E-books and Audio Books I Read/Listened To

1 Conversation

As some of you may know, I'm a great fan of Project Gutenberg, and it seems I've infected Dmitri for he often quotes excerpts from books you can find there (and provides us with the links) in his Post articles.

Then there's Kindle. Now, I don't have a Kindle, but I have the app for the PC, which enables me to download free (and other) ebooks for Kindle and read them on my PC – something I've done a lot recently (downloading books for Kindle, I mean). Some can even be turned into another format (I have some free software which does that for me), so I can read them on my Sony Reader and don't have to sit at the PC to do so.

Then there are audio books. I love those, too, because I can listen to them while ironing, hoovering, cycling....

You can find a lot of audio versions on Gutenberg, but a good alternative to those is LibriVox1 where you can find a lot of books recorded by volunteers. Sometimes, you can even get different versions of the same book, like with A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – one by a reader with an American accent, and one by a reader with hardly any accent. Some books are collaborative projects, so various people read one or more chapters each. This isn't half as irritating as it sounds, although I found the chapters which were clearly read by a German slightly irritating, but maybe that's just me. Even the fact that at the beginning of each chapter you are being told that this is a LibriVox recording, the title of the book, the author, the chapter (and title of the chapter if there is one) as well as who reads it isn't as irritating as I had thought it would be. And so, I've merrily listened to various books in addition to those I've read as ebooks.

Here's the list of my recent reading:

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

  • The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. I've been reading my way through the Sherlock Holmes books for some time now. I love them2.

  • Peter Michael Rosenberg:

  • Kissing Through A Pane Of Glass. This was the first book by the author that I purchased (they are only a few quid for Kindle), and I liked it so much that I went on reading books by him. It's about an obsession, compassion, and it rings true. The next one was:

  • Because It Makes My Heart Beat Faster. Well, this one is totally different from the first book in many ways, although there are some common denominators. It is gripping – a very good thriller. So now I just had to read more, which I did with:

  • Touched By A God Or Something. As before, PM Rosenberg didn't disappoint me. Again, this book differs greatly (in content) from the first two, but it is just as gripping as those. The one I'm currently reading is:

  • Implicated which I like even more than the first three books I read – and I already liked those very much! Unfortunately, there is no printed version of the book yet, I'd have loved to give it as a birthday present to my nephew; but it seems a print version is in preparation, so I'll just have to wait.

Much as I love reading there are many occasions when this is not possible, as mentioned above, and this is where audio books come in very handy. It all started with the audio books I ripped to mp3s for my son. He is a big fan of fantasy stories, so we had given him the Eragon CDs for various birthdays. Because he loved them so much, and to have some entertainment while going about my various cleaning jobs, I started listening to them, too. Well, I can't say I was particularly impressed, if I had read them I'd have felt like wasting my precious time. I'd probably not have read them in the first place, I guess. I then bought the Raven CDs by a well-known German author (well, he is known here in Germany), but again, I wasn't impressed, which is funny, because I used to read his books years ago and loved them. I think all the years of sub-editing ruined me, because I can't help noticing all the repetitions and bad wording and think it is very bad style to say, e.g. "He ran upstairs. He ran through the corridor. He then ran into the room." Even if German doesn't usually have a gazillion words for the same thing, it isn't necessary to use the same word three times in three consecutive sentences. It makes me wonder if these authors don't have a Lektor (corrector, editor) who points it out to them.

But I digress. I am delighted that I finally discovered the free audio books, as I had spent quite some money on (rubbish) audio books recently (although my son loves them, so it's OK). Now, those are books which aren't in the public domain, so I'm happy to buy them, but still. I don't have enough money to spend on so many books to keep me entertained while I'm doing the housework, so the books I can download for free from LibriVox are a bonus. Below are the
audio books (bought ones and free ones) I've recently3 listened to:

    Brian Selznick

  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It's a lovely book and I'm not surprised the movie adaptation won so many Oscars this year. It is a professional recording and beautifully done, although it struck me as odd that all the French names (the book is set in Paris, France) are pronounced American. Still, it was worth the money I spent for it.

  • The following are Dmitri's fault, he made me search for the books by

    Edgar Rice Burroughs:

  • A Princess of Mars. Another LibriVox recording, this was a collaborative project, so there was a mixture of American and German accents. I've always been a fan of science fiction, and I enjoyed this book, so I looked for the next two sequels (and found them). I really hope that Gnomon will one day finish his John Carter of Mars entry for all to enjoy.

  • The Gods of Mars. The sequel to the book above. Very imaginative story with interesting (though not too surprising) twists and turns. This one is a 'solo' reading, and I'm slowly getting used to the at times unfamiliar pronunciation.

  • Warlord of Mars. I've only just started listening to it, but the reader is the same who read The Gods of Mars, so I should be able to understand most of it.
  • I'll have to check if there are more recorded versions of the books from the Barsoom series, as I've just discovered there are e-book versions of Thuvia, Maid of Mars and Chessmen of Mars.

    Frances Hodgson Burnett:

  • A Little Princess. This was a 'trending topic' on Twitter the other day, and as I have read and enjoyed The Secret Garden by her I thought I'd give it a go. I enjoyed the story, and I have a vague feeling that I saw this on TV once. Being a LibriVox recording, this was read and recorded by yet another volunteer. I really enjoyed the reading, it is very well done.

  • Edith Nesbit:

  • The Railway Children
  • Of the two versions there are I chose the one read by the same volunteer of the 'Little Princess' book. I had seen mentions of this book, but I didn't know the story. I enjoyed it, but thought the children really were too good to be true. However, since I enjoyed the reading, I looked for other books by Edith Nesbit and came across
  • The Story of the Treasure Seekers: Being the Adventures of the Bastable Children in Search of a Fortune.
  • Wow, what a great book. It had me in stitches, and yet there is a lot of subtle criticism of all sorts of things to be found. I feel as if I found a treasure trove. Next on my list:

  • The Wouldbegoods

  • and

  • The New Treasure Seekers

So there you have it: what with all the audio books to listen to, and the e-books to read – not to mention all the other activities daily life requires me to do and then some – I certainly won't have a dull moment. It makes me feel sorry that there are only so many hours in a day.

Mixed Bag Archive


11.06.12 Front Page

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1If I remember it correctly it's from Latin libri   – books and vox   – voice.2Sorry, Dmitri.3I frequently listen to Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, but those are no recent acquisitions.

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