Sunday, June 14, 2009

I want to sing the praises of a wonderful source site with everyone that I have been using for about the last two years. For those of you who already know about Librivox , join in and comment but for those of you who don't, I invite you to go, visit, use, and enjoy it, then tell all your family and friends about it.

Here is a place made up of volunteers who have painstakingly recorded the great classics for your listening pleasure for FREE. Yes, I said free. Now don't get me wrong. This is not Hollywood style recording but it is for the most part recorded by people who cared enough to volunteer to read, to record with their own equipment, and to listen and edit each others' work as well. Many of them are quite good, actually better in some cases than the ones I have bought commercially.

I know we all know people who love to listen to audiobooks on their commute or while they are doing something else like, housecleaning, laundry, walking, running, knitting or just like to be read to rather than reading to themselves. Although many of our libraries have rather large collections of audiobooks to borrow, they may not contain many of the classics. Librivox is the place to get almost every book that is now in the public domain and not just in English either.

Don't think of this as simply a site for Highbrows. I have listened to children's classics. My all time favorite being Ann of Green Gables read entirely by Annie Coleman of St. Louis MO.

My 16 yr old and I have listened to Sense and Sensibility, and Frankenstein for her 10th grade Literary Criticism Class this year and my 15 yr. old is listening to The Hounds of Baskerville and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on her iPod for her summer reading list for 9th Grade. I have found that it takes more than a fancy new cover to get today's youth into some of the classics that are still required reading for them. I found when we were listening to Jane Austen, we were able to pause the story, and talk about the ornate language and how it compared to the way we would have said the same thing now. This allowed my daughter to really appreciate the character development. I believe she will read or listen to other Austen books now that she was able to enjoy the full meaning behind the language of yesterday.

Many of my friends over at LibraryThing have been discussing audiobooks in general but a thread developed where others were listing their all-time favorite readers on Librivox and it created a new list for me to download to iTunes so I can load them onto my iPod. Do not worry, that is not the only way to listen to them. All the instructions are listed on the site.

This can be a new source for your sole listening pleasure or it may be a new way for bedtime stories with you and the kids, or a family hour in the evening. Whichever way you decide to use it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

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