Soviet Russia Saved My Life

Not really. But “I Sat Around And Listened To History CDs While I Was Sick” doesn’t have much punch, does it?

Charlie and I are very keen on The Great Courses by The Teaching Company. While we were sick, we listened to History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev. Sound dull? Well, it wasn’t! My only complaint was that the professor gave very short shrift to everybody after Stalin. Yes, that was the period within my memory, but I already knew more than he told. I wanted to learn some new stuff!

Anyway, we very much enjoyed it, and it lasted us through our entire illness.

Now, we’re listening to Robert Sapolsky on Being Human. We’ve heard some of his courses before, and like him very much. Other favorites of ours are Robert Greenberg on music, Barbara J. King on anthropology, Amy-Jill Levine on the Old Testament …. Oh, there are SO MANY!

Then, after we listen to one of the CDs, we get to argue about it! Hours of endless fun! 😀

The Great Courses. Video (ooo, pikshers!) or audio (learn while you knit or drive — notatthesametime!!!!). Highly recommended.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Learn about something you don’t know and give that knowledge to one of your characters. Remember, though: infodumps not allowed.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Soviet Russia Saved My Life

  1. Joanna Foreman

    January 4, 2013 at 9:02am

    Just think, someday you’ll have the privilege of being sick again, and you can read up on another important country in history. Love to you.

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  2. Jane

    January 4, 2013 at 10:37am

    Hi. I am taking this as an announcement of your reachieved wellness! So–Congrats! I usually find that the time after being sick is the best-feeling time of your life. To just feel normal again.

    I’ve been catching a lot of new articles about the origin of life. All very speculative, of course, plus very factual bits we pretty much know for sure. Then they find out another fact and try to reconcile it with what they think they know already. It’s all very fascinating. Plus, it’s a lot easier if you can do backbends with a cartwheel at the end. 😉

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 4, 2013 at 1:40pm

      One day, Charlie and I got up, looked at each other, and were like, “Welcome back!” It felt like we’d been away for a month, and not in a happy place. 😀

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  3. Sara Deurell

    January 4, 2013 at 10:56am

    In Soviet Russia, history learns YOU.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 5, 2013 at 8:39am

      If you haven’t tried the Great Courses, go to eBay and get some cheap. It’s fun! 🙂

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  4. Dave

    January 5, 2013 at 2:25pm

    The problem with watching CD’s about the Soviet Union while having a flu bug is going off on a tangent and reading Mikhail Bulgakov or someone. Fever and Nyquil are best satisfied with Betty Crocker’s book and wandering down the soup-path of knowledge I think.

    Thanks for the links 🙂


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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 5, 2013 at 4:37pm

      The! Master! And! Margarita! Dave, I totally dreamed in Russian while we were listening to those CDs. And I don’t know Russian! It was awesome!

      I took a semester of Russian in college, but I can’t say anything but “What is your family name?” and various random words. But in my DREAMS last week, I was fluent. lol!

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