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September 24, 2014

Banned Audio Books

For this year's banned book week, the LearnOutLoud.com team has taken a look at classics that have been frequently challenged and compiled a list of free "banned audio books" that may surprise you. For various reasons, whether it be political, moral or cultural grounds, the titles listed here have been banned by governments, and educational institutions. Some, such as Joyce's Ulysses or Twain's Huckleberry Finn are probably understandable in certain circumstances, but even we were amazed to see how often certain books have been censored (and why). We hope this list gives you a better appreciation of how even undisputed masterpieces can sometimes be viewed as harmful when seen in a certain light.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Candide by Voltaire

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

And for more on D.H. Lawrence check out this new lecture series from Oxford we added:

D.H. Lawrence Lecture Series by Catherine Brown

Ulysses by James Joyce

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe


September 16, 2014

700 New Free College Courses on Audio & Video

It's our back to school extravaganza! And we've really out done ourselves this year at LearnOutLoud.com. We've searched deep and wide, and have unearthed over 700 new free audio & video courses to our LearnOutLoud.com Free Courses Collection. That means we now have over 1200 free courses in our collection! The largest collection of free audio & video courses from colleges and universities on the web! You can check out the full collection right here:

Browse Over 1200 Courses in the LearnOutLoud.com Free Courses Collection

Click through to the categories and subcategories of the courses and you'll find them sorted by most recently added, so you can see what is new!

In this blog post we'll guide you through what we've added. We'll start with courses we've added that are available from YouTube. For these courses we've embedded the YouTube playlists so you can watch lectures right through our site or click over to YouTube. In all we've added over 250 full courses on YouTube from various colleges and universities. We'll start out listing some of the colleges that have a lot of course offerings which we've added:

Biola University (23 Courses)

Cal State Dominguez Hills (37 Courses)

Crash Courses (7 Courses)

Indian Institutes of Technology (10 Courses)

MIT OpenCourseWare (65 Courses)

UC Irvine (30 Courses)

University of Missouri-Kansas City (13 Courses)

Virtual University of Pakistan (28 Courses)

And to get you started with some courses, we'll highlight some of the most interesting courses being offered through YouTube that we've added to our site. Here are some great courses you might want to check out:

The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia University

Biodiversity and the Meaning of Human Existence by E.O. Wilson at Duke University

Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises by Howard Gray

Inside Creative Writing by Robert Olen Butler at Florida State University

Positive Psychology by Tal Ben-Shahar at Harvard University

The Rise and Future of the Food Movement by Michael Pollan at UC Berkeley

Pakistan Studies by Arshad S. Karim at Virtual University of Pakistan

Physics 255: Einstein's General Relativity and Gravitation by Herbert W. Hamber at UC Irvine

World Economic History Before the Industrial Revolution by Gregory Clark at UC Davis

Cars: Past, Present, and Future by Jon Summers at Stanford University

Ancient Israel by Daniel Fleming at New York University

The Early Universe by Alan Guth at MIT

The Heroic Quest by Joseph Hughes at Missouri State University

Indian Philosophy by Satya Sundar Sethy at Indian Institutes of Technology

Introduction to Music by Mary Dave Blackman at East Tennessee State University

Fundamentals of Speech by Bill Deluca at Cal State Dominguez Hills

Enjoy these free courses available through YouTube!

Along with course from YouTube, we've also scoured iTunes U for some of their best courses and have come up with over 300 iTunes U Courses that are available on audio and video. These come from a wide range of educational institutions from prestigious universities to community colleges to seminaries to technical schools. Enjoy these free offerings from iTunes U. We'll start by listing the colleges that have the most courses:

Arizona State University (10 Courses)

Columbia University (8 Courses)

Concordia Seminary (11 Courses)

Covenant Theological Seminary (18 Courses)

Dallas Theological Seminary (25 Courses)

East Tennessee State University (17 Courses)

Front Range Community College (8 Courses)

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (10 Courses)

Harrisburg Area Community College (22 Courses)

Johns Hopkins University (7 Courses)

La Trobe University (29 Courses)

Liberty University (15 Courses)

Missouri State University (31 Courses)

New Jersey Institute of Technology (8 Courses)

Ohio State University (8 Courses)

Reformed Theological Seminary (30 Courses)

Seattle Pacific University (12 Courses)

