The Marginalian
The Marginalian


Photograph by Allan Amato.

Hello. My name is Maria Popova and The Marginalian is a record of my reading and reckoning with our search for meaning: sometimes through science and philosophy, sometimes through poetry and children’s books, always through the lens of wonder.

Founded in 2006 as an email to seven friends under the outgrown name Brain Pickings and since included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive of culturally valuable materials, it remains a one-woman labor of love animated by the ultimate question that binds us all:

What is all this?

I am also the creator of The Universe in Verse, the author of a very long, very yellow book titled Figuring and a very slender, very colorful book titled The Snail with the Right Heart, the editor of an eight-year labor titled A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader, and a past-life contributor to The New York Times, Wired, The Atlantic, and other editorial exoplanets.

For more about the ethos and the human behind this labor of love, here are some reflections on my most important life-learnings from the first seventeen years of this experiment in living, some answers to The New York Times’ “By the Book” questionnaire, and an On Being conversation with the wonderful and generous Krista Tippett:

The Marginalian has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, no assistant — a thoroughly solitary labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood.

If you are new here, welcome. Here are some of my favorite pieces from the years, to give you a sense of scope and sensibility:



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