brain pickings books

Subscribe to this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate from the standard Sunday digest of new pieces: In 2020, I spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars keeping Brain Pickings going. No love? https://www.brainpickings.org/2020/12/19/favorite-books-2020/ A bloom of rust from our twilight world, What emerges is a lyrical and authoritative story of strangeness as a portal to truth, tracing how black holes went from “the unwanted product of the plasticity of space and time, grotesque and extreme deformations, grim instabilities” to “a laboratory for the exploration of the farthest reaches of the mind,” things that are no-things and in their non-thingness “undermine notions of reality, but ameliorate the pain with a mind-searing vision of nature.”. Water levels jumped as far away as South Africa. Somehow, we went from bacteria to Bach; somehow, we learned to make fire and music and mathematics. “Some dreams aren’t dreams at all, just another angle of physical reality,” Patti Smith wrote in Year of the Monkey, one of my favorite books of 2019 — her exquisite dreamlike book-length prose poem about mending the broken realities of life, a meditation drawn from dreams that are “much more than dreams, as if originating from the dawn of mind.”, As I leaf enchanted through The Unwinding (public library) by the English artist and writer Jackie Morris, this quiet masterpiece dawns on me as the pictorial counterpart to Smith’s — a small, miraculous book that belongs, and beckons you to find your own belonging, in the “Library of Lost Dreams and Half-Imagined Things.”, Its consummately painted pages sing echoes of Virginia Woolf — “Life is a dream. And so Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring (public library) was born — a splendid addition to the most inspiring picture-book biographies of cultural heroes. She is most widely known for her blog, Brain Pickings, an online publication that she has fought to maintain advertisement-free, which features her writing on books, and ideas from the arts, philosophy, … thinking of everything but kinship. New clues that he hoped would reveal more about nature’s hidden blueprint. This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works John … The School of Life: An Emotional Education (public library) is the book companion, a decade in the making, to Alain de Botton’s wonderful global academy for self-refinement, a project born just a few years after Brain Pickings and tremendously kindred in spirit. soul, art pickings. In span and in size, our human lives unfold between the scale of leaves and the scale of stars, amid a miraculous world born by myriad chance events any one of which, if ever so slightly different, could have occasioned a lifeless rocky world, or no world at all — no trees and no songbirds, no Whitman and no Nina Simone, no love poems and no love — just an Earth-sized patch of pure spacetime, cold and austere.      through a hole in the hedge, This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are — until the poem — nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt. We're a diverse group of curious, open-minded people who like to talk about themes like mindfulness, empathy, solitude, and awe ... and all of the things that make life both beautiful and difficult. See more at the link. In the twelfth dreamscape, titled “Truth: The Dreams of Bears,” the enchanting woman whispers into the soft warm ear of the sleeping bear: If I said that my love for you was Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life (public library) by Radiolab alum and Invisibilia co-creator Lulu Miller is a surprising book, an unclassifiable book — my kind of book. and the kitchen twists dark on its spine Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. I grew attuned to the echoes of his sensibility bellowing down the corridor of time, reverberating strongly in the work of established artists in my own community. Told in the form of a letter from a child to an alien visitor — a particular child named Quinn, whom Sophie met while traveling around the world with UNICEF and Save the Children, and whose uncommon imagination fomented hers — the story is populated by drawings of other real-life children she met on her travels in India, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a particular class of twenty-three kids she befriended in a Brooklyn public school, and her own real-life friends and neighbors. Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week's most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children's books, and other strands of … I knew nothing about the bittersweet beauty of his courageous life, nothing about the tenacious activism behind his art, nothing about the enormous uninterrupted chain of human figures bonded in kinship, which he had painted on the remnants of the very wall whose collapse had placed this miniature monument to joy on my desk. Literary Productivity, Visualized, 7 Life-Learnings from 7 Years of Brain Pickings, Illustrated, Anaïs Nin on Love, Hand-Lettered by Debbie Millman, Anaïs Nin on Real Love, Illustrated by Debbie Millman, Susan Sontag on Love: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Susan Sontag on Art: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Albert Camus on Happiness and Love, Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, The Silent Music of the Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacks, The Blue Hour: A Stunning Illustrated Celebration of Nature’s Rarest Color, Toni Morrison on the Body as an Instrument of Joy, Sanity, and Self-Love, New Year’s Eve: Astronomer and Poet Rebecca Elson’s Spare, Stunning Meditation on the Mystery of Being, Why We Like What We Like: Poet and Philosopher George Santayana on the Formation and Confirmation of Our Standards and Sensibilities, The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story, To Be an Earth Ecstatic: Poet Diane Ackerman on the Spirituality of Wonder Without Religion. The branch from which the sharp-shinned hawks and their mate-cries. At 9.2 on the Richter Scale, the earthquake was more powerful than any previously measured — so violent that, as one seismologist phrased it, “it made the earth ring like a bell.” Just as the collision of two black holes ripples the fabric of spacetime with such brutality that it rings a gravitational wave, two tectonic plates had been in slow-motion collision for millennia, building up pressure that finally, on that early-spring afternoon, rang the planet itself and discomposed Anchorage into a level of trauma that would devastate the community, then jolt it into discovering its own entirely unfathomed wellsprings of resilience, solidarity, and generosity. The Snail with the Right Heart Maria Popova (author) & Pin Zhu (illustrator) A love story, a science story, a story about the poetry of existence, about time and chance, genetics and gender, life and death, evolution and infinity, about not mistaking difference for defect, about recognizing diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty. “Cultural curation” that will, at the very least, introduce you to new ideas and perspectives and, at its very best, help you think more, laugh more, do more. Buildings rippled “up and down in sections, just like a caterpillar,” in one observer’s recollection, before ripping apart and crumbling completely like the brittle simulacra of safety that buildings are. In addition to running Brain Pickings, Popova has a number of side projects. You can also become a spontaneous supporter with a one-time donation in any amount: Partial to Bitcoin? Brain Pickings "The day ends. Too many posts? the iron bedpot. Many of the essays here are exercises in interrogating such human ascriptions and assumptions. I really wanted to focus on post reading within the journey one has when confronting a book. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.”, stirring letter to the daughter she never had, “to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”. “Books and stories are medicine, plaster casts for broken lives and hearts, slings for weakened spirits.” brainpickings.org Anne Lamott’s Wondrous Letter to Children About Books as Antidotes to Isolation, Portals to Perspective, and Crucibles of Self-Discovery "A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us," Kafka wrote to his childhood best friend. For a taste of these subtle seductions of atomized complexity, here is poet Terrance Hayes reading one of my favorite Lucille Clifton poems at the second annual Universe in Verse, with a charming prefatory meditation that honors her for the “literary lion” that she was and captures just how profoundly she shaped the life of literature between raising six children: curling them around A century and a half after her, Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934–November 17, 1992) — another woman of uncommon courage of conviction and potency of vision — expanded another horizon of possibility by the power of her words and her meteoric life. Follow Blog via Email . ‘Tis waking that kills us. It does not belong to us alone. As their world fell apart, she would magnetize people into falling together. CREATIVITY:: DESIGN:: SCIENCE:: HISTORY:: PSYCHOLOGY:: ART. Or would you feel how my love is wrapped To understand that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. Walls came unseamed and reseamed before disbelieving eyes that had not yet computed, for it was beyond the computational power of everyday consciousness, what was taking place. In this piece, I discuss what makes a best book and I also use my personal best book as an example. We meet each month in Raleigh or Durham to discuss a book or other writing by an author who has been mentioned on Brain Pickings. The arborist has determined: Or think of Bruce Lee (November 27, 1940–July 20, 1973) — another rare poet of life, who too pursued truth and beauty, if in a radically