Maria Popova


Maria Popova (Bulgarian: Мария Попова; born 28 July 1984) is a Bulgarian-born, American-based writer of literary and arts commentary and cultural criticism that has found wide appeal (as of 2012, 3 million page views and more than 1 million monthly readers), both for its writing and for the visual stylistics that accompany it. She is most widely known for her blog, Brain Pickings, an online publication that she has fought to maintain advertisement-free, which features her writing on books, and ideas from the arts, philosophy, culture, and other subjects. In addition to her writing and related speaking engagements, she has served as an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow, as the editorial director at the higher education social network Lore, and has written for The Atlantic, Wired UK, and other publications. As of 2012, she resided in Brooklyn, New York.

Book Recommendations

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

by Janna Levin

The book belongs to that very, very rare species of incredibly poetic books by working scientists, by an author who happens to be one of the world’s foremost, probably the foremost, expert on black holes, but as also a writer of deeply poetic prose and a thinker of deeply poetic thoughts. It’s a slim book, and I read it long before I knew Janna in person, and it really shaped the way I think about what literature can be. It is extremely form bending, genre bending. There is no analog, no book I can say it is like, and it has really informed the way I think, and I write, and in a great sense that I’ve only recognized in hindsight, it really informed how I wrote Figuring.

Maria Popova, source
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Love and Saint Augustine

by Hannah Arendt

And it’s an improbable and deeply insightful inquiry into the life of the heart by one of the most incisive intellects who ever lived and one of the greatest political thinkers our civilization has produced. It is her first book-length manuscript and the last to be published in English. It was posthumously discovered amongst her papers by two women, a political scientist and a philosopher who were doing research on her.

Maria Popova, source

Letter to a Hostage

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Saint-Exupéry was a commercial pilot before World War II, and once the war broke out, he served as a pilot for the French military, running reconnaissance missions. At one point he became a prisoner of war after his plane crashed over the Sahara Desert. Letter to a Hostage is his slim memoir recounting that experience, reflecting on its deeper significance, an experience that informed and inspired The Little Prince but also opened up these enormous questions of what does it mean to live? What is the wellspring of our humanity? How do we keep our noblest impulses alive in the midst of death and destruction and divisiveness?

Maria Popova, source