Books: Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture
Diana, a Dedication in Seven Ages


2hrs 30mins, pounds 11.99

Two of the best anthologies of the year may have been missed by those who dislike the media hype surrounding the royals in general and Charles and Diana in particular. But throw away the covers of , and you are left with an arresting, deeply moving collection of the best of British poetry read by a star-studded cast. Invidious to pick out anyone in particular, but Art Malik and Michael Caine do triumph in reading poems often spoilt by over-emphasis with simple, unemotional honesty. All profits go to the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

The Prince's Choice

Hodder, 2hrs 30mins, pounds 11.99

Equally good is The Prince's Choice. The extracts are all from Shakespeare, and the collection forms a quite splendid Shakespearean commonplace book, read by 26 of Britain's finest actors and HRH himself. The project grew out of a conversation between Robert Stephens and Charles after the prince came to see Stephens as Falstaff, and said how much he regretted never having time to read the plays. Stephens decided to cook up some tapes for him, selecting the extracts in conjunction with Charles's former English master, Eric Anderson. "Everyone wanted to be in it," said Stephens. Even, it emerged, HRH, who reads Prince Hal.