What We Are Reading Today: Figuring by Maria Popova

Updated 14 March 2019
0

What We Are Reading Today: Figuring by Maria Popova

  • Exploring the complexities of love and the human search for truth

Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries — beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. 

The author of this book, Maria Popova, is a well known curator of the excellent website brainpickings.org. 

Christine Kenneally said in a review published in The New York Times: “Though the general structure of Figuring is chronological, it’s anything but linear. Generally it proceeds through a series of surprising links, fascinating diversions and sometimes dizzying associative drift. When the connections cohere, it’s like carefully constructed fiction.”

A reviewer said in goodreads.com: “It is very affecting and beautiful writing and the author artfully weaves together many figures from the past, predominantly women.”


What We Are Reading Today: Outsiders by Lyndall Gordon

Updated 19 March 2019
0

What We Are Reading Today: Outsiders by Lyndall Gordon

  • Gordon’s passion for literature is evident on every page of her book

In Outsiders, Lyndall Gordon tells the stories of five novelists — Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner, Virginia Woolf — and their famous novels.

The five writers are woven together in a narration across time, through their reading and sometimes as role models for one another. 

As a biographer, Gordon has been a visionary herself, mind-reading her way into these figures’ creative processes. 

Gordon’s passion for literature is evident on every page of her book.

The book is split into separate parts, each documenting the lives of the famous female writers.

It is clear throughout that Gordon is in awe of and intrigued by the ‘otherness’ of her subjects. 

“This book really makes one think about just what it takes to be a true ‘reformer’ or for that matter a writer,” said a review published in goodreads.com. 

“Gordon’s biographies have always shown the indelible connection between life and art: An intuitive, exciting and revealing approach that has been highly praised and much read and enjoyed,” it added.

Gordon (born Nov. 4, 1941) is a British-based writer and academic, known for her literary biographies. She is a senior research Fellow at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.