The goal of our summer reading program is to encourage students to read for enjoyment. To that end, we suggest that students make selections based on their reading level and on their interests. We just ask that students choose books that they have never read and ones that meet their guardians’ approval. In order to help make selections, we are providing “suggested” titles. The Children’s Librarians and Young Adult Librarian at the Swampscott Public Library can also make suggestions of classics, student favorites, and new recommended titles. Feel free to visit the Swampscott Public Library at any time.
Swampscott Middle School
You may read as many books as you like, with a minimum of two. Have fun! If the book doesn’t grab you right away, select another. We want you to be excited about reading.
When you enter 5th grade in August, you will give a brief book talk on your favorite summer selection. Using a 4 x 6 index card, write the title, author and genre. Next, choose as many of the following activities you need to fill out your card using both front and back.
Our 5th grade motto is: Better Readers Make Better Writers
2012 SUMMER READING, INCOMING SIXTH GRADE
Dear Incoming Sixth Grade Students and Parents/Guardians,
The sixth grade language arts teachers have designed a summer reading activity for the incoming sixth graders that will be completed upon their return to school in the fall. All students will be expected to read MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN and a second book of their choice from the sixth grade summer reading list posted on the Swampscott Middle School site. Each student must purchase a copy of MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, by Jean Craighead George, which they will mark up and write in, according to a set of specific directions given at the bottom of this page.
In the fall, each student will complete a story map for MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN in his/her reading class. Attached to this letter is a glossary of terms that relates to literature.
For the second book, sixth graders will meet in discussion groups / literature circles in their reading classes in early September. Each student will receive and complete a task, such as summarizing, illustrating, photographing, directing a discussion, or acting as the vocabulary specialist for his/her book.
On behalf of the entire sixth grade team, we hope you all have an enjoyable summer, full of both fun and learning. We are looking forward to a great start to the school year in the fall!
~ “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” ~
The Sixth Grade Teachers
Mark your book as you read My Side of the Mountain:
*Circle 10 important vocabulary words in blue ink.
*Write the definition of the word at the bottom of the page on which it appears.
*Underline the name of each major character in red ink. Put relevant character traits in the margins or on sticky notes.
*Use sticky notes, write in the margin, or underline where the author describes something important about the setting.
*Use sticky notes to keep track of any problems Sam Gribley faces and his solutions
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
SETTING: The setting is the backdrop of a story. It can define the actions of the characters, as well as paint an inspiring canvas against which the characters relate, move, and deal with their problems and conflicts. The setting transports the reader to places only in his/her imagination, including exotic locales and periods in the past.
When you describe the setting of each book you have read, be sure to include the following:
*LOCATION: In which country, state, city, or town does the story take place? Think about how the setting adds to the story.
*TIME PERIOD: Does this story take place in the past, present, or future? How does the time period add to the story?
*ATMOSPHERE: How would you describe the atmosphere of the story? For example, is it friendly? kind? frightening? threatening? anxious? Explain your answer.
*ETHNIC DETAILS: To make a setting come alive, stories often include words that reflect a culture, such as simple phrases in foreign languages and names of ethnic foods. Character names may also reflect ethnicity. Describe any ethnic details you found in the book.
CHARACTERS: We come to know characters through 1) the character’s physical description, 2) the character’s thoughts, feelings, and words, 3) the comments and reactions of others, and 4) the actions of the character and the author’s stated opinion of the character.
When you list the main characters, please tell me what you learned about each one. Consider 1 – 4 above. You must describe the characters so I will gain insight into the characters’ personalities.
PROBLEM: The problem is the hurdle the main characters face and why it is a problem.
What problem does the main character face in the book? Do you understand what the problem is and why it is a problem?
STEPS TO THE SOLUTION: There are steps the main character must take to solve the problem. What steps does the main character take to solve his/her problem?
SOLUTION: What must be done to solve the problem? What is the solution? Are you satisfied with the solution?
Swampscott Middle School
Grade 7 and 8 Summer Reading Assignment
SUMMER READING WORK
Students Entering Grades 7 and 8 in 2012
You may read as many books as you would like. Have fun! If the book does not grab you right away, select another one. We want you to be excited about reading.
When you return in September, you will give a book talk on your favorite summer selection. (Specific guidelines will be presented in September).
In order to be well prepared, as you read, you need to pay attention to characterization, plot, setting, author’s purpose, etc. (see below for specifics)
If you own the book, annotate it by underlining, writing in the margins, or circling parts of the text you wish to remember or challenge. (see below for additional suggestions).
