Oh, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and ain’t that the way? There is so much to say, there is nothing to say. I’m not what you’d call a naturally gregarious person–when I was a kid I wanted to be a hermit when I grew up.* Sometimes you just have to break the ice a little, though.
So, Coursera. I’ve been lurking in the back rows of a course on fantasy and science fiction literature for the last couple of weeks. Or maybe I’ve been auditing? It’s free, low-pressure, and pretty high quality. The course instructor is Eric Rabkin at U Michigan, and the course runs from July 23 through Oct 1. Texts run from Grimm Brothers through Ursula K. LeGuin, lectures are broken into bite-sized pieces on video. You can join in anytime.
It’s funny, we pretty much give up on learning things once we graduate and get jobs. Or at least, there’s no further cultural support for continuing to take classes unless they’re Crossfit or cooking. When really, taking classes is one of the most awesome things in the world.
I finished reading a book the other day and right before I plunged into the next one, I felt a moment of sadness that reading is such a dislocated, personal experience. I mean, I like that it’s personal, I just wish that there were some widely-accepted forum in which grown-up people could continue to think and talk and generally better themselves in the brain region, after graduation and induction into a cubicle. Because really, what is out there?? Book groups, I guess. Yeah, that’s…hit or miss. Sad.
Anyway, here are some things that are good for your brain and its peripheral devices:
- Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck
- Barbara Demick’s nonfiction book about North Korea, Nothing to Envy
- Possibly followed by Adam Johnson’s novel The Orphan Master’s Son (not sure, still reading)
- Premium Rush, the movie
- Emma Donoghue’s recent story in One Story, “The Widow’s Cruse.”
Okay, actually, one of those things will probably not enhance your brain significantly. But North Korea is very depressing, so.
We are headed for Lawless in the near future, since apparently it hits theaters tonight. This is a movie that stars both the delightful Tom Hardy and the undelightful Shia Leboeuf. If I were Matt Bondurant I’d be alternately laughing and crying bitter, bitter tears.
* True fact. You can ask childhood best friends about this. Probably not an indication of great mental health.