Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.
Many of these essays were just too short. I was almost always left wanting more, which is both good and bad. Many of the subjects were very niche, even for a sometime classicist such as myself, so general readers might be better off jumping around for the best parts (Cicero, Cleopatra, Astérix). That caveat aside, Mary Beard has a real talent for finding the importance in obscurities -- I couldn't care less about Sir James Frazer, but her analysis of why he became a popular Victorian intellectual hero (and what that means about how people think about themselves and others) felt worth every jot of my time and attention.