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Love that dare not…

Posted on March 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: 2 Comments

“I love you” – three easy words to say, no? Not if you’re judged by others for saying them. This month we honour authors from the LGBT community and their struggles with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Life was easy in ancient Greece and Rome, when gay men could show their love openly. Gaius Petronius Arbiter tells in The Satyricon about the misadventures of Encolpoius and his young lover Giton.

Some 1900 years later, things had changed: Homosexuality was seen as a pathological perversion that needed to be cured or at least suppressed. One of the most influental doctors of this time, Sigmund Freud, details his views in the first essay in Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex.

This often led to an enormous struggle to try and reconcile public image with privately held desires. Federico Garcia Lorca, a well known Spanish poet, suffered greatly for what he could not change, and was assassinated in 1936. We have 67 of his poems in Libro de Poemas.

One way of dealing with this was to confide in close friends only. This is what E. M. Forster did. His first book Where Angels Fear to Tread still deals with a mesalliance: An English widow falls in love with an Italian – something her husband’s family cannot let happen…

Another example of “for friend’s eyes only” is Lytton Strachey. Openly gay to his friends, he kept his sexual orientation quiet otherwise. It is likely that his subtle mocking of four Eminent Victorians would not habe been so well received otherwise.

Those two at least were not betrayed by their friends. Once officially outed, The Trial of Oscar Wilde took place, and he was sentenced to two years of hard labour. This is a dramatic reading of an anonymous, contemporary court report.

Given the possible outcomes of being marked as “deviant”, it was best to keep quiet. Marcel Proust never admitted to be gay and even his housekeeper appears to have been unawares, other than his friends. A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs is part of his masterpiece A la recherche du temps perdu.

Public opinion was apparently always kinder to lesbian couples, especially in recent times. Gertrude Stein was already able to live an open life as lesbian. Her book Geography and Plays contains experimental stream of consciousness essays.

Of course, it was never a good idea to flaunt one’s lifestyle, no matter what it might be. The Autobiography I, Mary MacLane of an openly bisexual feminist caused a major scandal. Today, Mary MacLane would be described as the first blogger ever.

Even though extemely popular, Marie Corelli had no notions of living a public life. Although she never described herself as lesbian, she lived with her lover for 40 years and left her all her property. Among it was Ziska, a book about an alluring Egyptian princess wreaking havoc among a party of European travellers…

Enjoy – and keep saying “I love you!”

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Be my Valentine!

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

February 14 is Valentine’s Day and depending on where you live you will buy or receive Valentine’s chocolates, cards, flowers… We also let our romantic side show this month with 10 gems from our catalogue.

Let’s start with twelve French Medieaval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France. Written in the 12th century, the stories idealize the then popular concept of courtly love, complete with noble ladies and fearless knights on white steeds.

Knight Huldbrand is stranded by a flood at a fisherman’s hut and falls in love with and marries Undine. When the waters recede, the newlyweds move to town, where old loves wait for him. But Undine is a water spirit, and they take their vows very seriously… We also have an English translation of this classic by German author Friedrich de la MotteFouqué.

Even more complicated is the romance by Abbé Prévost: The chevalier de Griaux elopes with Manon Lescaut, and they live in sin until he loses all his money and Manon leaves him for somebody who can support her lifestyle. Griaux follows Manon all the way to the US – but will he finally be able to marry her?

When hearing complicated stories like that, the best advice is probably: Don’t Marry! or at least, be very picky as to the partner with whom to tie the knot until death. In this book, author James W. Donovan shares insights on how to choose a matching spouse.

James and Alida don’t need that kind of advice, as they are entering into their marriage strictly as business partners: He because he needs help on his farm, and she because she wants security. Everything goes well in the book by Edward P. Roe – until He Fell in Love With His Wife

Who knows all the details of how this turned out, maybe he is even writing love poems like George Parsons Lathrop did. The collection Rose and Roof Tree is dedicated to his wife, of whom he says “…every line here shall in some sense breathe of thee, and in its very face bear record of her whom, however unworthily, it seeks to serve and honor.”

Instead of poetry, Hester Lynch Piozzi – a well known British author – wrote Love Letters – and that at the age of 80! Twice widowed and mother of twelve children, she fell in love with English actor William Augustus Conway, 48 years her junior, to whom these letters are addressed.

She certainly did not need any instructions in The Art of Kissing. And probably neither do you, but William Rossiter’s manual also covers other interesting aspects, like the origin of kissing, the different kinds of kisses, or how people kiss in different countries.

People in Finland probably kiss in the ordinary way. For couples to meet at work is not unusual either, so the parents of Samu invite Hetvi to the communal haymaking on their farm and hope for the best. However, things don’t quite turn out as planned in the Finnish novel Salmelan heinätalkoot by Olli Wuorinen.

Already loved is Cornelia, The Maid of Maiden Lane; unfortunately she has one suitor too many… Facing opposition from parents and friends, her choice will not be easy, and she should certainly not have made that blunder either. Find out what she will do in our dramatic reading of the story by Amelia E. Barr.

Enjoy – and have a nice Valentine’s Day!

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Time to get started!

Posted on January 1, 2017 by | Posted in about LibriVox, Blog, Books, For Volunteers, Monthly Picks, News | Comments: Comments Off

Happy New Year everyone! A new year has just begun, and we are also looking at beginnings in 10 gems from our catalogue.

The Prelude is always a good start, and this particular one has the distinction to be the first major narrative poem dealing with a spiritual journey. In this case, it’s the journey of William Wordsworth, and although begun in 1798, it was refined throughout his life and published only after his death, more than 50 years later.

