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13 May 2020
Culture

Why Not Read a Book by Listening to it?

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While we're waiting for the libraries and bookstores to reopen, how about reading a book by listening to it? The association Des Livres à Lire et à Entendre, supported by the Ministry of Culture, makes it possible. Over 8,000 audiobooks are available for free download, from mysteries to the classics, humor, and fantasy novels.

Of course you won't get to hear the sound of turning pages, but the most important thing is to enjoy a work of literature, right? That's the guiding principle behind Des Livres à Lire et à Entendre, which, from the beginning, has sought to "facilitate access to the pleasures of literature for all, particularly the blind and visually impaired."

 

A LIBRARY WITH OVER 8,000 BOOKS

 

The association launched its website in 2007. Its initial goal was to form a community of volunteer web users willing to record themselves reading books, and to inventory all the audiobooks available online. Since then, the association has created its own catalog which now contains exactly 8,389 free audio books available to enjoy.

Most of the books offered are in the public domain in France. For others, the association has been granted special authorization. The choice was made to scrupulously respect copyright.

Over 2,500 French and international authors (translated into French) are included, from Victor Hugo to Tolstoy, Homer to Shakespeare. The collection features literature from around 40 different countries, from ancient to modern times, in every genre: classics, fantasy and science fiction, mysteries, poetry, essays, etc.

 

OTHER SITES FOR LISTENING TO OTHER WORKS

 

Des Livres à Lire et à Entendre also provides links to access various platforms for downloading audio books, and all of them are free. Here are a few to explore:

  • Librivox, a fascinating and exhaustive site that provides access to over 20,000 books in English! Other languages (Italian, Spanish, and German) are also available.

  • Au Fil des Lectures, a volunteer association’s website that features the works of classic French authors: Maupassant, Flaubert, Balzac, and more.

  • Audiocité, a website that specializes in more contemporary authors and provides a practical listing by order of book length.

  • Bibliboom, a website that offers 300 audiobooks, mainly classic French mysteries.

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