In the past two or so years that I have been aware of LibriVox, I have enjoyed many stories and have recommended LibriVox to several of my friends. The first story I listened to was Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World and for that I sent the reader a heartfelt thanks too. Now, I have listened to Treasure Island
, How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours s Day
and am thrilled to say The Wind in the Willows
. More to come! All of these are read by Mr. Smith and all are excellent beyond compare. Like Mr. Smith, I am a retired fellow who has aspirations to write a book or two. Unlike Mr. Smith, though I am a decent oral reader, I defer to his outstanding oration, his clear diction and the wonder-filled voices he provides.
Here is a true story. When I was perhaps 12 years old, and as precocious as many lads, my mother grew exasperated with my behaviour. To this day, I have no idea what it was I was doing to rankle her. But I was sent to my room and the punishment was to read Treasure Island aloud to her, me in my room and she preoccupied with whatever it was she was doing. My mother was not much of a reader herself. So there I was with a long book, having been told that I couldn't leave my room until I had finished reading the book aloud to her. Gosh, Mr. Smith's version runs 8 hours, 16 minutes and 42 seconds. Imagine my horror. So I started to read, and I read, and I read, and I read, and I read. I read until I realized that she wasn't really listening. So clever chap decides to skip on a few pages, then more boldly skip whole chapters until nearing the end, I finished off the last few pages. I emerged from my room and announced that I had finished reading the whole book to her. She was none the wiser, which is sad on two fronts: first, the punishment was doing something which ought to be encouraged and secondly, it meant that I never did read Treasure Island for myself - ever. Neither did I read it to my children because of my instilled aversion. My children, by the way, did have both a Mom and Dad who read aloud to them well into their teens. It was jolly good fun for us all.
So, when I discovered Mr. Smith's reading of Treasure Island, I thought, here is my chance to actually "read" the story. Then I started it all over and shared it with my wife. We were both enthralled. Now my friend Bob, who having recently retired had told me that in an attempt to get his life into a sense of pattern was going to stop reading fiction, as if that was going to be a help. Ah, the gauntlet was cast down! I sent him an email written in an feeble attempt to imitate the voice of Captain Silver commanding him to listen to Mr. Smith's reading of Treasure Island while he was doing his chores. This he has happily done and is the better many for it.
Yesterday, whilst working on my sailboat, I delighted in The Wind in the Willows. What a treat. Last week, I had a good chuckle with How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours s Day. Doing so - living in a 24 hour day that is - is a perennial problem for me.
All of this is to say that I firstly appreciate LibriVox, secondly, I appreciate all of the readers who volunteer their skill and lastly, the point of this letter is to tell Mr. Smith that his reading is done like a Scurvy Dog when needs be and Innocently Sweet in the case of The Wind in the Willows. Nothing better than messing about in boats perhaps, but listening to a good story while messing about is a dream come true!
Truly, very truly,
Crofton, British Columbia, Canada