NEXT, STAGE one of a new ambition: to get to grips with Dickens. BBC dramatisations are excellent, but there is no substitute for Cover to Cover's unabridged series, and A Tale of Two Cities is the perfect way to start. It's also a thriller in its own right, an aspect of the novel which Pascoe conveys superbly.
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BAD EXPERIENCES with abridgements that were more like comic strips than decent tasters have sent me back to the real thing: great novels, unabridged, by excellent readers. First, a modern classic: Robert Graves's superb novel of Rome in 0AD read with intense brilliance by Jonathan Oliver.