Brain Pickings

Reads by Maria Popova

Why We Like What We Like: Poet and Philosopher George Santayana on the Formation and Confirmation of Our Standards and Sensibilities
Why We Like What We Like: Poet and Philosopher George Santayana on the Formation and Confirmation of Our Standards and Sensibilities

“Half our standards come from our first masters, and the other half from our first loves.”

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Toni Morrison on the Body as an Instrument of Joy, Sanity, and Self-Love
Toni Morrison on the Body as an Instrument of Joy, Sanity, and Self-Love

“Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them… Love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up… Love your heart. For this is the prize.”

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New Year’s Eve: Astronomer and Poet Rebecca Elson’s Spare, Stunning Meditation on the Mystery of Being
New Year’s Eve: Astronomer and Poet Rebecca Elson’s Spare, Stunning Meditation on the Mystery of Being

The wonder of wading into the black lake boiling with light.

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How to Live with Our Human Limitations: Physicist Brian Greene Reads and Reflects on Rilke’s Profoundest Elegy
How to Live with Our Human Limitations: Physicist Brian Greene Reads and Reflects on Rilke’s Profoundest Elegy

“Not because happiness exists, that over-hasty profit from imminent loss, not out of curiosity, or to practice the heart… But because being here is much, and because all that’s here seems to need us.”

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Favorite Books of 2020
Favorite Books of 2020

Audre Lorde, Keith Haring, Bruce Lee, chance, love, black holes, constraint as a catalyst of creativity, and a whisper of Whitman.

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Child of Glass: A Soulful Italian Illustrated Meditation on How to Live with Our Human Fragility
Child of Glass: A Soulful Italian Illustrated Meditation on How to Live with Our Human Fragility

A subtle celebration of the terrifying tenderness that makes life barely survivable but also makes it worth living.

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The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story
The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story

A love story, a time story, an invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty.

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The Best of Brain Pickings 2020
The Best of Brain Pickings 2020

A glance over the shoulder of time to reveal the patterns, themes, and ideas that steady us and shelter us in the tempest of life.

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To Be an Earth Ecstatic: Poet Diane Ackerman on the Spirituality of Wonder Without Religion
To Be an Earth Ecstatic: Poet Diane Ackerman on the Spirituality of Wonder Without Religion

Branchings of belief from the lovely common root of “holy” and “whole” in the interleaving of all things.

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On the Beach Alone at Night: Meshell Ndegeocello Reads Walt Whitman’s Ode to the Interconnectedness of Life
On the Beach Alone at Night: Meshell Ndegeocello Reads Walt Whitman’s Ode to the Interconnectedness of Life

A song of praise for “all souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different… all nations, colors… all identities that have existed or may exist… all lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future.”

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