Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
How Proust Can Change Your Life

read by Samuel West

CSA Telltale, c3hrs, pounds 8.99

I HAVE always fought shy of approaching Proust. But after listening to Samuel West's reading of Alain de Botton's perceptive portrait of the man, everything has changed. De Botton has not only read Proust, he has inwardly digested him and come up with a seductive way of putting across his ideas. The framework is motivational literature - what Proust can tell us about How to Suffer Successfully, or How to be a Good Friend. The answers de Botton derives, both from what Proust wrote and how he lived his life, are not only thought-provoking but genuinely therapeutic.

Within a Budding Grove Parts 1 & 2

read by John Rowe

Cover to Cover, each 12hrs 40mins, pounds 29.99

HAVING BEEN infected with a desire to experience Proust, how to do it? Maybe a cassette a day, like the Archers? At this rate, purists who opt for unabridged Cover to Cover versions (Tel: 01264 731227) will take 16 days to listen to their most recent release, Within a Budding Grove. John Rowe is still not flagging at all, and has just the right sensitive and wistful voice. Another solution is the abbreviated version issued by Naxos Audiobooks which give the flavour pretty well. Their latest release is Sodom and Gomorrah (Cities of the Plain Part II) 4hrs, pounds 10.99, read by Neville Jason.