What We Are Reading Today: Figuring by Maria Popova

Updated 14 March 2019

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: The Politics of Pain

Updated 11 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Author: Fintan O’Toole

This is a book about the UK exiting from Brexit. “England’s recent lurch to the right appears to be but one example of the nationalist wave sweeping across the world, yet as acclaimed Irish critic Fintan O’Toole suggests in The Politics of Pain, it is, in reality, a phenomenon rooted in the second World War,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“After the war the UK did not end up as good as they wanted to be. So they were in the European Nation but in 2016 they decided to leave it. They were seeking a new national destiny to shape a new political life and England wanted to be reborn in a new unity that was not with Europe. However, the author does not think their plan went exactly the way they wanted it go,” said the review.
O’Toole is a columnist, assistant editor and drama critic for The Irish Times.
He is a literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. He was and continues to be a strong critic of corruption in Irish politics.