Category: Russian Classics

LibriVox App

Like many readers these days, I sometimes listen to audiobooks while doing other tasks.  A good source for free audiobooks in the public domain is LibriVox. You can download or stream audiobooks from the web site, or you can install an app on your phone or tablet to do the same thing.  Here is the basic description of LibriVox from its web site:

LibriVox Objective

To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.

Our Fundamental Principles

  • Librivox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project
  • Librivox donates its recordings to the public domain
  • Librivox is powered by volunteers
  • Librivox maintains a loose and open structure
  • Librivox welcomes all volunteers from across the globe, in all languages

Some books are read by multiple volunteers; others are read by only one. The more popular titles have several versions, so if you start one and aren’t crazy about the reader or readers, just keep trying until you find a version that appeals to you. For example, the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has seven versions in English.

I prefer to read books one at a time, which means that I will move back and forth between reading and listening to a book before I move on to the next book. For that reason, I rarely listen to an audiobook in its entirety. I listened to significant portions of the six audiobooks below and enjoyed them all very much.

I’ve told several people about the LibriVox app recently and have been surprised by how many readers don’t know about it.  If that describes you, check it out! With over 10,000 files in its catalog, you’re certain to find something you will enjoy.

Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons, trans. by C. Garnett

Fathers and Sons, trans. by C. Garnett

Fathers and Sons, by Ivan Turgenev (Russian classic)

“At the novel’s center stands Evgeny Bazarov, medical student, doctor’s son, and self-proclaimed nihilist. Bazarov rejects all authority, all so-called truths that are based on faith rather than science and experience. His ideas bring him into conflict with his best friend, recent graduate Arkady Kirsanov, with Arkady’s family, with his own parents, and eventually with his emotions, when he falls helplessly in love with the beautiful Madame Odintsova.”


In Fathers and Sons, Turgenev writes about a society undergoing profound changes, one much like ours. For that reason, the novel feels very modern and pertinent to me. Like nineteenth-century Russia, we too have members of the older generation declaring that their ways are correct, and we have members of the younger generation trying to destroy the old institutions, and we have those of both generations working to reform the old institutions, and we have members of both generations who, in accepting or rejecting particular ideals, invite the scorn of others. In all of this conflict, much—if not most—of what is published is meant to support one point of view and undermine all others.

One of the most interesting things about Fathers and Sons is that it doesn’t support the older generation and undermine the younger or vice versa. It shows the nobility and the foolishness of both and, more importantly, acknowledges a source of truth and happiness that transcends the prejudices and concerns of all generations of mortals. As Arkady’s father ponders the differences between the generations, he demonstrates that he is more concerned about acting in accordance with the ultimate source of truth than he is about gratifying his pride and being “right”:

Continue reading

The Idiot and Daystar

The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russian classic)

“. . . a saintly man, Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power and sexual conquest than with the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections.”

Daystar, by Kathy Tyers (Evangelical science fiction)

After fleeing to their sanctuary world for safety with other telepathic Sentinels, members of the Caldwell family must decide whether to accept or reject the claim of a previously unknown family member that he is Boh-Dabar, the prophesied Messiah.


Okay, I know what you’re thinking—that only a person with a very strange brain would talk about a Russian classic and an Evangelical science fiction novel in the same breath. Despite the obvious differences between these two books, they are based on the same premise: What would happen if Jesus Christ came to live among a particular group of people? How would He act? How would people react to Him? What would He require of those people individually and as a community? Continue reading

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