Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
TALKIE OF the Year at this year's Talkies, the Oscar ceremony of the audiobook world, was Alan Bennett's Talking Heads 2 (BBC, pounds 8.99, CD pounds 14.99). "Almost better without the visuals" was the opinion of the judges. Among the invisible talkers was Thora Hird, who was at the ceremony. Space forbids a complete list (which you can read in this week's Radio Times), but here are my own favourites: Stephen Fry reading J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Cover to Cover, unabridged pounds 19.99); Tales from Ovid (Faber/Penguin, pounds 8.99), translated and read by Ted Hughes; Michael Palin reading his own Full Circle (Chivers, unabridged, pounds 16.99); Timothy West reading Trollope's The Way We Live Now (Cover to Cover, pounds 79.99); Robert Powell reading The History of Opera (Naxos, pounds 11.99, CD pounds 16.99), written by Richard Fawkes; Stephen Baxter's Voyage (BBC, pounds 8.99), engineered by Dirk Meggs, the Stephen Spielberg of the audioworld; Kingsley's The Water Babies (BBC, pounds 8.99), directed by Janet Whitaker. The Performer of the Year award went to Andrew Sachs.

The Independent's Christina Hardyment won the award for Best Media Coverage