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Vanessa Barrett

  • 7
  • reviews
  • 11
  • helpful votes
  • 7
  • ratings
  • Psychology of Human Behavior

  • By: David W. Martin, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: David W. Martin
  • Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 319
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 274

Today's psychologist is apt to be very different from the image most people conjure up when asked to picture one - an image that almost always suggests Sigmund Freud or someone like him, complete with leather couch.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful lectures. Very clear and to the point.

  • By J Carrington on 07-07-14

More 'abnormal' than normal behaviour

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-17

Would you try another book written by The Great Courses or narrated by Professor David W. Martin?

I have already purchased dozens of Great Courses across a wide variety of subjects, and never before been disappointed.

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

Ten of the first 13 lectures were about psychiatric conditions and about medication and therapies like ECT (the Professor concluded psychology can't 'explain' these conditions in terms of human behaviour or why the treatments work!) The remaining sessions were more about mainstream psychology but most examples of experiments seemed based on small scale studies done on students in US colleges. There was little to be learned that I didn't know 40 years ago from general reading.

What didn’t you like about Professor David W. Martin’s performance?

The sessions followed classical theory in terms of helping people remember the content, but there was so much repetition with very little new material.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment predominantly.

Any additional comments?

I have bought over 30 Great Courses from Audible and many more DVD series direct from the company. Always I have found new knowledge or a refreshing new slant on facts I did already know. I ploughed on through all 36 lectures of this course thinking it must get better. For me, it didn't!!

  • Monkey

  • By: Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley - translator
  • Narrated by: Kenneth Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

Considered one of China's great classical novels, Wu Ch'êng-ên's Journey to the West was translated by Arthur Waley in abridged form as Monkey in 1942 and has delighted English readers ever since. It is a riveting adventure story about a priest's quest to obtain holy Buddhist scriptures for the Tang emperor; joining him on this rollicking journey: Sandy, Pigsy, and the mischievous monkey king, Sun Wukong, whose flying cloud and magic cudgel are never far from his infamous deeds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Warren on 23-02-16

This amazing 16th cent Chinese novel is pure joy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-05-16

Would you listen to Monkey again? Why?

Written in Chinese before Shakespeare wrote his plays, there is a well-attested historical truth at the heart of the story - the journey of a Chinese scholar to India in the 7th century to obtain Buddhist scriptures to take back to China. However onto this basic story is embroidered many layers, with mythical demons, wonderful characters (especially the animal companions of the pilgrim - Monkey and Pigsy and two dragons), extraordinary adventures, and themes reflecting a huge range of familiar European stories (such as Hamlet, the Minotaur, Moses, Oedipus and the Oresteia) which couldn't possibly be known to the Chinese author at the time. Kenneth Williams' performance of the book adds to the pleasure. I think I would have found it difficult to read it all.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Monkey?

Monkey is a wonderful invention. Although he has magic powers, he keeps his simian characteristics: he is curious, arrogant, exuberant, brash and noisy. Above all he is defiant of all forms of authority. The various scenes where Monkey is the one who has to come up with ingenious plans to save the pilgrims from imminent disaster are a delight.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Difficult to say, but the fight between Monkey and the General in Heaven, where both of them change from one shape to another with bewildering rapidity is pretty hard to beat.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

This book could never be condensed into one tagline. It is triumphant on so many different levels.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Liar's Daughter

  • By: Laurie Graham
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Egan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 22

When Nan Prunty's mother kept an alehouse in Portsmouth she renamed it The Duchess of Prunty, the title she claimed would have been hers had Lord Nelson lived. He was her lover. She saw him die at Trafalgar, or so she says. The details vary according to the amount of drink she's taken. Nan makes her own determined way in life, but always haunted by the wish to know the truth about her father. From the aging seamen at the Greenwich Hospital to the battlefields of the Crimea, Nan discovers the world is full of people with a story about Nelson.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An intriguing take on life in the19th century

  • By Vanessa Barrett on 21-07-15

An intriguing take on life in the19th century

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-07-15

What made the experience of listening to The Liar's Daughter the most enjoyable?

I have read about Nelson's life, the Victory and his death. This story brought a whole new perspective to Nelson the man. Then there is the huge contrast with the Crimean war, only a decade or so later. It is almost two books in one.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Liar's Daughter?

The meeting between mother and daughter in the horrors of the Crimea.

