Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Post in Praise of Maria Popova's "Brain Pickings"

This is a plug, a plug for one of the most worthwhile, intelligent, well-researched, thought-provoking blogs anywhere on the internet. Brain Pickings, written by Maria Popova, is consistently packed with insight, and with explorations of fascinating written works both old and new. I am never disappointed when I follow Ms. Popova down the rabbit hole. In evidence, I submit a short section from her blog, her answer to an 11 year old girl's question "Why do we need books?"

Some people might tell you that books are no longer necessary now that we have the internet. Don’t believe them. Books help us know other people, know how the world works, and, in the process, know ourselves more deeply in a way that has nothing to with what you read them on and everything to do with the curiosity, integrity and creative restlessness you bring to them.
Books build bridges to the lives of others, both the characters in them and your countless fellow readers across other lands and other eras, and in doing so elevate you and anchor you more solidly into your own life. They give you a telescope into the minds of others, through which you begin to see with ever greater clarity the starscape of your own mind.
And though the body and form of the book will continue to evolve, its heart and soul never will. Though the telescope might change, the cosmic truths it invites you to peer into remain eternal like the Universe.
In many ways, books are the original internet — each fact, each story, each new bit of information can be a hyperlink to another book, another idea, another gateway into the endlessly whimsical rabbit hole of the written word. Just like the web pages you visit most regularly, your physical bookmarks take you back to those book pages you want to return to again and again, to reabsorb and relive, finding new meaning on each visit — because the landscape of your life is different, new, “reloaded” by the very act of living.
Looking for something worth reading? Go visit Brain Pickings. Looking to keep the internet a home for more than cute cat videos and celebrity gossip? Make a donation to Brain Pickings. Thus endeth the plug.

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