The World’s Lumber Room by Selina Gaye

Posted October 2, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Non-fiction

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As the author, Selina Gaye (1840 – 1914), writes in her preface: “The object of this volume is to give, in popular form, an account of some of the many ways in which refuse is made and disposed of, first and chiefly by Nature, and secondly by Man.” So, yes, it is nine hours of rubbish. ๐Ÿ˜‰

This recording is a little out of the ordinary for me, but I found the book enthralling, and having recorded it, I do indeed look at dust and rubbish with new eyes, though it doesn’t in truth make housework any more pleasurable.

In the midst of this recording, I wasn’t very well for some time and couldn’t do much, so I spent many hours in front of the television. I discovered many interesting programmes that dealt with the natural world, in particular geologist Prof. Iain Stewart’s excellent documentaries Earth: The Power of the Planet and How Earth Made Us.

To my surprise, there seems to be little in Selina Gaye’s book that has actually been disproved more than a century later. She admits herself that the science of the day did not yet provide the answers to some questions (the cause of earthquakes, for instance), but this is unsurprising as plate tectonics had not even been thought of when the book was written in 1885.

Miss Gaye clearly consulted many scientific authorities of the day, using as her sources works such as Elements of Chemical and Physical Geology by Gustav Bischof, Darwin’s Journal of Researches, Coral Reefs and Vegetable Mould and Earthworms, Dana’s Coral Reefs and Islands, Maury’s The Physical Geography of the Sea, and the Earl of Dunraven’s The Great Divide among many other books and scientific journals.

I really enjoyed recording this. I learned a lot, and it made me much more curious about the natural world than I had ever been before. I do hope you find the same.

Here it is: http://librivox.org/the-worlds-lumber-room-by-selina-gaye/

New LibriVox recording: The Human Machine

Posted September 28, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Uncategorized

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After a long hiatus owing to poor health I am back, and have at last released my latest LibriVox recording. This time it is The Human Machine, another shortish work by Arnold Bennett (1867-1931).

In this Olympic year in particular, much has been made about the benefits of physical excellence. Nobody has mentioned the importance of mental excellence, and indeed the ability even to use one’s brain seems to be sadly neglected in this brave new world of ours.

Those of us whose bodies are not capable of athletic prowess (and in my current state, I certainly include myself in that), can still improve our lives by training and controlling our own ‘human machine’. However frustrating we find aspects of our lives, all is not lost. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bennett speaks to me. I hope that he speaks to you, and that the listener too, as Bennett wrote, “will be surprised at the miracles which lie between his collar and his hat, in that queer box that he calls his head.”

And, as always, Bennett writes so beautifully, so mellifluously.

Here it is:
http://librivox.org/the-human-machine-by-arnold-bennett/

You may also be interested in my earlier Arnold Bennett recordings:

Mental Efficiency
The Feast of St. Friend
Self and Self-management: Essays about Existing

Soon to come: 310 pages, or nearly 10 hours, of… rubbish. You will be enthralled. ๐Ÿ˜€

LibriVox: East by West Vol. 2

Posted March 28, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Uncategorized

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I have finally, after many delays, completed Volume 2 of East by West, A Journey in the Recess, by Henry W. Lucy.

http://librivox.org/east-by-west-a-journey-in-the-recess-vol-ii-by-henry-w-lucy/

This account, in two volumes, of Henry Lucy’s round-the-world journey on a break from his usual occupation of parliamentary correspondent, is an extraordinary picture of an Englishman’s travels abroad.

Within two to three decades of the American Civil War, the Indian Mutiny and the end of Japan’s isolation from the western world, the sheer logistics of the trip must have been a triumph of organisation. Starting at Liverpool with the crossing of the Atlantic by steamer, Lucy traversed the entire United States, then took a steamer across the Pacific to Japan, and thence to Hong Kong, Malaya, Ceylon and India, finally returning home via the Middle East and the Suez Canal, itself less than 15 years old.

He had entrees into many high circles (presumably through his contacts with the British diplomatic network), to which most people would not have had access. But he was not only interested in the great and the powerful, but was fascinated too by the ordinary people of the countries he visited, as well as their work, their customs, their religion, their history, the architecture, art, landscape and wildlife… and all with Lucy’s customary eye for detail, and sense of humour.

What an intriguing account this is. Of course, it is written from the point of view of an Englishman accustomed to British dominance throughout the Empire, but, though he may have had little sympathy for the workshy or greedy, Lucy was no arrogant xenophobe, and his sympathy for the old or needy, of whatever race, shines through the narrative.

Note: In Chapter 6, Lucy understandably, to a readership wholly unfamiliar with Japan, includes lengthy statistics about Japan’s systems and economy. While the reader of the book can glance at such tables and move swiftly on, this is not possible in an audiobook. Accordingly, I have made two versions of Chapter 6. The first version is completely unabridged. In the alternative file, 6a, I have excised the longest statistical tables.

Volume 1 is also available at:

http://librivox.org/east-by-west-vol-i-by-henry-w-lucy/

LibriVox recording: The Speaking Voice

Posted February 16, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Poetry

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Well, this was a challenge: take a book by an extremely successful dramatic reader in the early 1900s, and follow her training programme on the speaking voice and the vocal interpretation of various literary genres.

