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The Best of Brain Pickings 2018

The splendors of the unknown, the uncertain, and the unclassifiable, truth and beauty at the intersection of poetry and science, the timeless tangles of the heart.

In this annual review, as usual, “best” is a composite measure of what I most enjoyed thinking and writing about, and what readers most enjoyed reading and sharing. It follows the annual selections of the year’s loveliest children’s books and overall favorite books.

Here is to the intellectual and spiritual electricity of the eclectic, and to a beautiful new orbit.

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The Difficult Art of Giving Space in Love: Rilke on Freedom, Togetherness, and the Secret to a Good Marriage

Read the article here.

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A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan

Read/hear the poem here.

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Life, Loss, and the Wisdom of Rivers

Read the article here.

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Figuring

Read the article here.

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Two Hundred Years of Blue

Read the article here.

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Singularity: Poet Marie Howe’s Beautiful Tribute to Stephen Hawking and Our Belonging to the Universe

Read/hear the poem here.

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A Gentle Corrective for the Epidemic of Identity Politics Turning Us on Each Other and on Ourselves

Read the article here.

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A Velocity of Being: Illustrated Letters to Children about Why We Read by 121 of the Most Inspiring Humans in Our World

Read the article here.

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How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life

Read the article here.

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Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

Read the article here.

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Zadie Smith on Optimism and Despair

Read the article here.

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Nietzsche on Truth, Lies, the Power and Peril of Metaphor, and How We Use Language to Reveal and Conceal Reality

Read the article here.

* * *

Elizabeth Gilbert on Love, Loss, and How to Move Through Grief as Grief Moves Through You

Read the article here.

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Against the Illusion of Separateness: Pablo Neruda’s Beautiful and Humanistic Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Read the article here.

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Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert

Read the article here.

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Walt Whitman on Democracy and Optimism as a Mighty Form of Resistance

Read the article here.

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Iris Murdoch on Storytelling, Why Art Is Essential for Democracy, and the Key to Good Writing

Read the article here.

* * *

Create Dangerously: Albert Camus on the Artist as a Voice of Resistance and a Liberator of Society

Read the article here.

* * *

The Hour of Land: Terry Tempest Williams on the Responsibility of Awe and the Wilderness as an Antidote to the War Within Ourselves

Read the article here.

* * *

Carl Sagan on Mystery, Why Common Sense Blinds Us to the Universe, and How to Live with the Unknown

Read the article here.

* * *

Bear and Wolf: A Tender Illustrated Fable of Walking Side by Side in Otherness

Read the article here.

* * *

Literary Witches: An Illustrated Celebration of Trailblazing Women Writers Who Have Enchanted and Transformed the World

Read the article here.

* * *

Ursula K. Le Guin on Art, Storytelling, and the Power of Language to Transform and Redeem

Read the article here.

* * *

From Euclid to Equality: Mathematician Lillian Lieber on How the Greatest Creative Revolution in Mathematics Illuminates the Core Ideals of Social Justice and Democracy

Read the article here.

* * *

Nobel-Winning Physicist Niels Bohr on Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World

Read the article here.

* * *

Georgia O’Keeffe on the Art of Seeing

Read the article here.

* * *

Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Hymn to Time”

Read/hear the poem here.


Published December 27, 2018

https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/12/27/best-of-brain-pickings-2018/

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