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Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ Category

I was very happy to learn tonight that David Friedman (economics professor of libertarian bent and son of Milton Friedman to some, medieval recreationist “Cariadoc of the Bow” to others) has been podcasting his fantasy novel Harald.

I loved that book, because it’s bracing. It’s full of action and adventure, and can-do spirit. You won’t agree with everything the characters think and do; but they wouldn’t expect you to. It’s set in a heroic fantasy world, not in our Middle Ages; but it’s not the sort of heroic fantasy you’ve read before.

I look forward to listening to this book. Like many, I’ve sat by Cariadoc’s fire on a summer night in the Pennsylvania mountains and listened to the tales floating upward with the smoke. There aren’t many like him.

So enjoy a free audiobook! (And if you’d rather read the book for free than listen to it, it’s part of Baen’s Free Library, too.)

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Librivox: The Collected Works of St. Patrick(translated by Cecil Frances Alexander). Includes his letter to Coroticus, his Confessio, and “The Deer’s Cry”, the beautiful “breastplate” prayer (lorica) ascribed to him.

The Dead White Guys podcast (sadly deceased, but still a good source of free audiobooks) includes a three-part reading of the Confessio.

Tantor Media has a non-free audiobook of Philip Freeman’s bio, St Patrick of Ireland. Don’t know anything about the book, but Tantor does some very good readings.

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A Catholic Canadian has been doing a great series this Lent, uncovering and commenting on various Catholic media.  He did a post on Maria Lectrix on the 11th! So go forth and check it out, along with all the other days.
(Sorry I didn’t note it before. I’ve had a lot going on, and haven’t actually visited the podcast much lately except to post. Choir season and all that.)

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Mr. Ron’s Basement, for those unlucky enough not to know it and fortunate enough to have it all before them, is one of the earliest and best literary podcasts. Its mission is simple: to read forgotten short stories. The Basement is mostly full of funny tales, but there are also a good many serious ones. Occasionally Mr. Ron branches into novels. He adorns each podcast with good public domain or podcast-safe music, and discusses his unknown authors’ biographies. Mostly, though, he appears to have a lot of fun.

Maria Lectrix is not, to be honest, a podcast in what has come to be the full meaning of the word. I use podcasting as a method of distribution, not an artform; what I provide is something like a serialized audiobook service. That’s not a bad thing, but that’s all it is.

Mr. Ron has been creating something quite a bit more artistic, civilized, and difficult.

My thousandth segment was a mere matter of endurance. His thousandth episode will be a milepost of rare beauty and joy. Be sure to be there.

To Mr. Ron’s Basement, and to Mr. Ron! Ars longa!

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One of Chesterton’s many collections of short essays, Alarms and Discursions, is up on Librivox. For those who have a hard time getting into Chesterton, this may be an easier listen. Each essay is reminiscent of a nice long blog post from a quirky blogger.

You can also listen to Chesterton’s short book about, and called, Charles Dickens. This is neither a biography nor a work of scholarly criticism; it’s more of an appreciation, pointing out things Chesterton liked and found of interest.  But I think you’ll find it very insightful.

Stories from Pentamerone by Giambattista Basile is a collection of folktales and fairy tales from late Renaissance Italy. As with most early fairy tale collections, the stories were told and collected by adults for adults. Bad Things Happen. You’re probably better off listening to the stories and retelling them to kids yourself, rather than having them listen direct.

One of the odder consequences of putting audio files into the public domain is their appearance on E-Bay as CDs! The Librivox crew get this all the time. It’s not illegal, and most readers don’t worry about it so long as the CD sellers aren’t deceptive about their source of material. It’s a pity, though, that public libraries aren’t as savvy about putting public domain stuff to good use as E-Bay vendors are!

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From our favorite chanting Brazilian monks, here are the chants for Mass on Ash Wednesday, along with handy scriptural citations! (In Latin, that is… but hey, otherwise it’d be in Portuguese!) You can get lyrics and translation of Office hymns at the good old Latin Prayers site, and Vultus Christi has brand new translations. Vatican Radio has .rm files of the Liturgy of the Hours from Rome.

While we’re at it, here’s an interesting page on a Polish musical tradition  — a service in prayer, song, chant, prose, and poetry called the Lenten Lamentations.

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“On the Duties of the Clergy” by St Ambrose.

Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys by Amelia B. Edwards. Before she did Egypt (and inspired Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody) in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, Edwards explored the South Tyrol region of Italy.

History of Holland by George Edmundson.

Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame. Children’s fiction and essays. Includes “The Reluctant Dragon”.

“Red Shadows” by Robert E. Howard. From the creator of Conan. Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane tracks his prey over land and sea and defies gods — all to avenge a woman he’d never met before.

Wonderwings and Other Fairy Stories by Edith Howes.

Chamber Music by James Joyce. A 1907 collection of his poems.

The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Thoughts of the Stoic emperor.

Brewster’s Millions by George Barr McCutcheon. A young man must go through a huge amount of money in one month to inherit an even greater sum.Yes, they made a movie out of it.

Anthem by Ayn Rand. Science fiction work by that crazy philosopher chick. Worth downloading, if only to know what the Rand fans get so excited about. (It has its moments, but you have to live in a culture that’s in pretty bad trouble to find Rand’s philosophy at all convincing or inspiring.)

The Moon Metal by Garrett P. Serviss. Early science fiction from an old school astronomer.

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum. If you want to learn about self-reliance, read this real life adventure, published in 1899.

The Fur Country by Jules Verne. Weird stuff happens, and it’s by Verne. Do you need to know more?

The King of Schnorrers and The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill. A hilarious satire and a clever mystery novel, by an extremely interesting Victorian writer.

Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Sa. 14 Dakota legends.

I should also note that a good chunk of the Bible is available from Librivox: the translations used are the American Standard Version and the World English Bible. There are also works up in many languages: French, Finnish, German, Chinese, and Japanese. There’s even a book in Old Church Slavonic.

Anybody can submit audiobook readings in any language, as long as they are reading something in the public domain.

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