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Random House Inc.

Are you listening carefully? Audio books for Christmas

There are rich pickings to be harvested from this year’s crop. Jim Crace’s unforgettable Harvest (Whole Story, 7 CDs, £20.41) is a book begging to be read aloud. Had the Booker judges listened to John Keating reading it, they’d have given it the prize unanimously. The story of a pre-lapsarian village facing the end of centuries  of agrarian life is written in blunt and sturdy language that moves seamlessly between Old English accented alliteration and flights of superb iambic pentameter. “Caught between a nettle and a thorn”, the helpless narrator watches as monetary greed and a flagrant injustice destroys a community and creates an avoidable refugee crisis, whose contemporary relevance is unmistakable. It is a work of genius.

Lisa Jewell: 'I married someone I didn’t love. I was too polite to

My first book came about over a bet I had a drunken conversation with a friend about some day writing a book, and she said, "If you write me three chapters, I'll take you for dinner at your favourite restaurant." So I did [the resulting book, Ralph's Party, was the biggest-selling debut novel of 1999], and she made me send it out to agents. When one of those agents liked it and told me Penguin wanted to pay me £120,000 to write my first two books, I thought everyone had gone mad.

'Fifty Shades' author greeted by sobbing fans at Comic-Con

Lola De La Cruz cried when she met author E L James. The 29-year-old fan had waited since 4am to accomplish the number one thing on her Comic-Con to-do list - meet the writer of "Fifty Shades of Grey" - and 12 hours later, she got her chance.

Screen Talk: Prophet motive

Salma Hayek, whose résumé includes roles in movies From Dusk Till Dawn, Wild Wild West and Frida as well as regular character outings in TV series Ugly Betty and 30 Rock, is also an accomplished producer.