I’ve been exceptionally busy these past few weeks. Work is filled with new responsibilities, this is the third year of duty in Japan and I’m finding myself with ever increasing responsibilities. Most importantly the majority of my attention is focused on preparation for the upcoming birth of my daughter. Intellectually I feel ready, but I know that nothing I read or listen to can truly prepare me for the experience.
All of this means that I haven’t had a lot of time or mental energy to dedicate towards reading and writing. One way I have managed to keep up is taking advantage of The Great Courses offered on Amazon. Audible so far has been fantastic. The wife and I are listening to Robin Hobb’s Assasins Apprentice a few chapters at a time before going to bed, and I have been listening to history lectures on my way to work, during cardio, and when I’m catching up with mindless paperwork.
I just finished Professor’s Philip Daileader The Early Middle Ages, a 12-hour lecture on Europe between 600 to 1000 A.D. A fantastic survey of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Constantine, St. Augustine, Julian the Apostate, Charlemagne and the Carolingian Dynasty, Vikings, Angles and Saxons, and a whole lot of Irish monks.
One of my favorite segments was an hour lecture focused on the changes to the Family unit brought about by Medieval Christians. Replacing ancient Roman and Barbarian customs such as slavery, concubinage, and infanticide, with what we would recognize as the nuclear family unit, focused on a set of married partners and their children.
If you have some free dead time like a long commute or enjoy cardio sessions I highly recommend getting an Audible account and giving the Great Courses a listen. If you are a writer or just want to expand your education this is a must. Click here and get those free books.