After listening to an excellent dramatisation of The Grapes of Wrath, I was keen to explore other free audiobook titles. The downloads from SYNC have been great and I’m currently listening to Tales from the Arabian Nights. A highlight of the free SYNC offer is Skuldugggery Pleasant and fans will be ‘over the moon’ about this one. A not to be missed download!
Recently, one of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) members was interviewed on the Reading Teen blog, as an “audiobook fanatic”. Stephanie posts frequently about young adult fiction and I value her reviews. I read the post with interest and was reminded again of the free legal audiobook download site, LibriVox.
LibriVox – founded in 2005 – is a community of volunteers from all over the world who record public domain texts: poetry, short stories, whole books, even dramatic works, in many different languages. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain in the USA and available as free downloads on the internet. If you are not in the USA, please check your country’s copyright law before downloading. – Internet Archive
LibriVox is a great initiative, although I do not find the site user-friendly for browsing. Another website was recommended to me that has many of the LibriVox recordings and I find easier to explore, as it is visual with less text to read. The site, Books Should Be Free, offers audiobooks from the public domain for downloading or streaming. Public domain, means that no one holds the copyright for the books and they are are free for you to use without permission. Most of them are there because of old age, although many are still popular today, eg Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Rudyard Kipling. This is a US site, so remember to check Australia’s copyright law.
One of the audiobooks I enjoyed, via streaming, was Short Science Fiction Collection, Vol. 2. There are many other science fiction short stories to select from as LibriVox volunteers are currently recording Volume 46. It is best to use LibriVox to search, as it lists the author of the short story and the reader. Some of the stories are repeated in other volumes, although they are narrated by different people. They also have a wiki with a LibriVox Short Science Fiction index in author order, which is very helpful. The hyperlinks are an added bonus.
Another audiobook standout was The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. Thanks Stephanie for mentioning this title, narrated by Alex Foster. After listening to The Invisible Man, I remembered Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds. Have a look at the three minute reel of the 2010 tour and be blown away by the tripods. There was also the famous radio dramatisation read by Orson Wells on Halloween eve in 1938, which caused mass panic as many listeners thought it was the ‘real thing’. Both are YouTube videos, so students will have to view them at home or via their teacher’s laptop.
Welcome to Life (YouTube video) is an example of digital storytelling in the 21st century. Science fiction has certainly evolved over the years, and many of the classic hard scifi stories featured technology we are using today. What brilliant and creative minds at work!
Listening to classics is a great alternative to reading the book or why not listen while you read. They provide excellent bedtime ‘reading’ with your iPod or MP3 player.
PS: While on the topic of science fiction, a funny YouTube video came up on my Twitter feed that you will enjoy. It is titled A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self and reminds me of the great film, Back To the Future.
Image credit: Squirrel Hill headphone trip by Hryck (CC BY 2.0)