A Christmas Carol – By Charles Dickens Adapted By Dave McCluskey, Narrated By Liam Scott- @demccluskey1 #Audible Version #Christmas #AChristmasCarol #ChristmasReads #Classics #ChristmasClassics

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted By Dave McCluskey
Narrated By Liam Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the audio version (available on Audible) of a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Thanks to Dave McCluskey for gifting me a free code to access this for honest review purposes. To listen to this for yourselves, I have a link after the review…

a Christmas Carol By Dave McCluskey pic

Blurb

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life. 

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions? 

Review

There are many re-tellings of A Christmas Carol and I am sure you know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 spirits visiting him, but this has been done differently. It is in rhyme.
Each time a new version is produced, I admit, I have reservations, but listen, even though with an air of trepidation and hope that whatever is produced is done well and does the original text by Charles Dickens justice. This one is surprisingly done well. At just over an hour long (bearing in mind the book itself is actually surprisingly short), this is easy to fit into anyone’s day for some family entertainment for Christmas.

The piano music in the beginning sets the atmosphere and is pitch perfect. It has been adapted well by Dave McCluskey, who has clearly paid attention well to the original as it is all very recognisable. This is re-written in quite a bit of rhyme to it and is easy to listen to and makes this accessible to many ages, which brings me onto the narrator. Liam Scott narrates all the parts well, bringing atmosphere and all the characters to life with some good voice acting. From his opening lines and then throughout, he has a good, strong rhythm, heard with all the pronouncing of the words, sometimes emphasising certain words. The rhythm that is set brings good pace and interestingly sounds between being Shakespearean in some places and Pantomime in others places.
Throughout the story, Liam Scott reads this iconic Christmas tale with conviction. Each character is brought to life by Liam Scott by the different voices he does, Ebenezer Scrooge sounds his age and the ghosts sound haunting enough. There is also some humour in this tale of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Still to Come.

This is overall a pretty good adaptation and may become part of people’s ways of listening to this well-known story and for those who have not yet read or listened to the original text, then this may encourage people to do that too.

To listen click on the link that will take you to Audible – Amazon – A Christmas Carol

#Review by Lou of Toksvig’s Almanac by Sandi Toksvig @sanditoksvig @HatchetteBooks @TrapezeBooks #HatchetteAudio

Toksvig’s Almanac
By Sandi Toksvig

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Interesting, fun and purely wonderful in style, Tolksvig’s Almanac is the book that will entertain and take you to corners of facts that you may never come across otherwise. Written and narrated in her own unique style, it’s all fascinating for the brain. If you like QI or Chain of Curiosity, or humour within your history, this is one to check out, in fact a Must Have to add to your collection. Wit, Substance and Facts are all brought to the page in an absolutely marvellous, unique, eclectic, quirky style. It will have you intrigued and have you laughing too as you meander through each month. It is perfect for either listening to all at once or to dip in and out of. It’s such a joy to listen to and it would be to read as well. It is all pitched perfectly. This is one of those  times I’ll say this is a Must Have Book or Audiobook for your shelves.

I’ve read most of Sandi Toksvig’s books – fiction and non-fiction and they never cease to amaze and I have adored her fiction and non-fiction books, ever since Whistling For The Elephant’s was published and read many more since, so I was curious and I loved this too. Thank you so much to Hatchette, Trapeze, Orion Books for accepting my request to review the audiobook version.

The book is available now and I have a link after the rest of my review below…

Toksvigs Almanac Cover

Blurb

Toksvig’s Almanac is intended merely as a starting point for your own discoveries. Find a fabulous (or infamous) woman mentioned and, please, go looking for more of her story. The names mentioned are merely temptations. Amuse-bouches for the mind, if you like. How I would have loved to have written out in detail each tale there is to be told, but then this book would have been too heavy to lift.’

Let Sandi Toksvig guide you on an eclectic meander through the calendar, illuminating neglected corners of history to tell tales of the fascinating figures you didn’t learn about at school.

From revolutionary women to serial killers, pirate nuns to pioneering civil rights activists, doctors to dancing girls, artists to astronauts, these pages commemorate women from all around the world who were pushed to the margins of historical record. Amuse your bouche with:

Belle Star, American Bandit Queen
Lady Murasaki, author of the world’s first novel
Madame Ching, the most successful pirate of all time
Maud Wagner, the first female tattoo artist
Begum Samru, Indian dancer and ruler who led an army of mercenaries    Inês de Castro, crowned Queen Consort of Portugal six years after her death
Ida B. Wells, activist, suffragist, journalist and co-founder of the NAACP   
Eleanor G. Holm, disqualified from the 1936 Berlin Olympics for drinking too much champagne

These stories are interspersed with helpful tips for the year, such as the month in which one is most likely to be eaten by a wolf, and the best time to sharpen your sickle. Explore a host of annual events worth travelling for, from the Olney Pancake Race in Wiltshire to the Danish Herring Festival, or who would want to miss Serbia’s World Testicle Cooking Championship?

