Declined and Fallen! LibriVox reaches 2,000 releases!

All six volumes of Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire have been recorded, in full, and are now available for free through LibriVox. I’ve made a contribution to each volume, and in Volume 6, I even got to read the first section, all about the Crusades and Richard the Lionheart (bad guy) and Saladin (nicer guy). Listening to the entire lot will set you back 119 hours, 16 minutes and 14 seconds, and will make a lovely set for the various people selling our recordings on eBay.

It’s also the 2,000th book that LibriVox has sent to It’s not quite the 2,000th book catalogued, due to a little confusion during the archiving process, which makes it actually 2001 in Librivox numbering, but the more the merrier. It took 26 months to record the first thousand projects, and 14 months to record the second thousand, so reaching the third is likely to happen in 2009. I’d note that the total includes things like the Weekly Poetry, Short Story Collections, classic literature, non-fiction, modern (but out of copyright) science fiction novels and so I really ought to talk about “projects” rather than “books” throughout, but let’s not quibble over definitions. The winter holiday has been flying by and I’m looking forward, tomorrow, to sitting down for a bit and planning my LibriVoxing for the New Year. Sooo many books, sooooo little time.

The start of Volume 6: [audio:] (06:30)

Happy 2009 everyone — may all your ventures be productive and fulfilling!


  • This is a wonderful resource. In particular, Paradise Lost is wonderful. I missed Anton Lesser’s book 4 on BBC radio 3 (no longer available on ‘listen again’) so your readings more than compensated. Nice to have a female voice for Eve, especially one so alluring and subtle.

  • Another damned fat MP3! Always dribble, dribble, dribble, eh, Ms. Cori? (Just kidding! That’s (more or less) what a party guest said to Gibbon. What a monumental work! 120 hours? It’s a good thing that things are slow in the word processing department.)

    It goes without saying that I still very much welcome your readings of whatever work I’m going through at the moment.

    Speaking of which, I was a little harsh on Denny in one of my other posts. His Inferno wasn’t really up to snuff, but he *did* do a good job on “The Sea Hawk”. So all, I hope, is forgiven.

    My present quarrel is with Andy Yu. He’s one of the newer Librivox readers, and he’s unmitigatedly AWFUL. I had to turn off his reading (or should I say “weeding”?) of Wood’s War of 1812 history. He’s worse than Christine butchering Carlyle’s early kings of Norway, which is saying something.

    I think that if you’re going to set yourself up as a reader of English literature, you should at least be able to speak English intelligibly.

    Seriously, his is the kind of help which Librivox, a wonderful Internet resource, doesn’t need.

    I would have posted this rant on the Librivox forum, but my registration has expired. As an admin, can you please reinstate me? My username is Gentle Reader and my email is Thanks!


    PS: Have you tried noise-cancellation headphones? I wear them to work here in Manhattan and they’re marvelous for cutting down the sound of traffic. People think that they’re dangerous, but in fact they only cancel low-pitched noises. You can still hear people talking and cars honking, but the vibrations which make it hard to understand spoken words are almost completely eliminated. An adequate pair costs about $40.

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