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Audiobooks come of age

Busy lives have opened the market for audiobooks. The spoken word has its own aesthetic and it is time the critics paid more attention

The trend is linked to technology. The invention of transistors and cassette players meant that sound, once chained inside walnut-clad wirelesses and Dansette record-players, has become portable and personal. When the first Sony Walkman generation came of age, with our children and mortgages, we wanted something to feed our minds rather than numb them. Many of us are self-improvers but have no time to settle down with a book. The solution is “multi-tasking.” We listen to the latest bestsellers as we jog round the block, weed the garden, redecorate the kitchen or take the dog for a walk. Thirty-seven per…

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