Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gift of the Magi

I love listening to books. It is like having someone read a story to you and allows your mind to concentrate on the images represented by the words. I am too young to remember the radio shows which provided families with hours of entertainment before the popularity of television, but I can understand what attracted so many to gather around the radio in the evenings. Anyway, today, there are many ways of listening to books. The iphone, ipad, computers, CD players, ipod and a host of other audio devices makes this form of entertainment easy to enjoy. While the bestselling books, when released on CD, are sometimes a little too expensive for my budget, there are hours of enjoyment that can be had for free.

Librivox.org, is the audio equivalent to Gutenburg.org. Both organizations, manned entirely by volunteers, work to give the public access to all works in the public domain. Those who volunteer for Librivox, read works and save them to an audio file which is then uploaded and combined with readings by others until a complete book has been recorded. The books are then made available for download or can be listened on any mobile device.

I am thinking about this now because I was sitting at my desk, listening to a short story as I entered used books into inventory.

O. Henry, the pen name for William Sidney Porter, is known for his short stories. He spent his young adulthood in Austin, Texas.

"The Gift of the Magi" is one of his most famous stories and the premise of the story has been retold and will continue to be a classic tale of love and the true value of gift-giving.

A young woman, Della, wants to buy her beloved husband a gift for Christmas, but has only one dollar and some change to spend. It is Christmas Eve and time has run out. She finally decides to cut and sell her beautiful hair to raise the money to buy her husband, Jim, a watch chain for his treasured gold pocket watch which he had inherited from his father.

I won't tell you the ending. You can listen to Betsie Bush read this classic Christmas story on Librivox here.

2 comments:

earthcalling said...

That's a very lovely piece, Joni - and warms the heart of this LibriVoxateer! I'll follow your recommendation too. Thank you!

David

Joni said...

Earthcalling -- Thank you for your work as a librivox volunteer. I spend enough of my time listening that I begin to recognize my favorite readers.