Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For your (Sefirah / Three Weeks) Listening Pleasure!

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Washing dishes, scrubbing, putting p0ts and pans and haggadahs away… without a soundtrack.  How very, very dreary, compared to the lively sound of inspirational music filling our house in the weeks before Pesach!

We’re only one week into the 33-day Sefirah mourning period (some people observe different mourning periods – consult your local Halachic authority!), and this is a tough time for music lovers.

Here are a few alternatives:

First of all, if you really, REALLY can’t survive without music of some kind, there’s always acapella.  That’s right – there is a leniency that “music” without instruments isn’t really music.  You can find lots of “vocal selections” to listen to free at the Israel National Radio jukebox site here.  Caution:  non-Jewish acapella might have have instrumentals in the background, so stick to kosher tunes for the next few weeks.

Then, there’s my solution:  audiobooks!

If you’re in Toronto, there’s the library’s Overdrive site here, which gives you access to thousands of current audiobooks for free, 24/7.  Some of the more popular books have a wait list, but I usually manage to find something good.  You can sort by popularity and then just scroll down until you find one that is available immediately. 

(Tonight, I took out Barbara Walters’ memoir, Julia Child’s My Life in France, and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace… I probably won’t listen to all of them, but I like to have choices!  update:  I also just found Nora Ephron’s self-narrated I Nemember Nothing, and this will probably supercede all the other choices, since she is smart, funny and supremely easy on the ears…)

If you’re not in Toronto, your local public library may offer something similar.  (if they don’t, email them to get with the times… and then march yourself in to check out a couple of audiobooks on CD)

If you love classics, a couple of sites offer free downloads of classic books.  By “classic”, they mean public domain, expired-copyright works.  Readers volunteer their time to record the books and stories and everything is available free.  Two that I know of are Librivox and Free Classic Audiobooks.

One book that I blogged about recently, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, by Chris Anderson is available to download as an unabridged audiobook (or you can read it for FREE online).  Click here to visit his site and grab the entire book.

If you don’t want to invest the time it takes to “read” an entire audiobook, but still want something old-timey, you can also always try the shorter selections at Homeschool Radio Shows or Old Time Radio.

Happy listening!!!

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