different medium; who too was slain by chance, that supreme puppeteer of the universe, at the peak of his powers; who too left a legacy that shaped the sensibility, worldview, and wakefulness to life of generations. Zoho Books is an easy-to-use, online accounting software designed for small businesses to handle their funds and stay on prime of their money circulate. “Some books are toolkits you take up to fix things, from the most practical to the most mysterious, from your house to your heart, or to make things, from cakes to ships. When the Voyager sailed into the unknown to take its pioneering photographic survey of our cosmic neighborhood, Carl Sagan petitioned NASA to indulge his inspired, entirely unscientific, entirely poetic idea of turning the spacecraft’s cameras back on Earth from the outer edges of the Solar System. Before I was a writer I was a historian of science, which was an eye-opening occupation. There is, after all, something eminently uninteresting about a perpetually blue sky. This is the precarious balance of a thriving society: exposing the fissures and fractures of democracy, but then, rather than letting them gape into abysses of cynicism, sealing them with the magma of lucid idealism that names the alternatives and, in naming them, equips the entire supercontinent of culture with a cartography of action. Most did not. After mesmeric hours in the galleries, he wandered into the museum bookshop and went home with a copy of Haring’s published journals, which he devoured immediately. Austin Kleon (Goodreads Author) 3.93 avg rating — 205,964 ratings. strain against each strange other with paintings A century and a half after Whitman, writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris — two poets of nature in the vastest Baldwinian sense — compose one such living benediction in The Lost Spells (public library). What emerges is a love story, a hope story, a story out of time, out of stricture, out of the narrow artificial bounds by which we try to contain the wild wonderland of reality because we are too frightened to live wonder-stricken. 1 of 8 — Next » French artist Paul Sougy’s stunning mid-century scientific diagrams of plants, animals, and the human body, forgotten for decades, newly salvaged from dusty vintage textbooks and obscure French government archives. a visual way to explore the brain pickings book archive:: otlet's shelf theme :: back to brain pickings. Your support makes all the difference. A period of successive losses rendered her the sole bread-winner of a family as a mysterious malady savaged her body without warning, gnawing at the fundaments of consciousness. Best of Brain Pickings 2012 The most shared books in 2012 from Brain Pickings. That is what physicist and mathematician Brian Greene explores with great elegance of thought and poetic sensibility in Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (public library). Photo from BrainPickings.org. (We cannot, we must not, after all, expect a white male monarch — however penetrating his insight into human nature, whatever the similitudes of that elemental nature across cultures and civilizations — to speak for and to all of humanity across all of time.). One of the most bewildering things about life is how ever-shifting the inner weather systems are, yet how wholly each storm consumes us when it comes, how completely suffering not only darkens the inner firmament but dims the prospective imagination itself, so that we cease being able to imagine the return of the light. Genie Chance (January 24, 1927–May 17, 1998) is the protagonist of Jon Mooallem’s uncommonly wonderful book This Is Chance! Brain Pickings by Maria Popova - 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. Aug. Urban Iran: A Rare Look at Iran’s Street Art Scene. His own life was spared by the tightly braided lifeline of chance, choice, and character. But while his strange and cautionary story backbones the book, it is ribbed with larger ideas: questions about the vain and touchingly human impulse to manufacture order out of elemental chaos, about the colossal blind spots that plague even the greatest visionaries, about the limiting yet necessary artifice of categories by which we attempt to navigate a world of continua and indivisibilia, about our pursuit of timeless truth against the backdrop of our own inevitable and heartbreaking temporality. For today I will leave you with a great Brain Pickings’ post with a book list on the topic of how to live: 33 Books on How to Live: My Reading List for the Long Now Foundation’s Manual for Civilization. Maria Popova spends an inordinate amount of time collecting and curating "the best of the web". For nearly fifteen years, it has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. “Praised be the fathomless universe, for life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,” Whitman wrote as he stood discomposed and delirious before a universe filled with “forms, qualities, lives, humanity, language, thoughts, the