Recording Moral Letters, Vol II for Librivox

Librivox home page

I am back to an old obsession – recording audiobooks for librivox.

Of late, in the past 6 months or so, wherever I turn, there are references to Stoic philosophy. It is a background hum which has now reached a crescendo.

I have read “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, and “On the Shortness of Life” by Seneca the Younger. But everywhere, there have been so many recommendations to read the “Moral Letters to Lucilius – Letters from a Stoic“, three volumes of letters by Seneca to his friend Lucilius.

They are supposed to be an easy read, for us modern people – but still, it is a relatively heavy read , and after about 20mins of reading, the words all meld together and create wings and fly away from my head. I have found, in the past, that such books are way better listened to. That way, you can listen when driving, and pause and think and ingest while driving. Something about driving alone is very conducive to thinking in depth.. but that is a topic for another day.

Moral Letters Vol 1 Cover

And so, there I was looking for audiobooks on Seneca’s letters. I found The Tao of Seneca narrated by John Robinson (which I got to know via The Tim Ferriss podcast). This, costs money. Intriguingly, I found another audiobook on Librivox – a solo album of the first volume of letters – Moral Letters, Volume I narrated by Felipe Vogel. Which is of course free. So I started listening to it.

And then the thought struck me – I want to listen to a woman narrating this. Some of the writings, as a reflection of that age (and unfortunately our current age as well), talk about how virtue and such is manly ,and the effeminate are cowardly and without virtue. Aaargh… So that would be very interesting to listen to, right?

Anyway, I think there is a lot to learn from Seneca. And I did want to listen to the second volume as well. And there was no Volume II audiobook on Librivox. So I decided to narrate it.

As of this post, I have finished the first three chapters of volume II, and I can tell you this: It was a great decision. Reading, rereading, narrating, editing, re-listening and re-listening, for each letter, I am getting to know what Seneca says, agreeing with him, vehemently opposing what he says, contemplating my reactions and his words. Reading, in fact, the exact way, such a book should be digested. And as a side-effect, if there is an audio book which others can listen to as well, why not!

September 19, 2016