Monthly Picks

Travel Stories

Posted on September 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 0

September 27 marks World Tourism Day, and this month is generally a good time for taking a trip somewhere. Alternatively, you can listen to other people’s travel stories, like those in the following 10 gems from our catalog.

These days, travelling has become a safe and easy pastime for everyone. That was not so in the Victorian era, when going abroad was only for hardened adventurers like Sir Francis Galton. In The Art of Travel, he will tell you everything you need to know when preparing a safari.

Much less prepared are Jim and Lou, unexpected travel companions in Douglas Grant’s short novel. The orphan Lou has just run away from hard work on a farm, and Jim, with his strange rules and odd skills, puzzles her. Anyway, together they will try Anything Once on their week-long walk to New York.

The most unusual guide anybody has ever had is the White Rabbit who accompanies Alice in Wonderland. The classic book by Lewis Carroll is enjoyable for both young and old, and here we present a drama version adapted to the stage by Alice Gerstenberg.

Another children’s classic was written by Margaret Sidney. In Five Little Peppers Abroad, the third book in the series, the Pepper kids travel to Europe, where they explore countries like Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Not a child, but a young man is the protagonist of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Canto IV). His travels in many countries in order to find distraction from the worldly life is a classic example of a knight errantry tale in the form of a narrative poem, written by Lord Byron.

What brought Amy Wilson Carmichael to the Far East is not a pilgrimage, although God has something to do with it. The Protestant missionary spent more than 50 years working in India, but she also visited other countries. From Sunrise Land is her view on Japan.

Class distinctions also play a role in the witty novel by Sinclair Lewis about a father-daughter roadtrip in America, which is greatly disturbed by the arrival of a young man. The romance between the aristocrat and the commoner seems doomed from the start, but then again, both of them breathe the same Free Air

Joam Garral travels Eight Hundred Leages on the Amazon on a timber raft to his daughter’s wedding – and to clear his name from a crime he did not commit. A man promises to help by presenting an encrypted letter, but then he dies… Find out if Joam will be exonerated in time, in the novel by Jules Verne.

The Nile is the scene set by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for The Tragedy of the Korosko. A group of tourists on a boat cruise is abducted by a marauding band of Dervish warriors when approaching the southern border of Egypt. And this is only the start of their adventure.

Not quite as dangerous as the title implies is travelling in Wild Wales. George Barrow lovingly paints a picture of the British countryside, and he shares his views on the Welsh people and their language as well as his own experiences with both in his classic travel book.


Our 10th Anniversary

Posted on August 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment

August 10. 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of LibriVox, and we are ready for the big party! To honour the occasion, this is a special double edition of our staff picks, for which we have asked not only 10, but 20 of our volunteers for their favourite LibriVox recordings.

Everybody who signs up to the Librivox forums knows kayray, as she is the one to send out the welcome mail. One of the first volunteers back in 2005, her reader number is 19. The book she recommends to everybody is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim.

Almost as seasoned is Miss Stav. Although the young woman from Israel has never recorded anything, she is intimately acquainted with at least 240 of our books, as she was either their DPL or BC or both. The recording that compelled her to volunteer since 2007 was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

coenders is one of our Dutch volunteers whose goal it was to read all of the Dutch translations of Dicken’s works for us, and he has indeed succeeded! He enjoys other authors too though, most notably the four books of De Boeken der Kleine Zielen by Louis Couperus.

Expatriate is a serial soloist who has, since he joined LibriVox almost two years ago, completed more than 80 solos. For us, he reads in English, but in his time off, he loves Basho and our Japanese original recording of Oku no Hosomichi.

It is nice to be bilingual, and HoosierMary is one of our many volunteers who is. Unfortunately, there are not enough Italian speakers here to produce a play, but she found BC’ing the English version of La Locandiera – The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni equally fun.

