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.
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.