Saturday, August 4, 2012

Starting Dracula!

For the first two weeks of class, we were reading books that are familiar to me; I could even say they are intensely familiar, since Grimm and Alice are both included in the reading for the classes that I teach. Dracula, though, is different - I have not read it in about twenty years I would guess. In fact, I have a funny story about that: back when I ran the office for an academic journal, I had a lot of tedious tasks to do which allowed me to listen to books on tape while I was at work (and those were literally books on tape, cassette tapes from the local public library - nothing via the Internet back then). So, I was happily listening to Dracula, alone in my office. It was a dramatized reading, and at one point, there was the very loud scream of a woman. The professor in the office next to mine came running to see if I was alright! He sure did laugh when I showed him the cassette player and assured him all was well. (More embarrassing story: I was listening to Mario Puzo's Godfather and a very explicit sexual scene was being narrated when someone walked into the office; ouch!).

Anyway, I am going to be listening to Dracula with a full cast recording this time - I am so looking forward to this! One of my very favorite audio book readers, John Lee, is part of the cast. So, here goes - I have some housecleaning to do... Dracula will be a wonderful accompaniment. For all that I am disappointed by the online learning aspects of this Coursera course, I continue to be thrilled by the reading list. Exciting!


  1. I was going to listen to all the books rather than reading them...but then I decided that I wouldn't be as analytic that way. I simply don't have the attention span to REALLY listen to audiobooks, and I think of it more as a way of skimming than of reading--because my mind is always fuzzing out and zoning in again. Or would that be fuzzing in and zoning out? I'm afraid I mustn't have chosen the correct words, but you get what I mean. ;)

    I will be reading The New Annotated Dracula. It's been 17 years since I read Dracula.

  2. I know just what you mean, Rachel! For me it works both ways - and usually I get more out of the audio version than reading in print simply because the audio goes more SLOWLY. I am a victim of the terrible pressure to read quickly, that useful but also terrible skill people often develop at school, at work, etc. Audiobooks get me to slow down and experience the text in a really different way, esp. when the reader is a good reader - and the readers for this Dracula are so good, doing different accents for the characters, etc. The best situation for me is like what we have in this class; I have the audiobook to listen to and the text of the book available on my computer to get quotes from later, search the text, etc. I am so glad that most of the books we are reading in this class are public domain so that I can get a digital text to go with the audio! :-)

  3. Glad to have fumbled on to your blog while going through the discussion forum. May I know What MOOC is? I am Bharathi, from India, and a fellow Coursera student. I am a freelance writer

  4. Hi Bharathi, MOOC is this funny-sounding word that is an abbreviation for "Massive Open Online Course" - it's what people are using to refer to courses like these ones offered by Coursera, where the courses are open for enrollment to anyone, and they are massive because they can have thousands, even tens of thousands, of students. I think there are about 5000 students in this Fantasy-SciFi course for example. :-)



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.