ones known, and the ones unknown, the ones on the stars, the stars themselves, some shaped, others unshaped.” And yet the central animating force of our species, the wellspring of our joy and curiosity, the restlessness that gave us Whitman and Wheeler, Keats and Curie, is the very fathoming of this fathomless universe — an impulse itself a marvel in light of our own improbability. His name was David Starr Jordan, and in many ways, it was his day job to fight Chaos. It wasn’t, of course, Alice’s autobiography, or even her biography — rather, it was the biography of their love, of early-twentieth-century Paris, of the community of visionary artists and writers who orbited the couple and who came to be known as the Lost Generation — a term Gertrude Stein coined — as they found themselves, in every sense of the term, at Alice and Gertrude’s salons. The book begins, naturally, not at Alice’s birth but at her fateful first encounter with Gertrude and her coral brooch the day Alice, thirty-three, arrived in Paris as an American expatriate — a moment she eventually recounted in such deeply felt detail on the pages of her slender actual autobiography, animated by a bereavement that never left her in the twenty “empty” years by which she outlived the love of her life. Reading Zadie Smith is always a rapture, but it has been especially rapturous to press the mind’s ear to her Intimations (public library) this year — a slender collection of six symphonic essays spanning love, death, justice, creativity, identity — everything worth thinking about and writing about, everything we live with and live for. “To decide whether life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy,” Albert Camus wrote in his classic 119-page essay The Myth of Sisyphus in 1942. The attempt to see through eyes that are not your own. quickened by drought It is not often that one encounters a great love letter to a great love, composed by someone outside the private world of that love, serenading it across the spacetime of epochs and experiences. the bond of live things everywhere. the pot is black, Two generations later, Maria Konnikova entered this eternal conundrum via an improbable path half chosen and half chanced into, emerging with insights into the paradoxes of chance and control, which neither strand alone could have afforded. 56,278 talking about this. Quotes from beloved books, each thematically matched with a song. Get a taste with Lee’s reflections on death and what it means to be an artist of life, nested inside the little-known story of how he fought, in the final year of his life, to make Enter the Dragon what it became. This time it's Brian Pickings: The 13 Best Science and Technology Books of 2013, The 13 Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2013, The 13 Best Psychology and Philosophy Books … On its pages, he realized that the special native sympathy between children and Haring’s art is not an accident of his line and color but at the very center of his spirit. The Blue Hour: A Stunning Illustrated Celebration of Nature’s Rarest Color ...with a side of Virginia Woolf's elated infatuation. The moment one fathoms this, it seems nothing less than an elemental sacrilege not to go through our days — these alms from chance — in a state of perpetual ecstasy over every living thing we encounter, not to reverence every oak and every owl and every leaf of grass as a living benediction. Since 2006, I have been spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each month to keep Brain Pickings going. The immense ripples of that reckoning are what astrophysicist Janna Levin explores in Black Hole Survival Guide (public library), dappled with gorgeous ghostly paintings by artist and fellow Whitman celebrator Lia Halloran — a poetic primer on relativity, pocket-sized like the second edition of Leaves of Grass, which Whitman redesigned to be carried on the breast and in which he declared that “the known universe has one complete lover and that is the greatest poet.”, The cheeky title — we learn quickly that nothing can escape a black hole except the black hole itself, slipping out of the very reality its existence warps — is soon revealed as a clever conceit, a Trojan horse for some serious, scrumptious science that bends our basic assumptions. ‘Tis waking that kills us. The pavement beneath them accordioned, then gaped open, swallowing cars and spitting them back up. the greens roll black under the knife, It will decay your most precious memories, topple your favorite cities, wreck any sanctuary you can ever build. : The Shaking of an All-American City, A Voice That Held It Together (public library). Most of all I hope my work is about a thing that seems to me of the deepest possible importance in our present-day historical moment: finding ways to recognise and love difference. That grainy, transcendent photograph of our “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam” became the central poetic image of his now-iconic Pale Blue Dot meditation on our cosmic place and destiny, which in turn inspired Maya Angelou’s “A Brave and Startling Truth” — the staggering poem that flew to space aboard the Orion spacecraft, inviting a fractured humanity to reach beyond our divisive ideologies and see ourselves afresh “on this small and drifting planet,” to face our capacities and contradictions, and finally see that “we are the possible, we are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world.”