If you don’t own the book, you must use sticky notes. We suggest you create a system using different colored sticky notes to separate the literary comments you are marking.
You must bring that book with you on the first day of school.
HOW TO READ
Be an active reader and annotate (mark your book) as you read!
You annotate by underlining, circling, and writing in the margins or on sticky notes.
What to annotate:
Our 8th grade motto is;: Better Readers Make Better Writers!
Cultural Diversity: Conflicts and Challenges by Kathlyn Gay
A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg
Gracies Girl by Ellen Wittlinger
Indie Girl by Kavita Daswani
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Ten Things I Hate about Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park by Steve Kluger
Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henke
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Ties that Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka
After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
Jakarta Missing by Jane Kurtz
Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe
Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
Of Beetles And Angels by Mawi Asgadom
Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz
Zazoo by Richard Mosher
Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
Children Of The River by Linda Crew
Rules Of The Road by Joan Bauer
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale
The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Elephant Run by Roland Smith
Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan
Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Click Here (To Find Out How I Survived The 7th Grade):a novel by Denise Vega
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac
The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Bindi Babes (part of a series) by Narinder Dhami
Rickshaw Girl and Monsoon Summer both by Mitali Perkins
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Camel Rider by Prue Mason
Chanda’s Wars by Allan Stratton
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle
Roald Dahl Titles
Jane Yolen Titles
Tough Times by Milton Meltzer
Chernowitz! by Fran Arrick
The Cure by Sonia Levitin
Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres
95 Pounds of Hope by Anna Gavalda
Of Sound Mind by Jean Ferris
A Perfect Snow by Nora Martin
Probably Still Nick Swansen by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Misfits by James Howe
What’s In A Name? by Ellen Wittlinger
Fiction from Other Cultures
Blue Fingers: A Ninja’s Tale by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel (Japan)
*Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (Mexico)
Heart of a Jaguar by Marc Talbert (Mexico)
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whalen (India)
Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Pakistan)
Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang (China)
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (Italy)
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Tom Feelings
A Lesson before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Letters From a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs by Mary E. Lyons
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Jason’s Adventures with the Tuskegee Airmen by Millie Wright Pilgrim
Othello: a Novel by Julius Lester
With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Rainbow Jordan by Alice Childress
Asian-American and Pacific Islander
Desert Exile by Yoshiko Uchida
Itsuka by Joy Kogawa, Anchor Books
Children of the River by Linda Crew
The Clay Marble by Minfong Ho
Echoes of the White Giraffe by Sook Nyul Choi
Goodbye Vietnam by Gloria Whelan
Shadow of the Dragon by Sherry Garland
Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori,
To Destroy You Is No Loss by JoAn Criddle
Peacebound Trains by Haemi Balgassi
Finding My Voice by Marie Lee
The Golem and The Dragon Girl by Sonia Levitin
If It Hadn’t Been for Yoon Jun by Marie G. Lee
Latino and Latina
The Forty Third War by Louise Moeri
Journey of the Sparrows by Fran Leeper Buss with Daisy Cubias
Taking Sides by Gary Soto
Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmers Tell Their Stories by S. Beth Atkin
Local News by Gary Soto
Crazy Weekend by Gary Soto
Pacific Crossing by Gary Soto
Native American and Eskimo
Scrub Dog of Alaska by Walt Morey
I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
Again Calls the Owl by Margaret Craven
Beardance by Will Hobbs
Bearstone by Will Hobbs
The Owl’s Song by Janet Campbell Hale
Revolutions of the Heart by Marsha Qualey
Walker of Time by Helen Hughes Vick
A Woman of Her Tribe by Margaret Robinson
Roots of Peace, Seeds of Hope:A Journey for Peacemakers by Maggie Steincrohn Davis
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn
Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas
The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
The Man from the Other Side by Uri Orlevi
Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter
I Promised I Would Tell by Sonia Weitz
New Boy by Julian Houston
Night by Elie Wiesel
Nightfather by Carl Friedman
Middle Eastern or East Indian
Titles in English (or translations) from other countries
Shabanu:Daughter of The Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi
Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipovic
Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird
Little Brother by Allan Baillie
Candyman by Simone Poirier-Bures
Boy of Old Prague by Sulamith Ish-Kishoer
The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen
Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors and Aliens in a New America by Warren Lehrer
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast
Parallel Journeys by Eleanor H. Ayer
The Road from Home by David Kherdian
Seed of Sarah by Judith Isaacson
The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal
In addition to the new summer reading list, students may select books from our previous grade specific summer reading lists. SMS students may select any reading level appropriate books from the following list:
Never Mind: A Twin Novel by Avi.
