Friday, March 14, 2014

Recommended Librivox Recordings

          Librivox is an online source for free audiobooks that I've used and enjoyed in the past few years. Their goal (which is commendable) is to make all public domain books available in audio versions. The way they hope to accomplish this is to let anyone volunteer to read a book. Of course, this leaves their vast selection in the hands of a mixed bag of excellent, mediocre and awful readers. Instead of complaining about the books that aren't worth listening to, I thought I'd post a list of the exceptional titles. The most satisfying listening experience comes when there is a single narrator, but occasionally I make an exception to this. Clicking on the titles will take you straight to Librivox.

Conscience Pudding - a Christmas short story
The Claverings by Anthony Trollope (multiple readers, my review here)
Confessions of Arsene Lupin by Leblanc (mystery, my review here)
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (my review here)
El Dorado (Sequel to Scarlet Pimpernel, my review here)
Emma by Jane Austen (Version 3 is by one of the best readers, Elizabeth Klett, my review here)
The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin by Leblanc (my review here)
Lady Audley's Secret by Braddon (narrated by Klett, my review here)
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Version 2 is narrated by Klett, my review here)
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (Version 2 by Klett, my review here)
Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Version 2 by Klett, my review here)
The Virginian by Owen Wister (western, my review here)
The Warden by Trollope (some of the narrators are poor, but Minter makes it all worth it, review here)
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (Version 2 by Klett, my review here)
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (mystery, various readers, review here)

Have you listened to an especially good classic at Librivox? If so, please leave a note in the comment section.

(Part two of this post is here.)

Postscript: I recently stumbled upon Julie's (at Forgotten Classics) list of favorite Librivox readers here. I don't agree with all of her choices, but I look forward to checking out a few names that are new to me.


Jan said...

That looks like a great site. Thanks for sharing.

Carol in Oregon said...

Hope, thank you for this. I agree with you about Elizabeth Klett. She's just fantastic.

I've started listening to Shakespeare plays. They have a reader for each character (Klett is part of them)and are easy to follow.

Heather VanTimmeren said...

Thanks for these recommendations! I mostly listen to audio books with my children, and Adrian Praetzellis is by far the best reader we have encountered. His reading of The Wind in the Willows is simply brilliant, and Treasure Island is great, too.

JaneGS said...

I like LibriVox and have listened to a fair number and actually recorded a few is hard to do well! I did a version of Gaskell's short story, The Grey Women, and hadn't realized how many French phrases were in it until I started reading it aloud.

I totally agree that the quality is across the board. I recently tried listening to a recording of Merry Wives of Windsor and couldn't get past scene one, the reading was so wooden.

I'll have to look to Elizabeth Klett's recordings.

Unknown said...

Mil Nicholson reading Our Mutual Friend by Dickens. Clearly she is a professional. She has a few others too. Can't wait to get to them.

Poppy Buxom said...

Karen Savage reading the Scarlet Pimpernel stories is AMAZING!

Mike Alexander said...

I listen to Librivox books at bedtime as a sleep aid and am always looking for readers who are clear, level, and purposefully, but lightly, inflected. Those readers often choose interesting stories and then bring them gently to life. And, they can be hard to find.
In my very long list of Librivox bedtime readers, few have achieved 5 stars, and Elizabeth Klett is just the second American to do so. I was impressed enough to look her up, and her site led me here. I've just finished her narration of Howard's End, which kept me awake as often as it lulled me to sleep. What a fascinating, almost perfect story it is, improved more than a little by the reader's very skillful performance. I'm looking forward to a long relationship with Miss Klett.

Some other favorites:
-- Bob Neufeld (the other American): "The Lost World" (Doyle)
-- Tadhg Hynes: "David Copperfield" (Dickens)
-- Jason Mills: "The Worm Ouroboros" (Eddison)
-- Noel Badrian: "A House of Pomegranates" (Wilde)
-- Kevin Greene: "Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour" (Surtees)
-- Martin Clifton: "Crome Yellow" (Huxley)

hopeinbrazil said...

Thank you, Mike, for these great recommendations.