Stanford University (60+ Courses and Talks)

UC Davis (22 Courses)

University of Michigan (9 Courses)

University of New Orleans (12 Courses)

Utah Valley University (9 Courses)

And now for some highlights of the free courses we've added from iTunes U. Here are some of the outstanding courses you can take on audio & video:

Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology by Michael J. Shively at Utah Valley University

The Kennedy Half Century from University of Virginia

Story of Freedom in America by J. Rufus Fears at University of Oklahoma

History of Modern Philosophy by Clarence Mark Phillips at University of New Orleans

Shakespeare's Principal Plays by Ralph Williams at University of Michigan

Mind, Self, and Language by Amy Fountain at University of Arizona

HIST 443: The United States Since 1945 by Paul Iwancio at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Jerusalem: The Holy City by Robert R. Cargill at UCLA

Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety by Margaret Swisher at UC Davis

How to Think Like a Psychologist by Kelly McGonigal at Stanford University

C.S. Lewis by Knox Chamblin at Reformed Theological Seminary

Fundamentals of Nutrition by Toni Burkhalter at Parkland College

Life in the Universe by Richard Pogge at Ohio State University

Investment Philosophies by Aswath Damodaran at New York University

Classical Mythology by Joseph Hughes at Missouri State University

The Roman World by Rhiannon Evans at La Trobe University

The History of Public Health by Graham Mooney at Johns Hopkins University

Western Movies: Myth, Ideology, and Genre by Richard Slotkin

American Capitalism: A History by Louis Hyman at Cornell University

Blood and Oil: Energy, the Middle East and War by Alan Richards at UC Santa Cruz

Exploring The Hobbit by Corey Olsen

Faith, Social Justice, and Public Life by Jim Wallis

The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity by Shaye J.D. Cohen at Harvard University

Introduction to Planetary Astronomy by Robert Wagner
20th Century World History by Anthony Heideman

So many great free courses to choose from. But we're not done yet!

We've also added courses to our collection from two great other sources. Annenberg Learner offers multimedia resources for teaching and learning, and in their video series they have 50 outstanding courses. These video courses are available on streaming video through their pop up player on their site. Here are all the Annenberg Learner courses we've added:

50 Annenberg Learner Courses

And here are some of their video courses that may interest you:

American Cinema

Art of the Western World

Connect With English

Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish

Exploring the World of Music

French in Action

Invitation to World Literature

The Brain: Teaching Modules

The World of Abnormal Psychology

Planet Earth

Physics for the 21st Century

The next great collection of knowledge that we've added comes from Oxford University. Oxford offers 100s of podcasts and we've picked out over 100 podcasts to add to our site. You can play these audio podcasts directly through our podcast player. Not all of them are courses, but they are all a great source of education from our friends over in England.

Over 100 Podcasts from Oxford University

Here are some of the Oxford podcasts that are courses:

A Romp Through Ethics for Complete Beginners by Marianne Talbot

A Romp Through the Philosophy of Mind by Marianne Talbot

Approaching Shakespeare by Emma Smith

General Philosophy by Peter Millican

Hume's Central Principles by Peter Millican

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason by Daniel N. Robinson

Philosophy for Beginners by Marianne Talbot

The Elements of Drawing by Stephen Farthing

And we forgot to mention one final source of free courses that we've added. The Ayn Rand Institute now has courses available on streaming video (and some on audio download). Note that taking courses on the Ayn Rand Institute website requires registration. Click below to see the ones we've added:

Ayn Rand Institute (11 Courses)

Some of the highlights include:

History of Philosophy by Leonard Peikoff

The Fountainhead Course by Keith Lockitch

Ayn Rand, the Radical Thinker by Onkar Ghate, Keith Lockitch, & Yaron Brook

And a mini course by Ayn Rand herself:

Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand

Start taking a free course today!


