Brandy Vencel

The Giver

The Giver

In Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning classic, twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind his fragile community.

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

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Dumbing Us Down – 25th Anniversary Edition: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Dumbing Us Down – 25th Anniversary Edition: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

After over 100 years of mandatory schooling in the U.S., literacy rates have dropped, families are fragmented, learning "disabilities" are skyrocketing, and children and youth are increasingly disaffected. Thirty years of teaching in the public school system led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling is to blame, accomplishing little but to teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.

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In Memoriam: A Tribute to Charlotte Mason

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Charlotte Mason

After Charlotte Mason died in 1923, the PNEU held a memorial service in her honor, though (quite appropriately) it more resembled an educational conference. Dozens of friends, acquaintances, admirers, students and fellow educators attended the event. Those who had spent years observing her life and work warmly described her impact on their own lives and careers. These sentiments—some philosophical, some personal—were recorded in the book you are now holding. In Memoriam is biography, memoir and philosophical commentary all in one. It offers the most intimate look at Charlotte Mason from those who knew and loved her best. As you read their touching words, you will come to appreciate the tremendous impact of this gifted woman whose philosophy and method of self-education transformed generations of teachers, parents and students—not only in her life but in her death, as well.

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.

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Philosophy 100 Essential Thinkers

Philosophy 100 Essential Thinkers

Philosophy: 100 Essential Thinkers is an A-to-Z format covering the ideas of history's most influential thinkers, from Thales of Miletus to contemporary philosophers such as Wittgenstein and Peter Singer.

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Bechamp or Pasteur?: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology

Bechamp or Pasteur?: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology

R. Pearson's Pasteur, Plagiarist, Imposter, originally published in 1942, serves as the introduction. It details some of the reasons for the rancorous relationship between Louis Pasteur and Antoine Béchamp. Pearson points out many of the problems in Pasteur's work, and provides details, statistics and evidence to support his case. Some of the frauds which were eventually admitted by the Pasteur Institute are mentioned here.

Ethel Hume's Béchamp or Pasteur?, originally published in 1923, is the larger work, and provides the main body of evidence, in three parts:
1. The Mystery of Fermentation
2. The Microzymas
3. The Cult of the Microbe

This book is a compelling and thorough account of Pasteur's plagiarism and scientific fraud. It contains the evidence of the false grounds on which the germ theory of disease was elevated to its current status as a dogma, and beyond question. In this forgotten chapter of the history of biology and medicine, we are shown how powerful interests and agendas have prevailed over genuine science. Here are strong reminders of the powers which control the pharmaceutical and regulatory industries to this day.

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The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

Composed at the rosy-fingered dawn of world literature almost three millennia ago, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home.

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Bleak House

Bleak House

Bleak House is one of Dickens' finest achievements, establishing his reputation as a serious and mature novelist, as well as a brilliant comic writer. It is at once a complex mystery story that fully engages the reader in the work of detection, and an unforgettable indictment of an indifferent society. Its representations of a great city's underworld, and of the law's corruption and delay, draw upon the author's personal knowledge and experience. But it is his symbolic art that projects these things in a vision that embraces black comedy, cosmic farce, and tragic ruin. In a unique creative experiment, Dickens divides the narrative between his heroine, Esther Summerson, who is psychologically interesting in her own right, and an unnamed narrator whose perspective both complements and challenges hers.
With an Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, University of Kent at Canterbury

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Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

Christopher McDougall’s journey begins with a story of remarkable athletic prowess: On the treacherous mountains of Crete, a motley band of World War II Resistance fighters—an artist, a shepherd, and a poet—abducted a German commander from the heart of the Axis occupation. To understand how, McDougall retraces their steps across the island that birthed Herakles and Odysseus, and discovers ancient techniques for endurance, sustenance, and natural movement that have been preserved in unique communities around the world.

His search takes us scrambling over rooftops with a Parkour crew in London, foraging for greens with a ballerina in Brooklyn, tossing heavy pieces of driftwood on a Brazilian beach with the creator of MovNat—and, finally, to our own backyards. Natural Born Heroes will inspire readers to unleash the extraordinary potential of the human body and climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to heroic feats.

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Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes (Wordsworth Library Collection)

Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes (Wordsworth Library Collection)

Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This book contains all the investigations and adventures of the world's most popular detective, Sherlock Holmes. From The Adventure of the Gloria Scott to His Last Bow, we follow the illustrious career of this quintessential British hero from his university days to his final case. His efforts to uncover the truth take him all over the world and into conflict with all manner of devious criminals and dangerous villains, but thankfully his legendary powers of deduction, and his faithful companion Dr. Watson, are more than up to the challenge.

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On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)

Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers' groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning.

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Mornings on Horseback

Mornings on Horseback

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.

The father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. The mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and a celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, TR’s first love. All are brought to life to make “a beautifully told story, filled with fresh detail” (The New York Times Book Review).

A book to be read on many levels, it is at once an enthralling story, a brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. It is a book about life intensely lived, about family love and loyalty, about grief and courage, about “blessed” mornings on horseback beneath the wide blue skies of the Badlands.

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