Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Great Courses

I love audiobooks. I find that I can listen to books that I would never finish on my own if I were actually reading them, and by listening to audiobooks I get to "read" a lot more books than I might otherwise have time for.

Last year a coworker introduced me to The Great Courses by The Learning Company. At first, I was a little skeptical of the idea of hours and hours of college lectures. However, I was won over after listening to the first 15 minutes of Famous Romans. I marvelled at the energy, passion and animation that the professor had in relating the various biographical sketches of the famous Romans of the course title. I learned all kinds of interesting things about ancient Rome and the series left me hungry for more. Recently, I finished Plato, Socrates and the Dialogues and have been thinking about pulling out some of those old philosophy 101 text books that have been in the back room undisturbed for the past 10 years or so.

Since my coworker pointed these out to me last year, I have been listening to these courses during my commute to and from work and have really enjoyed the classroom-style lectures in a variety of subjects such as literature, philosophy, religion and history. The materials are available in CD, cassette and DVD formats. Each lecture runs from 30 to 45 minutes. The courses come with a course guide to help you better understand the subject and follow up with reading on your own as well. The professors teaching the courses all come from very respected colleges and universities. The Great Courses will probably appeal to audiobook listeners who enjoy non-fiction titles and people who didn't get enough of these types of classes in college. I still listen to audiobooks in the car, but now I do it between classes.

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