Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher audiobook review – a missive success

This book was brilliant in written form and it’s even better in audio, with a cast of famous voices elevating hilarious, horrifying and moving historical epistles

The popular compendium of correspondence from history is brilliant in book form, but it takes on a whole new dimension in audio. An eclectic treasure trove of letters written by musicians, actors, poets, writers, explorers, dictators and more, this year’s updated edition is read by a host of actors including Noma Dumezweni, Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson, Gillian Anderson, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Colin Salmon and Stephen Fry.

The letters are variously life-affirming, devastating, wilfully mundane, subtly acidic and sometimes downright creepy. Listeners can hear Olivia Colman reviving her cut-glass accent from The Crown as she reads the Queen’s recipe for drop scones that she sent to the US president Dwight D Eisenhower, as promised during his visit to Balmoral, and Alan Cumming hamming up Jack the Ripper’s famous “From Hell” dispatch to George Lusk, chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The letter was sent in 1888 with a preserved human kidney.

Continue reading...


Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby audiobook review – startling candour

The standup narrates her soul-baring work, which pushes the boundaries of comedyHannah Gadsby’s mem...

Read More >

Down and Out by Daniel Lavelle review – a howl of fury about homelessness

Lavelle weaves his own experience together with the testimony of others in this powerful memoir abou...

Read More >

On Connection by Kae Tempest audiobook review – inside the creative impulse

The performance poet narrates their first nonfiction work, mixing memoir with musings on how creativ...

Read More >

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason audiobook review – Emilia Fox captures the acerbic wit

The actor brings the dark humour of Mason’s novel to life as she narrates the story of how mental i...

Read More >

The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight review – astonishing adventures in precognition

How the Aberfan disaster prompted one psychiatrist to launch a nationwide search for ‘seers’ who c...

Read More >

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe audiobook review – inside America’s opioid crisis

With a calmly astonished tone, the author narrates the shocking story of how the Sackler family made...

Read More >