This is not a book designed for the professional reader’s training. It is meant for anyone who wants to get the best out of their voice in ordinary life. Watch out, though – if you are in the habit of wearing tight corsets, she has some severe words for you! ๐Ÿ˜†

The first two parts of the book deal with vocal production and techniques such as change of pitch, inflection and tone colour, then the eight chapters of the third part offer studies on various genres such as the essay, the short story, several types of poetry, ending with dramatic monologues and plays.

Actually, by the time I reached the last few chapters, she had more or less given up trying to teach me anything, because she said I was supposed to know it all by then, so those chapters comprise mostly complete poems for one’s own personal study.

I did find it interesting. I think I found it useful. I hope that others may also find it so. Never having been a devotee of the great English poets Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Tennyson – indeed, to be honest, never having been a great devotee of any poetry at all – I was surprised, and really rather pleased to be forced to study some of their poems. And even more pleased to find that I could appreciate them.

Here it is:
http://librivox.org/the-speaking-voice-by-katherine-jewell-everts/

Section 11 includes a detailed study of Shelley’s Ode to a Skylark and, in the order they appear, the complete poems:
The Lesser Children, or A Threnody at the Hunting Season by Ridgley Torrence
Hunting Song by Sir Walter Scott
It was a Lover and his Lass by William Shakespeare
Pack, Clouds, Away and Welcome Day by Thomas Heywood
Memory and Enamoured Architect of Airy Rhyme by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Love in the Winds by Richard Hovey
Candlemas by Alice Brown
She Was a Phantom of Delight by William Wordsworth
Nonsense Lyrics Topsy-turvy World and I Saw a New World by William Brighty Rands
Hymn Before Sunrise, in the Vale of Chamouni by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Juan’s Song from The Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot
Pablo’s Song from The Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot
My Star by Robert Browning
Cavalier Tunes Marching Along by Robert Browning
Garden Fancies The Flower’s Name by Robert Browning.

Section 12 has a study of part of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning, and the complete poems:
Each and All by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Forbearance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Section 13 comprises mostly just the complete short story The Revolt of ‘Mother’ by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.

Section 14 has a study of a cutting of Gareth and Lynette from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

Section 15 has the complete poems:

A Tale (epilogue to Two Poets of Croisic) by Robert Browning
Incident of the French Camp
My Last Duchess

LibriVox and Charles Dickens

Posted February 8, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (contributions), Uncategorized

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I may be a day late as Dickens’s birthday was yesterday, but we at LibriVox will be working away throughout the 200th anniversary year to bring you as many of Dickens’s lesser-known works as possible.

Already, there are LibriVox recordings of all his great novels – many have a choice of recordings. Now, we are working our way through his other works, including short stories, magazine articles, letters, speeches and poetry.

Volume 1 of our Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection was released yesterday on the great man’s birthday, and we have several more volumes in progress.

This volume has short stories, articles, speeches and poetry. If you have never managed to get to grips with one of his vast novels, do try listening to some of his shorter stories, or one of his rants about the many things that he disagreed with. He is remarkably funny at times.

http://librivox.org/charles-dickens-200th-anniversary-collection-vol-1-by-charles-dickens/

You may also be interested in the short Dickens-flavoured podcast that I hosted this week. Lucy Perry, Martin Geeson and Andy Minter tell us why they have come to like Dickens, and there are short excerpts of some recordings too, to give you an idea of what there is to enjoy.

http://librivox.org/2012/02/02/librivox-community-podcast-123/

Legamus recording: The Prophet

Posted January 17, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: Legamus, Uncategorized

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My first Legamus recording has now been published!

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (1883 โ€“ 1931)

http://legamus.eu/blog/?p=76

The Prophet is the best known work of Khalil Gibran, also known as Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese American poet and artist.

The poetic prose of The Prophet has delighted readers for generations, and the book became particularly popular in the 1960s. Al-Mustafa the prophet, who has lived abroad for many years, is about to board a ship home when he is stopped by a group of people with whom he discusses many aspects of life and the human condition, including love, children, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge and death.

The text of this recording is in the public domain in Europe and all countries which observe copyright protection for 70 years or less after the authorโ€™s death. As the text was published in 1923, it remains under copyright in the USA until 2019. Please verify the copyright status of this text in your own country before downloading, otherwise you may be violating copyright laws.

For once, unlike all LibriVox recordings, I have decided to release this under a non-commercial licence. This recording is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). I just didn’t want people selling it when it is available completely free. It’s sometimes hard when you just want to give something away, and you know there are people out there waiting to make a quick buck (rant over ;)).

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Legamus! (Latin: let’s read together!) makes free audio books from texts that are in the Public Domain in Europe. In this context, Public Domain means that copyright has expired on the original text. In Europe and many other parts of the world, copyright protection expires 70 years after the author’s death.

Legamus readers are all volunteers, and you can volunteer too! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, a microphone and some free software. You can find more information in our forums.

Legamus only records texts that were published in or after 1923. These texts are still protected by copyright in the USA. Texts published before this date are in the Public Domain in the USA and are recorded by LibriVox.org. You can download them from the LibriVox catalogue. Please note that all LibriVox recordings are in the Public Domain in the USA, but may still be protected by copyright in other countries. All my LibriVox recordings are in the Public Domain in Europe and anywhere else where copyright protection lasts for 70 years or less after the authorโ€™s death.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA)

It may be distributed and adapted freely for non-commercial purposes in countries where the original text is in the public domain, as long as Legamus is credited and any new creation is licensed under the same terms.

New LibriVox recording: The Cricket on the Hearth

Posted December 31, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Uncategorized

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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.


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