Monthly Picks

World Tour 2020: Southern Europe

Posted on May 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

How are you all doing? Things seem to get better, but if you prefer to stay home still, follow us to Southern Europe with 10 gems from our catalog.

Western culture started in Ancient Greece. In a long lost manuscript, Aristotle gives an in-depth explanation of The Constitution of Athens. This recording is in modern Greek, but we also have a translation into English.

Who knows if Portuguese author Luís Vaz de Camões was versed in Greek philosophy. In any case, he explores a number of decidedly philosophical themes in the poetry collected in Sonetos – Poemas Filosoficos.

Not quite so serious are the children’s stories written by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić. The well-known kid-lit author draws her inspiration from ancient myths of Croatia in her collection Priče iz Davnine.

When Washington Irving visited Granada in 1828, he asked to stay in the Alhambra. There, he was inspired to A Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, a selection of which was translated into Spanish.

For a long time, the Ottoman empire ruled over large parts of Europe, including what is today’s Albania. One of their most cruel rulers was immortalised by Alexandre Dumas in his series Celebrated Crimes: Ali Pacha.

As an outlaw in the mountains lives Ibo, while his former partner in crime, Albert, now works as a policeman. When Ibo kidnaps Albert’s fiancee, this leads to an outright guerilla war in the Catalan novel La Punyalada by Marian Vayreda.

A single bad decision where they lose all their money brings the downfall of the Malavoglia family in Sicily. The aftermath is described in the family saga I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga. We also have an English translation of this scathing social commentary.

Another dramatic family breakdown is told by Terence. Pamphilus leaves town when his mistress is upset about his recent marriage. Upon returning, his wife has a newborn child, but he could not possibly be the father… Find out if he was right or wrong in Hecyra: The Mother-in-Law.

John Graham Gillam was definitely wrong when he underestimated the Turkish campaign in WWI. His Gallipoli Diary details the 9 months in 1915/16 when he tried to keep 4000 soldiers supplied with the necessities.

Only four authors and five works are contained in the collection Stories by Foreign Authors – Spanish. However, they should whet your appetite for further discoveries in the depths of our catalog.

Enjoy – and stay healthy and safe!

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World Tour 2020: Northern Africa and Arabia

Posted on April 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments on World Tour 2020: Northern Africa and Arabia

It’s April and the world is in the throes of the Corona Pandemic. For all of you who practice social distancing by staying at home, you can take a safe tour to the deserts of northern Africa and Arabia with 10 gems from our catalogue.

In the early 20th century, women power was supposed to be focused on the home. Rosita Forbes, however, thought otherwise and explored The Secret of the Sahara: Kufara, a hidden oasis in the Libyan desert on a four months long trip.

Lord Borrow and Captain Fenton also keep a secret, one that will make them very rich. On their way, they meet others who are hiding secrets of their own, among them a reincarnation of Cleopatra… Find out what it is exactly that Happened in Egypt in the adventure by Charles and Alice Williamson.

The life of Tor, a Street Boy of Jerusalem, is filled with adventures as he tries to scrape by as a mere beggar. But when a man called Jesus comes to town around the Jewish Pessach festival, Tor’s life takes a different turn in the novel by Florence M. Kingsley.

When in 480 BC King Xerxes took on the Greeks in the battle of Salamis, the lives of The Persians in his empire were also completely changed. Other than typical Greek dramas, this one by Aeschylus is concerned with historical events.

Both historical and fictional are the stories collected by Eva March Tappan in her series “The World’s Story.” Volume 3 is full with great historical information and stories about Egypt, Africa and Arabia.

What is your first thought when hearing “Arabia”? Probably The Book of A Thousand Nights and a Night, a classic full of tales of genies and beautiful women and muslim folklore. Our English version has been masterfully translated by Richard Burton.

Our collection A Multilingual Rubaiyat presents a number of different translations into seven languages of the famous quatrains by Omar Khayyam, who is sometimes called the Astronomer-Poet of Persia.

In the Arabic original of “The Nature of Despotism” – Tabai al-Istibdad wa-Masari al-Isti’badAbd-al Rahman Al Kawakibi criticises tyranny, in particular that of the Ottoman Empire, and the tendency of rulers to use religion to oppress the people.

The Myths of Babylonia and Assyria by Donald Mackenzie contain a fair share of stories about local gods as they follow these states from their founding through their rise and golden age until their final days of destruction.

Too many did not live to see the end of the Great War. Tickner Edwardes, an operating theater orderly, shares his experiences With the Royal Army Medical Corps in Egypt in 1918. There, within only 10 days of landing at Gallipoli, 16.000 soldiers had to be taken care of in field hospitals.