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Birdsall, Jeanne
The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Berlin, Eric
The Name of This Book is Secret by Bosch, Pseudonymous
Masterpiece by Broach, Elise
No Talking by Clements, Andrew.
Vive la Paris by Codell, Esme Raji.
Free Baseball by Corbett, Sue
Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth by Davies, Nicola
The Birchbark House by Erdrich, Louise
Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini by Fleishman, Sid
The Liberation of Gabriel King by Going, K.L.
The Kid Who Ran For President by Gutman, Dan
Two Hot Dogs with Everything by Haven, Paul
The Haunting of Granite Falls and Others by Ibbotson, Eva
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
by Janeczko, Paul B
The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster, Norton
1607: A New Look at Jamestown by Lange, Karen
The Willoughbys by Lowry, Lois
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters by McKissack, Patricia
Tripping Over the Lunch Lady: And Other School Stories by Mercado, Nancy
Three cups of Tea: Young Reader’s Edition by Mortenson, Greg
How to Steal a Dog by O’Connor, Barbara
Project Mulberry by Park, Linda Sue
Higher Power of Lucky by Patron, Susan
John Smith Escapes Again! by Schanzer, Rosalyn.
The Invention of Hugo Cabaret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Selznick, Brian
My Name is Sally Little Song by Wood, Brenda
Little Leap Forward by Yue, Guo
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan.
My Life with the Chimpanzees (revised edition) by Jane Goodall (Non-fiction biography)
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone: Keys to Ancient Egypt by James Cross Giblin
The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Esperanza Rising by Pan Munoz-Ryan
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
When the Legends Die by Hal Borland
Deathwatch by Robb White
Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech
Toning the Sweep by Angela Johnson
Dangerous Skies by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Heaven Looks a Lot Like a Mall by Wendy Mass
Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde
Jade Green by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Rewind by William Sleator
The Third Eye by Lois Duncan
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Football Genius by Tim Green
Travel Team by Mike Lupica
The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
It’s Not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong
Bloomability by Sharon Creech
Hope was here by Joan Bauer
No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare
By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
With Every Drop of Blood by James and Chris Collier
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien
The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Snow Bound by Harry Mazer
Necessary Roughness by Marie Lee
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick
How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen
Mark Twain titles
The Eragon series by Christopher Paolini
Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Last Shot by John Feinstein
Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
Black-Eyed Suzie by Susan Shaw
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Stargirl by Jerri Spinelli
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Required Summer Reading (all students)
The Things They Carried (O’Brien)
The House of Sand and Fog (Dubus)
Honors Students: (Select One)
Black Elk Speaks (Neihardt)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Foer)
The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)
Each of these books is required reading! Please follow the directions on the HS website for annotating help/suggestions…and carefully take notes and annotate as you read. Your close reading of each of these books is important.
You are not required to do a creative project for these books as not only will we cover these books in detail (with unique assessments), but Amstud is loaded with creative projects throughout the year! We just need to be sure these books get a careful reading before we address them.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Email:
Mr. Franklin: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Green: email@example.com
Summer Reading Creative Options
English Department 2012
The English Department presents creative project choices for students in accordance with Swampscott High School’s Mission Statement and Academic Expectations which state: “The mission of Swampscott High School is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse and evolving global society by promoting academic and personal excellence…” and, “Students will communicate effectively through multiple forms of expression and solve problems through analytical and critical thinking.” Summer reading plays a vital role in maintaining students’ close reading skills and allows students to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming curriculum.
Expectation: Students must complete a creative project from the list below for one non-required reading. This project is due the first day of classes. If you have questions about the projects, please email Ms. Ganci firstname.lastname@example.org
Your project will have:
1. A list of at least 10 songs each with explanations of connections to the themes, mood, character, and/or plot of the novel that is at least a page. These explanations will cite specific examples/quotations from the text and from the song in your analysis.Y
2. An attractive and visually relevant cover for your CD case.
Artistic Response —
Your project will have:
1. A work of art in response to your book using charcoal, pastels, oil, ink, paper, etc.
2. A one-page reflection on why in the text inspired you to create this piece that includes specific examples from the text in your reflection.
