My First Book

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(3.7 stars; 6 reviews)

This is not a children's book, as may be supposed from the title, but a collection of essays first published in The Idler magazine, in which over twenty well-known authors write with characteristic style and humour of their experiences in writing their first book... and getting it published.

Authors include Jerome K. Jerome, R. L. Stevenson, Bret Harte, Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Conan Doyle and Mary Braddon. Full of charm, humour and pathos, this book is like a fireside chat with great writers of the past, as well as being a fascinating insight into the literary scene of the late 19th century.

The listener is warned that a few of the authors give away the ending of their book, especially when they were pressurised into changing it by the publisher.
Here are links to online texts of the works discussed, where available:
Ready-Money Mortiboy;
The Family Scapegrace;
The Wreck of the ‘Grosvenor’;
Physiological Aesthetics;
The Shadow of a Crime;
Departmental Ditties;
The Trail of the Serpent;
The House of Elmore;
Hudson Bay;

The Premier and the Painter;
The Western Avernus;
A Life’s Atonement;
A Romance of Two Worlds;
On the Stage and Off;
Cavalry Life;
Dead Man’s Rock;
Idyls and Legends of Inverburn;
Treasure Island

(Summary by Ruth Golding) (9 hr 9 min)


Introduction 17:09 Read by Ruth Golding
Ready-Money Mortiboy 20:59 Read by Ruth Golding
The Family Scapegrace 18:47 Read by Ruth Golding
The Wreck of the Grosvenor 21:05 Read by Ruth Golding
Physiological Aesthetics and Philistia 20:41 Read by Ruth Golding
The Shadow of a Crime 36:04 Read by Ruth Golding
The Social Kaleidoscope 25:07 Read by Ruth Golding
Departmental Ditties 11:02 Read by Ruth Golding
Juvenilia 18:39 Read by Ruth Golding
The Trail of the Serpent 24:49 Read by Ruth Golding
The House of Elmore 15:42 Read by Ruth Golding
Dawn 30:11 Read by Ruth Golding
Hudson's Bay 17:58 Read by Ruth Golding
The Premier and the Painter 28:25 Read by Ruth Golding
The Western Avernus 16:29 Read by Patti Cunningham
A Life's Atonement 24:12 Read by Ruth Golding
A Romance of Two Worlds 31:13 Read by Ruth Golding
On the Stage and Off 35:57 Read by Ruth Golding
Cavalry Life 31:21 Read by Ruth Golding
Californian Verse 22:03 Read by Ruth Golding
Dead Man's Rock 22:12 Read by Patti Cunningham
Undertones and Idyls and Legends of Inverburn 31:11 Read by Ruth Golding
Treasure Island 27:45 Read by Ruth Golding



(4 stars)

Very enjoyable to listen to the struggles (or not-so-struggles) of many familiar Victorian authors. They each write in their own style; some are philosophical, some are very chronological; some are in their own world. RuthieG is, as always, excellent. I'm unsure why she didn't read the entire book but left two chapters to Patti Cunningham, but that's OK. Patti is a good reader as well. Most of the books discussed aren't in the LibriVox catalog as yet. In fact, the chapters of this book is the sole LV work for a few of these authors. It would be fun to have them all recorded and referenced in this summary. (The texts themselves are linked on the LibriVox catalog page.) Someone? Anyone? :)


(0 stars)

Some of the authors were only PD in the USA - so 2 readers were needed.

(2 stars)

Although the subjects are interesting, narrator Ruth Golding has not yet attained an interesting or palpable reading voice for this setting. She needs to look up and apply, “inflection, cadence, monotone, pronunciation, enunciation, emphasis, syllable, theatrical reading.” Simply awful and painful to listen to.