Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's playin'...

Though nothing compares to curling up with a good book, since there's often not that much time for reading, I just love audio books... and Librivox! For those who unfamiliar with it, Librivox is a huge volunteer project of people from around the world who record works in the public domain and post them for anyone who desires to download.

Recently a friend started stumbled upon Librivox and asked if I had any suggestions of where to start. There are a lot of books recorded and more completed daily. Of course, since it is entirely done by volunteers, the quality differs from work to work. Some are quite professional and others recorded on computer speakers, some books are read entirely by one volunteer and others are collaborative...

That said, just about everything is at least listenable, and you just have to decide how picky you will be. Most of the time, I'm either doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom or ironing while listening, so I look for works that are easy to follow with at least decent recording quality. Part of the fun is getting to pick from a broad range of genres.

Specific recommendations? Here are a few I have enjoyed recently.

...currently playing...On Liberty by John Stuart Mill: This highly influential political treatise is amazing easy to follow--due in large part to an excellent recording job! Mill argues that as long as liberty does not impose upon another's rights, individuals should be able both to discuss and practice their personal views without governmental interference.

The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy: (sequel to The Scarlet Pimpernel.) Set during the Reign of Terror this story recounts the adventures of the daring Scarlet Pimpernel and lovely Lady Blakeney. If you like thrilling tales of bravery, conflict and love, I think you'll enjoy it. After reading The Scarlet Pimpernel three times, I was delighted to find Baroness Orczy continued the drama in El Dorado and The Elusive Pimpernel. While morning sick, the Pimpernel's gripping adventures helped me survive in the kitchen and not think about the food. ;)

To make it even better, all three works are read by an amazing reader, Karen Savage, who makes the adventures a delight to listen to.

What Prohibition Has Done to America by Fabian Franklin: In the mood for something different? Whatever your views on alcohol, this little booklet, published during America's prohibition, compellingly argued that the effects of the 18th amendment on our constitution and liberty had been disastrous. While I didn't agree with all of Franklin's ideas, it was engaging and thought-provoking.

Mother by Kathleen Norris: A sweet story about a daughter's journey to come to appreciate her mother and the importance of motherhood. I was in need of encouragement when this recording was released and greatly enjoyed it.

Chesterton collection: My all time favorite work of Chesterton's is his White Horse Ballad- an epic poem about King Alfred's fight against the invading Danes which Joshua recorded for me. :) We listened to the ridiculously hilarious Man Who Was Thursday together and could scarcely stop laughing. The Innoncence of Father Brown is a collection of mysteries solved by the endearing but absent-minded father Brown. Though a good friend of Bernard Shaw, Chesterton adamately opposed his beliefs in Heretics and propounded his own in Orthodoxy.

I'm almost done with "On Liberty". Anyone have any recommendations for me?

photo by Joel


A'yi said...

I enjoy getting "books" to listen to from there also. For a little lighter listening try "Pollyanna Grows Up" and "Just David" both by Eleanor H. Porter. And just to let you know the entire "Ester Ried" series is recorded! All four books! If you haven't read any "Pansy" books, that is a good place to start. Two more "Pansy" books are in the works.:) Thanks for introducing me to LibriVox, Anna!

Anna said...

Oh fun...I've never actually read Pollyanna. I should listen to it. :)

Wow! The reader has sure not let the time linger. All four done already! That's impressive.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I should listen to something lighter after all this politics. :)

A'yi said...

And just for your info, "Pollyanna" is also on there.:) Enjoy it!