English language books read in episodes



They're and hear Book Readings

I grew up in a family where reading was a daily part of life. Indeed, it was the primary form of entertainment. All the way through my school years my mother enforced an iron-clad rule. A maximum of 30 minutes of TV per night for entertainment purposes. If I wanted to watch anything more then it had to have an educational content.

This meant that in order to watch all my favourite post school children's television shows, I had to either:

  • Negotiate a time sharing agreement with my two older sisters;
  • or
  • Convince my Mother of the educational value of Spiderman or Tom&Jerry.

(On a sub-note, later in my life / career I became a Salesman. Perhaps this early training was the reason why....)

The most significant effect, however, was that as a family we found other ways to entertain ourselves. We did a lot of reading. Both to ourselves and also out loud. I have continued this tradition in my own family. My children, all grown up as they are, still love to listen to me reading to them. However, as they move out and start their own lives I find my audience dwindling. To keep in practice until the possible future arrival of grandchildren, I have now started reading as a cloud project. Basically, I film myself reading and then put it on one of several YouTube channels. The first channel name I thought of was Auk Word so the channel names and logos all have a sea bird theme.

See Gull

See Gull

The Visionary Bird

To answer the question and clear the uncertainty straight away, NO, I haven't misspelled the title of this channel. If your thinking that the bird is called a Seagull then your wrong. There is no such thing as a 'Seagull'. Gulls are coastal birds not sea birds. In fact many gulls spend a lot of their lives inland behaving like white crows. No a 'Sea Gull' is an oxymoron. There are very few morons on my 'I like' list. Oxymorons aren't one of them.

'See Gull', on the other hand, is simply a poetic juxtaposition. On the one side it might be an exclamation, 'Look at the Gull!' Or the start of an instruction, 'Once the Gull is in view then...' Or as I have applied it to this channel a descriptive title. This is the channel of 'the gull that sees'. It sits on the clifftop and looks out towards the distant horizon. It sees from afar everything that is coming from far off and everything that is moving further away.

This is the channel for the reading of visionary books. Not only futuristic books but also ones where the author has seen further than anyone else before. Further into the past, deeper into the mind and soul.

Little See Bird

Little Sea Bird

A smaller cuter version

As you might be able to guess from the title this is about stories with simpler text.

On the Little Sea Bird channel we specialise in books that tell great stories in easy to follow language. This offers a great opportunity to enjoy many classic stories whilst improving language skills. On the one hand this is a great opportunity for younger viewers wanting to follow along with the action in classic children's tales. Alternatively, it is also an invaluable resource for those learning a second language later in life. Many people find the subtitles we always include particularly helpful.

It is not just about vocabulary and grammar. English is spoken all over the world by people from all sorts of backgrounds. Understanding and using English is as much about pronunciation and accent. For those who want practice understanding various English accents, we try and give each character in the story a unique voice. Not only does this amplify the learning effect, it also increases the fun factor too.



All the silver fish of the spirit and soul

The Razorbill is a handsome bird with elegant black and white plumage. I chose it as the logo for this channel because it is one of few birds that is both a powerful swimmer AND strong flier. This ability to be at home in both the mysterious depths of the dark sea below and the bright light of the open sky above made it the obvious choice for an animal to represent this channel. Metaphorically the human condition itself bridges two such wildly different worlds. At one level we are full of the deep irrational emotions and urges of our animal ancestry and at another we operate in a world of rational enlightenment and logical thought. The Razorbill has the ability to dive down and bring up to the surface the little darting silver fish of our innermost being. And then carrying them securely in its beak, it can spread its wings and fly up to the top of some high cliff to study and assimilate its catch.

Religious, spiritual and philosophical stories, these are the grist to the Razorbill mill. Razorbill is a channel for those interested in books and stories with either a strong metaphysical or spiritual theme. Some books discuss or present the variety of peoples' belief and convictions. However, in addition to works with a strong religious, clerical, theological or heavenly theme we also mix it up a bit with some secular and philosophical pieces about the human condition. We even try and take examples from current events to emphasise what we are talking about.

Auk Word

Auk Word

The channel where it all starts

Once I had chosen the Razorbill as the logo for one channel I realised that it was such a powerful motif that I could apply it to further channels too. Next in line was a word play pun that captured both the kernel of what I was trying to achieve with the narration project and also my own nervousness in starting it in the first place. The Razorbill belongs to a family of bird species called Auks. Other members include puffins and, the sadly now hunted to extinction, Great Auk. So the channel was clearly the word of the Auk and at the same time my own early attempts to film myself whilst reading out loud were indeed quite clumsy and awkward.

Here on the Awk Word channel we present our own scribblings and ramblings (truly the words of the Auks) alongside previously unpublished works from other new and undiscovered authors. These could be anything from complete short essays through to excerpts from much larger works.

We like to keep it a fairly mixed bag and are always looking for something new or fresh to include. With this in mind we would love to hear from any writers (or for that matter publishers) out there. Not only are we happy to read excerpts but also do book reviews and even interviews.

Alca Murri

Alca Murri

Romance, Red Inn booth and maw

Human passion and emotion are a kind of Alchemy. You take some basic hormones and electrical impulses and turn them into something brilliant and glowing like love. Read with a crooked enough eye the title of this channel sounds a little bit like 'alchemy'. However, it actually comes from two quite different words. Alca is the latin name for the genus to which the Razorbill belongs. This is thought to derive from the long distance call of the bird. Murri on the otherhand derives from the Cornish name Murre which mimics the low croaking call that Razorbill pairs make to each other when nesting. It is also worth noting that these birds pair for life.

At Alca Murri we are interested in stories with romantic or passionate themes. This isn't just about kissy smoochy stuff but also other stories of passion. Alongside love and human attraction we explore stores about intense emotions of all kinds.



Take a trip to who knows where

Unlike gulls, Razorbills actually ARE sea birds. They spend most of their life out in the ocean far from dry land. They only come ashore to breed and nest. Though not the furthest flying of sea birds their range is large as it spans the whole of the north Atlantic. Though the largest summer breeding colonies are found in Iceland these birds can be found as far south as New England and the Mediterranean in the winter. That's certainly a distance that any adventurer could be proud of.

The Wanderer channel specialises in novels and other works of fiction with a journey or travel theme. Though this journey might indeed be a geographic one from A to B it might also be more of a metaphoric one that takes place on a temporal or even spiritual level. A coming of age story is as much a journey as anything else.

Low Call

Low Call

Filling in the picture

The Razorbill not only mates for life but also returns to the same breeding site each year. Both the male and the female takes turns to incubate the single white egg with brown speckles. Each spends an equal amount of time on the nest. Whenever they meet they greet each other with their characteristic murring a low call somewhere between a croak and a gurgle. For me it sounds a bit like they are saying "I'm home darling, how has junior been behaving today?". I like the idea that even Birds can feel bonded and 'at home' in a particular location. This inspired me to create this channel and name it 'Low Call' not only is this a reference to the affectionate greeting of the Razorbills it is also just a little bit like 'local', a place that's close by and familiar.

Here on the Low Call channel we take a glimpse behind the book at what is going on in the background. We peek around the narrator to take a closer look at the locations that serve as an ever changing backdrop for each book reading episode. These mini travelogues often link together to form a 'day trip' in their own right. We also try and include as many back links in the videos as possible so that you can check out other episodes associated with a particular location or other locations associated with a particular story.