Brainpickings Comes to Your Local Shelf


Maria Popova

Hardback, Non-fiction, 592 pages


On a recent family trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I had the pleasure of visiting Malaprop’s Bookstore again. On the way to the register, I noticed the yellow, first edition of Figuring. I recognized Maria Popova immediately as the curator of If you don’t read that blog, you should fix that. It’s a fantastic romp through philosophy, poetry, history, literature, and science—much like Figuring itself. At nearly 600 pages, I was a little hesitant, but the clerk told me she was “half way through Figuring already and it read like a long-form blog post.” I was sold.

Figuring is the type of non-fiction that you can bounce around on. I was impressed by the sheer number of female scientists, authors, and artists Popova highlights. I learned about LBGQT lovers, environmentalists, poets, astronomers—so many names that I had never heard of. It was a little overwhelming. Ms. Popova’s history book is somewhere around Howard Zinn’s A People’s History + Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. If you love history, give this title a go.

Check out the free sample here.