Another great asset for LibriVox is kathrinee, who enjoys DPLing and has done so in at least 5 languages. Her favourite recording is one of our most controversial, but to her it showcases everything that LibriVox stands for: Our first version of Ulysses by James Joyce.

James Joyce is also the top pick of one of the many people who enjoy BC’ing our group projects, and are generally helpful around the forums: carolb listened to Dubliners on the way to Dublin per boat, although it is not a requirement to do so.

Korean high school student jessieyun0404 is one of the latest additions to our reader’s pool. She has read our very first Korean solo, but is mostly found in the drama section of our forums. Her favourite dramatic reading is Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Dramatic readings are very popular at the moment, and Elizabby is doing her share in all possible functions – as reader, BC, PL, and editor – to help satisfy the demand. The Australian’s favourite dramatic reading is set in England: It is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Friedrich is among our seniors but can still be considered a LibriVox youngster. Although he enjoys recording works of Russian authors in German translation, in private his tastes go in a different direction, for example towards Der Froschmäusekrieg by Weinzierl and Blüthgen.

Another senior member is 2peltons – this time both in real and in LibriVox age. He didn’t have to think twice for his all time favourite recording and immediately chose  Hero Tales from American History by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge.

Roger’s varied interests show in his recordings. So far, his oeuvre spans romances, French literature, poetry, autobiographies… The book he most enjoyed reading is The Thing From the Lake by Eleanor M. Ingram, an extremely good horror story.

Since 2008, aradlaw has been faithfully BC’ing, PL’ing and recording almost every single weekly and fortnightly poem, which makes him practically LibriVox inventory. When he takes one of his rare breaks, he likes listening to other genres, for example The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers.

Trying out new things is what Bellona Times likes most about LibriVox;  he has been the initiator of many of our various collections of short recordings. But, in true trial-and-error fashion, he has also taken part – as Petruchio – in his favourite play: William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

SweetPea was one of our youngest readers ever when she joined three years ago. Taking to it like a fish to water, she is still around and can most often be found in our drama section. When asked for her favourite non-dramatic recording, she chose His Big Opportunity by Amy Le Feuvre.

It may take a bit of time to get used to LibriVox routines, but once managed, it is quite a smooth ride. dread has firmly settled in his niche and now strives to bring all the sci-fi Astounding Stories into our catalogue, either as BC or soloist. His favourite edition is Vol 11, from November 1930.

Deeply addicted to LibriVox is craigdav1, one of our serial DPL’s, who is so fast in his work and always seems to be online, one wonders whether he needs sleep at all… Out of the more than 500 books he has PL’ed since 2011, The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine has left the most lasting impression on him.

Lynnet is another one of our BC’s, although she equally enjoys recording for various other projects. In the book she lists as her favourite however, she has done both; it is G. A. Henty’s Colonel Thorndyke’s Secret.

Black History from in- and outside of America is the great interest of Eduard Rochester. One of the numerous books on this topic he has brought back to life for LibriVox, and his absolute favourite, is The Conjure Woman by Charles Waddell Chesnutt.

Were there ever elections to the Queen of LibriVox, it would be won by gloriana. All her numerous recordings have been highly praised, and her flawless accents make Americans wonder whether she’s British – and the other way around. Her top pick is set in the Old World: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Enjoy – and don’t miss the celebrations!


Dear Friends…

Posted on July 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 9 Comments

July 30th marks the International Friendship Day. Enough reason – if you need one – to make new friends and remember the old ones. Get in the mood with 10 gems from our catalog.

Can father and son be friends once the son is an adult? Stephen Stratton thinks so and writes him a letter detailing his life-long love to a childhood friend. Read about The Passionate Friends in the novel by H. G. Wells.

Jack and Jill are also childhood friends, but a serious sledding accident keeps them bedridden and apart for months. Find out what their friends and family do to help them recover in the book by Louisa May Alcott.

Everybody needs friends, and Peter Kropotkin even argues that Mutual Aid and cooperation were an important factor driving (human) evolution, just like strife and competition.

