Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
Naked She Lay: an anthology of classic erotic verse

Naxos, 2hrs 30mins, pounds 8.99

FORGET THOSE silly cards. Here are two spoken-word offerings that would be perfect St Valentine's Day gifts. Anthony Anderson's selection of amorous verse is eclectic and unusual, offering some familiar delights (Wyatt's "They flee from me that sometime did me seek", Herrick's "A sweet disorder") but many more unfamiliar new treasures.

Arrangement is typological rather than chronological, which allows for telling effects as a 4th-century Chinese poem bumps up against Byron. Naxos effectively juxtaposes music with readings, providing tasters of Grieg's Erotik, Sibelius' Der Liebende and other aptly romantic strains.

Classic Love Stories

read by Martin Jarvis & Rosalind Ayres

CSA, 3hrs, pounds 8.99

AGAIN, IT is the skill of the selector as well as excellent readers which makes this an outstanding anthology. The two Katherine Mansfield short stories are predictably excellent, but who would have thought that Louisa Little Women Alcott could be found writing of bright young things taking hashish (no crime in those days, of course) to cut down their inhibitions? The contrasts work beautifully too: moving us from Hardy's predictably doleful "Melancholy of Hussars" through Baring-Gould's hilarious "Jenifer" to Dickens's whimsically satisfying "Bagman's Story".