Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
Stephen King Live

Read by Stephen King

Hodder Headline, 90mins, pounds 8.99

HERE'S AN example of the way spoken word can become an art form in its own right. Stephen King is generally billed as a Master of Horror, but not enough people know that he is a superb writer who deserves better critical recognition. In this production, recorded when King appeared live in London last year, he tells a quite new story of his own, the sinisterly inconclusive LT's Theory of Pets, and then answers queries about himself and his work. He emerges as shrewd self-deprecating and humorous.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Read by David Timson

Naxos, 3hrs 30mins, pounds 9.99 tape, pounds 13.99 CD

NAXOS'S CHAMPIONING of spoken word on CD is soon to be joined by another publisher: Penguin will also make selected recordings on CD. Quite apart from the sound quality, it is easy to find your way around CDs, especially when they involve short stories. In this case it means that Conan Doyle aficionados can go straight to their favourite tale. But David Timson's reading is so evocative that you can almost imbibe Holmes's cocaine. You can certainly hear his much-loved violin thanks to elegant interludes of music by Moeran, Paganini and Smetana.