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Lurking in the Dark…

Posted on November 9, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

The nights are getting cooler in November, and it’s best to stay home when it’s dark. Who knows what may wait for you out there – maybe the creatures from the following 10 gems from our catalogue…

It all starts with a Dream, which is not bad as such, except that all monks in the Swiss monastery have the same one. Led by it to a buried corpse, things suddenly go downhill very quickly in the drama by goth queen Joanna Baillie.

When Karl moves in with Lilith’s father to become his student, things look bright at first. But soon, The Cruel Painter shows his true colors, and it takes the efforts of both lovers to thwart him… Find out whether they have the upper hand in the spooky novella by George McDonald.

Don Ruy also needs help when he falls into a trap set by beloved Dona Lenor’s husband, and he receives it from an eerie source… Set in medieval Portugal, Jose Maria de Eca de Queiros weaves a tale of love and death and fear in O defunto. We also have a recording of an English translation.

Speaking of fear, Arthur Christopher Benson wrote a whole book about it, from the different types we encounter throughout our lives to how famous authors deal with it. Read his interesting psychology book Where no Fear Was: A Book About Fear.

Now you know what fear is – how to deal with it? Well, hypnosis may be a solution for crippling fear. In A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis, Melvin Powers gives an in-depth how-to manual, with hints as to practical applications.

Now that you’re properly prepared, you can delve into Black Magic. Follow Marjorie Bowen’s ultimate gothic novel into the middle ages to meet a real witch and watch her dealings with the devil and the Antichrist unfold…

Certain things should not be meddled with! Two brothers are in love with the same girl, but when one gets killed and does not remain dead for long, drastic measures must be taken. El Vampiro by Alexandre Dumas is one of the earliest vampire novels, already set in the Carpathians.

Photography was brand new when two girls from Cottingley, England, claimed they had banned fairies onto film. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was called upon to settle the ensuing dispute, and he wrote The Coming of the Fairies stating his (later proven wrong) beliefs.

Even today, many people do believe in ghosts, and for them, the verdict is still out on this matter. Theodore Parkes tells about ghosts and ghouls and other scary things in his delightful poetry collection The Spook Ballads.

Time to call it a day and to take the train home. If you’ve ever been on a night train cutting through the darkness, you will understand why Stefan Grabinski was inspired to write a railway-related collection of ghost stories: Wybrane opowiadania.

Enjoy – and sweet dreams! ;-)

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Our Best Friends

Posted on October 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Our Best Friends

October 4 is World Animal Day! How boring the world would be without them! Large, small, wild ones or beloved pets – they come to center stage in the following 10 gems from our catalog.

Long before animals became pets occupying a spot in our families (and hearts), they were trained to help people, for example with hunting. Edmund Bert’s Treatise on Hawkes and Hawking explains one of the oldest methods of training birds as such helpers.

Even with young animals, taming them is not easy. In Wilk, psy i ludzie, Adolf Dygasinski tells the story of a wolf cub raised by a man in a small village. Having grown up with stories of werewolves, the neighbors are less than happy about the wolf in their midst…

Equally unhappy about his predicament is Ivan Matveich: He was swallowed whole by The Crocodile of a sideshow. But when he settles in and begins to speak through the animal’s mouth, things take an interesting turn in the story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Wouldn’t it be great if we really knew the thoughts of our pets? In Soseki Natsume’s most famous novel I am a Cat, a kitten stumbles into the household of a school teacher, where it promptly starts commenting on the lives of everybody it meets.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle is even more exciting. When his parrot Polynesia teaches him the language of the animals, the doctor’s life is turned upside down. This version is a dramatic reading of the beloved book written by Hugh Lofting.

John Burroughs’ books about wild animals have delighted generations of children and their parents. In Squirrels and Other Fur-bearers, he talks about animals you can meet in the forests, like squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, minks, rabbits, and even porcupines.

Entertainment, not education was the main drive for William Roscoe to write “The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast”. Many poems for children like this one were collected in a magazine, and we present here a Selection From Harris’s Cabinet containing even two versions of Roscoe’s poem.

Many more authors wrote about all kinds of animals, and The Animal Story Book collects 66 stories.Topics are for example what elephants can do, lions and their ways, bears in Paris, or how ravens have a funeral.

No proper funerals were given to the buffalo of the American prairies when they were hunted almost to extinction. That “almost” in that sentence is because of William T. Hornaday, whose 1887 book The Extermination of the American Bison prevented the worst outcome just in time.

But then again, maybe not all would have been lost. The new Bronx Zoo in New York City is determined to find and keep the finest of rare species – and merely extinct animals are not the most unusual ones of their collection. Read In Search of the Unknown by Robert W. Chambers to see what that means…

Enjoy – and give your pet an extra treat on World Animal Day!


