books

Your Brain on Grief, Your Heart on Healing

“Grief is a heart-wrenchingly painful problem for the brain to solve, and grieving necessitates learning to live in the world with the absence of someone you love deeply, who is ingrained in your understanding of the world… For the brain, your loved one is simultaneously gone and also everlasting, and you are walking through two worlds at the same time.” …

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The Faith of the Naturist: John Burroughs’s Superb Century-Old Manifesto for Spirituality in the Age of Science

“Communing with God is communing with our own hearts, our own best selves, not with something foreign and accidental. Saints and devotees have gone into the wilderness to find God; of course they took God with them.” …

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Things to Look Forward to: An Illustrated Celebration of Living with Presence in Uncertain Times, Disguised as a Love Letter to the Future

Love, laundry, and the miraculous in the mundane. …

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The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

“A history of exercise is not really — or certainly not only — a history of the body. It is, equally, perhaps even primarily, a history of the mind.” …

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200 Years of Great Writers and Artists on the Creative and Spiritual Rewards of Gardening

Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Oliver Sacks, Rebecca Solnit, Bronson Alcott, Michael Pollan, Jamaica Kincaid, and more. …

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Finn’s Feather: A Tender Illustrated Meditation on Rediscovering the Joy of Aliveness on the Other Side of Loss

Because grief, too, is a thing with feathers. …

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The Ever-Present Origin: Swiss Poet, Philosopher, and Linguist Jean Gebser’s Prescient 1949 Vision for the Evolution of Consciousness

“Origin is ever-present. It is not a beginning, since all beginning is linked with time… not just the ‘now’… or a unit of time. It is ever-originating, an achievement of full integration and continuous renewal.” …

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You Are a Wonder, You Are a Nobody, You Are an Ever-Drifting Ship: Melville on the Mystery of What Makes Us Who We Are

“There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause… We trace the round again; and are… Ifs eternally.” …

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Emily Dickinson’s Botanical Inspiration: Stunning 19th-Century Flower Paintings by the Forgotten Artist and Poet Clarissa Munger Badger

A vibrant celebration of flowers as “brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,” as “stars… wherein we read our history.” …

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The Art of Putting Your Talent in the Service of the World: The Russian Prince Turned Anarchist and Pioneering Scientist Peter Kropotkin’s Advice to the Young

“Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.” …

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We Are Made of Music, We Are Made of Time: Violinist Natalie Hodges on the Poetic Science of Sound and Feeling

“Time renders most individual moments meaningless… but it is only through the passage of time that life acquires its meaning. And that meaning itself is constantly in flux.” …

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The More Loving One: The Science of Entropy and the Art of Alternative Endings

“If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.” …

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How to Face the Centuries with Confidence: The Mystery of the World’s Most Majestic Tree

“The calm deposition of the rings… has gone on millimeter by millimeter for millennium after millennium — advancing ripples in the tide of time.” …

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Hope, Love, and the Remedy for Despair, from Gabriel Marcel to Nick Cave

“To love anybody is to expect something from him, something which can neither be defined nor foreseen; it is at the same time in someway to make it possible for him to fulfill this expectation.” …

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The Art of Choosing Love Over Not-Love: Rumi’s Antidote to Our Human Tragedy

“You’ll long for me when I’m gone… You’ll kiss the headstone of my grave… Kiss my face instead!” …

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Against the Gods: Iris Murdoch on Truth, the Meaning of Goodness, and How Attention Unmasks the Universe

“When we really know something we feel we’ve always known it. Yet also it’s terribly distant, farther than any star… beyond the world, not in the clouds or in heaven, but a light that shows the world, this world, as it really is.” …

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Margaret Wise Brown and the Puzzle of What Makes a Thing Itself (or You Yourself)

Aristotle, Alice, and a back flap. …

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We Can Be Different: David Byrne’s Illustrated History of the Future

“The way things were, the way we made things, it turns out, none of it was inevitable — none of it is the way things have to be.” …

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The Magpie in the Mind: The Emerging Science of Thinking with the Whole World Beyond the Brain

“By reaching beyond the brain… we are able to focus more intently, comprehend more deeply, and create more imaginatively — to entertain ideas that would be literally unthinkable by the brain alone.” …

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Wonder, Hungry Wolves, and the Whimsy of Resilience: Arthur Rackham’s Haunting 1920 Illustrations for Irish Fairy Tales

A lyrical reminder that our terror and our tenderness spring from the same source. …

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Cosmic Consolation for Human Hardship: The Great Naturalist John Burroughs on How to Live with Life

“We share in the slow optimistic tendency of the universe… We have life and health and wholeness on the same terms as the trees, the flowers, the grass, the animals have, and pay the same price for our well-being, in struggle and effort, that they pay. That is our good fortune.” …

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Losing Love, Finding Love, and Living with the Fragility of It All

“What an astonishing thing it is to find something. Children, who excel at it — chiefly because the world is still so new to them that they can’t help but notice it — understand this, and automatically delight in it.” …

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The Building Blocks of Peace: Pioneering X-Ray Crystallographer and Activist Kathleen Lonsdale’s Quiet Masterpiece on Moral Courage and Our Personal Power

“Those people who see clearly the necessity of changed thinking must themselves undertake the discipline of thinking in new ways and must persuade others to do so.” …

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The Backdoor to Immortality: Marguerite Duras on What Makes Life Worth Living in the Face of Death

“Immortality is not a matter of more or less time.” …

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The Fragile Species: A Scientist-Poet’s Forgotten Masterpiece of Perspective on How to Live with Our Humanity

“We need a better word than chance… To go all the way form a clone of archaebacteria, in just 3.7 billion years, to the B-Minor Mass and the Late Quartets, deserves a better technical term for the record than randomness.” …

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Nina Simone’s Gum and the Shimmering Strangeness of How Art Casts Its Transcendent Spell on Us

The metaphysical made physical in a symphonic celebration of imagination, collaboration, and the human heart. …

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