Monthly Picks

Happy Libriversary!

Posted on August 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on Happy Libriversary!

On August 9, LibriVox celebrates 16 years of audiobooks. Since our last anniversary we have completed more than 1450 new projects, wow! Let’s celebrate with 10 gems from our new arrivals to our catalog.

One reason for our enormous growth in the last year was the pandemic. COVID-19 was not the first virus killing thousands, however. Learn more about the history of The Bubonic Plague in the book by Chief Medical Officer of Kashmir, Dr. Rai Bahadur A. Mitra.

If you go back far enough in time, history and myth often blend into each other to become one. Joseph Jacobs collected 20 More Celtic Fairy Tales from the early days of the British Isles.

Equally far back goes the history of the Macedonians. Krste Petkov Misirkov is one of their national heros. His book За македонцките работи (On Macedonian Matters) – our first stand-alone project in the Macedonian language – is a program for his people’s national liberation.

Liberation is exactly what’s disturbing the peace in the dystopian future imagined by Yevgeny Zamyatin, where the collective We is paramount. But what happens when people start to fight for individual freedom of thought and action?

Thought, or rather, stream of consciousness is the trademark of Virginia Woolf. She brought it to perfection in Mrs. Dalloway, one of the most anticipated 1925 books by LibriVoxers. Follow Mrs. D. and her friends throughout a single day that culminates in a party in the evening.

For The Great Gatsby life in the Jazz Age is one big party where he surrounds himself with upper class socialites. But he is also a big romantic, who would do anything to bet back his former lover Daisy. Watch what happens in the famous 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Galileo Galilei was one of the greatest observers of the solar system in the Renaissance. His famous book Dialogo dei Massimi Sistemi explains the heliocentric world view and earned him a trial in the Vatican that forced him to choose between abjuration or death.

Nicholas Carter faces an even more difficult choice: Does he help a good friend or does he try to arrest a scam artist? In the last year, we completed 14 novels about America’s greatest detective. This one, A Stolen Name, is our latest one.

Madrid dressmaker Madame Pepita is also on the lookout for scammers who she suspects behind every suitor of her daughter. But careful! In the play by Gregorio Martinez Sierra, luck and misfortune are both closer than she thinks…

In the late 19th century, three young poets from Luxembourg – Nicolas Gonner, Beckesch Klos, and Jean-Baptiste Nau – went to America to seek their fortunes. Together, they share their experiences on both sides of the Atlantic in Prairieblummen, our first stand-alone project in Luxembourgish.

Enjoy – and a big thank you to all our volunteers who keep LibriVox growing still!

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The World’s Favourites

Posted on July 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on The World’s Favourites

There are stories that have been told and retold so often, they have become universal and known throughout the world. Let’s delve into the world’s collective memory with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Western civilisation is deeply rooted in the stories of ancient Greek and Rome. From Zeus to Venus, from Hercules to Ulysses, you probably know most of Thomas Bulfinch‘s Mythology: The Age of Fable by heart already.

The story of Jesus, as told for example in the Evangelium nach Matthäus, has been equally influential to our modern world. For the German translation, Martin Luther coined a number of new phrases that have found their way into common usage of the language.

When Alexander Afanasyev wrote down a selection of Russian Fairy Tales that before had only been transmitted orally, he didn’t expect to influence Russian culture so heavily. These stories are now known by Russian kids everywhere.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood have made everyone who takes from the rich and gives to the poor a namesake. However, this Victorian-age retelling for kids by Howard Pyle hasn’t much to do with the real medieval outlaw…

A similar feat was accomplished by Robert Louis Stevenson. His swashbuckling adventure Treasure Island – here as dramatic reading – has given us a rather romantic view on pirates that is quite far from the truth. We also have this book in a Spanish translation.

The Truth is out there – and aliens too, probably. H. G. Wells‘ idea of hostile aliens on a mission to kill or enslave all humans has a firm place in our consciousness ever since The War of the Worlds, which we also have as Spanish version.

Nobody has done more to explore human (un-) consciousness than Sigmund Freud. His thoughts Über Psychoanalyse influenced generations of psychiatrists and can now be considered general knowledge, even if poeple are still reluctant to discuss mental health. These lectures are also available in English.

Only one topic is more taboo: Sex. And yet, most people have heard of The Kama Sutra. Some may have even tried one or more of the 64 arts of love as written down in detail more than 1400 years ago by Mallanaga Vatsyayama.

Much tamer are Shakespeare’s Sonnets. In these 154 poems, playwright William Shakespeare, who changed theater forever, writes about love, beauty, mortality and other human feelings.

From feelings to logics and the best sleuth ever: Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably his best-known adventure, and the brilliant detective character has become a staple in crime novels all over the world. Our readers love this book too, and we have recordings in German, Spanish, and Polish.

Enjoy – and have fun exploring your own memories!