September 4, 2014

15 Free Audio Books of British Literature

Over the course of literary history, it would be difficult to understate England's overwhelming influence on the world. LearnOutLoud.com has selected 15 free audio books of the best British literature in one place, making it easier than ever to get started on some of the greatest books ever written. From William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, to Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, we've come up with an essential reading list designed to stimulate your inner anglophile. You'll find free podcasts of Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes' adventures, as well as Victorian era standouts like Charlotte and Emily Bronte and science fiction from pioneer H.G. Wells. Scroll down to starting browsing:

1. 12 Shakespeare Plays from Speak the Speech

We've just been informed of a great new resource for listening to Shakespeare's plays on audio. Speak the Speech is a non-profit audio theatre company dedicated to providing freely available Shakespearean audio performances online. Collaborating with a full cast of actors in Portland, Oregon, they've recorded some of the best audio versions of Shakespeare's plays available and they've made them available for free on MP3 download through their website. Here are the plays they're offering:

As You Like It
Henry IV, Part One
Henry IV, Part Two
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night
A Winter's Tale
Sounds of Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, King John, Cymbeline, King Richard II, and The Merry Wives of Windsor

You can also subscribe to their podcast which currently features 8 of their plays:

Speak the Speech: Universal Shakespeare Broadcasting Podcast

Thanks to Speak the Speech for informing us of their great audio dramas of Shakespeare's plays!

2. Pride and Prejudice

Download Jane Austen's undeniable classic Pride and Prejudice. Hear the story of the courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in early 19th century England. Published in 1813 this classic tale of love, reputation, and class remains one of the most beloved books of all time. This edition is well narrated by Karen Savage at LibriVox. She has a British accent and a nice flair for character narration. This unabridged novel has a running time of 10 Hrs. 25 Min. and is available on MP3 download from LibriVox.org.

3. Paradise Lost

Download an unabridged recording of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost for free on MP3 from Librivox. Listen as Milton seeks to "justify the ways of God to men" through the story of the fall of Man as the fallen angel Satan tempts Adam and Eve which leads to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. This 12-book, 9 1/2 hour audio program is narrated by group of volunteer narrators at Librivox.

And reading or listening to Milton is no walk in the park. To help guide you along with this audio book we are also featuring a free course from Yale University entitled "Milton" taught by Professor John Rogers. This course features an introduction to the poetry of Milton along with 10 lectures on Paradise Lost. It is available on streaming video through YouTube and downloadable audio & video on the Yale website.

Milton Course from Yale

4. Heart of Darkness Audiobook Podcast

Joseph Conrad's classic novella Heart of Darkness has recently been made available for free on audio download. LoudLit.org and LiteralSystems have produced this professional sounding audio book that is narrated by Tom Franks. Listen to the highly symbolic tale of Marlow's journey down the Congo River. This unabridged audio book is available on MP3 Download from and can also be subscribed to as a podcast.

5. Wuthering Heights

Listen to Emily Bronte's only published novel Wuthering Heights. Emily decided to publish her novel after the success of her sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre. The novel Wuthering Heights tells the tale of the passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw and how it affects the cast of characters around them. This unabridged audio book is narrated by Librivox volunteer Ruth Golding who has a lovely British accent.

6. A Study in Scarlet
The Sign of the Four
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Valley of Fear

You can now download all four of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great Sherlock Holmes novels from Gutenberg.org on MP3 audio download. They are being made freely available from AudiobooksForFree.com with professional narration from British thespian John Telfer. AudiobooksForFree.com offers many audio books for free at a low bit rate of 8 kbps which is not very listenable. But for these Sherlock Holmes audio books, AudiobooksForFree.com has donated them to be offered on Gutenberg.org at higher quality bit rates of 16 kbps and 32 kbps which are both listenable. To get the 32 kbps MP3 files click the "More Files..." link at the bottom of the list of MP3s on the page on Gutenberg.org and you'll see links to the files at this quality.

7. Robinson Crusoe

From audiobooks.org comes this free edition of Daniel Defoe's classic adventure tale Robinson Crusoe. The novel tells the story of an English castaway who spends 28 years on a remote island. This unabridged recording seems to be from a narration conducted in the 1970s, but the narrator and audio quality still sound good. This title is available on MP3 download.

8. A Tale of Two Cities Podcast

Check out this free unabridged professional recording of A Tale of Two Cities, released by Literal Systems. Listen to this sweeping historical novel set in London and Paris around the time of the French Revolution. The audio quality is top notch and Jane Ayer's narration is superb. This classic 14-hour audio book is available on MP3 download as a podcast from Literal Systems.

