Figuring

Figuring Review

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.

Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists--mostly women, mostly queer--whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson.

Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman--and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.

Title:Figuring
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Rebecca

    I have fallen in love with Maria Popova's weekly newsletter, Brain Pickings, and I cannot wait for this book....

  • Vivek Tejuja

    How does one begin to explain a book like Figuring? Honestly, I don’t know, however, I shall try. The book Figuring is much like Popova’s site, brainpickings.org: it is sort of a Russian doll, rev...

  • Melissa

    For the first third or so of the book I wasn’t quite sure what Popova was really getting at. There were a lot of historical figures surrounding her “main” subjects and I was having a little bit ...

  • Ana

    The trouble of doing your research, whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, is that - seduced by those happy coincidences and curious facts - you feel compelled to include almost everything in...

  • Kristina Stefanova

    The first book by the author of the prominent blog Brain Pickings - Maria Popova. Maybe it will disrupt my already compiled reading list.I read the prelude just now and it is exciting! :)...

  • Yana

    От години съм абонирана за страничката Brain Pickings на Мария Попова, книгата ми изглежда като логична следваща ст...

  • fewpagesmore

    The author of this book, Maria Popova is a well known curator of the excellent website brainpickings.org. Brain pickings has an eclectic collection of articles, books and other writings from various d...

  • Asif B.

    michigan daily review to come -- but this was a dense beautiful read...

  • Jean Rhude

    I am loving this book. Amazing first sentence and it just gets better and better....

  • Mehrsa

    I love Popova's blog and I've been following her for years. She is an excellent curator. But I don't think her skills work in book format. There were some really beautiful stories in here--especially ...