Monthly Picks

Going West!

Posted on October 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

The sheer endless prairies of the North American continent have inspired people from the first settlers until today. Let’s explore the Wild West with 10 gems from our catalog.

Of course, before doing so, we need to be properly prepared. The Boy Scouts Handbook teaches everything a future cowboy needs to know about wood- and campcraft, tracks and trailing, and even chivalry.

Reading that book before setting out to California might have led to a better outcome for Eliza P. Donner Houghton. She was orphaned at the age of four and recounts in this biography The Expedition of the Donner Party and its Tragic Fate.

Frank and his three friends hope to avoid a tragedy like this by going through the Panama Canal on their way to California. However, on their search for Gold in the novel by Stewart Edward White, they still encounter plenty of desperadoes, natural disasters and unfriendly indians.

Definitely not friendly either are the Apache when a railroad is built through their territory. Only when engineer Old Shatterhand saves the life of Winnetou, the relationship improves. Find out how the two became blood brothers in the famous German western by Karl May.

Less idealising is Charles Alexander Eastman’s biography of Indian Heroes and Great Chieftans. We hear about the – sometimes flawed – life of real great people like Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud.

There is definitely something wrong with Our American Cousin – so his English relatives believe, when Asa Trenchard shows up to claim the family estate. Find out if the two branches of the family can make a deal in this play by Tom Taylor.

There will be no deal with rancher Conrad in The Delafield Affair, ever. After all, his father was cheated out of a lot of money by a Mr. Delafield years ago. Will Curt Conrad finally get his revenge in the novel by Florence Finch Kelly?

Revenge is not what Wildfire is looking for. Freedom will do just as nicely for the fierce red stallion that has been subdued – but not broken – by man. Zane Grey’s first western describes masterfully the yearning any creature feels for freedom.

The American Stephen Crane, poet, novelist, and short story writer, also had a deep understanding of yearning of all kinds, which he expressed throughout his writings. The Black Riders and Other Lines is a collection of enigmatic poetry in free verse.

Eventually, every trail ends, and our final gem this month is Deadwood Dick’s Doom by Edward L. Wheeler. It has all the ingredients a good western needs: gun men and indians, strong gentlemen protecting weak ladies – and Calamity Jane, who doesn’t need their help at all.

Enjoy – and blaze your own trail!

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Stargazing

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

There’s a lot going on in the skies these months: the American eclipse in August, meteor showers in September… Why not celebrate these events with 10 gems from our catalog?

In the Days of the Comet that is visible in the sky, William is about to kill his unfaithful girlfriend. But when the greenish comet enters Earth’s atmosphere, all his problems vanish in an instant… Find out what happened in the sci-fi novel by H. G. Wells.

Caroline Herschel would have loved to see a comet up close – she discovered 8 of them. Starting out as assistant to her brother William, she became the first woman to be paid for such work. You can get to know her better in Memoirs and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel, written by her nephew’s wife Margaret Herschel.

A different view on astronomy is that of poetess Constance Naden. Her Sonnets contain poems entitled Starlight, Nebular Theory, and Mystery of Light, for example.

And then there is Leopoldo Lugones. The second half of his Las Fuerzas Extrañas contains stories about space entitled Cosmogonia, which played a fundamental role in developing Argentinian science fiction.

A long long time before that in France lived Cyrano de Bergerac, who wrote one of the oldest novels about space travel, complete with self-propelled rockets and extra terrestrial beings. Read A Voyage to the Moon and see how far his imagination really went 400 years ago.

A lot of imagination have people who believe that the moon creates witches. But who knows, back in old Rome, there may have been witches, and Tristan might just have met one of them on the Eve of St. John, 935… Nathan Gallizier’s novel Under a Witches’ Moon weaves true love with the unreal and a bit of sorcery.

Staying with the stars’ influence for a moment: Who does not check their horoscopes when meeting somebody new? Let’s hope all ends better for you than for the most famous star-crossed couple Romeo and Juliet, masterfully invented by William Shakespeare.

Not witchcraft or superstition, but hard science lies behind inventions like the telegraph and telephone. And now that everything is wireless, their inventors truly are Masters of Space, as Walter K. Towers calls them in his book, part biography, part science history.

Being able to communicate over vast distances comes handy Auf zwei Planeten. When three scientists go on an expedition to the North Pole, they discover a research station of Martians. Even though both sides are friendly at first, things go downhill rapidly in Kurd Laßwitz’ epic sci-fi novel.

Harold Jacoby tries to make himself as clear as possible in his book Practical Talks by an Astronomer. He teaches little lessons about topics related to astronomy that are interesting to the layman. Why don’t you try yourself how to make a sundial?

Enjoy – and keep gazing at the stars!

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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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