October 01, 2006

Public domain audio books

The combination of public domain texts (Project Gutenberg), affordable recording equipment, and MP3 players has naturally led to a site called Librivox where people who like to talk meet people who like to listen, and distributes the results. They have also produced two-dozen works in foreign languages, making the site a handy language-learning resource as well.

I started listening to Pride and Prejudice and found the first three chapter read by Chris Goringe quite good. (You do tend to forget just how funny Austen is in that book, and Goringe approaches the material with an appropriate wryness.) The quality of the other readers, though, is understandably all over the map.

There are only two Japanese entries, but the reader, one Kasumi Kobayashi, also has her own site, Japanese Classical Literature at Bedtime, where she lists several more. She has a very nice voice. But since Japanese classical literature is even less comprehensible to me than, say, Chaucer, I end up listening to her rather like background music.

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