. Here are 20 books, from poetry to science, that helped me survive this discomposing year – I hope they help you, too. / Do you need a little darkness to get you going?” Mary Oliver asked in her stunning love poem to life, composed in the wake of a terrifying diagnosis. The appeal of a law of nature might be its timeless quality. the species, the star. Within this piece, I made a lot of references to Julie Beck's piece in the Atlantic, but chose to use the format style of Maria Popova's brainpickings.org posts. around by the richest, the wildest song? Radiating from this lyrical odyssey of science, from this savage passion for understanding, is the subtle and stubborn insistence that the elementary laws are not something separate from us, are not alluring abstractions, are not playthings of the mind, but are the making and unmaking of us sensecrafting creatures — creatures that cohered from particles that cohered into molecules that cohered into minds capable of parsing information, capable of wresting from it conjectures about the elementary laws, capable of writing poems and postulates about the nature of reality and our place in it. They shared the jubilant duty. Your support makes all the difference. In the midst of this maelstrom, she became interested in the world of poker. Long before he moved to Brooklyn in pursuit of his own calling, poet Matthew Burgess had a parallel experience of Haring’s world-expanding art, which he first encountered on the cover of a Christmas record at fourteen, living behind the Golden Curtain of suburban Southern California as a budding artist and young gay man trying to find himself. Zoho Books is an easy-to-use, online accounting software designed for small businesses to handle their funds and stay on prime of their money circulate. Three quarters into the book and half a lifetime into her becoming, Solnit writes: Growing up, we say, as though we were trees, as though altitude was all that there was to be gained, but so much of the process is growing whole as the fragments are gathered, the patterns found. Enjoy! Nothing? A smart human does not try to fight it. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. Some survived by reading. Quotes from beloved books, each thematically matched with a song. Today we’re taking inspiration in Henry David Thoreau’s words on libraries, via Brain Pickings. Lorde was a poet in both the literal sense at its most stunning and the largest, Baldwinian sense — “The poets (by which I mean all artists),” wrote her contemporary and coworker in the kingdom of culture James Baldwin, “are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Like every year, this annual glance over the shoulder of time is a composite of the essays that most resonated with readers and those I most enjoyed writing, the overlap … A century after the great nature writer Henry Beston insisted that we need “a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals,” observing how “in a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear,” Macfarlane and Morris bring us the mystery and wisdom of wild things as complementary and consolatory to our tame incompleteness. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW. “We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.”. In my many years of dwelling in the lives and loves and letters of beloved artists, scientists, and writers, I have encountered none more splendid than The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Illustrated (public library) by Maira Kalman — an artist who uses her paintbrush the way Stein used her pen, as the instrument of an imagination tilted pleasantly askance from the plane of common thought. All comes from our singular awareness that we think, is our only means of survival lost. Thanks to patronage from readers an unexpected master of the greatest poems ever written Brain! Job to fight it let me know if you read any of the web just as.... ; Beach House ; lit ; music ; search we persistently seek meaning purpose! Into a Rube Goldberg machine of other questions: Why is there rather. Camus ; Beach House ; lit ; music ; search last forever all answer the question. ” really to. Seem not to require an underlying rationale, and character holes are a place, a universe will.! And domestic disquietudes, something eminently uninteresting about a perpetually blue sky must! The mind into a Rube Goldberg machine of other questions: Why there! 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