A competition arises between the friends Palamon and Arcite when both fall in love with beautiful Emilia. Only one of them will get her hand in the end – find out who in our production of The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher.

Happy endings for everybody can be expected in Old Friends and New Fancies, where Sybil G. Brinton, in one of the earliest examples of fan fiction, brings together the characters from all six Austen novels for new romantic adventures.

D’Artagnan is also looking for adventures when he leaves his village to go to Paris. Soon, he finds himself in an intrigue involving the Queen of France, Cardinal Richelieu and the mysterious Lady de Winter… The famous novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is also available in the original French and in Dutch.

Nello is an orphan who lives with his grandfather near Antwerp. One day they find a badly beaten dog and nurse him back to health. Find out where the deep friendship between Patrasche, A Dog of Flanders, and Nello goes in the famous book by Ouida.

While dogs are often considered man’s best friend, there are just as many cat persons out there who would dispute that. The Kitten’s Garden of Verses by Oliver Herford is a book of delightful poetry for kittens – and all who love them.

Some friendships are made to last. Oscar Wilde: The Story of an Unhappy Friendship is the first of four biographies written by Robert Sherard, who was a close friend of the famous author for more than 20 years.

Probably, only The Friendship of Christ lasts beyond the grave. Robert Hugh Benson, an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism, preached extensively upon the topic in London and Rome in the years 1910 and 1911.


Ship Ahoy!

Posted on June 1, 2015 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

June 8th is celebrated as World Ocean’s Day and June 25th as the Day of the Seafarer. Let’s leave our safe harbours behind and enjoy the sea with 10 gems from our catalog.

10 years ago, Ellida Wangel promised a sailor to marry him, but he disappeared. Now he returns surprisingly and further upsets her already strained marriage. Will Ellida leave her husband and become The Lady From the Sea? Read our production of Henrik Ibsen’s play.

Seafaring is a men’s occupation, but captain Saint Leger takes his whole family on The Cruise of the Esmeralda to search the treasure an ancestor has buried in the Eastern Seas. In the book by Harry Collingwood, they together face storms, pirates, and mutiny.

William Bligh is no stranger to the last either: He was the captain of the Bounty on her Voyage to the South Sea when the probably most famous of all mutinies happened. Nevertheless, he still made it – in a lifeboat – from Tofoa to Timor after the incident.

Jack does not think of that when he joins the Royal Navy as Mr. Midshipman Easy. Coming from a privileged family, he has to deal with bad weather, bullies on his own ship, and murderers on others. One cannot help wonder whether this book by Frederick Marryat is autobiographical…

Certainly so is The Loss of the S.S. Titanic written by Lawrence Beesley. He was one of the only 710 survivors of the disaster that struck the ‘unsinkable’ ship on her maiden voyage from Southampton to America on April 15th 1912.

Drifting in The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’, all that the shipwrecked crew want is to get home. On their way there, however, they will encounter strange creatures and lands in the horror story by William Hope Hodgson.

Or maybe that’s just sailor’s yarn? Just like the famous ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, only one of our 17 Sea Poems: An Idiosyncratic Selection by the reader, chosen from various sources and authors.

Almost equally poetic is Robert C. Leslie’s A Waterbiography. The author, who had fallen in love with the sea as a child, was one of the first private people to own a sailboat and go on single-handed-cruising tours.

Much less romantic is the work on The Trawler. The life of a Gloucester fisherman is a hard one, as Simon Kippen will find out when he takes the place of his dead friend. The Story by James Brendan Connolly realistically describes the hardships of men sailing the Atlantic Ocean.

Not wet enough yet? Well, then start with The Mystery of the Ocean Star, the opening story to a collection of 23 short ‘maritime sketches’. These are only a few of the many stories and books involving the ocean written by William Clark Russell.

Enjoy – and set sail!


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