Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
The World's Wife

Various readers

Macmillan, 90mins, pounds 8.99

THERE ARE men who will flinch at this collection of poems by Carol Ann Duffy. But it is a wonderful conceit: a set of robustly sexual attitudes for 30 real and imaginary women through history. Sometimes these variations on a theme of men and women's dealings are subversive, sometimes triumphant, sometimes sad, sometimes irresistibly funny. Mrs Herod plots to preserve her baby daughter. Mrs Aesop despairs of sex from her moralising husband. The Devil's Wife disassociates herself from her husband's crimes. And Mrs Rip Van Winkle finds herself facing a Viagra-roused husband.

The Rum Diariy

read by Campbell Scott

Simon & Schuster, 4hrs 30mins, pounds 11.99

HUNTER S THOMPSON is best known for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the Trainspotting of the 1970s. The Rum Diary, which he began in 1959 at the age of 22, is autobiographical in inspiration, a tangled love story involving a good deal of tough sex and rough drinking. Read by Campbell Scott with just the right laconic intensity, it would make good solitary listening on a long car journey when you, like the book's hero, feel the "loose, what-the-hell kind of confidence that comes on a man when the wind picks up and he begins to move in a hard straight line towards an unknown horizon".

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