Author Topic: Electronic Library Audio Books Recommended  (Read 648 times)

Offline Mike K

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Electronic Library Audio Books Recommended
« on: June 08, 2016, 11:08:47 AM »
Hi all,

Well, these are not quite "books", but rather audio books.  Remember hearing about "Books on Tape" and "Books on CD"?  Well, now many libraries allow you to download electronic audio books through an App called "Overdrive".  Get the app, and get out your library card and PIN, and you can download all kinds of free electronic stories to your phone or MP3 player.  You often get 14 or 21 days to listen through what you download before it expires.  Overdrive is not entirely intuitive, so you may need to visit your library to get help on the app.  (You can also download non audio books to read on your phone too).  Don't give up getting the app to work, it's worth it.

During those long drives to vacation in Florida, I often listen to audio books to pass the miles.  For some reason, I've been attracted to all kinds of books on the early 1800's, and naturally what was going on then was the Napoleonic wars when the great sailing ships of England, France and Spain battled it out for world supremacy.

Since this is a sailing site, I can recommend a few book series that I've listened to:

1.  Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy.  By L.A. Meyer. This is the first in a long series of books about a street urchin who finds her way on a British naval ship in order to survive.  This sounds silly, but the writing is highly entertaining, fast paced, and has lots of sailing stories and naval/pirate battles.  She is quite the swashbuckler. While it's fiction, many of the battle details are historical.  It also is a good introduction to the jargon filled world of the British Navy, and it explains where a lot of the terms we still use in sailing come from.

2. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian.  This is also first in a long series of British naval series of books.  Many of you may have seen the movie, but the books are very well written also.  Be warned that this book is VERY chock full of British navy and old sailing jargon, and unlike the Bloody Jack series, it DOES NOT explain a lot of the terms.  I would only recommend listening to these if you've listened to some of the Bloody Jack books to learn the "lingo", or you may be frustrated.

3.  Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester.  This was also a well done TV series by A&E (Can still be found on Netflix or Amazon I think).  Only a few of the books seem to have been converted to audio.  Historical fiction that's less jargon filled, but still fun, excellent tales of sailing and navy battles.

With these 15-20 books, you should have hundreds of hours of listening fun!  I hope you enjoy. 
Mike K

Mike.  '13 Legacy "Santosha".

Offline HenryC

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Re: Electronic Library Audio Books Recommended
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 01:46:20 PM »
I don't know if any of the Harry Flashman books are available online, but I heartily recommend them.  Flashman is a fictional British Army cavalry officer that serves as the other side of the coin to C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower.  The Flashman book series was written by George MacDonlad Fraser, and it documents Flashman's career during the peak of the British Empire. Flash Harry, as he calls himself, was born in the early 1820s, and lived well into the twentieth century.  But where Hornblower was righteous, brave, super-competent, a patriot and a humanitarian, Flashman is a coward, a cad, cheat, bully, a kiss-up and a shameless womanizer with nothing but contempt for God, Queen and Country. 

What he does have going for him is good looks, great skill on horseback, and the ability to learn a  new language in just a few months (like a child).  He also has incredibly good luck, and his various attempts to escape bodily harm are usually interpreted as acts of heroism, and the few who see through him usually die heroically in action before they can expose his cowardice and treachery.  Flashman is a unrepentant liar, but he is brutally honest with himself, and with us.  The books are written first person, as his memoirs, discovered years after his death. As a result, you look over his shoulder as Harry gets to participate in and report truthfully on most of the great historical events of the 19th century, and he gets plenty of honors and promotions along the way.  This is not a politically correct view of history. You get the impression that this is how things actually went down.

Flashman was one of the few survivors of the British rout in Afghanistan and of the Charge of the Light Brigade and the only paleface who lived through Little Big Horn. He served in both sides of the American Civil War, (as a private and a General!), worked in the Atlantic slave trade and was present at the Indian Mutiny, the Boxer Rebellion, and several other notable actions.  He is totally despicable, but always emerges smelling like a rose, with his career and reputation intact.

But Fraser is a terrific comic writer, and a highly qualified military historian, so you will get a chance to learn a lot about the late British Empire, and some of the events and personalities involved.  As well as being everywhere and doing everything, Flash Harry meets everybody who was anybody in Victorian times, including Bismark, Sitting Bull, Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln.

I can't recommend this series too highly.  They are hysterically funny, historically accurate, and a shrewd study of human nature. Look him up, he's available in paperback. If possible, start the series with "Flashman at the Charge", and read the rest in chronological order.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 01:57:19 PM by HenryC »

Offline captronr

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Re: Electronic Library Audio Books Recommended
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 06:13:41 PM »
We also listen to eaudio books all the time.  Initially, we used Overdrive through our local library, but were encouraged to also try our state e-library.  Our local library set it up for us/got us library numbers. 

Our state has a huge elibrary, so we've been using it almost exclusively.  The only down side is some of the popular books, like Grisham, have a long waiting list to check it out.  I just looked, and I'm 185th on one book where they have 10 copies.

Our state lib uses One Click Digital, and we've found it to be more stable than Overdrive.

I found I had to start keeping a spreadsheet of what I've listened to, since I was re-checking stuff out and not realizing I'd heard it until part way through.  Have about 300 books on the completed list now.

Best part--its all free.

"When the world ends, I want to be in KANSAS, because its 20 years behind the times."  Plagarized from Mark Twain