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The Best of Brain Pickings 2019

Love, poetry, friendship, solitude, and lots of trees.

In this annual review, following the annual selections of the year’s loveliest children’s books and overall favorite books, “best” is as usual a composite measure of what I most enjoyed thinking and writing about over the course of the year, and what you most ardently read and shared.

It has been curious to observe, in this most difficult year of my life, the patterns that emerge — strong women’s voices; the healing power of nature, of poetry, and of kindness; the necessity of unselfish love, of friendship, and of solitude; and lots and lots and lots of trees — and how they illuminate the things that help me, and perhaps you, survive. Thrive, even.

Enjoy, and may we face the coming year with the steady serenity of a tree — that supreme lover of light, always reaching both higher and deeper, rooted in a network of kinship and ringed by a more patient view of time.

* * *

The More Loving One: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads W.H. Auden’s Sublime Ode to Our Unrequited Love for the Universe

Read/hear it here.

* * *

13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings

Read it here.

* * *

The Healing Power of Gardens: Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature

Read it here.

* * *

Hannah Arendt on Love and How to Live with the Fundamental Fear of Loss

Read it here.

* * *

Trees at Night: Stunning Rorschach Silhouettes from the 1920s

Read it here.

* * *

I Like You: An Almost Unbearably Lovely Vintage Illustrated Ode to Friendship

Read it here.

* * *

Kahlil Gibran on Silence, Solitude, and the Courage to Know Yourself

Read it here.

* * *

After Silence: Amanda Palmer Reads Neil Gaiman’s Stunning Poem Celebrating Rachel Carson’s Legacy of Culture-Shifting Courage

Read it here.

* * *

Salvation by Words: Iris Murdoch on Language as a Vehicle of Truth and Art as a Force of Resistance to Tyranny

Read it here.

* * *

Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us

Read it here.

* * *

Planting Trees as Resistance and Empowerment: The Remarkable Illustrated Story of Wangari Maathai, the First African Woman to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Read it here.

* * *

Rachel Carson’s Bittersweet Farewell to the World: Timeless Advice to the Next Generations from the Woman Who Catalyzed the Environmental Movement

Read it here.

* * *

Hermann Hesse on Solitude, the Value of Hardship, the Courage to Be Yourself, and How to Find Your Destiny

Read it here.

* * *

“Little Prince” Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on Losing a Friend

Read it here.

* * *

Leo Tolstoy on Kindness and the Measure of Love

Read it here.

* * *

On Children: Poignant Parenting Advice from Kahlil Gibran

Read it here.

* * *

Middle Age and the Art of Self-Renewal: An Extraordinary Letter from Pioneering Education Reformer Elizabeth Peabody

Read it here.

* * *

The Lost Words: An Illustrated Dictionary of Poetic Spells Reclaiming the Language of Nature

Read it here.

* * *

The Fascinating Science of How Trees Communicate, Animated

Read it here.

* * *

Harriet Hosmer on Art and Ambition: The World’s First Successful Woman Sculptor on What It Takes to Be a Great Artist

Read it here.

* * *

Is There a God? Stephen Hawking Gives the Definitive Answer to the Eternal Question

Read it here.

* * *

Year of the Monkey: Patti Smith on Dreams, Loss, Love, and Mending the Broken Realities of Life

Read it here.

* * *

Amanda Palmer Reads “When I Am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver

Read/hear it here.

* * *

The Astronomical Art of Maria Clara Eimmart: Stunning 17th-Century Drawings of Comets, Planets, and Moon Phases by a Self-Taught Artist and Astronomer

Read it here.

* * *

You Can’t Have It All

Read it here.

* * *

My Heart: An Emotional Intelligence Primer in the Form of an Uncommonly Tender Illustrated Poem About Our Capacity for Love

Read it here.


Published December 28, 2019

https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/12/28/best-of-brain-pickings/

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