I wanted to promote a company I’m really liking…
The Teaching Company is a firm that takes college professors and records their lectures, then sells them in a variety of formats. So far all my experience is in the audio CD formats.
The base price is kind of a lot (about $200 for the audio CD version) but they rotate courses through sale prices when they come down to around $50. This is for 12 CDs, generally. 24 lectures.
So far I’ve finished:
King Arthur and Chivalry
Medieval Heroines in History and Legend
King Arthur and Chivalry was pretty good, especially the earlier lectures. When she (the professor is Bonnie Wheeler, who you may have seen in some A&E or Discovery Channel Arthurian shows) gets to de Troyes and Mallory it was more or less review since I was fairly familiar with those works. But early she talked about The Song of Roland and Silence and a few others that I’d never even heard of.
Medieval Heroines (same prof) was excellent. It looked at 4 women’s lives: Hildegard, Heloise (and her lover Abelard), Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc. Aside from the latter, I knew -nothing- about any of these women, and I was riveted by the course. Really good stuff.
and I just started
Europe and the Wars of Religion (1500–1700)
I’m only in the first lecture of this one, but so far I think I’m going to like it a lot.
I have these on order:
The History of the English Language
The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition
Anyway, if like me you spend a lot of time commuting, these are a nice change from audio books. Disk for disk, I think they’re cheaper than a typical audio book, too.
And if you’re a stay-at-home type, you can get the courses on DVD with visual aids and so forth, too.