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Quick...You are trapped in an elevator for 24 hours, what book do you want in your pocket?

Everything is a story, including math, science, and your nosey neighbor.  What do good teachers, managers, actors, athletes, and parents have in common?  They are good storytellers.  Below is a list of essential books full of inspiration, information, and adventure by good storytellers.  These can be bought online, at your local bookstore, downloaded, or checked out from a library.  Library books are a less expensive way to read, especially works from authors you wish to read at the same time not financially support.  Let me know which books you would add to the list.

Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology
1.  English Etymology:  What is the meaning of “is”?  Everyone should have this book to find the true meaning of words.  This is excellent for students to use when writing any reports, essays, or narratives in school.

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2.  The Black Swan:  The Impact of the Highly Improbable--Before the discovery of Australia, Europeans thought that all swans were white, and it would have been considered completely unreasonable to imagine swans of any other color. The first sighting of a black swan in Australia, where black swans are, in fact, rather common, shattered that notion.  A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that's what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past.

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3.  Life 101: Everything We Wish We Had Learned About Life in School--But Didn't.

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4.  The Bronze Bow:  “At the junction of the road they passed two more Roman sentries, this time the men did not speak or even take notice of the two dusty boys.  For once Daniel felt almost grateful to a Roman.  Tonight he could not have borne to watch Thacia shoulder a pack.” (Chapter 16)

Mom, You're Fired!

5.  Author Nancy Robinson wrote more than 20 books before dying of cancer at age 51.  Mom, You're Fired is a dynamic book to read at any age.  One to read with you child of any age.

The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry

6.  What was life like in the middle ages?  How did people in the 1400s successfully wage war?  These curiosities are explained in great detail by Christine de Pizan.

The Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics/Silver Anniversary 1996 Edition
7.  The Irony of Democracy gives a dynamic explanation of our country's birthday.  It goes beyond dry definitions and basics, giving insight into what it means to be an American, "the underlying value is individual dignity" (Thomas R. Dye - Emeritus, Florida State University, Harmon Zeigler, Louis Schubert - City College of San Francisco).  You can purchase the book online, at some book stores, or read a condensed version on Google books.

Self Reliance

8.  Ralph Waldo Emerson happens to be a member of my family tree.  "Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance, 1841.

Atlas Shrugged

9.  A narrative of objectivism, a tale of reason based morality.

Tuck Everlasting (A Sunburst book)

10.  This book uses the voice of an outsider girl and  family to remind us < Ecclesiastes 3 >
1 To everything -- a season, and a time to every delight under the heavens:
2 A time to bring forth, And a time to die. A time to plant, And a time to eradicate the planted.
3 A time to slay, And a time to heal, A time to break down, And a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh. A time to mourn, And a time to skip.
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to heap up stones. A time to embrace, And a time to be far from embracing.
6 A time to seek, And a time to destroy. A time to keep, And a time to cast away.
7 A time to rend, And a time to sew. A time to be silent, And a time to speak.
8 A time to love, And a time to hate. A time of war, And a time of peace.

John Locke Revisited (Twayne's English Authors Series)

11.  Where did John Locke get his ideas?  What was he like as a child?  What was so important for him that he spent so much time writing to us?

Gideon's Trumpet

12.  Anthony Lewis chronicles the the real story of Clarence Earl Gideon and gives humanity to the legal system.

The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions

13.  "How does it all sound from above? Like bedlam, or do the strains blend in strange, ethereal harmony? ... We cannot know. All we can do is try to listen carefully and with full attention to each voice in turn as it addresses the divine. Such listening defines the purpose of this book", Huston Smith.

Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics)

14.  "They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld 
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, 
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate 
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms: 
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; 
The world was all before them, where to choose 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide; 
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, 
Through Eden took their solitary way", John Milton.

On Liberty (Rethinking the Western Tradition)

15.  On Liberty presents the classically liberal argument for free speech.

The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose

16.  "Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose".

Boy Scout Handbook (The Centennial Edition)
17.  Boy Scout Handbook:    
 Scout Oath 
On my honor I will do my best 
To do my duty to God and my country 
and to obey the Scout Law; 
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, 
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, 
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.

