Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Listening to Classics with Chris from Chrisbookarama

Hello Book Bloggers International readers! This is Chris from Chrisbookarama guest posting today about classic books, in particular audio books.
If you already enjoy listening to audio books, you know how convenient they are. You can listen while you drive, jog, clean or whatever. Your hands and your eyes are free to do what you need them to do, but you still get the joy of reading- with your ears.
Listening to audio books is a great way to introduce yourself, if you haven’t already, to some of the greatest books ever written. It’s also a way to tackle some of the more difficult classics you’ve may want to read. For example, I am not a fan of Henry James’s writing style; I cannot pay attention to his run on sentences, but I listened to the audio version of The Turn of the Screw and I actually liked it.
So where do you find classic audio books? There are some excellent resources for free audio content. Yes, FREE!
(Note: I listen to audio books on my Apple device. All app examples will refer to the ipod version.)
LibriVox: LibriVox recordings are narrated by volunteers. All are in the public domain. There are thousands of free books available, from the most popular to the obscure. The recordings can be downloaded onto a computer, a device, or burned onto a CD. LibriVox is powered by volunteer readers, who themselves choose what they record. As a result, you will find a variety of accents, and reading quality. Some readers are better than others. The volunteers could be regular people like you or me, or sometimes actors practicing their craft. One of my favorite narrators is Elizabeth Klett who recorded the book Lady Audley’s Secret.
Because of the volunteer nature of the program, recording quality also varies. Sound quality of recordings can be very good to fair. Often there is background noise (sirens, doors slamming, cats meowing), but this usually doesn’t bother me. One of my pet peeves, however, is a switch of narrators partway through the book. I try to check first if whether or not the book was a solo recording. This information is available on the website.
Audiobooks App iTunes or Google Play: The Audiobooks App includes the LibriVox catalogue of books. This is how I prefer to listen to LibriVox recordings. The free version of the app has ads but they’re just banner ads. The Premium version is 99cents. Audiobooks also offers a Plus version of some of the books. These are a selection of the best LibriVox recordings and have been edited. It’s 99 cents per book or $7.99 for all 263. Also available are Professional Audiobooks, these vary in price.
Each audio book in the library includes a cover and a brief description. The description often doesn’t include whether the book is a solo or multiple narrator recording. I usually check out the LibriVox website before downloading if that information is missing. There is a Sample option available, so you can check out the narration before you download the files. The app has several ways to search for books including duration and narrator.
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Lit2Go Lit2Go is a project of the University of Florida funded by grants. Lit2Go purpose is to provide professional quality audio books for K-12 classrooms. The books available are the sort taught in the American school system. While originally meant for students, the books are available to all through the Lit2Go website or iTunesU for free.
Sidenote: If you own an Apple device and haven’t checked out iTunesU, you really should. There are a multitude of university courses available for free (some have to be purchased). One course that caught my eye is Zombies! The Living Dead in Literature. I’m going to have to check that one out.
I’ve listened to a couple of Lit2Go books, including The Count of Monte Cristo. If I decide to read Moby Dick this summer, I’ll use Lit2Go.
For more ways to listen to free classic audio books try Books Should Be Free (available as podcasts on iTunes too) or your local library. My library uses OverDrive and has many audio books (in wma and mp3 formats) available that can be downloaded from home. Contact your library for more information.
Thanks for reading! I hope this post has been helpful. Happy listening!

1 comment :

  1. Such a great resourceful post! Thank you!

    I actually use my Android to listen to audiobooks, and in particular, Overdrive. Such a HUGE fan of this resource!!


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