Recollection Wednesday: The Iliad and Using LibriVox

The Iliad
The Iliad

I am not a huge fan of epic poems.  I have read a bunch in my lifetime.The Iliad is one that I read a few years ago.  I have never really had a deep passion for Greek mythology, but it was time to read it.  Yes, mostly because it was listed in Book Lust.

At the time I had discovered LibriVox, a free source of audiobooks.  Here is what you should know about LibriVox- all the read audiobooks are in the public domain.  This means most classics will be here.  The audiobooks are done by the general public.  You may have a variety of readers doing 1 book.  You hear many voices and not all of them are native English speakers.

This is where, as a listener, I struggled and LibriVox and eventually gave up.  The quality of each audiobook is nowhere near as good as you expect it to be.  The changing narrator isn’t even the problem.  For me it was the skill of the reader.  On one file you may get a great reader who does all she/he can to make the material engaging.  It isn’t the quality of a professional reader, but it is clear this person is thinking about the listener.  On another file you may have someone who is using this to practice their English or is simply reading without any inflection.  The later is worse.  I can tolerate someone trying to learn more than I can tolerate someone who doesn’t care.

This might not be a huge issue for most books, but an epic poem from an ancient culture requires some skill in reading.  I prefer to listen to these because I get the rhythm, tempo, pacing, etc.  Listening to the Trojan war was a mixed experience because the quality of the readers was mixed.  I didn’t enjoy it much and I can still hear the voices of some readers in my head when I think of the Iliad.

Should you use LibriVox?  My last experience with it was about 7 or 8 years ago.  There were projects/books in the collection that people were trying to improve.  I would be wary if you are looking to listen.  I would go in with the expectation of mixed quality.

That being said, if you want to read an audiobook (or part of one) and you are a great reader, please consider participating!  The better the books are, the more popular the entire service will become!

Have you listened to some great LibriVox books?  Share them in the comments!

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