The Call of the Wild

18.  Man and dog have long lived side-by-side.  There are many famous stories of canines that have become cult favorites.  This fictional tale is one that will grab you quick and keep you reading.

Of Mice and Men / Cannery Row (2 Books in 1)
19.  and 20.  Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row are favorites of mine and many other Californians.  The grim actions of characters is uneasily set within nostalgic times.  Pick this one up on your next visit to northern California.  On your visit you can stop into The Steinbeck Center.

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21.  Civic Realism:  How does building a simple skate park in your city change everything in your city?  How does the kind of homebuilders attracted to your city affect your city?  How does what is built in your city demonstrate your values?

Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings

22.  A great read to understand and better speak to others about current trends.

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

23.  This is a book any science minded person will enjoy and one that will get anyone else interested in the topic with a lot of insider drama.

The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables

24.  This is one of my favorites that I have given to my nephews and other kids.  Timeless tales and reminders for all of us.

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25.  What to read on those patriotic holidays.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

26.  This book spawned many more by Covey with the 7 Habits title.

The Grapes of Wrath

27.  Another Steinbeck favorite.  He thought of the title from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", by Julia Ward Howe:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Original Unabridged Version
28.  Books have moved from the printing press to paperback and hardcover to electronic.  Classics such as Huckleberry Finn may be more likely read by some in their e-version.

The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English (English, Hebrew and Greek Edition)

29.  What does the bible really say?  What was the original and untranslated word?  This version has helped me compare and contrast the words and meanings of various passages.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia)

30.  A great fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis.  This is the first and my favorite out of the series.  The others in the series:  Prince CaspianThe Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe Silver Chair The Horse and His BoyThe Magician's NephewThe Last Battle.

95 Theses (Illustrated)

31.  Sometimes we grow up in a world without knowing where things started and why.  This book presents why we live in a world with multiple branches of Christianity.  Not only is it a story of how the Protestant Reformation broke off from the Catholic Church, it is also a universal theme of independence, freedom of speech, and passion.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (York Notes Advanced)

32.  A gift to give anyone headed to stand in line at the DMV.

The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 2 (Bollingen Series LXXI-2)

33.  Not the lightest of reading, still a necessity if you wish to become more logical.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
34.  The Qur'an:  A must read to understand millions of people in the world, those at your work, school, or neighborhood.  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam form the "Abrahamic religions" because they originated within the history of a covenant God made with Abraham in the Hebrew Bible.  Abraham's son led to the formation of Islam.  Through his son Isaac we got Moses and Judaism, then Jesus and Christianity.

Information is Beautiful

35.  A model for how to present information, data, and facts in artful picture form.

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36.  "Life is difficult"--M. Scott Peck.

People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil

37.  Peck wrote many books in his lifetime and you can trace his evolution in thought throughout his writings.  In this books Peck shows how 1. The evil hide their motives with lies. 2. Evil people want to appear to be good. 3. When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion.  4. Evil seeks to discourage others to think for themselves (fosters dependency).  5. To oppose evil we must have an ongoing dedication to reality at all cost.

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

38.   “Today’s youth did not initiate the erosion of America’s social capital…it is the obligation of Americans of all ages to help rekindle civic engagement", Dr. Robert Putnam.

The Last Lecture

39.  A book I have gifted to many of my wonderful students.

The Speech Chain: The Physics and Biology of Spoken Language

40.  Imagine a world without sound.  For some it is a reality.  We do it everyday and yet have no idea how we do it.  Speaking and listening is explained in a clear and fascinating manner.

Classic Starts: Treasure Island (Classic Starts Series)

41.  Books provide an escape and this take of pirates will take you on a journey.  I think the more children the classics, the better they will be able to read, write, and think.  Sometimes starting with the abridged version and then making a point to read the complete version is a great ladder to better reading.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Three Ring Binder Edition)
42.  The famous red and white cookbook has helped men and women cook, bake, and grill since 1930.

43.  Joe Brown, World War II veteran pictured above, recorded his experience as a prisoner of war in We Stole to Live. The true story tells of his POW days, his fellow POWs. Among these was his friend--my great-uncle.

Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

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