I guess you’ve all heard of LibriVox by now. Years ago someone in my writers’ group recommended it but it wasn’t until last night that I finally decided to check it out. I’ve been hankering after an audio book for a while now but they don’t stock them in my local library. Even if they did, I don’t have a CD player or even one of those old fashioned cassette-playing-contraptions. Using LibriVox, you can download audio books for free straight onto your computer. The recordings are divided into chapters so downloading is quick and easy.

I wasn’t sure if they would have anything for me because they only provide recordings of books whose copyright has expired i.e. books published before 1923. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I browsed through their catalogue. Let’s not forget that classics by Dickens, the Brontes and Jane Austen are all in the public domain. (Who am I kidding? I downloaded Dorothy L. Sayers’ Whose Body?) The books are also available in a number of languages.

Because they are read by volunteers, the quality is probably not going to be the same as in an audio book read by a professional actor, but certainly in the book I downloaded it was at least as good as being read to by my mum. (When I was doing Higher English my mum recorded chapters of Dombey and Son onto a tape for me because I was struggling to read it. I remember listening to them while peddaling furiously on the exercise bike. It was part of my short-lived better-lifestyle strategy designed to increase learning without sacrificing time that could be spent on other pursuits. I also had physics equations pinned up in the shower so that I could learn about Newton’s laws while shampooing my hair.)

It was a bit weird to hear Lord Peter Wimsey speaking in an American accent but I got used to it and I’m looking forward to hearing the second chapter tonight.


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