Good things do take time, and Prehistoric Men lived for thousands of years without ever learning how to write. However, they did leave us exciting artifacts, and Robert J. Braidwood explains how we can learn from them – through then brand new methods like carbon dating – about the lives of our ancestors.

A very important step in human history was taken by John Gutenberg, First Master Printer, who invented the movable letter press. He has set in motion (no pun intended) widespread literacy with his easy way of reproducing books, and Franz von Dingelstedt sketches the last few years in Gutenberg’s life.

One small step for a human – a giant leap for mankind. That’s what Adam Crag wants to be: First on the Moon. However, there is a traitor amongst his crew, and it is vital to find out who it is before he can sabotage the mission. Read whether he is successful in the short novel by Jeff Sutton.

Seaman Redburn’s First Voyage does not take him quite that far, only from London to New York. However, the fact that he has never set foot on a merchant ship before makes this a very exciting and difficult endeavour. Herman Melville worked his own first experiences on board a ship into this story.

Edward Ormondroyd tells the lovely story of David and the Phoenix. When they first met, the Phoenix was shocked about Davids’ ignorance in many fields, so he took it upon himself to further his education. When this is firmly on its way, they need to thwart the designs of a scientist to catch the Phoenix – will they succeed?

Lady Sarah Wilson did get caught by the enemy, but she came free in a prisoner exchange. She was the first female war correspondent and covered the Boer War for the Daily Mail. Her South African Memories, part of that coverage, tell further details about the Siege of Mafeking and her capture.

Together with Goethe Friedrich Schiller is responsible for creating the Weimar Classicism.  He was the founder of the Weimar theatre, which greatly influenced theatre all over Germany.  One of Schiller’s most famous dramatic works is Mary Stuart, about the ill fated Queen of Scots. You can also listen to the German original of this drama.

Even the big ones have to start somewhere, and usually it’s small. When Jane Austen was but 14 years of age, she penned the short epistolary novel Love and Freindship for her friends and family. Spelling errors notwithstanding, she turned into one of the most beloved authors of her time.

He is credited to be a pioneer of the self-help movement, and has written many books on various topics during his lifetime: James Allen. The Divine Companion is the last book of his to be published, and he writes about it: “The story of my soul … should be read last of all my books…”

Enjoy – and let’s get started!

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Christmas Podcast

Posted on December 21, 2016 by | Posted in Blog, For Volunteers, Librivox Community Podcast, News, Podcast | Comments: Comments Off

Listen to LibriVox Community Podcast #144: LibriVox Christmastime plans; thoughts on Christmas; poems, short stories, and other Christmas-related readings; exclusive radio play; Christmas interview; LibriVox bloopers.
Duration: 1:40:39

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Hosted by Twinkle

With contributions from Cheryl Adam (cadam10e), April6090 (adr6090), Molly Craig (mzmolly65), Christine Dufour (Jacquerie), Linette Geisel (linny), Greg Giordano (GregGiordano), larryhayes7 (larryhayes7), Joyfull (Joyfull), Kangaroo (Kangaroo692), Christine Lehman (stoogeswoman), Newgatenovelist (Newgatenovelist), Tomas Peter (WiltedScribe), Rachel (SweetPea), Sandra Schmit (catharmaiden), Kara Shallenberg (kayray), Esther ben Simonides (EstherbenSimonides), Bria Snow (Breeze), Twinkle (Twinkle88), and Peter Yearsley (Peter Why)

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Show Notes:
00:00 Introduction – Twinkle
00:48 New and old Christmas-themed projects – Twinkle
02:07 Bloopers – Linette Geisel, Kara Shallenberg, Christine Dufour, Twinkle, Bria Snow, Newgatenovelist, Rachel
05:23 LibriVox Christmas projects and plans Christmas Short Works Collection 2016, Christmas Tales and Christmas Verse, Christmas Carol Collection 2016; poems “Dedication” and “A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior” – Kangaroo
08:20 Upcoming solo London Labour and the London Poor – Volume 1, short story “Why the Chimes Rang” – Peter Yearsley
24:14 Thoughts on LibriVox – Sandra Schmit
25:52 Favorite Christmas broadcast “The Shepherd,” poem “The Shepherd,” short story “The Little Match Girl” – Molly Craig
33:52 Christmas memories, thoughts on Christmas, John 1:1-14 – Joyfull
38:33 Short story “Keeping Christmas,” poem “Sly Santa Claus,” history of “The Festival of St. Nicholas” – April6090
53:17 Poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” – larryhayes7
57:16 Thoughts on A Christmas Carol – Greg Giordano
1:11:34 Radio play “Snowed In: A Penny Parker Christmas” – Cheryl Adam
1:31:26 Christmas Interview – Twinkle, Christine Lehman, Tomas Peter, Esther ben Simonides
1:40:08 Conclusion – Twinkle, April6090, Molly Craig, Greg Giordano, Joyfull, Kangaroo, Sandra Schmit, Esther ben Simonides, Peter Yearsley

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We are interested in whatever feedback – positive or constructively critical – anyone has about our podcasts. Add a comment below or pop over to this forum thread. Any member of the community who has contributed readings to the LibriVox catalog can host a podcast and is most welcome to do so. Visit this thread on the forum to express an interest and float your ideas.

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To Subscribe to the Librivox Community Podcast, go to: http://feeds.feedburner.com/LibrivoxCommunityPodcast Or hit this itunes link to get you to the subscribe page: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=203970211

Recent past LibriVox Community Podcast files can be found at our spot on: Archive.org and archived shows for previous years can be found at: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013-2016.

Archived shownotes for the Community Podcast can be found at: http://librivox.org/category/librivox-community-podcast/ And the rss feed for those shownotes is: http://librivox.org/category/librivox-community-podcast/feed

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