The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Introducing Book Pickings: A Visual Bookshelf

One of the web’s greatest obstacles to discovery is the linear chronology of most publishing platforms — great for news, where going from the latest to the oldest makes sense, but not so great for rich archives of evergreen content where the date stamp has no correlation with the item’s interestingness, meaningfulness, or relevance.

As a hopeless book-lover, I’ve spent the past few years sharing my reading list with you, but I’ve grown increasingly frustrated by that same linear, chronological, non-visual structure of the book archive. So I’m thrilled to introduce Book Pickings, a small but, I hope, lovely and highly usable upgrade — a perpetual bookshelf* that invites you to explore the extensive Brain Pickings book archive in a visual way.

Clicking each book on the shelf will reveal a little bit more about it. There, the “Take a closer look” link will take you to the original Brain Pickings article about the respective book for further context, additional images, quotes, and more.

To the left of each expanded book, you’ll see a list of tags. Clicking any of them will take you to a shelf of all books on that subject.

You can follow Book Pickings directly on Tumblr, or access it anytime from the sidebar link (top left) here on Brain Pickings.

Many thanks to my wonderful intern, Sarah Ngu, for the help in putting this together, to Andrew LeClair and Rob Giampietro for designing the stellar Otlet’s Shelf, and to the fine folks at Typekit for the tireless typographic magic they make.

* Because there are hundreds of books in the archive, this is just a beginning — only a fraction of past reviews have been added yet, but they’re coming, and new reviews are being added in near-real-time.

Published December 21, 2011




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