Brain Pickings

Reads by Maria Popova

Mass, Energy, and How Literature Transforms the Dead Weight of Being: Jeanette Winterson on Why We Read
Mass, Energy, and How Literature Transforms the Dead Weight of Being: Jeanette Winterson on Why We Read

“Books read us back to ourselves… The escape into another story reminds us that we too are another story. Not caught, not confined, not predestined.”

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Confucius on Good Government, the 6 Steps to a Harmonious Society, and Self-Discipline as the Key to Democracy
Confucius on Good Government, the 6 Steps to a Harmonious Society, and Self-Discipline as the Key to Democracy

“Things have roots and branches… If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well governed.”

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Einstein on the Political Power of Art
Einstein on the Political Power of Art

“Nothing can equal the psychological effect of real art — neither factual descriptions nor intellectual discussion.”

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Loops, the Limits of Language, the Paradoxical Loneliness of “I Love You,” and What Keeps Love Alive
Loops, the Limits of Language, the Paradoxical Loneliness of “I Love You,” and What Keeps Love Alive

“The very task of love and of language is to give to one and the same phrase inflections which will be forever new.”

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Dignity, Daring, and Disability: The Pioneering Queer Composer and Defiant Genius Ethel Smyth on Making Music While Going Deaf
Dignity, Daring, and Disability: The Pioneering Queer Composer and Defiant Genius Ethel Smyth on Making Music While Going Deaf

…with a side of Virginia Woolf’s elated infatuation.

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Murmuration: A Stunning Animated Poem About Our Connection to Nature and to Each Other
Murmuration: A Stunning Animated Poem About Our Connection to Nature and to Each Other

A collaborative praise song for “indifference banished by love.”

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The Boy Whose Head Was Filled with Stars: The Inspiring Illustrated Story of How Edwin Hubble Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Universe
The Boy Whose Head Was Filled with Stars: The Inspiring Illustrated Story of How Edwin Hubble Revolutionized Our Understanding of the Universe

“We do not know why we are born into the world, but we can try to find out what sort of world it is.”

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Dotspotting Expressionist Science: What the Mysterious Color-Markings on Storm Drains Have to Do with Rachel Carson’s Legacy and the War on a Deadly Virus
Dotspotting Expressionist Science: What the Mysterious Color-Markings on Storm Drains Have to Do with Rachel Carson’s Legacy and the War on a Deadly Virus

Strange signals from the lacuna between street art and microbiology.

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The Blue Hour: A Stunning Illustrated Celebration of Nature’s Rarest Color
The Blue Hour: A Stunning Illustrated Celebration of Nature’s Rarest Color

“The day ends. The night falls. And in between… there is the blue hour.”

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Conchology, or, the Natural History of Shells: Stunning 19th-Century Illustrations from the World’s First Color Encyclopedia of Mollusks
Conchology, or, the Natural History of Shells: Stunning 19th-Century Illustrations from the World’s First Color Encyclopedia of Mollusks

Voluptuaries of geometry and color, elaborate living urns, lavish lampshades for the place of some sea god, miniature Hindu temples, gorgeous drag queens of the deep, otherworldly amphoras from the bottom of this spectacular world.

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