Monthly Picks

In Memoriam

Posted on August 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 10 Comments

LibriVox is twelve! In those years, we have seen many readers come and go – and some of them, unfortunately, are gone forever. Here, we honor them with the gems they produced for our catalog.

One of our oldest readers ever was Dorothy Lieder. She was already 92 when she read one story of The Burgess Bird Book For Children, together with her son.

Australian Lucy Burgoyne also loved children’s books. Even though she had part of her jawbone removed due to cancer, she read seven books by Arthur Scott Bailey, among them The Tale of Grandfather Mole.

A beloved grandfather was Lars Rolander from Sweden. He was on a mission to bring the books of Selma Lagerlöf to life and to a wider audience. A bit out there is her short ghost story Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness.

Israel Radvinski did exactly that. The one single book he read for Librivox was the Bible – Genesis – in Hebrew.

Sadly, we also know very little of bryfee, but he did take part in our second version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Chris icyjumbo died way too young from an aggressive form of oesophageal cancer. His legacy contains The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise, read as a duet.

Another early LibriVox member and admin was Alan Davis Drake, who specialised on poetry. He read a number of poetry books solo, among them are Selected Early Poems of William Carlos Williams.

John E. Farell also had a love for poetry. Although he didn’t do a solo recording, he read five poems in The Flowers of Evil by Baudelaire.

Good and evil are never far apart in the books by Charles Dickens. Cynthia Lyons should know since she took the time to read two, and one of them is the epic Bleak House.

Probably more fun in reading had Gregg Margarite. The SciFi buff read many pulp magazine stories from the 60s. A rather unusual one is The Runaway Skyscraper by Murray Leinster.

One of our earliest readers, Denny Sayers, must have been a fan of Daniel Defoe, after all, he read six books of this author. Among them is the swashbuckler The Life, Adventures & Piracies of Captain Singleton.

A very dry form of humour and wit was the style of Andy Minter, who died early this year. His rendition of Stevenson’s The Wrong Box perfectly shows his personality.

Enjoy – and remember!

 

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Relax, Take It Easy….

Posted on July 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment

Summer has come! And with it, time for vacation, icecream, and taking it easy with 10 gems from our catalog.

Not a bit easy can Commander Greylorn take his latest assignment: Halfway to a colony that may not exist anymore, his crew starts a mutiny. And the aliens that arrive exactly at this point looking for provisions are anything but friendly in the scifi story by Keith Laumer.

The Valient Runaways – two teenage boys – try to evade conscription by hiding in the Californian wilderness. What sounds like a good idea goes downhill fast with the arrival of savage bears – and that’s just the start of Gertrude Atherton’s book…

A much more pleasant fate awaits Anchises when he gets lost in the woods: He stumbles upon Venus’s retreat and eventually fathers the famed Anaeas. The short erotic poem Brittain’s Ida or Venus and Anchises was attributed to Edmund Spenser, but was more likely written by Phineas Fletcher under the latter title.

The Flower of the New World is a title bestowed upon St. Rose of Lima, the first person born in the Americas to be elevated to sainthood. Florence Mary Capes tells about Rose’s life of asceticism and sacrifice for the needy of Peru as a lay member of the Dominican Order.

No need to look far to find miracles! French scientist Jean-Henri Fabre explains The Secret of Everyday Things in an easily understandable way. He focuses on the science behind things like soap, glass, matches, vinegar, wool, salt, and many, many more.

Henry Bryce is also focusing: on the political battle against the labour party for the seat of Balmian East. But just when his campaign is getting underway, his body turns up in Sydney Harbour… Find out Who Did It? in the gripping yarn by Nat Gould.

In a Sardinian village, Don Zame rules with an iron fist over his four daughters – until the third, Lia, runs away, and he is found dead a while after. Years later, Lia’s son returns to the village and brings chaos, uproar – and a chance of new beginnings. Canne al Vento is considered the masterpiece of Grazia Deledda.

Ivan Lomov also has new beginning in his mind when he visits his neighbor Stepan Chubukov: He wants to marry Stepan’s daughter, not for love, but out of financial necessity. Once The Proposal has been made, things take one funny turn after the other in the comedy by Anton Chekhov. You can also listen to a dramatic rendition of the Russian original.

Another community of necessity is that formed by 19 people of the Polaris. Just shipwrecked in the icy North, the ice floe where they sought shelter gets loose – and thus begins their first of 196 Tage auf treibender Eisscholle, written down by Emil Bessels, another survivor of the shipwreck.

430 miles away from home are Richard and Colin. But instead of taking the train, they decide to walk all the way and enjoy the landscape and people they meet. Accompany them on the way back to New York City in the old fashioned road movie book October Vagabonds by Richard de Gallienne.

Enjoy – and take time to relax!

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A long, long time ago

Posted on June 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment

The 21st century has its ups and downs, but in fact, life has always been like this. Let’s look back at history with 10 gems from our catalog.

Best to start at the very beginning with The Tree Dwellers or “The Age of Fear”. Katharine E. Dopp explains in 32 lessons for elementary school children the life and development of early humans.

Even before science came along to put the matter to rest, people speculated about the beginning of it all. One of the numerous creation stories is The Kalevala, the Epic Poem of Finland, where everthing started from a single egg. This version was written down by Elias Lönnrot.

Starting from ancient beliefs, the kings of Egypt traced the legitimacy of their reign back to the gods. So did Rameses XIII, the Faraon in Boleslaw Prus’ novel, which follows the 20th dynasty until its downfall. An English version is available.

Much of the above story was literally dug up by archeology. The Manual of Egyptian Archeology, written by Gaston Maspero and published by the British Museum, was aimed at the 19th century British tourist with lots of time and money on their hands.

However, the earliest list of “best places to visit” is surely The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Originally written for the hellenic traveller, a new description by Edgar J. Banks gives us a glimpse of ancient travel destinations, of which only the pyramids remain today.

Definitely not on a pleasure trip is The Young Carthaginian Malchus. A cousin to Hannibal, he is an officer in his army which is on the way to attack Rome on their own territory. Read all about the Punic Wars in the exciting story by G. A. Henty.

An equally important and decisive war was the one between England and Spain in the 16th century. Amice MacDonell describes in her play The Story of the Armada the atmosphere in England and at the court just before the arrival of the Spanish ships.

War with the Romans leads vandal Ingo into Thuringia. There he finds shelter in the house of his father’s friend – but only until he falls in love with the young lady of the house… Find out if he can survive another attempt on his life in Gustav Freytag’s first volume of Die Ahnen.

Around the same time in Gaul, the chief Joel and his son invite a traveller to supper in exchange for stories. When he refuses, they find ways to force him to speak, and the stories told begin to center on freedom and what it is worth. Read The Gold Sickle by Eugene Sue to see at what conclusion they arrive.

Different lands, different minds: Written by Dandin in the 6th century, Hindoo Tales or the Adventures of 10 Princes tells about 10 noblemen on a trip through ancient India and their encounters with demigods and maidens, ghosts, gambler, robbers and many more.

Enjoy – but don’t get stuck in history!

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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

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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