Spoken Word

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The Independent Culture

Various readers

BBC, 2hrs, pounds 8.99

THIS IMAGINATIVE collection of short stories was originally conceived as a Radio 3 series. Eight well-contrasted modern writers (William Boyd, Clare Boylan, Penelope Fitzgerald, Christopher Hope, John Mortimer, Michele Roberts, Carol Shields and William Trevor) have contributed stories ranging from medieval pastoral to angst-ridden-couple relationships, each with a musical frame of reference. They are read by eight equally well-contrasted spoken-word veterans.

Bag of Bones

Read by Stephen King

Hodder, unabridged, 22hrs, pounds 29.99

HAVING HEARD Stephen King Live (reviewed last week) I went back for more, and am now hooked. No, I haven't finished listening to this sinister tale of a thriller writer not dissimilar to Stephen King who gets writer's block, after the death of his wife. He's just arrived in their holiday house by a lake in Maine where things go bump in the cellar and a set of fridge magnets start to behave like an ouija board. What makes it such good listening is not only King's compelling reading, but the likeability of the characters he creates - the good ones, that is...