9. The Time Machine

Travel into the future with H.G. Wells' classic novel The Time Machine. Bear witness to Morlocks and more in the year 802,701 A.D. This audio book is available on MP3 Digital Download from Project Gutenberg. It is well narrated by Roy Trumbull who runs The Story Spieler site which features many other stories and interesting audio programs.

10. Jane Eyre

You should definitely give a listen to this great novel if you never have before. In this first-person narrative you follow the title character as she matures from childhood to adulthood. Its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman led it to sometimes be regarded as an important early feminist novel. Librivox.org offer three versions of this novel and we think we picked out the best one narrated by Elizabeth Klett, who is one of the most prolific and talented volunteer narrators at Librivox. Enjoy this novel on MP3 and now even M4B bookmarkable audiobook download.

11. Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Listen to a great love story in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Hardy himself thought it his finest novel and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created. Hear the tragic tale as Tess is torn between the aristocratic Alec d'Urberville and her true love Angel Clare. This novel is being offered for free on audio download from Librivox and is narrated by Adrian Praetzellis.

12. Great Expectations

Download and listen to one of Charles Dickens' greatest novels: Great Expectations! This coming-of-age Victorian novel follows a young orphan named Pip through his personal development into adulthood when he grows up to become a fine young gentleman. This novel is well read by one of the readers at Lit2Go and is available on MP3 audio download from their newly designed site.

Also NAXOS AudioBooks is also offering for free introductions to all 16 of Charles Dickens' novels! These Dickens podcasts make up an audio book unto itself with 8 hours of introductions by David Timson including extensive excerpts from the audio books of each of these novels. NAXOS is offering these in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth and they have now recorded all 16 of Dickens's novels in both unabridged and abridged editions.

Introductions to Charles Dickens' Novels

13. Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse

Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. It is the first and only novel written by the English author Anna Sewell and it was published shortly before she passed away in 1878. The story is written in the form of an autobiographical memoir told by a horse named Black Beauty. As we follow Black Beauty throughout her life the story contains many allegorical lessons that teach us to treat both people and animals with kindness and respect. The novel is narrated by one of Librivox.org's best volunteer narrators Cori Samuel. It is available on MP3 download from Librivox.org.

14. Macbeth

Listen to William Shakespeare's famous tragedy Macbeth on streaming audio and MP3 download. This full cast dramatization of the play is offered by Wired for Books. Hear all the drama of Macbeth's bloody grab for power and his subsequent unraveling. The play stars Mark Mann as Macbeth and Laura Lee Parrotti as Lady Macbeth.

15. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus

Listen to Mary Shelley's classic tale of Gothic horror and science fiction. Written at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, this allegorical novel reveals the dark side of modern man's irresponsible use of technology. This free unabridged audio book is being offered by Lit2Go. Download Frankenstein on MP3 today.

And if you want to learn more about British literature check out these two great debates from Intelligence Squared on the kings and queens of English Literature:

Jane Austen vs Emily Bronte: The Queens of English Literature Debate

Two advocates and a group of gifted actors pit Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte up against the works of Jane Austen in this streaming lecture provided by Intelligence Squared. Professor John Mullen argues that in Jane Austen's novels, readers get formal brilliance, incredible dialogue, consistent humor, and biting social commentary that has made her work highly relatable beyond the historical period in which they were written. Writer Kate Mosse contrasts Austen's work with Emily Bronte's single novel, arguing that in one book, Bronte was able to transcend stories of marriage to get at the eternal, ethereal aspects of love. The debate is given up to the audience to ultimately decide who is the queen of English letters, with entertaining, funny, and interesting results.

Shakespeare vs. Milton: The Kings of English Literature Debate

William Shakespeare is pitted against John Milton to determine the king of English literature in this streaming video debate presented by Intelligence Squared. On the one side, English professor James Shapiro presents his case for Shakespeare, arguing that the bard's complex understanding of human relations, his unparalleled range, and the multiple ways in which his work and characters can be interpreted are reason enough to crown him king. On the other side, Nigel Smith argues that with Paradise Lost alone, John Milton was able to push the biblical story of Man's fall into new territory, taking a well-known story and imaginatively reshaping it to add layers of emotional complexity that equal anything Shakespeare was able to accomplish in his many plays. The two advocates in the debate are aided immensely by three award-winning actors that are on hand to act out scenes from Shakespeare and passages from Paradise Lost, making for an exciting discussion regardless of who ends up taking the prize.