I had read the book during college - it was one of those books that I would stop, go back a few paragraphs, and re-read a section to be sure I had grasped what was happening - and so I was concerned (I guess more curious) to how well an audiobook could capture the shifts in perspective and time. Grover Gardner is consistently good in my opinion, but this has to be one of his best performances. His reading brought the book to life for me in a way that greatly enhanced my experience of it.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the book is difficult and takes some effort. (And having already read it, I can't comment on the experience of starting with the audiobook alone.) However, the effort is richly rewarded - this is one of Faulkner's best, and Faulkner himself is arguably the best at capturing the self-contradictory pride and moral decay of the post-antebellum South, while bundling all of this tragedy up in engaging storytelling.
This has to be the best production of Faulkner on audio available. I can't imagine how it could be better.
The first half of this course is interesting and really pretty good. Professor Livermore has participated in some interesting research and developed a system/language for talking about cultural awareness/intelligence ("CQ" in the course). And there is definitely some good information and concepts that will help you gain perspective and be better equipped to understand and interact with people from other cultures.
The 3-star ranking is because of the tendency the author has to talk about his own personal experiences, many of them banal, and present them as evidence of some general cultural dimension. This ranged from annoying (and frequently so) to contradictory in few cases. Another problem with the course is the author's multiple exhortations to "slow down" and "relax" and "enjoy" cultural differences. The repetition kept reminding me that I wasn't learning anything new after about lecture 10 or 11.
My impression is that the first half of the course is well researched, and thus fairly coherent and well presented, but that the second half of the course is thrown together.
I have over 50 Teaching Company courses and this course is one the best. I'd rank it in the top 5 of all the TeachCo courses I have taken. Both educational and entertaining (frequently, downright funny), the course offers a broad survey of Western music starting in the Middle Ages up through the early 20th century.
I had listened to several of Professor Greenberg's other courses prior this one, and all of them are good. As a speaker, he has an engaging and accessible style, yet he is still able to deliver the pedagogic goods via inventive analogies and repetition, as needed, without making it feel dull or like you're in a classroom. (Or, if you are in classroom, it's like your favorite teacher of all-time.)
If you are interested in music and haven't experienced one of Professor Greenberg's courses, this is be a good one to start with because it will give you an idea of where you might like to dive deeper. I did it backwards, listening to some specific courses first (as an aside, the course on Bach is fantastic!) and then trying this survey course, but wish I had started with this one. Even as a survey, it is expansive - (48) 45-minute lectures - and greatly furthered my understanding of music.
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