Last summer, when I was Walking, my husband got me an mp3 player so I could listen to filk as I strolled down Ocean Parkway. (Boogie Knights are *excellent* to walk to, btw. So is Tom Smith.)
But I wanted something else for when I was otherwise busy. So we've been buying lecture series from The Teaching Company, which I listen to mostly while cooking dinner, although they've also been useful for waiting rooms and long bus rides (along with a sock to knit.) The first was a survey of the history of evolution.
The current (and nearly finished) one is "The English Novel." And not only is it fascinating - I took enough English lit classes in college to qualify for a minor along with Education, but not on this particular subject - but it's also encouraged me to read books I'd only heard of before - or books I haven't read in decades. My mother-in-law, who didn't know I was doing this, bought me an omnibus of Thomas Hardy books (reasoning that "Debbie likes Jane Austen. Here's another 19th C English writer."), but as it's too heavy to leave the bedroom, much less the house, I'm saving it for Shabbat reading, where I'm taking cara_chapel's advice and reading Far From the Madding Crowd first. Apparently, he's the anti-Jane Austen, and this is his *least* depressing book.
So. I have a PDA, and there is Project Gutenberg, with its vast collection of out-of-copyright books to download. And, honestly, I've read most of the fanfic on my pda so often I can see it in my head. Monday, I downloaded Wuthering Heights, which I haven't read since college (over two decades) and Vanity Fair, which I haven't read at all.
I just finished WH. And. Wow. Emily makes her sister Charlotte seem, well, light and bright and sparkling. I knew it was gloomy, but I'd forgotten most of it. The layers. The unreliable second and third tier narrators. The petty, small characters and the great, huge ones - and the positive dearth of likeable ones. In fact, the only one I ever really liked was *Hareton*. Wow. (Also. I have a story germinating. We will see.)