Just discovered Librivox. It's a great use of my commuting time.

I have a daily commute that’s 30 to 45 minutes each way. I’ve tired of music and NPR so I checked out Librivox. My Insight has a USB input for the stereo so I can download books and play them in the car.

I just started Moby Dick, something I’ve been intending to read for years. I just finished the part about Ishmael sharing a bed with Queequeg.

Anyone else listen to books during their commute?

I’m not a fan of librivox since most have a different narrator each chapter which I find distracting. I download free audiobooks from Overdrive via my public library, you should check into that. I also have a paid membership with Audible, $15 a month for one credit which equals one audiobook, plus access to their frequent sales and freebies where I pick up audiobooks cheaply.

I listened to a collection of Mark Twain short stories. All the same narrator, who was pretty good.

Moby Dick, at least so far, seems to be all the same narrator, who is also good.

I guess it depends on the book.

If I started a book where the narration, or variations in the narration, was annoying, I would try to find another version.

I loved The Wrong Box. The narrator – Andy Minter, IIRC – was perfect, doing different voices for the characters and making all the humor fresh and funny.

I’m currently going through U. S. Grant’s memoirs. It’s also fascinating. I never appreciated Grant the man before.

I have listened to some Librivox recordings including Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities which were both enjoyable and the narration nicely done. However some other recorded books I have downloaded were just not well executed and difficult to listen to. I would say in my experience its about a 50/50 chance that the book will be tolerable. However, I agree the price can’t be beat.

Yes, the quality definitely varies, and I’m often surprised by people who will volunteer to read a book despite obviously not knowing how to pronounce half the words. And there are one or two narrators that I just can’t stand to listen to at all. But I still like their service a lot. Most of the time, the recordings are just fine, and it’s really the words that matter, not the voice. It’s a fantastic way to catch up on all those old classics you always meant to read but never quite found the time for. I’m listening to Vanity Fair right now.

I get audiobooks at my library. If I want a specific book and my library doesn’t have it, I can usually get it through inter-library loan, and on one occasion, I made a purchase request to my library and they bought the audiobook to add to their collection. So far only two out of ten have been bad enough for me not to finish, because I hated the readers. One was dull, and one was breathing so loud that it was distracting. So far, I find I enjoy non-fiction more, because there isn’t a need for different characters and voices, which can be hard to do well. I can offer you some suggestions for good ones, but it’ll depend on your tastes!
I am tempted to try Audible, but it seems expensive.

And OP, if you’re looking for stuff to get you through long commutes, there are also a lot of free podcasts out there that you can download and play in the car, if you’re tired of listening to the literary classics.

I download one or two chapters and listen to the openings on my computer before deciding, so I’ll know if the narrator is acceptable or not before starting on a commute.

Moby Dick has a good narrator, and the part about Ishmael coming into New Bedford and the way he met Queequeg was entertaining, but now I’m in the part where he’s in the chapel listening to the old sea captain turned preacher telling his version of Jonah and the whale, and I have to say that I hope this part ends soon. It would put me to sleep if I wasn’t driving. But that’s the material, not the narrator.

Is Moby Dick this uneven throughout?

The actual plot to Moby Dick is a pretty small part of the novel. Most of it is long discursions on whaling, the sea, etc.

I actually enjoyed some of the discursions so far. I could identify with the bits about how men have an innate longing for the sea. I’d never want to go whaling, but I could sit and watch the waves come in for hours and I’ve gone on a few deep sea fishing trips and love being out at sea.

I listened to Moby Dick via Librivox on a long drive. I was expecting to hate it, since I had heard so much bad about it over the years, but I found it surprisingly entertaining. I quite liked it in the end. It’s not for everyone, of course.

“Ask your doctor if Librivox is right for you.”

I’m listening to War and Peace on Librivox. I dislike that there are different narrators, but I have gotten used to most of them. Although right now there is a British chick who makes the most disgusting mouth sounds while she’s reading. Ick.

I listen to it while I’m knitting and it makes the time fly by during downtimes at work.

I started a thread at goodreads to collect good librivox books - I listen to them on my commute too.

Andy Minter (exemge), Elizabeth Klett, Karen Savage, Ruth Golding, and Mil Nicholson (mermaid)are all excellent narrators, at or near professional level (ignoring the occasional mic bump, etc).

Other individual works I really liked, although the narrator wasn’t quite professional level, include Melville’s Typee and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ***Tarzan***and Princess of Mars.

I’m always looking for other tips for other good narrators and books. I basically will only listen to solos now, but I’m making an exception for Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White (a handful of narrators, one for each first person POV).

Yeah, I though it was a new antidepressant to help make commuting less miserable.

So far so good. I’m still enjoying Moby Dick. The narrator is Stewart Wills, who I recommend.

“Do you jabber excitedly so no one can tell what you’re saying? A single daily dose of Librivox™ slows down speech into the intelligible range. Side effects may include intense itching, blue skin and sudden death.”