Archive for December 2011

New LibriVox recording: The Cricket on the Hearth

December 31, 2011

Well, I didn’t quite make it by Christmas, but I have managed to get it finished before the old year dies.

Last year, I recorded Dickens’ second short Christmas book, The Chimes, and this year I have recorded his third, The Cricket on the Hearth.

http://librivox.org/the-cricket-on-the-hearth-by-charles-dickens-2/

This little book sat on the family bookshelf when I was a child, and it always looked a very strange title to me.

It is a very sentimental story, but not without flashes of Dickensian humour, and is the tale of John Peerybingle, the good-hearted carrier, and his young wife Mary (‘Dot’), interwoven with the story of poor toymaker Caleb Plummer, his beloved blind daughter Bertha, and the harsh old toy merchant Tackleton, who is due to marry May Fielding, a childhood friend of Dot. Comic relief is provided by Tilly Slowboy, the disaster-prone nursemaid of John and Dot’s baby, and Boxer, the family dog.

The cricket who chirps on the family hearth assumes fairy form to save the day when disaster looms in the form of a mysterious stranger.

The novella is subdivided into chapters called ‘Chirps’, similar to the ‘Quarters’ of The Chimes or the ‘Staves’ of A Christmas Carol.

I wish all my listeners a very happy and peaceful New Year.

LibriVox Christmas Collections

December 20, 2011

2011 Christmas Short Works Collection
2011 Christmas Carol Collection

The festive season looms again, and once more we invite you to sample the fare of our Christmas collections at LibriVox. As usual, they are a mixture of the traditional and the unfamiliar. Every year we discover absolute gems from the dusty basements of the Internet Archive.

This time, I found a delightful poem called Santa Claus in a 1907 book imaginatively titled Christmas.

Or, how about a real tear-jerker of a short story by Bret Harte: Santa Claus at Simpson’s Bar, wonderfully read by Don Jenkins?

And how can you possibly resist David Wales reading Julius Adolphus Jenkins’s Christmas Alligator?

These and many more are included in the 2011 Christmas Short Works Collection. It’s a feast – don’t miss it!

http://librivox.org/christmas-short-works-2011-by-various/

The 2011 Christmas Carol Collection is equally varied: fancy a rock version of We Three Kings? We have it. 8th century Latin words set to music by Gustav Holst? We have that too. An old version of Twelve Days of Christmas sung by LOTS of LibriVoxateers… my own contributions of some wonderful folk carols rescued from oblivion by Cecil Sharp in the early 1900s… a very professional performance of Gesù Bambino by Susan K. Hawthorne… and much more.

http://librivox.org/christmas-carol-collection-2011-by-various/

Much fun had by all. :) Happy Christmas, everybody!

At last! New free LibriVox recording: The Riddle Ring

December 16, 2011

Much delayed owing to horrible computer problems, today sees the release of my latest LibriVox recording: not, I am sure, one you will have heard of before, and perhaps a rather unusual choice for me, but well-written and with some intriguing characters.

The Riddle Ring, by Justin McCarthy, is a romantic mystery – or mysterious romance – and tells the tale of jilted lover, Jim Conrad, who discovers an unusual gold ring while on a visit to Paris. What is the story of the ring? Why is Clelia Vine so sad? Who is the nameless ‘chief’? And how is a dour English barber in a Parisian salon mixed up in all this?

Justin McCarthy was an Irish nationalist, Liberal historian, novelist and politician.

This is in the public domain everywhere in the world. I hope you enjoy it.

http://librivox.org/the-riddle-ring-by-justin-mccarthy/

Also in progress: another of Dicken’s Christmas stories. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to record for over a month, and it will be a miracle if this is finished before Christmas.

After that, I will be completing Volume 2 of Henry Lucy’s East by West, and returning to my old favourite Cleek for more adventures with Dollops and Inspector Narkom of the Yard. Lots of fun to come.


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