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Home Sweet Home

Posted on September 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Home Sweet Home

Whether we like it or not, once summer is over, we all have to get back to our routines again. Let’s have a look at how others deal with their return to normal in 10 gems from our catalogue.

The story of Odysseus contains probably the most famous homecoming of all times. After the Trojan War and years of wandering, he needed to straighten out his home life as well before settling down for good. This edition is a German retelling of the ancient story by Karl Friedrich Becker.

Albert Payson Terhune tells the story of an unusual war hero: As a carrier dog in WWI, former unwanted puppy Bruce had to face many trials before being allowed to go home. Thankfully, his family can hardly wait to have him back again.

Peter’s family is not so eager to hear from him again, after all, Peter is dead and buried. But he stubbornly refuses to behave accordingly in the drama The Return of Peter Grimm, written by David Belasco and performed by a full LV cast.

Much more excitement elicited Charlie Chaplin when he travelled in Europe. Born in England, he had become a Hollywood superstar and tells in My Trip Abroad about his adventures with fans and journalists in England, France, and Germany.

Latvian hero Lāčplēsis is also a superstar, and he is also travelling through Europe, albeit not on vacation. Heroic deeds are his daily life, and only for a short time can he be happy with his wife. His story is told in the epic poem by Andrejs Pumpurs.

Vandyck Jennings has recently married, and the happy couple has decided to return to his home country. However, Ellador is from Herland, where no men live… How she will fare in male-dominated America is told in Charlotte P. Gilman’s novella With Her in Ourland.

The life of journalist Richard Harding Davis was all but ordinary. He has visited many countries and describes his work on four continents and through five international conflicts in Notes of a War Correspondent.

A nuclear war has wiped out humanity 200 years ago, except for people on a few research outposts in space. In the short story The Return by H. Beam Piper and John McGuire, researchers from one of those outposts discover human survivors and their strange religion.

All that Nikhil hopes for is that his friend Sandip would leave… When the revolutionist bursts into Nikhil’s tranquil life, his marriage quickly spirals out of control… Read The House and the World by Rabindranath Tagore to see if peace and quiet will return again to Nikhil’s home.

A peaceful home is something to be proud of, but it’s never good to be bored. Learn something new and try Making a Rock Garden! The short lecture of Henry Sherman Adams tells you the basics you need to get started.

Enjoy – and cherish your (extra-) ordinary life!

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LibriVox is 14!

Posted on August 1, 2019 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on LibriVox is 14!

On August 10, LibriVox celebrates its 14th anniversary! In the last year, we produced more than 1000 audiobooks (more than 13000 in total). So, let’s celebrate with 10 brand new gems from our catalog!

What could be more suitable for an anniversary than A Little Bit of Fluff. An insurance investigator visits the Ayers family to see whether their claim was fraudulent or not. This is our version of the famous farce by Walter W. Ellis.

Teófilo Braga cites Edgar Allen Poe among his influences to write stories of passions, betrayal, suicides and other deaths… His Contos Phantasticos were among the first gothic literature in late 19th century Portugal and very unusual.

Unusual, nay, absolutely shocking to society were the suggestions of surgeon Thomas S. Smith: In his 1827 book Use of the Dead To The Living, he argues for the use of bodies in dissection and medical research.

In the novel Обрыв (Obryv, English: The Precipice), Ivan Goncharov dissects the not very successful life of Boris Raisky in St. Petersburg. When he returns to his paternal home and gets involved in the affairs of Wera, things don’t go as planned either…

Already in 1975, the US Committee for the Global Atmospheric Research Program laid out their findings for Understanding Climatic Change. In this interesting report, the scientists present their predictions for future climate and its changes based on state-of-the-art computer models.

When the elder sister of Joop falls head over heels for Joop’s science teacher, something needs to be done! In De H.B.S. tijd van Joop ter Heul, Cissy van Marxveldt uses letters and diary entries to tell about the life of a typical Dutch girl.

In total contrast to this, the biography of Paul Zech is not entirely without holes and inconsistencies. We do know that his collection of poetry called Das schwarze Revier was inspired by his own work in a coal mine, possibly in Belgium.

Our 14th anniversary is the second big LibriVox celebration this year. On January 1st, a slew of books published in 1923 entered the public domain in the US and our readers were ecstatic! Here are three titles we could only read now:

Probably the most anticipated book of the year 1923 here on LibriVox was Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This classic book with views on so diverse topics as love, children, work, time, and freedom already has two completed versions.

In November 1922, Howard Carter discovered The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It took him and A. C. Mace almost a year to describe the finding of the tomb, the items in the antechamber and the opening of the burial chamber.

Let’s end this list with a very special audio treat: Three Stories & Ten Poems by Ernest Hemingway. This small book was privately printed 1923 in Dijon, France, and only 300 copies were made back then.

A big shoutout to all LibriVox volunteers who made LibriVox what it is today – and will be in the future! Thank you all!

Happy 14th Anniversary!

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