With my book-slash-novel reading (mostly) locked into my bigger novel-reading effort, I’ve been finding that I haven’t had much brain-share to devote to fiction that falls outside that category. Sure, I’ve been reading a lot of great books (new and again) but I’ve been so focused on that effort that I’m trying to avoid regretting the inevitable rut this has been threatening.
One way I’ve mostly avoided a rut has been with audiobooks, and even better with audio-non-fiction. A couple years ago my Audible subscription (I’ve been a member going on a decade now) was awesomely supplemented by a partnership (buyout?) by Audible with The Great Courses, a company that independently has sold and still does sell audio lectures on interesting topics by professors or scholars or experts on those topics.
Before this partnership, these lectures could run you about $50 to $100 a piece, and even though they consisted of as much as twenty-four hours worth of content, I could never bring myself to buy one. But with the Audible deal, I can get them for a single credit — or about $15.
In other words, I will admit that over the last couple years I’ve splurged on more than one interesting series on topics like music, physics, nutrition, parenting, and even language itself.
Last month I stumbled across a short-but-interesting series called How Great Science Fiction Works, which I immediately downloaded.
Ten days later I’ve already listened to all twenty-some lectures and am now –almost literally– bouncing with excitement about reading or watching or even writing some science fiction. If nothing else, my Kindle wish-list is now bursting at the seams with books I’d never heard of or books I’ve heard of but never given a second look.
If you are even remotely interested in science fiction and have a bunch of spare hours to devote to what is essentially auditing a literary studies course on the topic of the role of science fiction in society across the last two hundred years, I would definitely recommend this. I mean, I doubt it’s going to make you a better person or help you earn more money in your career, but at least you’ll have a better appreciation next time you drop your Star Wars bluray into the player and put your feet up to watch.