Thursday, January 11, 2007


This page will list my audiobook exploits. You may wish to sit down.
Seriously, I have been an avid listener to audiobooks for the last few months. In fact, I can list what I have listened to at the bottom of this post.
I have tended to listen to these recordings driving to and from work, a journey of 40 minutes each way. Where before I wasted my time listening to the radio, I now have nice people read me stories. I have two young children, so reading time at home is at a premium. I have found the experience of being able to 'read' for over an hour every day very uplifting.
After a while you get to recogise the voices. The other day I punched the air when Gordon Mackenzie introduced himself. I listen for the sunny, happy tones of Kara, from, what seems to me, the sunniest and most exotic place on earth - Oceanside, California. And R. Francis Smith, whose voice is so deep that I would cause myself physical pain by impersonating him. Hugh McGuire, who always seems to be trying to make himself sound less excited than he is, and Kristin Luoma, whose astonishing reading of Heart of Darkness got me so excited about Conrad, and Librivox. Before, I thought that Conrad could only be read by a male voice, with a Polish accent.
So - I started nosing around the forums, and found the nice people who read stories are also nice people generally. I started visiting their various blogs before going to bed.
I became aware that I was not really helping much at the moment. This troubled me. Since - for the next couple of years at least - time is so precious, I could not contemplate recording. I can't even proof listen, as propping the source text on my steering wheel seems antisocial.
So I thought it might me a small comfort to let Librivoxers know that someone is listening outside of their charming circle. And I read about a 52 books a year challenge. Once the rules were changed to allow audiobooks, I thought I could review them here - just the text, mind, not the readers, as that would seem rude. Also, if time allows, I will supplement the audio experience with reading the text from a copy I have found, or on the Internet. It would be unfair to praise some readers, and ignore those I have not heard.
I will start with Dracula, which I have just finished.

Since September 2006, I have listened to, in order:

Heart of Darkness - Conrad
Psmith in the City - Wodehouse
Call of the Wild - London
The Secret Agent - Conrad
Poetics - Aristotle
Childhood - Tolstoy
The Warden - Trollope
White Fang - London
Silas Marner - Eliot
My Man Jeeves - Wodehouse
The Diary of a Nobody - Grossmith
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Irving
The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Telltale Heart - Poe
The Nice People - H C Bunner
The Duplicity of Hargreaves - Henry
Pigs is Pigs - Ellis Parker Butler
The Children of the Zodiac - Kipling
Markheim - Stevenson
Raffles - Hornung
Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde - Stevenson
King Solomon's Mines - Haggard
Free Culture - Lessig (OK, not Librivox, but nearly)
The Prisoner of Zenda - Hope
Universal Access to Knowledge - Brewster Kahle (OK - also not Librivox, But close.)
Dracula - Stoker

Next: Lord Jim - Conrad


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could combine the work of two great websites Libravox and Book Crossing! Once you have listened to all 52 books just leave your Ipod on a bench in a local railway station for someone else to enjoy! (just tell me exactly where and when first!)

Good luck...great Blog

jimmowatt said...

That's a lot of books in a short time. Great to know there are people listening out there.

Anonymous said...

Great post! You really are an avid listener!

'Anonymous' has a good suggestion. I sometimes put LibriVox audiobooks on CDs, as a temporary way of listening to them when not at home. I never thought of freeing them in a Book Crossing way. Great idea.

Anonymous said...

I put Librivox books on CD for my car as well and then my mom gets them and when she is done, I package them up real nice with the CD covers our volunteers design and give them to the Blind Society here. I hope they will get around.

R. Francis said...

I realize I stumbled across this about a year and a half after the fact, but it gave me a chuckle so I thought I'd say so.

R. Francis Smith

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happyboy said...
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