In times of crisis, much like the world is experiencing now, meaningful and memorable words of wisdom resonate much stronger within us by giving us a fresh perspective or insight to life. Today, as the country continues to be in a lockdown to arrest the spread of COVID-19, finding comfort amid chaos has perhaps become one of the most important aspects of life like managing work from home, chores, health, et al.
Whenever you're anxious, sad or overwhelmed or simply need some soothing, it helps to have a collection of comforting – and healthy – tools to turn to. What better to achieve that than by immersing yourself in the comforting lap of the classics?
The works of Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Oscar Wilde and Emily Bronte have stood the test of time and continue to do so. But, when was the last time you picked up these time-tested tomes? If you don’t remember, you’re not alone.
In a world where our attention span is diminishing every minute and multi-tasking is a way of life, getting the time to read these classics is just wishful thinking— that is, unless you are on Storytel —the audiobook streaming app.
Make the most of your time in lockdown by tuning in to the classics, and their typically universal themes, on theapp. Narrated in the most highly engaging manner, you no longer have to miss out on the greats for want of patience or time.
To help you along the way, we have compiled a list of classics you can listen to on Storytel to help get you through these times of uncertainty and chaos.
The Russian novelist is known and loved for his novellas and long pieces of fiction like ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’. However, the short story - ‘The Dreams of Ridiculous Man’, written in 1877, is among his best works. It explores questions about ‘original sin’, human perfectibility, and man’s endless striving toward an ideal society. It follows the life of the unnamed narrator who sees himself as a ridiculous man who descends into madness. The audiobook, narrated with exuberance by Ryan Glass, makes it an insightful, thought-provoking listen.
Pro tip- Tune into this on days you feel bleak about humanity and life, and you will find out why the world is not all bad.
Celebrated as one of the greatest French writers of all time, Victor Hugo gave the world masterpieces with ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. However, some of his lesser-known works are just as brilliant. Case in point - ‘The Days of a Condemned Man’ - a short story that Hugo wrote in 1829 to drive home the idea that death penalties should be abolished.
The audiobook transports the listener to the centuries gone by with the sounds of tolling church bells and dramatic narration. The story follows Andre Germaine, who is condemned by the law of the state under freakish circumstances. He has been accused of committing his own murder and carrying out a crime against his own family. He fought under Bonaparte, served his country, and married and fathered a child. But all those things come to nothing in the cell of the condemned. Andre believes it is the working of a curse placed upon his father to last through all the generations of the line for having loved too well a woman who was promised to another man. All of 27 minutes long, this audiobook is a gem of psychological realism.
‘Wuthering Heights’ is as classic as classics can get. Revered as one of the most tragic love stories ever written and a mainstay on most reading lists, it’s a beautiful world to revisit in the form of an audiobook. So much has been written and spoken about this novel that it is hard to listen to it without bias. However, the book takes on a whole new character with the celebrated voice-over artist Anne Flosnik’s perfect narration. Her words wash over you as you get transported to the Yorkshire moors—Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and as you follow the lives of Heathcliff and Catherine. Listen to this gripping chronicle of the never-ending conflict between the heart and the mind and of love and loss on a lazy afternoon, sipping a perfect cup of English tea for company.
‘The Prophet’ is a book of 26 prose poetry fables by Khalil Gibran. Lines from this perennial classic have inspired song lyrics, political speeches and more, with the likes of Indira Gandhi, the Beatles and John F Kennedy doffing their hats to it. It follows the life of prophet Al Mustafa who is about to board a ship from a town that will carry him home. Before leaving, he is stopped by a group of well-meaning people from the town who ask him deep questions about life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy, sorrow, etc. Narrated by Frank Bryce – who has also narrated the heartbreaking classic ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ on Storytel – his sweet voice and Gibran’s powerful words make you pause and think about the bigger things in life, and about questions you never thought of asking. Tune in to ‘The Prophet’ to unlock answers to everyday questions and feel good in these dark times of disease, lockdowns and fear.
Not a classic in the true sense of the term, but ‘The Whistler’ was an immensely popular radio show in America in the 1940s and is among the most memorable thriller anthologies of the medium that you can relive with Storytel. Actor Bill Forman is the voice of the Whistler, and each episode begins with the sound of footsteps and a person whistling. The unseen Whistler doesn’t kill anyone, but he watches murders take place, narrating them for us, and chuckling at the suffering of others. He often commented directly upon the action in the manner of a Greek chorus, taunting the characters, guilty or innocent, from an omniscient perspective. This bone-chilling series is a great listen, especially if you like thrillers and need some adrenaline-pumping entertainment to beat the blues.