I’d seen their ads in magazines and The New York Times for years before curiosity finally got the best of me and I ordered one of The Great Courses. I’d watched a number of them, such as The Joy of Thinking and Understanding the Brain, before the Literature and English Language subheading caught my eye. Currently there are 59 different courses listed under this category on The Great Courses website. Thirty-six of them on sale. I’m not sure if anyone every actually buys courses that aren’t on sale as they are quite costly and routinely are put on sale. A number of offerings, such as Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft, and Writing Creative Nonfiction are directly related to the craft of writing. Many other titles are related to language, words, or reading, all useful adjuncts to the writing trade.
Other uses for the courses range from the obvious–history classes as research–to the more subtle. While watching Games People Play: Game Theory in Life, Business, and Beyond, I came up with an idea for a flash fiction series which has yet to see paper and ink. Many of the courses could be of assistance for times when characters have interests you know little or nothing about. Some of the courses are as short as 6 lessons, while others are as long as thirty-six. Most are a half hour in length. Some are 45 minutes. All are taught by professors from around the country who are considered to be the best teachers in their fields. You can order the courses in a number of different formats for different prices, and many libraries carry a few of the series. Lately, most of them seem to come with free streaming. I prefer the DVDs as I like to listen to them while I’m exercising, and watching on the TV screen is more engrossing for me than on my laptop. I have, though, ordered Latin 101 to listen to on my computer and I’ve listened to others in the car. A few may only be available as audio CDs.
In future posts, I will discuss and review the various courses I’ve found that have been useful in my writing.