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What Is a River: An Illustrated Reverence Between the Encyclopedic and the Poetic

A painted landscape of fact and feeling along the flow of existence. …

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Music and the Mystery of Aliveness

“We are a music-making species — always have been, always will be — and music’s capacity to explore, express and address what it is to be human remains one of our greatest communal gifts.” …

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Recovering the Wonder of Flight: “Little Prince” Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on Finding the Miraculous in the Mechanical

“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.” …

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Consciousness and the Nature of the Universe: How Panpsychism and Its Fault Lines Shade in the Ongoing Mystery of What We Are

“We’ve barely begun to understand our place in the cosmos. As we continue to look out from our planet and contemplate the nature of reality, we should remember that there is a mystery right here where we stand.” …

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Trees, Whales, and Our Digital Future: George Dyson on Nature, Human Nature, and the Relationship Between Our Minds and Our Machines

“Nature’s answer to those who seek to control nature through programmable machines is to allow us to build systems whose nature is beyond programmable control.” …

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Opaque to Ourselves: Milan Kundera on Writing and the Key to Great Storytelling

A torch for traversing “the territory where no one possesses the truth… but where everyone has the right to be understood.” …

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Water as a Portal to Transcendence

“The sea holds an abundance of comfort and inspiration and danger, all that a person needs in order to rise to the full largesse of beauty… If you allow this beauty to become a blank, if you turn your back to the blues and deny your dependence on them, you might lose your place in the world, your actions would become small, your soul disengaged.” …

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The Optimism of the Oyster

From the rudiments of consciousness to the redemptions of conservation, with a side of existential reckoning. …

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José Ortega y Gasset on the True Meaning and Measure of Intelligence

“Intelligence asserts itself above all not in art, nor in science, but in intuition of life.” …

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The Truelove: Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Reaching Beyond Our Limiting Beliefs About What We Deserve

“if you wanted to drown you could, but you don’t because finally after all this struggle and all these years you simply don’t want to any more, you’ve simply had enough of drowning and you want to live and you want to love” …

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Richard Dawkins on the Luckiness of Death

“The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.” …

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Tree Islands and Networked Resilience: Biomimicry Pioneer Janine Benyus on the Power of Reciprocity in Nature and Our Human Future

“The more stressful the environment, the more likely you are to see plants working together to ensure mutual survival.” …

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Rocky Mountain Flowers: The Daring Life and Art of Pioneering Plant Ecologist Edith Clements

“There seems little doubt that the application of the principles of ecology to human affairs, whether personal, national or world-wide, would go far in solving the problems that beset us.” …

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Frida Kahlo’s Passionate Love Letter to Photographer Nickolas Muray, Who Took Her Most Famous Portrait

“Through your words I feel so close to you that I can feel your laughter, so clean and honest.” …

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The Decades-Old Classic That Became the Ultimate Pandemic Poem

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” …

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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

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

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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

“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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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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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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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

“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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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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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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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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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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