This is reposted from my old blog. I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here. I’ve listed it here under its original date.
About Free Audiobooks
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It was with some reluctance that I finally began listening to audiobooks. My dad was probably the first person who tried to convince me that I would love them, but I was skeptical. After a while, though, I finally decided to give it a try by downloading several titles from Audible.com and listening to them on my iPod during long flights and my daily commutes.
That was somewhere around ten years ago, and I have listened to a lot of audiobooks since then. I won’t say I am exactly a convert, or that I am 100% in love with the listening experience when contrasted to holding a book in hand and tackling it at my leisure. But there have been a lot of fun reading/listening experiences in that time. Perhaps the best was when I was on a long road trip with two friends, and we listened to one of the newly released Harry Potterbooks together. The narration was good, and it was a lot of fun hearing the story together in the car, and rehashing when we stopped and got out of the car for one reason or another.
So, as someone who does a fair bit of listening, and who has a liking for older books that are in the public domain, I’ve done a lot of downloading of free books. There are a lot of spots that offer really good quality, but there are some that can be rather hit or miss.
Most recently, I’ve been listening to several downloads from Librivox. I usually really enjoy what I download from Librivox. Right now, I am in the middle of Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day, and the reading is really good. It is done in a nice, even voice, and the voice suits the text pretty well. That is quite different, though, from a couple I listened to last month, especially The Aeneid. I was sad to have to rank it as a miss on my September list, but the fact is that the reading was just not that good. Edgar Rice Burrough’s A Princess of Mars was, like The Aeneid, split up between different readers, and so each chapter was done in a different voice and different accent. It was fairly distracting in both instances. For The Aeneid, it was made worse because several of the readers took on a sing-song type of voice, obviously not knowing how to handle the rhyme and meter of Dryden’s translation well when reading aloud. It was disappointing.
I have had better luck with ejunto, for the most part. It is mostly classics there. You’ll find a lot of good texts in the fields of philosophy, history, science, and literature. And there are lots of memoirs and biographies available. I really like the recordings, but the selection is not quite as wide as what you find at Librivox. But if you find what you are looking for there, you can be pretty sure the quality will be good. I hope they will continue expanding the list of titles they have available.
One way or another, both Librivox and ejunto offer a really nice means for downloading free audiobooks. I’ve got an iPod full of them, and still have many hours of listening to do to complete all the titles I’ve got there.
And that’s a good thing. Something to look forward to on the long flights I’ll be doing before too long.
© 2009 Shelly Bryant