As witty and entertaining as it is instructive, Toksvig’s Almanac is an essential companion to each day of the year.

Review

Toksvigs Almanac CoverSandi Toksvig takes you through many facts, philosophies and into corners you may not realise existed before as she meanders through each month of the year. Sure, you’d have heard of the main themes, but she delves into areas, rarely talked about. Sounds serious, but fear not, this is historical fact and humour spun together and also relates back to present times too.
There is much to learn and is well researched, written and (narrated for audiobook, which I listened to), in her own wonderful style that is unique to her and thank goodness for that! Sandi Toksvig makes everything sound very interesting and hooks you in. She adds a bit of her own personal analogies, thoughts and tips that readers/listeners may never have thought of otherwise…

She talks of extraordinary women, some who have achieved many great things, but also those who have committed crimes. There are so many different accounts that is interesting to dip and out of. She encourages people to use this as a starting point and then go off and perhaps look up more info yourself. Sandi Toksvig’s curiosity is also infectious. Her thirst for knowledge is impressive as is her research. All perfectly pitched, it is a Must Have on your reading or listening to lists.

Buy Link: Waterstones   Amazon

 

Review of the BBC Radio Play – Lunch (recipe link included) Rated 5 stars – #MarcyKahan #ClaireSkinner #StephenMangan #Audible #Play #BBCAudioBooks

Lunch
By Marcy Kahan
Starring Claire Sinner and Stephen Mangan
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Lunch has it all. It has food and friendship, so many aspects of life between 2 characters who lead different lives and come together once a month. It has a large helping of the most wonderful humour and warmth. It also has family life, employment life, romance. It also shows that whatever you do, whatever your views, you can still be friends. It has so much that would be relatable to so many people. This is one sitcom I’ve listened to a number of times, it is that good!
I finally had a bit of time to spontaneously write a review. Also check out the link I’ve added from BBC Good Food and also the Audible Link  to the sitcom itself in the review.

Find out more in the blurb and my review.

Lunch

Blurb

Stephen Mangan and Claire Skinner star in all five series of the popular BBC Radio 4 comedy drama.

Bill works as an economist in a right-wing institute giving succour to bankers and businessmen. Bella teaches yoga, waters the plants in Canary Wharf and holds Proust seminars for retirees. Years ago they shared a flat before Bill got married and moved to America. Now he’s back and feeling a little off-kilter, so he decides to rekindle his friendship with Bella.

Once a month they get together for lunch, where they talk about everything from politics to Proust, parenting and the perils of online dating. The only thing they never discuss is how much they love each other….

In Marcy Kahan’s delightful “platonic romantic comedy”, we join Bill and Bella as they meet, eat and disagree about everything; and over the course of four series, we learn their hopes and dreams and listen in as their lives change direction.

Review

I first came across Lunch on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago. It is so easy and such fun to listen to, that I’ve listened to it quite a number of times. It’s one of the most fabulously entertaining and humorous two-hander plays from BBC Radio 4 and now can be found on Audible, that is still as important then as it is now, in such divisions of countries, including the UK. It also features wonderful food as Bill (Stephen Mangan) and Bella (Claire Skinner) meet once a month in cafes as you hear their lives play out. Expect lots of mentions of glorious food from pho-ga (Vietnamese chicken soup) to eggs to salad and more… Just below is a link to a recipe that I use to make pho-ga at home. It sounds more complex than it is and is heartwarming, aromatic deliciousness. I think so anyway. I got inspired to try it out when listening to the play…

Click link for recipe:
BBC Good Food Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho-Ga) Recipe

This play is so important for our times. It shows how two people who have very different jobs, lives and opposing political views can still civily meet-up for lunch and talk about life, work, family, loves and generally have a nice time. It’s a pretty spectacular message and one of unity. This is a essentially a comedy and is really rather funny as Bill (Stephen Mangan) and Bella (Claire Skinner) get to a point of where they just aren’t admitting their feelings for each other. It also cleverly weaves wit into their differing views. There is also the coming together to help each other out by listening to each other and giving advice to even Bill trying out a bit of roleplay with Bella to practice for an interview on Newsnight. There is much wit when Bill asks what Bella is looking for out of no less than 3 lovers who she meets. The way some of the lines are said (as throughout), are pure fun! This shows what brilliant actors Stephen Mangan and Claire Skinner are. They bring Marcy Kahan’s intuitive and witty script-writing to life in such a believable way.

Both characters are easy to like and care about what happens to them. It is one of the most uplifting radio plays and one that has an important point to say, that it doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on for jobs or politics, you can still be friends and you may even become lovers. There’s a sense of unity amongst that so-called dividing line, and that’s what makes this glorious, as well as the laugh out loud humour. There is a lot to smile about in this audio play.

Audible Link          Click here for Lunch

Lunch