What does Rebecca Egan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The storytellers change (from mother to daughter). The use of different tones of voice mean one always knows who is telling which part of the story.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was stunned by the imagination that linked seemingly disparate storylines, but with a very sure thread.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the concept behind the book as much as the story itself. I like historical novels that are set within actual events.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Canterbury Tales

  • By: Peter Ackroyd
  • Narrated by: Seán Barrett, Anita Wright
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

A motley group of travellers meet at a London inn on their way to Canterbury, where they agree to take part in a storytelling competition. As they make their way on the road, they drink, laugh, flirt, argue, interrupt and try to outdo each other with their tales. Funny, moving, outrageous and life-affirming, the 24 stories here blend comedy and tragedy, heroic adventure, high romance and salacious humour.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a revelation!

  • By Ms. C. T. Bell on 06-10-13

Superb re-telling of a timeless classic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have both read and listened to the stories from The Canterbury Tales several times, but I found Peter Ackroyd's version one of the most enjoyable.

What other book might you compare The Canterbury Tales to, and why?

I don't think there's another that comes close! For all our present-day enjoyment of historical novels, the medieval mindset which is expressed in the original can never be captured by the modern author.

Have you listened to any of Seán Barrett and Anita Wright ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure, but I really like the interplay between the male and female story-tellers.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is too long for one sitting, but the individual stories make for easy breaks .... even though I always wanted to get on to the next one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Strangler Vine

  • By: M. J. Carter
  • Narrated by: Sam Dastor
  • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of M. J. Carter's The Strangler Vine, read by the actor Sam Dastor. India, 1837: William Avery, a fresh young officer in the East India Company, arrives in Calcutta expecting to be seduced by its ancient traditions. Nine months later he hasn't learnt a word of Hindoostani, is in terrible debt, and longs to return home before the cholera epidemic finishes him off.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • "Ripping Yarn" revises our view of Brits in India

  • By T on 15-05-15

The East India Company's later machinations

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-06-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Strangler Vine to be better than the print version?

Don't know

Who was your favorite character and why?

Don't consider books in this way. I'm more interested in the way the story unfolds different characters and how their personalities influence what happens

Which character – as performed by Sam Dastor – was your favourite?

As above

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

This format for reviews is really unhelpful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dan Snow's recent TV series the 'Birth of Empire' about the East India Company and decided to read this novel to complement it. Although a novel, several historical characters are included and I found the story both believable and fascinating. Sam Dastor brought characters to life with consistent accents and a lively rendition. If like me you have an interest in understanding how history influences what happens today, this is an intriguing glimpse into the 'foreign', in every sense, world of late 1830s India.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Tudor Secret

  • The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: C. W. Gortner
  • Narrated by: Steve West
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

The summer of 1553 is a time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, has been reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king’s brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Tudor Secret

  • By kate on 30-05-12

Derring do worthy of Rupert of Hentzau!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-13

What did you like best about The Tudor Secret? What did you like least?

I tend to pick up anything to do with the Tudor period and I liked the idea of weaving in the setting up of the Elizabethan network of spies. The fictional nature of the book was apparent from the first. I found the basic premise unconvincing and the speed with which the hero got involved in intrigues and then resolved them seemed in the best style of melodrama. Although the history of the period appeared well-researched, the book lacked for me the Tudor atmosphere of other novelists of the genre.

What will your next listen be?

A more modern spy story! Perhaps Le Carre.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

  • Winter King

  • The Dawn of Tudor England
  • By: Thomas Penn
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 97

A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Winter King

  • By Mrs. on 24-06-12

Fascinating link between Plantagenets and Tudors

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-13

What did you like most about Winter King?

Following on from the recent TV series on Elizabeth Woodville, the book filled a gap in my knowledge of the period between the Wars of the Roses and the mass of books written about Henry VIII and later Tudors. The author gives a convincing story of how Henry VII's complex personality, and obsession with hoarding money, was formed during his childhood exile. I really liked the way that meticulous research and contemporary quotes were woven into the story so that one could envisage the colour and spectacle of great Court occasions as well as feel the terror of loyal subjects who were baffled by the King's secretiveness. I found the most interesting elements concerned what was going on in England at the high point of the Renaissance in Italy. I knew that Henry VII was deeply engaged in European trade, but the book gives insights into his machinations, as well as to the squandering of huge sums to try to 'buy' security from Plantagenet rivals for the English throne.

Would you be willing to try another book from Thomas Penn? Why or why not?

I like the way solid research and contemporary quotes that were woven seamlessly into the storyline. If this author has written anything else about a little-known period of history, I would enjoy reading it.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Philip of Burgundy was shipwrecked on the English south coast when he was trying to get to Spain to claim the crown of Castile from Ferdinand (of Aragon) after Isabella's death. The book illustrates how the usually sombre Henry VII created a series of extravagant Court pageants to lock Philip into a 'gilded cage' until he agreed to give up the main Plantagenet 'pretender' to the English throne that he had protected for years. Henry was an incredibly astute politician.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Our first Renaissance King

2 of 2 people found this review helpful