New commercial audiobook

Posted October 6, 2015 by RuthieG
Categories: Commercial recordings, Latest recordings

Tags: ,

As I mentioned earlier, I now have another audiobook available on Audible. This time it is a collection of gentle cat-related little stories called Herding Cats and written by a very nice chap called Christopher J. F. Gibson.

I’ve been a cat-lover since my early childhood, and when our last cat departed this life, we wondered if we would ever be able to bear having another – he and his adopted sister had both lived to eighteen and were such characters that they seemed irreplaceable. However, the cat-shaped hole in our lives was too big, and it was time for a visit to the cat rescue centre. My brief was not to look at any orange cats (too much like Oscar).

“Ah!” said the lovely lady, “so you’d like two cats? We have a four-month old brother and sister whose owner has been evicted. Follow me!” And a small ball of grey fluff immediately wound around my legs. “This is Winifred,” said my guide. “And her brother is rather shy.” I peeped over the partition. “DO NOT LOOK!” I said to my son. Of course he did. There was a tiny, terrified orange person huddled in the corner. Well… the rest, of course, is history.

It transpired, however, that the charming little female ball of fluff was, in fact, male. Winifred has become Fred and is now a fluffy-tailed feline dictator. The terrified small orange person is now an anarchist whose favourite pastime is leaping on to the top of doors.

So… these stories immediately struck a chord with me.

Herding Cats by Christopher J. F. Gibson
43 mins
Audible UK £3.09 Audible USA $3.95
(I don’t think much of that exchange rate.)

As usual I have some complimentary review copies to give away. Drop me a line if you would like one, and please specify whether US or UK.

My Commercial Recordings

Posted September 27, 2015 by RuthieG
Categories: Commercial recordings


Some of you will know that I made some commercial recordings for a start-up called Iambik a few years ago. That hasn’t really come to anything (though they are still available on Audible), but in the last year I have also been commissioned to do some on Audible’s own platform, ACX.

It makes a pleasant change to record books which are more contemporary, though there are many books in the Public Domain which I still want to record for LibriVox and Legamus. Legamus recordings are only out of copyright in countries such as the UK and other European countries whose copyright laws depend on the death date of the author (i.e. 70+ years since their death), unlike my LibriVox recordings which are also out of copyright in the USA (whose copyright laws depend on date of publication).

My ACX recordings are now available on the Audible sites, Amazon and iTunes: details may be found on this page.

I do have some complimentary codes available, so please email me if you would like one. Please tell me whether you use the US or UK Audible site.

I have just completed a book of short stories which should be released in the next few days, and I am currently recording a very different kind of novel from my customary genres icon_wink. I’ll post details of both as they are released.

Thank you for your support. It’s good to know that there are people out there listening to my work icon_biggrin.

The world’s worst blogger

Posted September 22, 2015 by RuthieG
Categories: Uncategorized

Yup, that’s definitely what I am. I have so much to tell you all, and somehow this blog always ends up at the bottom of the list of the things that I have to do.

Thank you all for your comments, which I shall reply to as soon as I can. The thing I was feeling most guilty about was updating the list of British readers. This I have now done, and it’s great to see so many British people getting involved with LibriVox. Let me know of those (doubtless many) that I have missed!

As some of you will know, LibriVox passed its 10th anniversary in August, and now has catalogued over 9000 projects. I’m sorry to say that I have not been contributing as many readings as I would like for various reasons, but I hope soon to be back in full production.

One of the many reasons for my lack of productivity is that I have been, over the past year or so, commissioned to record some commercial audiobooks. I found this very taxing to start with – dead authors are much easier to please than living ones, on the whole ;). However, this will not stop me recording for LibriVox and Legamus, even though I have been so lax of late. The evenings are drawing in, and the coming cold and wet weather will not be enticing me into the garden so much, so I’m looking forward to slaving over a hot microphone again.

Enough for now. I shall try and answer all your comments in the next day or two.

New LibriVox recording: Underground Man

Posted February 5, 2014 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

Underground Man by Gabriel Tarde (1843 – 1904), translated from the French Fragment d’histoire future, 1904, by Cloudesley Brereton (1863 – 1937).

It is the end of the 20th century; the sun suddenly starts to die and it’s… well, it’s a little chilly! In fact, earth is plunged overnight into an ice age, and life, including most of mankind, is virtually wiped out. A tiny number of the young, strong and intelligent find a way to survive – beneath the surface of the earth (or young and beautiful, in the case of women – the criteria for survival are hilarious).

In this new and strange world, where there are no countries, no nature, no sea and no sky, they must build a new civilisation. With commendable foresight, they have managed to preserve masterpieces from the major libraries, museums and galleries and transport them to their new home. Far-fetched, of course, but bear with me.

This is the story of how they build their new civilisation based on love and beauty, the fine arts and pure science. Tarde was a sociologist, criminologist and social psychologist, and this novella, his only venture into fiction, is replete with philosophical, scientific, sociological and political concepts, including a method of restricting population which has echoes of eugenics.

At one point Tarde refers to the sun being seen as blue in 1883 – this is based on fact, and happened after the eruption of Krakatoa.

Interestingly, shortly after I started recording this, I read an article on the BBC Science website about the sun’s current state of inactivity: “The drop off in activity is happening surprisingly quickly, and scientists are now watching closely to see if it will continue to plummet.” It sent rather a chill down the spine.

Nevertheless, I loved this little book – I hope you do too.

