The latest and greatest from the remarkable Maria Popova

I wrote about Maria Popova’s fantastic blog Brain Pickings here.

On February 5, the incisive author released her first book, Figuring. The work, as she wrote in her newsletter, “explores the complexities, varieties, and contradictions of love, and the human search for truth, meaning, and transcendence, through the interwoven 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.”

Two days later, The New York Times released a profile on the author that focuses strictly on Popova’s book tastes.

Here’s a breakdown of Maria Popova’s favorite books from that piece:

Her longtime favorites: 

  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • The Lives of the Heart, by Jane Hirschfield
  • Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit
  • Henry David Thoreau’s diaries
  • How the Universe Got Its Spots, by Janna Levin
  • Time Travel, by James Gleick
  • Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, by Alan Lightman
  • Little Panic, by Amanda Stern
  • Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro

Books she is currently smitten by: 

  • Jill Lepore’s history of America
  • The Living Mountain, by Nan Shepherd

A recently discovered classic:

  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The best book she ever received as a gift: 

  • Little Tree, by Katsumi Komagata

Her favorite fictional hero or heroine: 

  • Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

The books Donald Trump should read: 

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt
  • Crave Radiance, by Elizabeth Alexander

The three authors she would like to have dinner with: 

  • Rachel Carson
  • Susan Sontag
  • Margaret Fuller

The book she plans to read next: 

  • Jenny Uglow’s 2002 biography of the Lunar Men

Other notable authors or books: 

  • Ann Hamilton
  • Henry Beston
  • John Muir
  • Robert Macfarlane
  • Usula K. Le Guin
  • Are You My Mother, by Alison Bechdel
  • Hallucinations, Oliver Sacks
  • Stephen Fried’s biography of Benjamin Rush
  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
  • Ten Days in a Madhouse, by Nellie Bly
  • Denise Levertov
  • James Baldwin
  • Margaret Mead