Graphic Novel —
Your project will include:
1. A four-page comic book adaptation of a chapter or important scene from your novel that includes words and images.
2. A one-page explanation of why you choose this moment in the novel. Use specific details and evidence from the novel in your explanations.
Film Adaptation —
Your project will include:
Pretend a big movie studio has hired you to adapt this novel into a film.
1. Three important passages from the novel that you would include in your film version with explanations of why you chose these moments and how they are connected to your thematic vision of the film.
2. A one-page explanation of your casting choices including images of actors you will cast.
NOTE: AP ASSIGNMENT IS BELOW FOLLOWING THE SENIOR LIST
SWAMPSCOTT HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER READING LIST FOR FRESHMAN: 2012
The Swampscott High School English Department presents its summer reading selections for the 2012-2013 school year in accordance with Swampscott High School’s Mission Statement and Academic Expectations which state: “The mission of Swampscott High School is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse and evolving global society by promoting academic and personal excellence…” and, “Students will communicate effectively through multiple forms of expression and solve problems through analytical and critical thinking.” Summer reading plays a vital role in maintaining students’ close reading skills and allows students to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming curriculum. Students taking 110 must read the required text plus two additional choice books from the list provided. Students taking 111 must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Students taking the Foundations course must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Please see the page entitled “Expectations for Summer Reading” for more information.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez: Fifteen interconnected stories portray the immigrant experience with humor and insight as the four Garcia sisters and their family come to America in 1960 from the Dominican Republic.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: These stories of Earth and Mars illustrate the universal forces of love, hate, fear, and courage.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: Ender Wiggins is the result of a genetic breeding program and years of harsh, unforgiving training. Thinking he is only playing computer-simulated war games, Ender is really commanding the last great fleet on Earth.
Ellen Foster by Kay Gibbons: In a simple narrative voice, eleven-year-old Ellen tells the story of a childhood filled with family strife and parental loss. Her spunk and humor help her overcome adversity in this uplifting southern novel.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: This is the moving and beautiful autobiography of a talented black woman confronting her own life with dignity.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier: History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius … even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.
Dune by Frank Herbert: Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib.
The Once and Future King by T.H. White: This book is the magical epic of King Arthur and his shining Camelot; of Merlin and Owl and Guinevere; of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war. It is the book of all things lost and wonderful and sad. It is the fantasy masterpiece by which all others are judged.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: The story of a British earthling plucked from his planet, and his subsequent adventures elsewhere in the universe.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: This comic book tells three different stories that merge into one. At the center of all stories is the importance of one’s heritage and culture and the obstacles of growing up.
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg: Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family, but when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. This is a coming-of-age-novel about being the outcast in a family of geniuses.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Protagonist Melissa does not speak, in part, because of a traumatic event she experiences. This novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast.
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff: This novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century. Told from the point of view of 15-year-old Manhattan native Daisy, the novel follows her arrival and her stay with cousins on a remote farm in England.
The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer: Matt discovers he is a clone in a future where clones are thought of as little more than animals. Matt is the clone of a very powerful drug lord, and because of this, he enjoys a much more comfortable life than most, but quickly realizes the dark side of this world.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: When Clay Jenson plays the cassette tapes he received in a mysterious package he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel: A boy, Pi, is cast adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a huge Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The journey is a horrific one as the animals battle for survival in the cramped boat and Pi quakes with fear as he tries to avoid being part of the food chain.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: A pathological killer systematically murders ten strangers entrapped on an island.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher: Eric “Moby” Calhoune, the fattest boy in high school, tries to help his badly scarred best friend, Sarah Byrnes, deal with a horrific event in her past. “A transcendent story of love, loyalty, and courage . . . Superb plotting, extraordinary characters and crackling narrative make this novel one to be devoured in a single unforgettable sitting.”
The Contender by Robert Lypsyte: Alfred Brooks, a seventeen-year-old boy who is struggling to become a championship boxer, must placate his Harlem gang and the white world as well.
Hoops by Walter Dean Myers: A young man with a talent for basketball hopes that his game will be his ticket out of the ghetto.
Candy by Kevin Brooks: When Joe meets Candy, it seems like a regular boy-meets-girl scenario. They chat over coffee, she gives him her number, and he writes her a song. But then Joe is drawn into Candy’s world — a world of drugs, violence, and desperation.
Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher: Dillon Hemingway is a brilliant student and athlete whose older brother, Preston, gets involved with a motorcycle gang, loses his legs in a bike accident, and later blows his head away in full view of his younger brother.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “the glade” for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change.
