The Marginalian
The Marginalian

Reads by Maria Popova

Le Monde de la Mer: Stunning 19th-Century French Illustrations of the Wonders of the Sea
Le Monde de la Mer: Stunning 19th-Century French Illustrations of the Wonders of the Sea

Dive into “the world of the sea in its luxury and its agitations.”

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The Unphotographable: Jack Kerouac’s Soaring Diary Entry About Self-Understanding and the Elemental Vastness of the Windblown World
The Unphotographable: Jack Kerouac’s Soaring Diary Entry About Self-Understanding and the Elemental Vastness of the Windblown World

Sometimes, a painting in words is worth a thousand pictures. I think about this more and more, in our compulsively visual culture, which increasingly reduces what we think and feel and see — who and what we are — to what can be photographed. I think of Susan Sontag, who called it “aesthetic consumerism” half a century before Instagram. In a small act of resistance, I offer The Unphotographable — Saturdays, a lovely image in words drawn from centuries of literature: passages transcendent and transportive, depicting landscapes and experiences radiant with beauty and feeling beyond what a visual image could convey.

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Nick Cave on Music, Mystery, and the Relationship Between Vulnerability and Freedom
Nick Cave on Music, Mystery, and the Relationship Between Vulnerability and Freedom

“There is more going on than we can see or understand, and we need to find a way to lean into the mystery of things…. and recognise the evident value in doing that, and summon the courage it requires to not always shrink back into the known mind.”

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The Temple of Flora: Stunning Illustrations of Flowers Inspired by Erasmus Darwin’s Radical Scientific Poem About the Sexual Reproduction of Plants
The Temple of Flora: Stunning Illustrations of Flowers Inspired by Erasmus Darwin’s Radical Scientific Poem About the Sexual Reproduction of Plants

“If thou art perfectly at leisure… walk in, and view the wonders of my enchanted garden.”

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The Woman Who Saved Native Song
The Woman Who Saved Native Song

“We understand the people better if we know their music, and we appreciate the music better if we understand the people themselves.”

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Nature Is Always Listening: The Science of Mushrooms, Music, and How Sound Waves Stimulate Mycelial Growth
Nature Is Always Listening: The Science of Mushrooms, Music, and How Sound Waves Stimulate Mycelial Growth

What playing music has to do with the happiness of the forest.

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Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska’s Poem “Love at First Sight,” Illustrated
Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska’s Poem “Love at First Sight,” Illustrated

“Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.”

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The Log from the Sea of Cortez: John Steinbeck’s Forgotten Masterpiece on How to Think and the Art of Seeing the Pattern Beyond the Particular
The Log from the Sea of Cortez: John Steinbeck’s Forgotten Masterpiece on How to Think and the Art of Seeing the Pattern Beyond the Particular

“Everything impinges on everything else… Everything is potentially everywhere.”

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How to Be a Swimmer in the Stream of Time: Poet, Painter, and Philosopher Etel Adnan on the Antidote to Disorientation and Isolation
How to Be a Swimmer in the Stream of Time: Poet, Painter, and Philosopher Etel Adnan on the Antidote to Disorientation and Isolation

“The definition of the soul is made of these places where you feel that the world came into being so that they could exist.”

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How to Be Un-Dead: Anaïs Nin and D.H. Lawrence on the Key to Living Fully
How to Be Un-Dead: Anaïs Nin and D.H. Lawrence on the Key to Living Fully

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

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