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Books with author Maria Popova

  • Figuring

    Maria Popova

    eBook (Vintage, Feb. 5, 2019)
    Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries—beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists—mostly women, mostly queer—whose public contribution have risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson.Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman—and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.
  • The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story

    Maria Popova, Ping Zhu

    Hardcover (Enchanted Lion Books, Oct. 3, 2020)
    Based on a real scientific event and inspired by a beloved real human in the author’s life, this is a story about science and the poetry of existence; about time and chance, genetics and gender, love and death, evolution and infinity ― concepts often too abstract for the human mind to fathom, often more accessible to the young imagination; concepts made fathomable in the concrete, finite life of one tiny, unusual creature dwelling in a pile of compost amid an English garden. Emerging from this singular life is a lyrical universal invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as the wellspring of the universe’s beauty and resilience.
  • Figuring

    Maria Popova

    Hardcover (Canongate Books, Feb. 7, 2019)
    Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries - beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalysed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists - mostly women, mostly queer - whose public contribution has risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Walt Whitman - and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.
  • The Snail with the Right Heart

    Maria Popova, Ping Zhu

    Hardcover (Enchanted Lion Books, Aug. 1, 2020)
    Sometimes a snail isn’t just a snail, but a mirror, a mystery, and something truly magnificent.Long ago, before half the stars that speckle the sky were born and the mountains rose up reaching for them, a giant ocean covered the Earth. One day, in that giant ocean, something strange happened: a change so mysterious and magnificent that it was given a special name: mutation. From this mutation, life was born from non-life―the first living creatures, tinier than a grain of sand, tinier than the tip of the eyelash of a mouse, came into being. Time tended to them kindly. Soon―which in cosmic time means millions and millions of years―they crawled out of the ocean and onto the land. Not knowing whether they would find a home there, some of these brave early explorers carried their homes on their backs. And so snails took to the Earth. And then, one autumn afternoon a cosmic blink ago, a human―a retired scientist from the London’s Natural History Museum―stopped mid-stride on his walk when he noticed a most unusual garden snail in a pile of compost. And so Jeremy and his story become a human story as well.Maria Popova has been writing about what she reads on the blog Brain Pickings since 2006, which is now included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. Ping Zhu is a freelance illustrator who has worked with clients big and small, won some awards based on the work she did for aforementioned clients, attracted new clients with shiny awards, and is hoping to maintain her livelihood in Brooklyn by repeating that cycle.
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