Prince Charles and Hilary Mantel. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Britain abounds in quaint survivals: Beefeaters in the Tower, salmon in the Thames, and A Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4. Unlike the class system, A Book at Bedtime is best experienced in the supine position. Every weekday night at 10:45, a popular actor reads for fifteen minutes from a recent novel or short story. The selections are sometimes demanding, but the difficult bits are usually abridged. For Britons taking a night off from their traditional pursuits of drinking, fighting, and drug-taking, A Book at Bedtime is a literary mug of hot cocoa. Last...

 
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