We did it once then – we can do it now again!
Take care of yourself – and stay healthy and safe!

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World Tour 2020: Central and South Africa

Posted on March 2, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on World Tour 2020: Central and South Africa

On the third leg of our 2020 World Tour we visit central and southern Africa. Explore this fascinating continent with 10 gems from our catalog.

Honest now, how much do you really know about Africa? Take a refresher course with Frank G. Carpenter’s Geographic Reader: Africa. It will take you on a journey through the northern deserts and the central jungles all the way down to South Africa.

There, we meet one of her greatest feminist writers, Olive Schreiner, who also spoke out against racist policies and was promptly imprisoned for it. Dreams is a collection of 11 of her feminist stories.

Who knows who many black writers from South Africa have been forgotten or never heard of at all because of Apartheid? Alexander Wilmot did his best to collect The Poetry of South Africa; 117 works by poets from the Transvaal, Cape Colony and Natal.

The Zulu Kingdom is the setting for the following story by H. Rider Haggard. Umslopogaas is in love with Nada the Lily, but the obstacles between the two keep piling up… This story was unusual for its time, since it features an entirely black cast.

This is true also for the protagonist of the Biography of Mahommah G. Baquaqua. Samuel D. Moore tells the true story of a man from West Africa, who escaped from a ship in the harbour of New York. Instead of ending up a slave in Brazil, he made it to Canada as a free man.

An equally difficult voyage awaits young Stas and Nel, who find themselves In Desert and Wilderness. Henryk Sienkiewicz tells an interesting coming-of-age story set in Africa between wild animals and the dangers of malaria.

When visiting the African jungle, you must be careful not to contract Sleeping Sickness. Even today, this deadly disease has lost nothing of its terror. Better prepare yourself with the very detailed book on the topic by Fleming Sandwith.

Virginia is unprepared for the death of her grandfather, even more so when a distant cousin arrives and constests his last will. Ready to fight back, she travels to Africa to find proof of her parent’s marriage in The Man-Eater by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Fierce creatures feature prominently in the Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa. On top of these, Elphinstone Dayrell’s collection also contains stories of people and what they learned from animals and their surroundings.

The teachings of his animal friends come handy on The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle. Together, they set out to find Spidermonkey Island, which has last been seen floating near Africa. Find out if they can catch the mysterious island in our dramatic reading of Hugh Lofting’s book.

Enjoy – and have fun with the mysteries of Africa!

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World Tour 2020: South and Central America

Posted on February 1, 2020 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on World Tour 2020: South and Central America

On the second leg of our LibriVox World Tour, let’s stay in the southern hemisphere. Further to the east from Australia, we encounter South and Central America, which we’ll explore with 10 gems from our catalog.

Speaking of explorations, this is exactly what Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon did in 1913/14, when he followed the “River of Doubt” in the Amazon basin with another famous person. Read his memoir of The Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Exhibition and the Telegraph Line Commission.

While tramping through the jungle, it is likely that the 19 men met many animals like tigers or monkeys. No wonder that they feature prominently in Fairy Tales From Brazil, collected by Elsie Spicer Eells.

Our collection of short works by authors from Latin America comes with a hidden bonus: The readers chose authors of their own countries! So, you can hear our Antología de Cuentes Hispanoamericanos read in authentic local Spanish accents!

We can assume that Harry A. Franck spoke his Spanish with an accent, although he travelled extensively in South America. For three months he even worked as Zone Policeman 88 in Panama during the interesting time when the great canal was built.

Bartolomé Mitre tells of the equally interesting times of The Emancipation of South America. From 1778 – 1830, many states of South America turned into republics, but their freedom did not come without bloodshed and war.

When Raimundo returns from Europe, he faces unexpected difficulties in the novel by Aluísio Azevedo. Although Raimundo has now become a doctor, all the Brazilian high society sees in him is a slave’s son – O Mulato.

Thomas Southerne also depicts the endless fight between black and white in Oroonoko. The titular black prince turned slave and his white wife Imoinda unfortunately do not live to see a happy ending in this tragedy set in Surinam.

Often, the value of somebody’s life is only discovered after the person’s death. This is why the Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas were written by himself after his death – or possibly by Machado de Assis as medium?

Stranger things have happend, at least in the stories dealing with the mysterious and science fiction by Leopoldo Lugones. A dozen or so of them are collected in Las Fuerzas Extranas.

Definitely an “outside force” is the devil and gaucho “La Pollo” has even seen him – in a theater in Buenos Aires! Listen to him tell his story to a friend in Fausto, a narrative poem by Estanislao del Campo.

Enjoy a summer in South and Central America!

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