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History in Black and White

Posted on February 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on History in Black and White

February marks Black History Month in the US, and together with the Black Lives Matter movement, LibriVox has risen to put out more books by African Americans. Delve into a truly black part of world history with 10 gems from our catalog.

To understand the root of the evil, let’s follow British actress Fanny Kemble as she moves to the American South after her marriage. Growing sensible to the plight of slaves, she published her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation after the end of the Civil War.

Paul Laurence Dunbar had many tales to tell, and 20 of his short stories are collected in The Strength of Gideon and Other Stories. They are written in a dialect used by African Americans of that time and provide interesting insights.

Some things take time, as a black Homesteader in the Dakotas finds out. In love with the white Agnes, he still marries a black woman. However, when the marriage fails and he returns to Agnes, things have changed drastically in the novel by Oscar Micheaux.

When a young man finds out that he is of mixed race after all, his whole world falls apart. In the novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, James W. Johnson leads his protagonist onto a trip of self-discovery during the Reconstruction.

Fast forward to the US in the 1950s where prejudice against black people was still rampant in much of the country, especially in the South. J. Saunders Redding tells his very own story On Being a Negro in America.

After race riots in 1967, President Johnson installed the Kerner Commission to conduct an investigation. The Commission’s Report finds that “our nation moves towards a black and white society, separate and unequal…” but ends on the positive note that this “is not inevitable.”

Not to be negative, but can you write a comedy about slaves, kidnapping, rape? Terence, himself a slave in ancient Rome, definitely thought so when he penned Eunuchus: The Eunuch back in 200 BC. Different times, different places…

… and yet, everything’s the same. Antonio de Castro Alves wrote about slavery and the exploitation of the black race in Brazil. Os Escravos is a collection of 34 of his poems.

Alice Dunbar Nelson sees slavery through the eyes of women. Violets and Other Tales is a collection of 22 poems and short stories, and sone of them have a decidedly feminist outlook.

We don’t know if Pauline E. Hopkins was a feminist or not. But Hagar’s Daughter was groundbreaking: Maid Venus Johnson becomes the first black female detective as she investigates the murder of a white woman in this first African American mystery novel.

Enjoy – and let’s make the world a good one for everyone!

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Silver Linings

Posted on January 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Silver Linings

Happy New Year 2021!
With 2020 finally over, we can start to make new plans for the coming year, which will hopefully be much better… Let’s look into a brighter tomorrow with 10 gems from our catalog.

All Things are Possible was the creed of Lev Shestov. Even when he was driven out of his native Russia, he firmly believed that you’re invincible when you really believe in yourself and nothing else.

In contrast, many people believe in The Hope of the Gospel. In this book, George MacDonald goes deep beneath the surface and meditates on what Christ came to accomplish on Earth.

The teachings of Christ gave people the strength to embark on The Enterprise of the Mayflower. Amice MacDonell took the narrative of the first American settlement and turned it into a play.

When the Californian settlers on the other end of the continent heard of cities filled with gold, they left their orchards in search of riches and a better life. Find out more in George Fenn’s novel The Peril Finders.

As The Charwoman’s Daughter, Mary is used to the perils of the Dublin slums where she lives. However, the unbound enthusiasm of youth coupled with teenage love feeds her desire to escape. James Stephens tells her story in this novella.

The grass is always greener on the other side for lookalike exiles Sir Dominey and Baron von Ragastein, who swap places. But Dominey’s wife is about to see through The Great Impersonation… Read this pre-WWI spy novel by E. Phillips Oppenheim to see what else is uncovered.

Claims adjuster Wills is content working for The Company in the scif-fi joint work by Frederik Pohl and Lester del Rey. But when he meets a mysterious couple, putting all of mankind’s happiness on the line suddenly seems like a Preferred Risk

Much more predictable is the life of Baroness Tilling, who is dedicated to her husband’s legacy of creating peace on Earth. A good start is to pass on the thoughts to Martha’s Kinder, in the second book by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bertha von Suttner.

After WWI, lasting peace was on everybody’s minds. H. G. Wells was at the front lines of the creation of the League of Nations. In the Fourth Year: Anticipations of a World Peace, is a collection of 11 of his essays penned at the time.

After a year like 2020, it is important not to lose sight of All That Matters. In this collection of 53 poems, Edgar A. Guest writes about moms, dads, and all that’s needed for a happy family life.

