My favorite class in college

Ok, another prompt. Because it’s only 9:30 p.m. but I’m totally wiped out. So, what was my favorite class in college? I had quite a few good classes, actually, but if you looked at all closely at my list of 1001 books it might not surprise you that my number one favorite was a course called “The Russian Novel.”

I wasn’t an English major in college even though I love to not only read but also to analyze & discuss books. But those college English classes were just not my thing. This was the mid eighties when all anyone could talk about in English classes was “unpacking the text” and “deconstructing” stuff that in my opinion had no relevance at all to the actual story. (Do English majors still unpack the text, or has that gone out of fashion now?)

So in The Russian Novel, which was not an English class at all but taught by a professor from the Russian department, we actually read the books and talked about them instead of unpacking or deconstructing them. And even better, the prof was amazing at giving us the historical, cultural, and political context, which seemed to be totally lacking in the English classes. I seem to have an affinity for Russian novels anyway; they feel familiar to me in a way that I can’t really explain. So I loved them to begin with, and then it was such a relief to have actual honest discussion. And I also think being aware of the larger context in which the books were written is so important. Any book I ever read, I always like to know the copyright date and preferably the author’s birthdate as well. Adds a ton to my appreciation of the book.

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  1. I probably give myself away as a total geek if I say my favorite classes were “Linear Optimal Control” (graduate) and “Information Theory” (undergraduate). I do not have a very liberal education, at least formally.

  2. LOL, that’s nothing to be ashamed of! In law school my favorite class was “Secured Transactions,” with “Agency and Partnership” coming in as a very close second.


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