James Marshall's Learning and Reading Page

I've always enjoyed learning, so I have many interests, some of which are described on other pages in this site. Here, I'm going to focus on two general topics: educational sites and reading.


While science, technology, computers, and the like are some of my primary areas of interest, I enjoy learning in general. I tend to prefer colloquia/seminars over more complete courses (e.g., college classes) now, but here are some sites of both types I found that seem like good places to learn new things, in no particular order: MIT's OpenCourseWare, UC Berkeley web casts, Open Yale courses, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, FORA.tv, Gresham College, Annenberg Media's teacher resources (it looks like a free account is required here), and Khan Academy A few sites have compiled places with online learning material, including (again, in no particular order): Free Academic Podcasts, Directory of E-Learning Tools, Free Science and Video Lectures, Online Libraries, Academic Earth, and YouTube EDU. A few other places that I thought had interesting content include (once again, in no particular order): MinutePhysics (YouTube), The RSA and in particular RSA Animate, and Shady Characters about punctuation.


I generally like to read but don't seem to have enough time to do a lot of it anymore, so I'm working rather slowly through my books and other reading material. Outside of that, my current favorite source of material is Mouse Books, which prints curated selections of literature of various types in pocket-sized books with just 48 or 64 pages each (so they take excerpts from longer works). I highly recommend them; anything they make is bound to be good. DailyLit e-mails you books and stories (mostly older classics) in small parts that only take about 5 minutes to read. That makes it a pretty convenient way to get some fun reading in. Another compact publication is True Story by Creative Nonfiction, a mini-magazine with each issue containing one essay, and the series covers a "variety of voices and styles and subjects." I also like the topics covered by Wooden Books who "specialises in creating tiny, highly designed and highly illustrated books which distill complex subjects down into an easily digestible format. Subjects covered ... include Science, the Arts of Language, Geometry, the Mathematics of Music Traditional Visual Arts and Ancient Architecture." Since a lot of individual books are available, I'd suggest starting with one of their compilation books -- Quadrivium, Sciencia, Designa, and Trivium -- based on your interest, which is what I did (I actually have all four). Prefer non-fiction? Blinkist distills all sorts of nonfiction books into sets of short summaries that cover the major highlights of each book. It's primarily a paid service, but you can get a free trial, and if you choose to stay a free member, you still get to read one free book a day (that they pick). I also like how StoryBundle offers bundles of books matching a theme, as does Humble Bundle's Book Bundle. I buy less from the former than the latter, because the types of books they offer are different (e.g., I can get coding books from Humble). If you're a frequent reader though, these are nice options for expanding your library at relatively low prices. If you're interested in book summaries, maybe to get the main points or to see if you want to read the full book, take a look at Four Minute Books; if you use my referral link for Four Minute Books I can get some bonus material for free, so I'd appreciate you joining that way if you do. Thanks! I also get a few magazines, newsletters, etc., mainly from my professional societies and honor societies. I don't always read everything in them, but I do usually try to read the articles that look the most interesting to me. I also like to read manga, which are basically Japanese comics, though I rarely do so anymore. Now and then I'll buy some, but otherwise I try to read ones carried by Crunchyroll where they're already included in the membership I pay for there.

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James Marshall (e-mail me)

This page was last updated on August 10, 2022.
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