Our Story

“When I get a little money, I buy books; if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
—Desiderius Erasmus

We’re passionate about learning and teaching from the great books we know and love.

In today’s fast-paced world of smartphones and styluses, we still carry pocket notebooks and fountain pens. While others are reading eBooks, we’re reading book books. And yet we’re no Luddites. That’s why we’re offering you a cutting-edge eLearning experience in great books.

We distinguish leisure from entertainment. While others are reading bestsellers and watching blockbusters, we’re reading great books and attending lectures. Yet we’re not ivory-tower romantics. We’re looking for what’s personally applicable in the great books and sharing it too.

Meet Our Instructors

Leisure Learning’s instructors are passionate about learning and teaching.

Rick Duerden

INSTRUCTOR

Rick Duerden was born in Bountiful and grew up in Provo, Utah. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a PhD in English Literature and from BYU with an MA and BA in English. He specializes in Early Modern literature and literary theory. His publications include an edited collection of articles on the metaphysical poets and essays on contemporary literary theory, sixteenth-century reformers, and the Bible and political authority in Reformation England. He has lived in England and Denmark, and enjoys music and biking.

Rick Duerden

INSTRUCTOR

Rick Duerden was born in Bountiful and grew up in Provo, Utah. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a PhD in English Literature and from BYU with an MA and BA in English. He specializes in Early Modern literature and literary theory. His publications include an edited collection of articles on the metaphysical poets and essays on contemporary literary theory, sixteenth-century reformers, and the Bible and political authority in Reformation England. He has lived in England and Denmark, and enjoys music and biking.

Christopher Hurtado

INSTRUCTOR

Christopher Hurtado was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic and Philosophy and from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. His principal areas of interest are philosophy in the Islamic world, philosophical poetry, and classical languages and literature. He has lived in South America and the Middle East, and enjoys traveling, book collecting, and cooking.

Travis Patten

INSTRUCTOR

Travis Patten was born in Provo, Utah, and grew up in Salem, Utah. He graduated from Utah Valley University with a BA in History. His principal areas of interest are ancient Near Eastern culture, Italian poetry, and 18th century British literature. He has lived in South America and Great Britain, and enjoys traveling, book collecting, and cheesemaking.

Travis Patten

INSTRUCTOR

Travis Patten was born in Provo, Utah, and grew up in Salem, Utah. He graduated from Utah Valley University with a BA in History. His principal areas of interest are ancient Near Eastern culture, Italian poetry, and 18th century British literature. He has lived in South America and Great Britain, and enjoys traveling, book collecting, and cheesemaking.

Testimonials

“Christopher Hurtado has a gift for exactness. If you want to really understand the details of a subject, or if you want to be able to analyze each part of a particular idea, word, or problem, lay your questions at his feet, and he will guide you through the process of discovery. He loves to see your mind grasp hold of new levels of understanding, tear into a complex issue and be able to hold each piece up for scrutiny. His passion is teaching and learning, and with his guidance I have learned more than I ever imagined I could.”

—Alysia Hurtado

“Travis Patten is an amazing instructor. He has a depth of knowledge about classical literature and the history of the times that brings to life the author and his work. He possesses amazing patience and takes time to clarify the historical background of the work at hand as well as concepts that are obscure to the student.”

—Lenna Allred

“Christopher Hurtado is a fantastic instructor. His passion for knowledge and learning is infectious and makes me want to continue a lifelong pursuit of learning. His knowledge of multiple languages greatly increases his ability to discern and explain the true meaning of words in classical literature, and creates in me a better appreciation for gaining the correct meaning of words in order to understand better the the works studied.”

—Lenna Allred

“Travis has a breadth and depth of knowledge that I appreciated while studying Dante’s Inferno. His understanding of historical, political and religious context was valuable in that it helped me understand the poem in more depth. I appreciated Travis’s willingness to engage any question that was asked of him. He was able to help those who were new to this work think more deeply as to its meaning while at the same time encouraging us to think for ourselves as to what symbols and verses might mean and being able to express those openly. No one was ever left to feel that their commentary didn’t add some value to the discussion. Travis’s generous personality and his deep knowledge make him an excellent teacher for difficult works of study. I’d gladly look to him as a teacher in continued study through Leisure Learning.”

—Karen Monsen

“I have enjoyed many a discussion in classical literature led by Christopher Hurtado.  He has a joy of learning that is infectious. He has a unique knowledge of many languages, cultures, philosophy and classical literature that translates into a unique experience every time.”

—Patti Allred

“Travis Patten is a wonderful instructor;  Informal enough for a kitchen table, while profound enough for any university lecture hall.  He makes Dante approachable to everyone by encouraging his students to see parallels in the conflicts and solutions Dante relates in their own life journey.  He also does a wonderful job of breaking down the language, cultural and historical nuances to enhance understanding of the text.”

—Patti Allred

“Christopher is a thoughtful and considerate mentor who is willing to take the time and effort to help you understand and benefit the most from whatever you happen to be studying together. Whether you choose to study ancient or modern philosophy or other great works from both the eastern and western canons, you will gain greater clarity and understanding as you work with his guidance. Having a great mentor can mean the difference between reaching the top of the peak, and stalling out half way up the mountain. Christopher is the kind of mentor who helps you through the rough patches and ultimately stands with you at the summit to enjoy the blessing of hard work and perseverance and the knowledge that can only be gained in that way.”

—Jesse Carrell

“I appreciate Travis’ knowledge and expertise with Dante and the insights he has to share that help to clarify my study of this challenging work. He is informed and easy to interact with and makes the content and insights within The Comedy more accessible and meaningful to me personally.”

—Jesse Carrell

“I hold Christopher Hurtado with high regard and respect; not only for his love of humanity but also because of his commitment in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.  His understanding of history, language, politics, philosophy and religion is impressive. I have found that if one is truly seeking knowledge and understanding, Christopher is willing to invest his personal time to help one achieve those goals. Christopher has become somewhat of a mentor to me in this regard  He is always responsive to honest questions regardless of how busy he is and willingly guides one in such pursuits.. Although Christopher has strong opinions of his own he consciously directs students to original sources rather than expecting them to take upon them his own opinion and knowledge.  I believe there is the expectation to look beyond the surface and to think deeply about things of significance. He has always shown patience and kindness as I’ve asked many questions, often the same ones, over and over again in an effort to help me understand difficult concepts. As someone who delights in the study of various subjects, I will continue to turn to Christopher as a teacher, who I find to be an honest and true source of information and learning.”

—Karen Monsen

“As a mentor Travis Patten has the unique ability to communicate the breadth and depth of his exceptional knowledge-base without making anyone feel inferior. His self-deprecating sense of humor, along with his sensitivity to the learning process create a safe, comfortable atmosphere for sharing ideas and intellectual discoveries. He is passionate about helping others understand and love what they are learning. I have experienced his gracious guidance in my learning journey, and wholeheartedly recommend him as a mentor!”

—Alysia Hurtado