Monthly Picks

There’s Always Hope!

Posted on December 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on There’s Always Hope!

It’s December, and at the end of the year, many people hope for things to improve in the year to come. Let’s have a look at 10 gems from our catalogue, filled to the brim with hope.

For the Feland Family, there is nothing better than a holiday in Switzerland. However, at this occasion, their younger daughter, Little Miss Grasshopper, gets unexpectedly into trouble… Read the lovely story by Johanna Spyri and find out what happens next.

Mercy’s trouble is that she is living on the streets, without class or connections. When she volunteers in the Franco-Prussian War, a fellow nurse is killed, and Mercy takes her name to become The New Magdalen. Will she get the better life she was hoping for in the novel by Wilkie Collins?

Penelope Delta was not concerned with names, she wrote Παραμύθι χωρίς όνομα (Tale Without Name). There, the kingdom of Moirolatres is doing so badly, even the heir to the throne wants to leave for good. However, something happens that gives him hope to stay and turn things in this story for kids and adults alike.

Dick Whittington and His Cat have just arrived in London, where the “streets are paved with gold”. This is not really true, but Dick is determined to make the best out of his plans. This hilarious pantomime by E.L. Blanchard is a perennial favourite of British audiences.

For a long time, African-American kids had no role models to look up to. In 1920, the inspirational book The Upward Path: A reader for Colored Children was published, counting 67 entries by Various African-American writers, educators, and activists to make a brighter future for those kids.

Helena Swanwick took it one step further to and speaks of The Future of the Women’s Movement. In her book she talks of women’s aim of a better understanding and cooperation with men – something we’re still striving for to this day.

Another place where there is room for improvement still are humanities aspirations for Perpetual Peace, even though we made progress since Immanuel Kant brought forth his views in this philosophical essay on international laws and how lasting peace has to be worked for. We also have a recording of the German original.

Around December, Santa’s workshop is extremely busy producing toys for children on Earth. But what happens to them after they are unwrapped on Christmas Day? Laura Lee Hope has investigated and tells us The Story of a Nodding Donkey.

Probably the biggest story told around this time of the year is the Christmas Story. Nowadays, the essentials may have been buried under presents and fairy lights, but George MacDonald goes back to the roots with his book The Hope of the Gospel.

No matter who you are, where you live, and what you believe, no matter what you are aspiring to, rest assured that It Can Be Done! Listen to more than 200 inspirations poems by various well-known authors from all over the world and improve the world – or just your own tomorrow – just a little bit at a time.

Enjoy – and Happy Holidays to all of you!


WWI – Endings

Posted on November 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on WWI – Endings

The grey and foggy days of November are made for remembrance. And 100 years ago, in November 1918, World War I – the “Great War” ended. We remember the Fallen with 10 gems from our catalogue.

When the Great War started in 1914, people were enthusiastic and convinced that it would be over quickly. Soon, the outlook was not so rosy anymore, and many people began to express antiwar sentiments. One of them was Alfred Noyes. His short play Rada; a Belgian Christmas Eve was written already in 1915, and voices his views on the war without much restraint.

No restraint either showed F. Tennyson Jesse, a journalist who visited female helpers behind the lines in France. She was able to speak to many women working as nurses in numerous field hospitals, and wrote down her experiences and impressions in The Sword of Deborah.

Troy wants to help save his beloved France as well. But he’s American, and only 15, and probably sees the war as nothing more than a big adventure. Still, Edith Wharton lets him experience the war first hand in her book The Marne: A Tale of War.

Not at all romantic is the book by John Dos Passos, in fact, it is hailed as one of the most realistic depictions of war in American literature. Three Soldiers – Americans – are caught up in the trenches where all the glorious speeches give way to the brutality of sheer survival.

How better to depict the horrors of war than on celluloid? Geoffrey H. Malins, a famous cinematographer, was present at the Great Somme Battles, 75 yards away from German lines – and so was his camera. In his How I Filmed the War, he talks about his experiences on filming under fire.

WWI was truly a World War, and our Hebrew/English project Injustice & Excerpt from The Escaping Club tells about an incident on the Turkish-British line after the British had invaded Palestine. Injustice by Yosef Haim Brenner is a short story about an escaped POW being returned to his captors – and said POW, A. J. Evans, tells the true story in The Escaping Club.

Soldier E.E. Cummings was imprisoned for antiwar sentiments in France in late August 1917. However, after 5 months, Cummings was released and could return to New York on January 1st 1918. His autobiographical book The Enormous Room tells the story of these five months, including his father’s distress on receiving a (wrong) note that his son had died in the war.

As you see, Ardours and Endurances are not just required by the people on the front, but also from those at home. This is the title of a collection of war poems by Robert Nichols, who was immortalised as one of 16 Great War Poets in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.

Captain Baldry is shell shocked and suffers from amnesia. And now, The Return of the Soldier brings a reunion with three important women of his life: his wife, his favourite cousin, and a poor innkeeper’s daughter he once was in love with. Will he regain his memory, or must he start afresh – find out in the novel by Rebecca West.

