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Ted Hughes reading his poetry My World and Welcome To It read by Kerry Shale

Like steel in velvet, Ted Hughes's earthy Yorkshire voice enriches both the strength and the tenderness of his poetry. This collection (HarperCollins, c. 90 mins, pounds 7.99) from the first 20 years of his writing includes much of the defiant, doomed Crow, the savagely resilient "Thistle" and the haunting "Kreutzer Sonata".

Listening to the great New Yorker humourist James Thurber makes one wonder why women ever thought they need liberating. My World and Welcome To It (Reed Audio, three hours, pounds 7.99) includes such memorable classics as "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and the "Macbeth Murder Mystery", all read with preppy zip and much oral versatility by Kerry Shale.