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review 2017-03-15 23:55
Today's daily deal...
English Grammar Boot Camp - Professor Anne Curzan

How sweet! An item on my wish list showed up as a Daily Deal. It is so infrequently that they feature a title that I am interested in. Lots of suspense and romance but not much that is esoteric or otherwise off the beaten track.

 

But, that aside, I'm already well into it and it will be a good balm for the spate of spring cleaning that has begun around here. The lecturer has a pleasant voice, knows her topic and has an engaging style.

 

UPDATE: Finished. So sorry to have to move on. Curzan is so easy to listen to and her subject is fascinating. As a grammarian, she is practical and realistic not pendantic and inflexible. She understands that there is a difference between spoken language and formal written language, that language and usage are constantly changing.

 

If you just want to learn the rules, buy a style book such as Strunk & White or Brian Gardner or the Chicago Style Manual and just follow their rules. If you want to understand what makes our language tick and where these rules have come from, listen to Anne Curzan.

 

Rating: 4 and half stars

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text 2017-02-13 20:29
36 Books That Changed the World - R. Andrew Wilson,John E. Finn,Jerry Z. Muller,Brad S. Gregory,Charles Kimball,Daniel N. Robinson

This series of lectures is actually a compilation of lectures from other courses, some better than others. At least if you don't like a particular lecturer, you only have to put up with him for half an hour.

 

I decided to listen to this course for two reason. First, I was curious to know which books were on the list and why the lecturers thought they were game changers. Sometimes the questions was answered and sometimes it wasn't. At least it wasn't a series of cookie-cutter lectures, each trying to defend its being chosen for the list. Second, I'm too lazy to read all of the books myself, especially the ones that are purely philosophical, and this would be an easy way to become familiar with the titles and learn  a bit about them--and who knows, I might even read a couple (more) of them.

 

Lists like these are always open to dispute and I would like to point out that at least the title is not claiming that this is the definitive list of 36 game changers. If you want a complete list of the 36 titles on this list, go to my blog.

 

 

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text 2017-02-12 13:22
36 Books
36 Books That Changed the World - R. Andrew Wilson,John E. Finn,Jerry Z. Muller,Brad S. Gregory,Charles Kimball,Daniel N. Robinson

I've decided that I'm going to listen to only one lecture per day. For my own reference/sanity, I want to keep a list of them.

 

  1. Gilgamesh*
  2. Homer's Odyssey -- Quoting the lecturer:  It is the function of literature to recall; literature recalls the past...one good thing that literature does...saving people from being forgotten...
  3. Bhagavad Vita
  4. The Art of War
  5. Analects (Confucius)  -- Do unto others...
  6. Herodotus's Histories -- a new genre at its start
  7. Plato's Republic
  8. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
  9. Ovid's Metamorphosis
  10. Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
  11. St. Augustine's Confessions
  12. The Koran
  13. Liber Abaci -- Arabic numbers arrive
  14. The Divine Comedy*
  15. The Prince*
  16. Copernicus's  On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs
  17. Hamlet*
  18. Don Quijote*
  19. King James translation of the Bible -- important because of the politics surrounding its translation and not because it is a statement of doctrine
  20. Francis Bacon's Novum Organum
  21. Diderot's Encyclopedie
  22. Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language
  23. Common Sense*
  24. The Wealth of Nations
  25. The Federalist Papers
  26. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  27. A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  28. Democracy in America
  29. The Communist Manifesto
  30. Uncle Tom's Cabin
  31. On the Origin of Species
  32. On Liberty (John Stuart Mill) -- VERY TIMELY
  33. Being and Time
  34. The Jungle
  35. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  36. The Feminine Mystique
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text 2017-01-26 01:33
Timely Topic: The Great Debate
The Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution - Professor Thomas L. Pangle,The Great Courses,The Great Courses

Interesting information and quite timely considering that the new presidency is less than a week old but the lecturer's voice drove me up a wall; he broke up his phrases in some of the strangest....places. I am going to have to put this one in the re-read pile because I didn't get everything he had to say (mind wandered) and I do want to know more.

 

If it weren't for the lecturer, I would mark this one "highly recommended."

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review 2016-11-25 00:00
Great World Religions: Buddhism (Great Courses, #6105)
Great World Religions: Buddhism (Great Courses, #6105) - Malcolm David Eckel This Great Course Lecture series covers the religion by considering the historical context of the faith. (I'm not even sure if "faith" is the correct word to use in this context since as a whole Buddhist don't seem to believe in pretending to know things they don't know). I'm not sure if there is a source for what I want regarding learning about the tenets of Buddhism. As the lecturer said one of the early beliefs for Buddhism is all things are impermanent and that includes Buddhism itself. Well, I'll still be on the look out for a book on the subject to read in order to understand a little bit more about Buddhism.
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