Familiar fields

Currently finishing Tom Jones, deliciously funny in places but often fustily written, and am getting anxious to return to something more modern and familiar–probably a revisitation of Thomas Hardy, from Desperate Remedies to Jude the Obscure, or perhaps an extended idyll with old friends in Barsetshire. Or maybe a bit of age-regression reversion to Swallows and Amazons, it being winter here in Maine and me being in need of a vicarious vacation from work, the woodpile, and other adult responsibilities.

Ah. An example of the forum-software’s whimsical nature. This was meant to be a reply in the what’s-cha-reading-now thread, and as near as I can tell I followed all instructions in a most Teutonic fashion.

Ah, Jude the Obscure - one of the most cheery and optimistic novels I have ever read. (Hmm, someone really does need to invent an “irony” emoticon.) It’s certainly one that sticks with you, though: Little Father Time’s comment about how he could enjoy the rose if he didn’t know that it would wilt soon; the Christchurch (?) professor telling Jude to stick to stonemasonry; and of course, the lovely ending.

I wish I was a fast enough reader to re-read some of the classics I love. I often say that Brothers Karamazov is my favourite book, because it left a massive impression on me (even if I tend to agree with Ivan rather than Dostoyevsky), but I have never got around to reading more than a couple of chapters of it again. The books I tend to re-read most often are short, funny but meaningful ones - Slaughterhouse 5 (which made me read BK in the first place - one of Vonnegut’s characters says that everything you need to know about life is in the Brothers Karamazov, and he’s probably not far wrong) and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are probably my most read books.


I started re-reading the classics about 30 years ago when I bought a full set of Dickens at a boot sale for $10. And after I began working in, for want of a better phrase, modern literature, I began to re-read the classics as a way of escaping to more congenial climes. There’s nothing that quite says All Is Well In the World like child labor, and wasting diseases, and rakish Swells behaving abominably to their social inferiors.

Oh wait. Maybe that is modern literature. And modern life.

At any rate, I may live and work in the 21st century, but I prefer to hide out in the 19th.

Keith, I’m in the same boat timewise; but I’ve gotten used to ilstening to the classics in audiobook format - there are some great BBC versions floating around. Not the same as reading by any means but restful for the eyes and quite pleasant while doing chores, driving and other down times. I’ve “reread” much of Dickens this way and am currently On Burton’s 1001 nights.
Some of the most pleasant hours of my life were spent walking around paris while listening to Shakespeare. I’d occasionally put the complete works (with files diivided by scenes) on shuffle mode on my Ipod for a wonderful, geeky, cognitive shift. Bard Remixed.
As for Karamazov, it clocks in at about 40 hours in the unabridged version and god knows you wouldn’t want to read it the first time this way, but for a reread while gardening what could be better?


You know what? You’ve just given me a reason to get an iPod. :slight_smile: I definitely like the idea of listening to audio books in the car or walking around. Cool!

I doubt you’ll regret it. For content try:
Audible.com (Individual books are sometimes expensive but they have annual membership programs that end up being much cheaper if you make it a habit)
The BBC has released a lot of their material online.
If you want to '“try before you buy” Demonoid.com is a treasure trove and there’s a fair amount of Vonnegut.



Great, thanks! Seems I need to have an “invitation code” or something to register at demonoid.com

I got my iPod to listen to music - but the majority of the time it’s on, I’m listening to spoken word stuff, either audiobook or podcast. The CBC is podcasting some of their shows, and one of my favourite non-CBC podcasts is escape pod, a weekly dose of short science fiction and fantasy, the perfect length for listening to on the daily commute :slight_smile:

Well, I got the iPod for Christmas and am happily listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything on it. This is perfect listening for me, as I tend to buy popular science books, read a couple of chapters and then yearn for a good novel, but listening is different. Brilliant.

I’m surprised how expensive the iTunes store is, though. The Bill Bryson book was £34.99 there - nearly twice what I paid for it at audible.co.uk (where it was only £18.99). Shocking, given that it was exactly the same - both unabridged with the same narrator. Dunno how the US store fares - it’s probably just that the British store is extortionate - it’s usually the case. :frowning:

Actually, I’m a little shocked at the expense of audiobooks in general - more expensive than their print counterparts, even when you’re just downloading it…

Anyway, Eiron, you said:

Could you tell me where? I can’t find anything on bbc.co.uk

If anyone has any other great UK sources of (downloadable) audiobooks other than audible.co.uk (which is great), I would love to hear of them.

All the best,

P.S. Demonoid.com downloads all seem to be very slow…

Curiously, I got Bill Brysoned for Christmas as well. Among other great treasures scored at a Church yard sale, my wife got me Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, which I am merrily reading and going around bothering people with extracted quotations.

I only know a few of the locales in a more-than-passing way, being an American, but he nailed Exeter’s bleakly bombed-out Politburo feel, and also Salisbury’s unfortunate mix of ancient majesty and charm spotted here and there with shiny plastic Boots facades. I once had tea at Salisbury Close with a friend and his mum, who was living out the remainder of her life there firmly ensconsed in Tudor Times, and then we walked out and watched squadrons of grim German tourists wearing oiled hiking boots enthusiastically shopping for shiny plastic cathedrals to take home.


For audiobooks, see also oculture.com/weblog/2006/10/ … _podc.html .

Hahaha. Funny, Maria. I have several German friends that will appreciate this humor.

Timotheus - that site is brilliant, thanks! Especially the link to librivox.org, the open source audiobook project. I’ve already downloaded Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest, and listened to a 1907 paper on the unreality of time - fantastic! I might even volunteer as a reader myself, as it seems churlish not to give something back.
Thanks again for pointing me in the direction of that site,

You’re welcome, Keith!


Sorry for the slow reply. I hope that I haven’t steered you wrong but I’m sure I read not that long ago that the BBC was opening its vaults to downloaders within the UK (i.e. people who’d already paid their licence anyways) and since the content has been showing up in torrent form on sites like Demonoid, I assumed this had happened. I realize that torrents seem slow in comparison to straight downloads, but I have to say it doesn’t bother me. I forgot to mention Librivox.

Glad to see Timotheus has filled your needs and that you’ve joined the ranks of us zombies who walk around the countryside with unfocused eyes and occasional bouts of solitary laughter.

Here are a few sites:

Classic Audio Books
Audio books for free
Free books on mp3
Literal Systems

oculture.com/weblog/2006/10/ … t_por.html

Happy new year,

Ditto, Timotheus. I’m happily downloading files as I write this. Thanks so much!!!


Off to check out the many sites provided by Eiron!!! Hours of happy listening!!!

And I thought I could live without an iPod. Sigh. There goes the budget.


Hello, I’ve just joined the forum and look forward to chatting with other readers and coffee drinkers.

I bought an iPod shuffle so I could listen to audiobooks from Audible (my iRiver cannot play their format). I enjoy it so much that I gave myself a new iPod Nano for Christmas. I really enjoyed listening to Don Quixote. I don’t think I’d bother reading the book, but the version on Audible is brilliantly read. I never realised what a funny book it is. Sometimes I read along with it.

Further to your question about BBC downloads. BBC4 has amazing podcasts. I spend many hours listening to their stuff and download regularly through iTunes pocast subscriptions. BBC radio is here:
BBC 4 podcast info is here: bbc.co.uk/radio4/help/podcasting.shtml

Warning: subscribing to podcasts is addictive :smiley: