can have in- and outside of the house, regardless of the weather.

Another exciting adventure story is The Lion of St. Mark. In the 14th century, the city of Venice is threatened by the surrounding cities, especially rivalling Genoa. Will a mere boy from England be able to save the day in G. A. Henty’s story?

Out there in space, a day can be very long, a feeling our Young Readers Science Fiction Stories by Richard Mace Elam convey perfectly. Written in 1957, they are not always factually correct, but they still convey the charm of empty, unexplored space.

The Frozen North is still mostly empty, and the book by Edith Horton tells about the explorations that took place in the Arctic region. Part biography, part history, it tells of real adventures from the beginning of the 20th century.

Some 600 years did it last, the Roman Empire. H. A. Guerber gives a comprehensive Story of the Romans from their myth-shrouded beginnings with Romulus, their peak around the reign of Julius Ceasar, until the fall of the Western Empire in 480.

When kings go missing, it is never a good sign for anyone. Robin Hood knows that – and is prepared to fight the establishment taking advantage of the situation. Amice MacDonell took one version of the popular English tale and turned it into a play for children.

It’s not easy to say whether Robin was right in what he did, since morals and virtue are not easy things at all. Better teach them early, as Rev. Wilfrid J. Diamond tries with 51 short sermons for each week of the year, collected in Sunday Morning Storyland.

When kids start asking difficult questions, it is hard to stop them – and sometimes, to give the right answers. In Madam How and Lady Why, Charles Kingsley is answering questions about common natural phenomena like coral reefs, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.

The question of Kashtanka is much easier: How do I get home again? The little dachshund mix was separated from her family and is taken in by a vaudevillian where she meets many other intelligent animals. Read the story by Anton Chekhov to find out if she ever sees her family again.

Enjoy – and stay young at heart!

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