A Word In Your Ear: Guide to Wine; Basket Case

Click to follow

Naxos have yet again broadened concepts of audiobook entertainment with their Guide to Wine (Naxos 5 hrs, 15 mins, 4 tapes £11.99, 4 CD £16.99). It is written and presented by the actor Julian Curry, author of the one-man wine buff show Hic! Or the Entire History of Wine. From the minute the whirling oomp-pa-pas of the Drinking Song from La Traviata sound, we know we're in for fun. Curry calls on us to imagine we are running a vineyard as he outlines the annual cycle of grape management. The distinctions between different wines are explained without a wasted word; there is advice on buying and storing, opening and decanting, and classic combinations of wine and food. The second half zips through types of grape and the world's wine regions. Curry's unpretentious information is punctuated with more appropriate music, and there are no less than 17 pages of information in the notes.

Carl Hiaasen's succinct, intimate writing works exceptionally well read aloud. Basket Case (Macmillan, c. 3 hrs, £9.99) is part knockabout thriller, part dark comedy. Semi-has-been journalist Jack Tagger has been relegated to the obituary pages. But the mysterious death of a Sixties pop hero and a frozen giant lizard just might win him promotion - and his fetchingly alert young editor. Reader Jeff Hardy's excellent voice shows remarkable range, switching sex with uncanny versatility.