Poor Classes

Posted on October 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Poor Classes

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go, although conditions do have improved since the writing of the following 10 gems from our catalog.

Poverty pushes people to the fringes of society. D. H. Lawrence paints a sensitive picture of the ones that usually go unnoticed in urban life, in this case just before the beginning of WWI, in his poem Embankment at Night, Before the War: Outcasts.

A haunting description of the abject living conditions and rampant violence in the East End of London is A Child of the Jago. The novel by Arthur Morrison takes his cues from real life in the Old Nichol Street Rookery.

There is always somebody profiting from people’s misery, and Harry Trench is shocked when he finds out that his fiance’s father is one of them. However, he is not quite in the position to take the high road in George Bernard Shaw’s unpleasant play Widowers’ Houses.

Hunger is a terrible feeling, and the unnamed protagonist of Knut Hamsun’s novel is suffering greatly. His physical and mental breakdown and his resulting delusional existence are realistically detailed, after all, they are loosely based on the author’s own experience.

Openly autobiographic is John Barleycorn or Alcoholic Memoirs by Jack London. The famous author recounts his life as an addict, both the phases of white light alcoholic inspiration and lucidity, and the brutal negative effects brought on by his so called best friend.

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has only one place to go when her alcoholic mother turns her out of the house. Find out whether her life improves when she seeks shelter with her boyfriend in the first novel by Stephen Crane.

A voluntary descent among the lower classes was undertaken by Robert Louis Stevenson on his 1879 trip from Glasgow to the US. Buying almost the cheapest ticket available, he documents his encounters with the poorest of passengers in The Amateur Emigrant.

Once off the boat, life does not miraculously improve though, especially when you are the target of racism. Mark Twain, in his famous satirical fashion, highlights the bad treatment of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco in Goldsmith’s Friend Abroad Again.

Frank Owen knows how to make things better, and he tries to convice his fellow workers that the root of their poverty lies in capitalism. Will he succeed to convert his friends to the socialist cause in the famous novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell?

Poverty is not the end though, often work and will are much more important. Sarah Knowles Bolton recounts 28 Lives of Poor Boys Who Became Famous, among them Samuel Johnson, Mozart, Oliver Goldsmith, and Abraham Lincoln.

Enjoy – and enough for everybody!


Travel Stories

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

September 27 marks World Tourism Day, and this month is generally a good time for taking a trip somewhere. Alternatively, you can listen to other people’s travel stories, like those in the following 10 gems from our catalog.

These days, travelling has become a safe and easy pastime for everyone. That was not so in the Victorian era, when going abroad was only for hardened adventurers like Sir Francis Galton. In The Art of Travel, he will tell you everything you need to know when preparing a safari.

Much less prepared are Jim and Lou, unexpected travel companions in Douglas Grant’s short novel. The orphan Lou has just run away from hard work on a farm, and Jim, with his strange rules and odd skills, puzzles her. Anyway, together they will try Anything Once on their week-long walk to New York.

The most unusual guide anybody has ever had is the White Rabbit who accompanies Alice in Wonderland. The classic book by Lewis Carroll is enjoyable for both young and old, and here we present a drama version adapted to the stage by Alice Gerstenberg.

Another children’s classic was written by Margaret Sidney. In Five Little Peppers Abroad, the third book in the series, the Pepper kids travel to Europe, where they explore countries like Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Not a child, but a young man is the protagonist of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Canto IV). His travels in many countries in order to find distraction from the worldly life is a classic example of a knight errantry tale in the form of a narrative poem, written by Lord Byron.

What brought Amy Wilson Carmichael to the Far East is not a pilgrimage, although God has something to do with it. The Protestant missionary spent more than 50 years working in India, but she also visited other countries. From Sunrise Land is her view on Japan.

Class distinctions also play a role in the witty novel by Sinclair Lewis about a father-daughter roadtrip in America, which is greatly disturbed by the arrival of a young man. The romance between the aristocrat and the commoner seems doomed from the start, but then again, both of them breathe the same Free Air

Joam Garral travels Eight Hundred Leages on the Amazon on a timber raft to his daughter’s wedding – and to clear his name from a crime he did not commit. A man promises to help by presenting an encrypted letter, but then he dies… Find out if Joam will be exonerated in time, in the novel by Jules Verne.

The Nile is the scene set by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for The Tragedy of the Korosko. A group of tourists on a boat cruise is abducted by a marauding band of Dervish warriors when approaching the southern border of Egypt. And this is only the start of their adventure.

Not quite as dangerous as the title implies is travelling in Wild Wales. George Barrow lovingly paints a picture of the British countryside, and he shares his views on the Welsh people and their language as well as his own experiences with both in his classic travel book.


LibriVox completes its 9000th project

Posted on August 19, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, News, Uncategorized | Comments: 1 Comment on LibriVox completes its 9000th project

Today, hot on the heels of our 10th anniversary, LibriVox reached another milestone: the release of our 9000th project.

And the lucky project is…

Michael Armenta’s solo recording of The Origin Of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin.

