I don’t know about you, but I get entirely sick of “Best Books of 2011” lists. (Ours, of course, is not in the same category. It’s a “Things We Liked” list, which feels different.) Not that they aren’t useful or a good recap of things you meant to read but maybe never got around to, but it’s just that they are SO many of them. They make me feel anxious, like no matter how much I’ve read, it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t the right book.
And then a friend sent me a link to Brain Pickings, which has the most interesting collection of book recommendations I have seen. Mostly books I’ve never even heard of. And many include pictures, drawing and art, melded with science or history or philosophy, a fusion of topics that push you to think about something a little bit differently. You like photography? Philosophy? History? Science? Each list promises to focus on that topic, but freely branches into others as well. These are not, maybe, the books that everyone heard about when they came out, but they should’ve been. Luckily Maria Popova, the editor of Brain Pickings, is here to remedy that.(And hey, we did review number one on the science list, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Read our review here.)
From what I can tell, Popova is an immaculate writer who also writes for Wired UK and The Atlantic, etc., etc. For this website, she is a self-described “cultural curator”, bringing readers “cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers.” (She is a creator of alliterative sentences as well.) Her goal: “to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.” Totally true, because I found myself wanting to read every book on her lists, even books about topics I am totally unfamiliar with.
So if you’re looking for one last list to inspire you to read more of 2011, consider checking out Brain Pickings. I know I’ll be looking there, even culling their archives (7 Essential Books about the City? YES please!).
Happy New Year, dear readers, and may you find the time in 2012 to read everything that piques your interest! (A girl can dream, right?)