Enjoy – and may this year turn out much better than the last one!

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All As One

Posted on December 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on All As One

The year is almost over – thank goodness! But with everything that went wrong worldwide, 2020 has also shown us that we’re in this together, no matter where we live. Therefore, let’s celebrate what unites us as humans with 10 gems from our catalog.

Every one has the same ancestors – biologically speaking. A young man remembers his past life long Before Adam in his dreams – or are they nightmares? Jack London tells a story of pre-stone-age life, with his usual sense of humour.

While humour may be cultural, laughter is universal. Greek playwright Aristophanes has Dionysus venture to the underworld to bring back his favourite playwright, Euripides. Find out if he is successful in the ancient comedy The Frogs.

Breathing is generally a sign of life, but did you know that there’s a proper way to do it? In The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath William W. Atkinson explains a number of exercises for breathing awareness and health.

Speaking of exercises, in the 12th century, Yoritomo Tashi wrote his famous book on Common Sense, How to Exercise It. Learn how to go all the way from virtues to harmony and finally, to perfect peace.

Humanity seeks peace and harmony – and many find them in a divine being. Our collection of The World’s Best Poetry brings you religious and devotional poems from various authors from around the globe under the title The Higher Life.

Others look for the divine on Earth – and for the perfect partner. Love is all around us, and our series on Love Stories brings you romantic tales with happy endings from various authors and countries.

Everybody loves stories, and for a long time, human history was preserved and nature explained in them. Seek the grain of truth in our collection of Myths and Legends Around the World.

John Cameron was a legend of English football, and even organised games with his fellow prisoners of WWI. In Association Football and How to Play It he talks about the history and tactics of the game that has become popular everywhere.

Every day when playing, kids build their own Magic World and dream themselves into it. Follow E. Nesbit into 12 stories for kids that have a special magical touch even for adults.

Another thing we all have in common – globally speaking – is our future. In 1894, John J. Astor IV created A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future, where he imagines life in the year 2000. What do you think 2021 will look like?

Enjoy and take care of yourself and others!

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World Tour 2020: North America

Posted on November 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on World Tour 2020: North America

Welcome to the final leg of the LV World Tour 2020! We have circled the globe once and now return to where LibriVox is from. Explore North America with 10 gems from our catalog.

Of course, everything is better with a friend. Therefore, a group of friends decide to spend A Summer in a Canyon, chock full with camp adventures. Follow Kate D. Wiggins’ story to California and enjoy the scenery on the way.

Exploring the American wilderness was a dangerous part of early settlers’ lives. But even among friends you thought you could trust, things can go terribly wrong… Read The Song of Hugh Glass by John Neihardt as a proof.

How much of the above story is true is debatable, but “history is written by the winners” is not a hollow phrase. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a Spanish conquistador, details his version of Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España.

Phillip Whittemore finds himself between truth and lies when he happens upon the Fort of God deep in the woods of Canada. Now he tries to find out who these people are, where they are coming from and what they are hiding in Flower of the North by James Curwood.

Lots of secrets surround a legendary Aztec gold mine, and only their last descendant knows its location. Travel to Mexico with Mark Venner and see if he can crack The Mystery of the Four Fingers in the novel by Fred White.

The last leader of the Shawnee, Tecumseh, is one of the great heros of the Canadians. Opposing the US in the war of 1812, he died on the battlefield. Ethel T. Raymond details his life in Vol. 17 of The Chronicles of Canada.

Rosanna Leprohon penned an interesting family chronicle: Bookish Armand Durand is the son of Paul Durand and his first wife. His half brother Paul jun. is his polar opposite, and they do their best to reconcile their differences.

Even more different are the families of Blessed, an educated young man, and Zora, an unschooled girl from the swamps of the South. W.E.B. du Bois tells a haunting story of love in a world long gone in The Quest of the Silver Fleece.

Equally haunting when read with modern eyes is the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. How he raised himself Up From Slavery and helped many other black people to do the same is an excellent example for everyone.

Sadly, there are many bad examples too. When the Spanish conquered Mexico, they brought Christianity with them – and the inquisition. Vicente Riva Palacio set his novel Monja y Casada, Vírgen y Mártir in a convent during the inquisition.

Enjoy – and stay safe and curious!

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