When Goldstein appeared in Washington to promote
her new book, she emphasized the subtitle, which renders the title
deliberately ironic. The appendix to her novel catalogs the 36
Rebecca Goldstein is a philosopher who turned to
fiction with her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem. Since then
she has written several works of fiction and non-fiction, the latter
including an excellent book on Spinoza and an intellectual biography of
Kurt Godel and his friendship with Einstein.
If I ever see her book on Spinoza, I would want to see if the content was really accessible to the reader first. I once ordered a set of two books on him, possibly 15 years ago, and the writing was so incredibly dense, I gave up and regretted getting the books. That's the only time I ever tried to read anything about him. The books were written by some philosopher. Ever since then, I've been content to just read brief summaries by others of what Spinoza said and to just leave it at that.
It would be interesting to see what shaped Spinoza to be the person he was, especially how he got to the kind of thoughts he ended up with. I don't think I would have had the courage to be as mentally strong as he apparently was for his time, I do need some zone of safety that I can function in.