Here it is:

British readers on LibriVox

Posted January 20, 2014 by RuthieG
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I realise that I am unable to add tags to pages on this blog, only to posts. Why, I know not, but WordPress does not allow it. Hence, I shall post here and add tags to this!

LibriVox is a fantastic community, with readers from all parts of the globe. It is clear however from the number of Google searches that, for one reason or another, some listeners like to listen to particular accents. This doesn’t apply solely to listeners from the United Kingdom. I have also had comments from teachers of English as a second language that they like to be able to point their students to recordings made by readers with different accents, to help them to differentiate between the different ways that English is spoken around the world.

Accordingly I made a page some time ago with a list of readers who speak English with accents from the British Isles: English, Welsh, Scottish and also Irish. Since first writing the page, many more readers have joined, and I have recently updated the page. There are now over 70 readers listed, most of whom have completed at least one entire book as a solo recording.

You will find readers who speak English in the “Received Pronunciation” (RP) style, also known as “BBC English”. Also, many of us have various flavours of Southern, Northern and West of England accents, as well as a few Welsh and Scots accents. I have yet to discover a reader with a Northern Irish accent, unfortunately.

Here’s the page: last updated 27th September 2015, now with over 100 readers.

Centenary of the First World War

Posted January 18, 2014 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Recordings in progress, Recordings in progress (non-fiction), Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2014 is, of course, the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. I am currently co-ordinating a collection of short works at LibriVox on this theme, which will be catalogued in time for the 28th July. It is to be a multi-lingual collection, and I hope to have contributions from many parts of the world relating to all sides of the conflict. It will consist not only of poetry from the trenches but many other aspects of the war, from both military and civilian viewpoints.

Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen entered the public domain in the UK on the 1st January this year, and I shall be recording it for the collection.

In my little part of the world, so close to the coast of mainland Europe, the First World War had a devastating effect in many ways. Aside from the loss of life from air raids in the latter stages of the war, Folkestone was the main port of embarkation for soldiers and a major location for the sick and wounded on their return. There were also many Canadian forces stationed in the vicinity of Hythe and Folkestone, and many refugees from Belgium found safety on our shores. I shall be recording an excerpt on some of these subjects from Folkestone During the War.

In the meantime, I should like to draw your attention to a video made by Robbie Ellis to commemorate the centenary. It is a powerful piece, and you should be warned that some of the footage is (unsurprisingly) distressing. Robbie asked me last year to narrate two poems for his video, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, and his own poem The Window, which I found most moving.

You can find the video, The Great War – Centenary, on Youtube here:

Apologies and new recordings

Posted January 17, 2014 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Recordings in progress, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

I have been appallingly remiss at posting on my blog during the past year. I shall now make amends and get up to date. I shall start with the audiobooks I have completed since my last post.

More short(ish) Dickens

In January 2013 I completed another of Charles Dickens’ “Christmas” books, following The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth in previous years. This year’s was The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain.

More longish Cleek – hurray!

This was followed in March by my eventual completion of Cleek of Scotland Yard. This is more or less a sequel to the first Cleek book Cleek: The Man of the Forty Faces, unlike The Riddle of the Purple Emperor and the Riddle of the Frozen Flame, full-length stories which were each about one case, and both of which I found frankly a bit disappointing. Both of the latter were authored by both Thomas and Mary Hanshew, and just not up to the standard of the books written by Thomas alone, in my opinion. Anyway, if you enjoy a good unlikely detective romp, I’d recommend listening to The Man of the Forty Faces first, and then Cleek of Scotland Yard.

A difficult Saki

I then made what is probably a bad decision. I chose to record The Westminster Alice by Saki, a parody of Alice in Wonderland set around 1900 in Westminster, the seat of British politics. Now, Saki is generally very, very funny… but this book relies so heavily on topical humour relating to the politics of the day that much of its charm has evaporated like the morning dew. So much so that I found myself spending hour upon hour researching turn-of-the-century politics, war, religion and public figures to find out what on earth it was all about.

I ended up by recording and uploading to the Internet Archive the notes that I’d made, but in all honesty it didn’t really rescue what was a bad choice for a LibriVox recording. The upside is that I learned a lot about politics and the South African (2nd Boer) War in the process.

An alternative history

I had never heard of Aristopia: A Romance-History of the New World, but was introduced to it as an interesting recording possibility. It is an alternative history of the United States, documenting what might have happened if one of Captain John Smith’s Jamestown colonists had discovered an immense reef of gold, and used his vast wealth to benefit the poor and disenfranchised of Europe by providing them with immigrant transport to his new ‘Commonwealth’ in the New World.

It can’t be described as great literature, certainly. The characters (of whom there are few) don’t come to life at all. It draws heavily on More’s Utopia and Captain Smith’s diary. However, as the first novel-length example of the alternative history genre, it is interesting and was worth recording.

Did I mention More’s Utopia?

As I hadn’t ever read Utopia, it occurred to me that I should record that too. There was already a recording of the 17th century Burnet translation in the LibriVox catalogue, so I thought I would go back to the original 16th century translation by Ralph Robinson, and chose the version which William Morris printed at his celebrated Kelmscott Press, with his own introduction. It wasn’t very easy to read! However I did enjoy it, and feel that I am slightly less ignorant now.


I have many other things to tell you all, but those for another day. I promise it will be soon.

I note that WordPress tells me that occasionally some of my visitors may see an advertisement here. Please ignore it if you do, especially if it says DOWNLOAD in big red letters. It is nothing to do with me (except that I haven’t paid WordPress any money to prevent it happening).


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