Books: Spoken Word

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The Year 1000

Read by Derek Jacobi

HarperCollins, c.3hrs, pounds 8.99

DANNY DANZIGER and Robert Lacey's history might sound like just another millennium spin-off, but it is a highly original idea - an in- depth account of England around 1000 AD. Using early chronicles and today's sophisticated archaeological evidence, it is stuffed full of vivid details that transform one's picture of the past and instil a profound respect for our ancestors' ingenuity. People walked taller than the stunted products of 19th-century cities, women were almost as independent as today, and saints were as real as relations. It was also the era of the "Little Optimum" - unusually warm centuries - which is why for a brief period the Vikings got through normally perilously icy seas to find the lush new world of Vinland.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work

Read by Richard Carlson

Hodder, 1hr 30mins, pounds 8.99

I WAS planning to write a sarcastic attack on this tape just because of its title, but on listening I became a total convert. Carlson starts from the premise that we're all quite good at coping with big challenges that get adrenaline coursing through our bodies. What wears us down is "the small stuff" - the annoying little things that make daily life feel like wading through treacle. By reframing our attitudes and having positive rather than negative reactions, we can cope far more easily. OK, there are cringe-making moments, and Carlson's boyish enthusiasm may grate on you a little. But the content is genuinely eye-opening: a combination of practical and workable solutions for coping with daily stresses both at home or at work, and some highly imaginative reordering of personal priorities.