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26-Year-Old Frida Kahlo’s Compassionate Letter to 46-Year-Old Georgia O’Keeffe


“I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now.” There is something uncommonly heartening about bearing witness to the virtuous cycle of support and mutual appreciation between two creative luminaries — elevating epistolary exchanges like those between Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann, Mark Twain and Helen Keller, Ursula Nordstrom and Maurice Sendak, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman.

The Unity of Dread and Bliss: Rilke on How Our Fear of the Unexplainable Robs Us of Joy


“Fear of the unexplainable has not only impoverished our inner lives, but also diminished relations between people.” “If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from,” Carl Sagan wrote in his spectacular lecture-turned-book on science and spirituality, “we will have failed.” More than a decade earlier, in delivering the same annual Gifford Lecture, Hannah Arendt argued that our appetite for “unanswerable questions” is what defines our humanity.

The Well of Being: An Extraordinary Children’s Book for Grownups about the Art of Living with Openhearted Immediacy


A lyrical invitation to awaken from the trance of the limiting stories we tell ourselves and just live.

E.B. White on the Truth About Writing for Children and the Writer’s Responsibility to All Audiences


“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.” The loving and attentive reader of children’s books knows that the best of them are not one-dimensional oversimplifications of life but stories that tackle with elegant simplicity such complexities as uncertainty, loneliness, loss, and the cycle of life.

Virginia Woolf on Writing and Self-Doubt


Consolation for those moments when you can’t tell whether you’re “the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.” “Bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt,” Charles Bukowski lamented in an interview.

What Comes After Religion: The Search for Meaning in Secular Life


“We need reminders to be good, places to reawaken awe, something to reawaken our kinder, less selfish impulses…” In their series of animated essays, The School of Life have contemplated what great books do for the soul, how to merge money and meaning, and what philosophy is for.

Mozart on Creativity and the Ideation Process


“It is quite natural that people who really have something particular about them should be different from each other on the outside as well as on the inside.” In 1945, French mathematician Jacques Hadamard set out to explore how mathematicians invent ideas in what would become The Mathematician’s Mind: The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field (public library) — an introspective inquiry into the process of discovery, using both his own experience and first-hand accounts by such celebrated scientists as Claude Lévi-Strauss and Albert Einstein.

Joan Didion on Hollywood’s Diversity Problem: A Masterpiece from 1968 That Could Have Been Written Today


“The public life of liberal Hollywood comprises a kind of dictatorship of good intentions, a social contract in which actual and irreconcilable disagreement is as taboo as failure or bad teeth.” Over and over, Joan Didion has emerged as an enchantress of nuance — a writer of deep and dimensional wisdom on such undying human issues as self-respect, grief, and the passage of time.

The Velveteen Rabbit, Reimagined with Uncommon Tenderness by Beloved Japanese Illustrator Komako Sakai


A tender tale of how the soft bonds of love confer realness upon our existence. “Life and Reality are not things you can have for yourself unless you accord them to all others,” Alan Watts wrote in his exquisite 1950s meditation on becoming who you are.

This Idea Must Die: Some of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Each Select a Major Misconception Holding Us Back


From the self to left brain vs. right brain to romantic love, a catalog of broken theories that hold us back from the conquest of Truth.

Mary Oliver on How Habit Gives Shape to Our Inner Lives


“The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.” Habit is that peculiar life-force that both obscures and illuminates the crucial difference between routine and ritual.

Nature Anatomy: A Glorious Illustrated Love Letter to Curiosity and the Magic of Our World


A loving celebration of sunsets and salamanders, ferns and feathers, mountains and mushrooms, and the whole enchanting aliveness in between.

Mary Oliver on How Habit Enriches Our Inner Lives


“The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.” Habit is that peculiar life-force that both obscures and illuminates the crucial difference between routine and ritual.

How to Read Well and Write a Great Essay: Robert Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter


“The sidelong glance is what you depend on.” “Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays,” E.B.

The Infinite Hotel Paradox: A Brilliant Animated Thought Experiment to Help You Grasp the Mind-Bending Concept of Infinity


What a hospitable night manager can do for our finite human minds. “Infinity is a demented concept,” astrophysicist Janna Levin, who studies the finitude of the universe, wrote in her spectacular diary-turned-book about the universe.

The Magic Boat: Brilliant Vintage “Interactive” Children’s Book by Freud’s Eccentric Niece Named Tom


Visionary interactive storytelling designed to “delight and surprise,” with human tragedy on the side.

What Mathematics Reveals About the Secret of Lasting Relationships and the Myth of Compromise


Why 37% is the magic number, what alien civilizations have to do with your soul mate, and how to master the “negativity threshold” ideal for Happily Ever After.

The Artist’s Reality: Mark Rothko’s Little-Known Writings on Art, Artists, and What the Notion of Plasticity Reveals about Storytelling


“While the authority of the doctor or plumber is never questioned, everyone deems himself a good judge and an adequate arbiter of what a work of art should be and how it should be done.” “Artists have no choice but to express their lives,” Anne Truitt wrote in her endlessly insightful diary.

How a Dog Actually “Sees” the World Through Smell


“The world of scents is at least as rich as the world of sight.” Even though smell is the most direct of our senses and the 23,040 breaths we take daily drag in a universe of information — from the danger alert of a burning odor to the sweet nostalgia of an emotionally memorable scent — our olfactory powers are not even mediocre compared to a dog’s.

The Best LGBT Children’s Books: A Sweet and Assuring Celebration of Diversity and Difference


From Maurice Sendak to the real-life story of a gay penguin family, by way of grandmothers and kings.


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