Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
Business@the Speed of Thought

Read by Bill Gates & Roger Steffens

Penguin, 6hrs, pounds 12.99

PERSEVERANCE IS necessary to get hooked on this advertorial but important audiobook. The first problem is the listening experience (sorry - business jargon is infectious). The terse prefaces to each section by Gates himself work well, but Steffens's lugubrious voice takes some getting used to. The next is content - by the end of side one you'll be wondering why this tape wasn't called A Brief History of Microsoft. But the examples broaden - and, whether you're a queen bee or an ant, the web will revolutionise your ways of life and work.

Villette

Full-cast dramatisation

BBC,

3hrs, pounds 8.99

CATHERINE BAILEY'S dramatisation of Charlotte Bronte's last novel is the most lively and arresting broadcast of a classic novel I have heard. Catherine McCormack is heart-breakingly brave and vulnerable as Lucy Snowe, Joseph Fiennes suitably prattish as the fickle Graham, Harriet Walter brilliantly mean as Madame Beck. The spooky story of an English teacher in a French finishing school, haunted by a mysterious nun, had its origin in Charlotte's own experience of a French school - and the love she felt for the husband of its headmistress.

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