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Love, Music, Solitude, and How to Be More Alive: The Best of The Marginalian 2022

It is an annual tradition to look back on the year’s readings and sieve the most nourishing — a tradition all the more vital and vitalizing in stormy years, when these oases of light are all the more precious.

Here is the usual composite “best” of the year — a hybrid of the pieces I poured the most heart into writing and the pieces most widely read and shared by those whose hearts they touched.

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The Eternal Lyric of Love and Loss: “Goodnight Moon” Author Margaret Wise Brown’s Little-Known Poems for the Tragic Love of Her Life

Read it here.

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Trial, Triumph, and the Art of the Possible: The Remarkable Story Behind Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

Read it here.

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The Third Thing: Poet Donald Hall on the Secret to Lasting Love

Read it here.

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Resolutions for a Life Worth Living: Attainable Aspirations Inspired by Great Humans of the Past

Read it here.

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Bloom: The Evolution of Life on Earth and the Birth of Ecology (Joan As Police Woman Sings Emily Dickinson)

Read/watch it here.

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Bruce Springsteen on Surviving Depression and His Strategy for Living Through the Visitations of the Darkness

Read it here.

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The Thing Itself: C.S. Lewis on What We Long for in Our Existential Longing

Read it here.

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How to Stop Waiting and Start Living: A Jolt from Henry James

Read it here.

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Art as Living Amends: Nick Cave on Creativity as an Instrument of Self-Forgiveness and the Necessity of Hope in a Fragile World

Read it here.

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Full Tilt: Dervla Murphy’s Fierce and Poetic Account of Traversing the World on Two Wheels in the 1960s

Read it here.

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The Bittersweet Story of the Real-Life Peaceful Bull Who Inspired Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s Ferdinand

Read it here.

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What Happens When We Die

Read it here.

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Games People Play: The Revolutionary 1964 Model of Human Relationships That Changed How We (Mis)Understand Ourselves and Each Other

Read it here.

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3 Things to Learn from a Child, 7 from a Thief: Bob Dylan’s Favorite Hasidic Teaching

Read it here.

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Wilderness, Solitude, and Creativity: Artist and Philosopher Rockwell Kent’s Century-Old Meditations on Art and Life During Seven Months on a Small Alaskan Island

Read it here.

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How to Bear Your Fear and What It Means to Love: A Tender Meditation in Ink, Watercolor, and Wonder

Read it here.

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My God, It’s Full of Stars: Henrietta Leavitt, Edwin Hubble, and Our Human Hunger to Know the Universe (Tracy K. Smith Reads Tracy K. Smith)

Read/watch it here.

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The Fragile Species: A Forgotten Masterpiece of Perspective on How to Live with Ourselves and Each Other

Read it here.

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200 Years of Great Writers and Artists on the Creative and Spiritual Rewards of Gardening

Read it here.

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The Cello and the Nightingales: Beatrice Harrison and How the World’s First Fake News United Humanity in Our First Collective Empathy for Nature

Read it here.

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How to Keep Life from Becoming a Parody of Itself: Simone de Beauvoir on the Art of Growing Older

Read it here.

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Nina Simone’s Gum and the Shimmering Strangeness of How Art Casts Its Transcendent Spell on Us

Read it here.

Dirge Without Music: Emmy Noether, Symmetry, and the Conservation of Energy (Amanda Palmer Reads Edna St. Vincent Millay, Animated by Sophie Blackall)

Read it here.

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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

Read it here.

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

Read it here.

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Storytelling and the Art of Tenderness: Olga Tokarczuk’s Magnificent Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Read it here.

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The Milky Way, the Pond, and the Meaning of Life: Thoreau on Solitude, Sympathy, and the Salve for Melancholy

Read it here.

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M.C. Escher on Loneliness, Creativity, and How Rachel Carson Inspired His Art, with a Side of Bach

Read it here.

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The Dandelion and the Meaning of Life: G.K. Chesterton on How to Dig for the “Submerged Sunrise of Wonder”

Read it here.