Michael chose to record the 6th and last edition, often considered the definitive edition, of this seminal scientific work.

Of the 9000 works now available at LibriVox, 1233 are in a language other than English, and 5037 were recorded by a soloist. We currently have over 600 projects in progress.

Now onward to 10,000, and we hope to announce that achievement within the next twelve months.


Our 10th Anniversary

Posted on August 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Our 10th Anniversary

August 10. 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of LibriVox, and we are ready for the big party! To honour the occasion, this is a special double edition of our staff picks, for which we have asked not only 10, but 20 of our volunteers for their favourite LibriVox recordings.

Everybody who signs up to the Librivox forums knows kayray, as she is the one to send out the welcome mail. One of the first volunteers back in 2005, her reader number is 19. The book she recommends to everybody is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

Almost as seasoned is Miss Stav. Although the young woman from Israel has never recorded anything, she is intimately acquainted with at least 240 of our books, as she was either their DPL or BC or both. The recording that compelled her to volunteer since 2007 was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

coenders is one of our Dutch volunteers whose goal it was to read all of the Dutch translations of Dicken’s works for us, and he has indeed succeeded! He enjoys other authors too though, most notably the four books of De Boeken der Kleine Zielen by Louis Couperus.

Expatriate is a serial soloist who has, since he joined LibriVox almost two years ago, completed more than 80 solos. For us, he reads in English, but in his time off, he loves Basho and our Japanese original recording of Oku no Hosomichi.

It is nice to be bilingual, and HoosierMary is one of our many volunteers who is. Unfortunately, there are not enough Italian speakers here to produce a play, but she found BC’ing the English version of La Locandiera – The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni equally fun.

Another great asset for LibriVox is kathrinee, who enjoys DPLing and has done so in at least 5 languages. Her favourite recording is one of our most controversial, but to her it showcases everything that LibriVox stands for: Our first version of Ulysses by James Joyce.

James Joyce is also the top pick of one of the many people who enjoy BC’ing our group projects, and are generally helpful around the forums: carolb listened to Dubliners on the way to Dublin per boat, although it is not a requirement to do so.

Korean high school student jessieyun0404 is one of the latest additions to our reader’s pool. She has read our very first Korean solo, but is mostly found in the drama section of our forums. Her favourite dramatic reading is Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Dramatic readings are very popular at the moment, and Elizabby is doing her share in all possible functions – as reader, BC, PL, and editor – to help satisfy the demand. The Australian’s favourite dramatic reading is set in England: It is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Friedrich is among our seniors but can still be considered a LibriVox youngster. Although he enjoys recording works of Russian authors in German translation, in private his tastes go in a different direction, for example towards Der Froschmäusekrieg by Weinzierl and Blüthgen.

Another senior member is 2peltons – this time both in real and in LibriVox age. He didn’t have to think twice for his all time favourite recording and immediately chose  Hero Tales from American History by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge.

Roger’s varied interests show in his recordings. So far, his oeuvre spans romances, French literature, poetry, autobiographies… The book he most enjoyed reading is The Thing From the Lake by Eleanor M. Ingram, an extremely good horror story.

Since 2008, aradlaw has been faithfully BC’ing, PL’ing and recording almost every single weekly and fortnightly poem, which makes him practically LibriVox inventory. When he takes one of his rare breaks, he likes listening to other genres, for example The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers.

Trying out new things is what Bellona Times likes most about LibriVox;  he has been the initiator of many of our various collections of short recordings. But, in true trial-and-error fashion, he has also taken part – as Petruchio – in his favourite play: William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

SweetPea was one of our youngest readers ever when she joined three years ago. Taking to it like a fish to water, she is still around and can most often be found in our drama section. When asked for her favourite non-dramatic recording, she chose His Big Opportunity by Amy Le Feuvre.

It may take a bit of time to get used to LibriVox routines, but once managed, it is quite a smooth ride. dread has firmly settled in his niche and now strives to bring all the sci-fi Astounding Stories into our catalogue, either as BC or soloist. His favourite edition is Vol 11, from November 1930.

Deeply addicted to LibriVox is craigdav1, one of our serial DPL’s, who is so fast in his work and always seems to be online, one wonders whether he needs sleep at all… Out of the more than 500 books he has PL’ed since 2011, The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine has left the most lasting impression on him.

Lynnet is another one of our BC’s, although she equally enjoys recording for various other projects. In the book she lists as her favourite however, she has done both; it is G. A. Henty’s Colonel Thorndyke’s Secret.

Black History from in- and outside of America is the great interest of Eduard Rochester. One of the numerous books on this topic he has brought back to life for LibriVox, and his absolute favourite, is The Conjure Woman by Charles Waddell Chesnutt.

Were there ever elections to the Queen of LibriVox, it would be won by gloriana. All her numerous recordings have been highly praised, and her flawless accents make Americans wonder whether she’s British – and the other way around. Her top pick is set in the Old World: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Enjoy – and don’t miss the celebrations!


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