Wednesday, 22 April 2009


I believe I'm probably the very last person on earth to hear about this, but I just learned about Librivox.

I'm a bad sleeper and I find that the only way I can drift off is to listen to an audiobook. I choose my book carefully - it has to be something I don't actually want to read (because I want to save those books to hold in my hands and curl up around their lovely printy inkiness) but it has to be something I would consider reading if I were very short of books and had no access to others.

It's a bit of a hassle to go to the library to get these and then again to return them, so I was quite excited at the thought of Librivox.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it - downloading the books is quite a slow process and the catalogue isn't that easy to browse. Most significantly though, the voices of the people who record the books are just those of regular folk. The readers change every chapter and they're of variable quality, which I think would annoy me if I were sitting and listening to the whole thing. But it is better than a computer generated voice, and it's very easy to access, and after all, I do just listen to the books in little snippets.

I have a recording of EB White reading his Charlotte's Web, it is one of the most pleasing and comforting sounds I know. So, while I think I'll find Librivox useful when the library is feeling very far away or their selection isn't inspiring me, I think that the power of a good voice reading a book very well will always be an irresistible lure to me.

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