Thursday, May 14, 2009

Librivox Followup

At the request of the one of's wonderful volunteers, I am writing this follow up to my previous post, Librivox - If You Love Books, to give you a better idea of what Librivox is really all about.

I live 28 miles from my workplace, so my daily commute is about 40 minutes one way. About two years ago, I was looking for something to listen to, besides the radio, so I started searching the web for free books. Wonder of wonders, I discovered that there is this wonderful website called Librivox, which offers all sorts of books, for free!!

I am an avid reader and have a very long list of books to read and a list of books that I should have read but never got around to, like War and Peace and Moby Dick. Understand that I actually read some of the books on my list, like Les Miserables (it took forever but I loved it) and Madame Bovary. But when you work full time and your commute is more than 30 minutes, what better use of your time than to listen to some of those books that you just can't seem to get around to actually sitting down and reading?

So, I became a listener.

After a while, I got to thinking what a great contribution all those "readers" were making and I took the plunge. I volunteered.

My very first reading was a section of The Count of Monte Cristo.

I was terrified. What if I sounded horrible? What if I couldn't pronounce some of the words? But I discovered that it was very easy and after a few times it was really fun. I also discovered a wonderful tool for those words that I was unsure how to pronounce. Merriam-Webster has this wonderful online site that gives you audible pronunciations. Now, this doesn't help much with non English words or names, but it's a wonderful thing.

So far, I have recorded sections of the following projects:

The Daffodil Mystery by Edgar Wallace; Horror Story Collection 002; The Meaning of the Glorious Koran translated by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper; Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

I am currently recording sections of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky and Armadale by Wilkie Collins.

Sometimes I choose a book because I'm familiar with the author or it's a book I always wanted to read, but my favorite thing is to volunteer to record "orphaned" chapters. Orphaned chapters are chapters that were previously claimed by a volunteer who wanted to record them, but the volunteer has had to give them up for one reason or another. I love to assist with a project like this, which is often very near to completion and just needs that one volunteer. Then there is the wonderful feeling when the project is completed and it's out there on the web for everyone to hear.

When the project is complete I usually download the project to iTunes and add it to my iPod and the list of books (oh no, another list!) that I listen to going to and from work. Why? Because as yet, I have only participated in one project where I had previously read the entire book. Now I get to hear the whole thing and listen to my own sections (which is really strange). It's like, wow, that's my voice coming out of the radio! What a weird feeling.

I feel like I've made a worthwhile contribution for just a minor investment in a microphone for my computer and my time.

I have not yet taken the next step to "listener" or beyond to "coordinator" and who knows, I may not ever take that step. But
Librivox will always need readers and I cannot say enough about how fulfilling it is to contribute my voice.

Hey, there!! Want to participate? Just click on the word
Librivox anywhere in this blog and you will be whisked away to a world that will provide you with hours of books for your listening pleasure and maybe you too will make the transition from listener to reader. We would love to have you join us.

1 comment:

Kara Shallenberg said...

Thank you, Okami, for writing such a lovely post. And thank you so much for volunteering at LibriVox. Every voice is valued! I, too, enjoy recording orphaned chapters, and then listening to the completed book to find out what on earth I was talking about ;-)

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