No more war is the cry of pacifists around the world. But Alfred Hermann Fried has a different view on pacifism and explains them in Kurze Aufklärungen über Wesen und Ziel des Pazifismus. Although written in 1914, and thus unable to prevent the two World Wars of the 20th century, his ideas contributed to the establishment of the United Nations.

Enjoy – and never forget, never repeat!


Colored Leaves in the Dark

Posted on October 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off on Colored Leaves in the Dark

October brings the cool mornings, early evenings and dark fogs of autumn, but also colorful leaves to go with it. Let’s enjoy the beginning of the autumn season with 10 gems from our catalog.

Speaking of colorful leaves, many poets and writers have been inspired by them to write Autumn Leaves: Original Pieces in Prose and Verse. This particular autumn collection was put together by Anne Wales Abbot.

Equally colorful and fun, but meant for much younger readers are the Seven Autumn Leaves From Fairyland. These lovely one-of-a-kind stories were written by E. Cunningham.

An old story is retold anew by Ramón del Valle-Inclán in Sonata de otoño: Concha, who was once a lover of Bradomin, is dying. When he arrives in her little town, he reflects on their old love and realises that it might not be over after all.

Barely begun has Richard Beresford’s love story with The Rain Girl, when he loses her again. And all that happened on the very first day of tramping the country! Find out if the two find each other again the book by Herbert George Jenkins.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa makes it easier for the young people in his short story Rojyoo. Syunnsuke and Tatsuko also meet in passing in the rain. But a week later, they meet again at a concert, where their romance may finally blossom…

Nowadays, nobody needs to be surprised by rain showers, thanks to modern weather forecasts. They were not always as accurate though; read up on the state of the art of weather forecasting in 1897 in Vol. 8 of the National Geographic Magazine.

No forecast could have helped Anna Christie in Eugene O’Neill’s drama. Reunited with her father after 15 years, she works on his coal barge, and at an accident in the fog she meets sailor Mat. Things look good when they fall in love, but there is Anna’s secret…

Mother Nature does not reveal her secrets easily either, and some discoveries are not accepted for a long time. David Brewster describes the lives of Galileo, Kepler, and Tycho Brahe, and the shadows their work cast on them in his book The Martyrs of Science.

Charles Marlow is not a martyr when taking the assignment as river-boat captain in the Congo. But the longer he works, the more his experiences reveal the Heart of Darkness within the soul. Read the famous novel by Joseph Conrad to find out how he deals with it.

Many people deal with darkness, hardships, and other problems by turning to a higher being. Catholic priest Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani collected his and other’s thoughts masterfully in Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel their Doubts and Allay Their Fears.

Enjoy – and many colorful leaves to brighten your autumn!


On School

Posted on September 1, 2018 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 1 Comment on On School

It’s September, so most kids are back in school again. Would you want to go back to school too? Let’s get into the mood with 10 gems from our catalog.

The most important ingredient for success in school is: Memory. How to Develop, Train and Use It is the goal of the little practical book by William Walker Atkinson. It’s meant for everybody who wants to try to improve her- or himself.

The second most important ingredient is the will to succeed. When Baseball Joe at Yale finds out that freshmen are not allowed to play in the varsity, he does everything to get into the team in the second year. Find out if he will in the book by Howard R. Garis.

Friendships forged in school often last a lifetime. Alick, Jack and Terence become friends at a boarding school and enter the Navy together. Starting out as The Three Midshipmen, they have a promising career in front of them in this first novel of a series by William Kingston.

However, not everybody settles easily into school, as Lucy S. Furman describes in Mothering on Perilous, set in Kentucky. There, Cecilia Loring becomes the caretaker of a school garden, but soon enough, she finds herself taking care of the school’s homesick boys as well…

Homesickness is not what the US Office of Civil Defense had in mind with the pamphlet In Time of Emergency. Written at the height of the cold war, it mostly deals with nuclear attacks. However, the two last sections are on Major Natural Disasters like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes…

Earthquakes are common in Japan, but they don’t feature in the book by Katai Tayama, even though it’s based on a real diary. Instead, we learn about Seizo, who, barely older and better educated than his students, tries to become a respectable Inaka Kyoshi (country teacher) in the late 19th century.

Maybe his life would have been easier, had he known Horace Mann, the Father of the Common School. From 1837 to 1848, he sent Annual Reports to the Massachusetts Board of Education covering so diverse topics as curriculum, buildings, instruction methods…

Methods of Instruction do matter as is discovered by the brothers Sganarelle and Ariste. Both want to marry their young wards, but only one of them can graduate from The School for Husbands. Find out if kindness or control will win in the comedy by Moliere.

In the book by Kathleen Norris, Justine freshly graduated from the American School of Domestic Science. Now she takes the position as a maid in the Salisbury household. But with Mr. and Mrs. Salisbury’s different opinions on household management, will Justine become The Treasure they were looking for?

However long one may study, not everything can be learnt, some things are left to intuition. Victor Hugo had to find that out when his son died and he had to take care of his grandchildren. He condensed his feelings towards them in the 18 poems of L’Art d’être grand-père.

Enjoy – and learn something new today!


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