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Celebrating: Dads

Posted on June 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 3 Comments on Celebrating: Dads

In June, many countries celebrate Father’s Day and they indeed deserve a big “Thank you!” Let’s have a look at what the world owes to dads – and other father figures – with 10 gems from our catalogue

If I had a Father is the cry of sculptor Arthur Gervaise, unawares that his absentee dad aids him from nearby. At the same time, an old man searches for his daughter – was Arthur involved in her disappearance? Find out in the play by George MacDonald.

After 20 years in New Zealand, Harry Trojan puts in an appearance at his old home. There, he finds a grown son and the two have to form a new relationship. Throw in old prejudices and new ideas, and this homecoming may well be the Wooden Horse tearing the family apart in the novel by Hugh Walpole.

This is exactly what Voltaire and the French Enlightenment did to Europe. Ideas like freedom of speech and separation of church and state made Voltaire one of the fathers of modern Europe. Will Durant wrote this biography of the famous philosopher.

Pat Glendon, 22, is no philosopher. But, the Abysmal Brute is a natural fighter, so his father sends him to San Francisco to enter the ring. Since he can’t come along he hires Sam to keep his boy on the straight and narrow of the sports. Will this novella by Jack London have a happy end?

The book by Ernest Poole does, kind of. Read about Roger Gale, NY businessman, whose dying wife implored him to take care of His Family. However, he feels estranged from his 3 grown daughters, and the rapidly changing world of the 1910s only adds to the difficulties.

E = mc2. Doesn’t seem difficult, really. And yet, Albert Einstein’s Relativity: The Special and General Theory remains one of the most complex scientific theories of the world. The above 1916 book is by the master himself – all you need is a bit of perseverance!

Doing a little bit every day beats huge short-term efforts. This is where the little book Flowers from the Garden of St. Francis comes in. It lists 365 short moral admonitions by St. Francis of Assisi and other Franciscan fathers to inspire you every day of the year.

The achievements of great men are always inspirational, and often, they serve as father figures. In the Boy’s Book of Famous Soldiers, J. Walker McSpadden offers biographies of 12 military men. Among them are Washington, Lee, Napoleon, Pershing…

But no worries, you don’t have to be famous to be inspiring or important to somebody. Here are 12 stories centering around Nell and her Grandfather and their friends from a Charles Dickens novel that tell about the influence of a grandfather on his granddaughter.

And sometimes, it’s the other way around. When a young orphan girl is brought to her grandfather, nobody knew how much she would change his life – and him. The rest is literary history, written by Johanna Spyri in Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre. We also have this famous children’s book in English and French.

Enjoy – and do say “Thanks” to your dad or father figures!

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Celebrating: Moms

Posted on May 1, 2021 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Celebrating: Moms

In May, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day, and after the last 12+ months, an extra big “Thank you mom!” is in order. Let’s have a look at what the world owes to moms – and mother figures – with 10 gems from our catalogue.

In the old days, large families like in the novel by Kathleen Norris were not unusual. Margaret has no fewer than six siblings and she does sometimes wonder how her Mother can handle it all each and every day.

She might have taken hints from Betje Wolff, who was way ahead of her time. Already in the 18th century she advocated for an upbringing with a focus on the child’s developmental stages in her book Proeve over de opvoeding.

When it comes to raising kids, teachers are as important as parents. Clare and Alwynne teach at a girls’ school and Clare also takes on a mothering role to Alwynne, something the latter’s aunt does not like at all. Find out who will remain victorious in this Regiment of Women penned by Clemence Dane.

As housekeeper, Ruth Rolt swings the sceptre at #3 Brain Court. Her daughter, Sweet Lavender grows up amidst all the quirky characters inhabiting the house. But wait for the secrets to be revealed in this comedy by Arthur Wing Pinero…

Life at the tenements in 19th century Rio de Janeiro is no laughing matter. Júlia Lopez de Almeida describes in Memorias de Martha the life of a poor mother who is ready to sacrifice everything to raise and educate her daughter.

Something similar happened in Elizabeth Stern’s family, Jewish immigrants from Poland. In My Mother and I, she describes how her mother surreptitiously thwarts her father’s wishes for a traditional education, and how they eventually lose each other when Elizabeth leaves for college.

Edith Wharton tells an opposite story in The Mother’s Recompense. Kate Cephane had left her daughter Anne when she was only three. She returns when Anne gets engaged – only to find that the fiance is familiar. Should she reveal her secret and risk losing her daughter forever?

St. Therese of Lisieux is not afraid to share her innermost thoughts and feelings. Although she became a nun at the age of 15 and never had children, she became a role model for thousands through her writings. The Story of a Soul is her autobiography.

Whether real or fictional, Elizabeth Cooper shows you the secluded world of a Lady of the Chinese Courtyard. The book is composed of letters, first to her husband, then to her mother-in-law, which detail the joys of a bride, the sorrows of losing a child, and the solace of a new found religion.

Equally beautiful sentiments can be found in Augusta Webster’s sonnet Mother and Daughter. It tells of the joy and love between a mother and her only child, but also of mortality – especially since the sonnet remained incomplete.

Enjoy – and do say Thanks to your mom or mother figures!

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