Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I just discovered something that makes me smile--in addition to the amazing April sunlight I'm enjoying. Check out Librivox. These are audio recordings of books that are in the public domain, all of which were recorded by VOLUNTEERS. I like to check out e-audiobooks to listen to in the car, while doing yardwork, etc., but I wanted to listen to a book that I couldn't get at the library. Luckily, it was a Dickens, so it was in the public domain. I found Librivox and downloaded the recording (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, read by Alan Chant) with a little hesitation because I knew all the recordings were done by volunteers. Would it be easy to listen to an AMATEUR reading for ten hours or so? (Sidenote: I once read textbooks into a microphone as a service project for the blind at BYU. Poor, poor blind people: at that time I had no idea how awful my speaking voice is--nasal, squeaky, all slurred together. I imagine the people in charge of the project just quietly reassigned my books to someone else after I was done.) So I was suspicious.

Surprise! This guy sounds like--and must be--a professional voice artist. All the characters had distinct styles, male and female, just like the professional recordings. After each chapter he would say, "Recorded by Alan Chant, Kent, England, in the summer of 2008," and I enjoyed picturing him somewhere in a quiet English town, sitting in front of a microphone with his tea. Like being read to by an Oxford professor or something.

Anyway, I'm grateful today that there are people in the world who volunteer, who use their talents for free, sending their work out into the world to be enjoyed by tired Mormon housewives raking out their spring gardens.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling me about this. I love having good things to listen to.

I had a mission companion from Kent, and she had a *beautiful* accent. She said even her friends said she spoke more like a movie star than a normal person. :)

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to Librivox for some years now. You're right, it's great! I liked The Moonstone, and Emma, among others. It's also great to listen to foreign language books spoken by native speakers.
Still praying for you,

H Hawden said...

You are SO kind. I'm not a 'professional voice artist'... or perhaps I am: I'm a computer teacher of children from 7 to 13 years. I do live in a quiet English town; I do sit with a cup of tea next to my microphone (upstairs)- and I look sideways out of the window past an apple tree in my garden (back yard?) across a meadow, with sheep, to a distant railway line where, guess what, an excursion heritage steam train has just gone by!

Encouragement is everything. Thank you again. Alan Chant