The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson: Fifteen-year-old Darren Bennett lives in an entirely recognizable teenage world: he’s obsessed with science fiction and video games, bullied by his older brother, and completely baffled by the opposite sex. On the other hand, Darren’s new, socially awkward best friend, Eric Lederer, lives a life unrecognizable to everyone: Eric can’t sleep, at all, ever, a revelation he shares with Darren in strictest confidence.
Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue: In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way–he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary.
SWAMPSCOTT HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER READING LIST FOR SOPHOMORES: 2012
The Swampscott High School English Department presents its summer reading selections for the 2012-2013 school year in accordance with Swampscott High School’s Mission Statement and Academic Expectations which state: “The mission of Swampscott High School is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse and evolving global society by promoting academic and personal excellence…” and “Students will communicate effectively through multiple forms of expression and solve problems through analytical and critical thinking.” Summer reading plays a vital role in maintaining students’ close reading skills and allows students to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming curriculum. Students taking 120 must read the required text plus two additional choice books from the list provided. Students taking 121 must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Students taking the 122 course must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Please see the page entitled “Expectations for Summer Reading” for more information.
Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian: Forced to watch his father escorted out of their lives by Turkish police, his brothers shot to death in their backyard, his grandmother murdered by a rock-wielding guard, and his sister take poison rather than be raped by soldiers, 12-year-old Vahan Kendarian abruptly begins to learn what his father meant when he used to say, “This is how steel is made. Steel is made strong by fire.”
Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama: In 1926 rural China, a group of women forge a sisterhood amidst the reeling machines that reverberate and clamor in a vast silk factory from dawn until dusk. Leading the first strike the village has ever seen, the young women use the strength of their ambition, dreams, and friendship to achieve freedom.
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris: This is the thrice-told tale of three women—fifteen-year-old, part black Rayonne, American-Indian mother Christine, and the fierce and mysterious Ida, whose search and dreams bind the three women together.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: In this classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don’t put out fires; they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury’s vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal – a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad.
Shoeless Joe Jackson by W.P. Kinsella: In this story, a baseball announcer’s voice very clearly says to the narrator, “If you build it, he will come.” He does (shoeless Joe Jackson, that is) and says, looking around the ball fields, “This must be heaven.” “No, it’s Iowa,” the narrator replies. At this point, the story is a curiosity more than anything else, its significance archival more than aesthetic, but it is the piece that will draw readers to the collection.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult: Nineteen Minutes recounts a deadly high school shooting rampage, its causes, and its aftermath.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory – the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four.
About a Boy by Nick Hornby: Hornby’s protaganist is Will Lightman, a perennial guest at life’s eternal cocktail party. Due to a happy accident of birth, Will has never had to work; but, as his friends have drifted away into meaningful marriages and careers, he finds himself, at 36, mostly alone, desperately hip, and leading the quintessential unexamined life.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: First published in 1965, The Bluest Eye is the story of a black girl who prays — with unforeseen consequences–for her eyes to turn blue so she will be accepted.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards: Haunted by the memory of growing up with a chronically ill sister, David makes a split-second decision. He asks Caroline to take his infant daughter to an institution, and when Norah wakes, he tells her that the second child was stillborn.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale is a frightening look at a not too distant future where sterility is the norm, and fertile woman are treated as cattle, to produce children for the upper class who cannot have any.
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni: Since their birth, cousins Sudha and Anjou have been bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend. When a dark family secret suddenly shatters this connection, the two travel different paths until a tragedy reminds them they have only each other to turn to.
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut: The novel is filled with scientists and G-men and even ordinary folks caught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each other around in search of the world’s most important and dangerous substance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature.
11 Seconds by Travis Roy: Within the 11 seconds that inspired this memoir, Travis Roy realized his dream, and then smashed into his nightmare. On an October night in 1995, Roy, a talented young hockey player, skated onto the ice for his varsity debut with Boston University. Eleven fateful seconds later, he was paralyzed from the neck down.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: When twenty-four-year-old Chistopher McCandless walked into the Alaskan wilderness alone, never to be seen alive again, he left behind a storm of controversy and conflicting emotions over this odyssey. A remarkable true story of idealism, naïveté, and the deeper questions of where the individual fits into society.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman: Fantasy and reality meld in unexpected and tragic ways when 17-year-old Quentin Coldwater trades his ho-hum Brooklyn existence for the magical society of Brakebills College.
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti: In this suspenseful and unpredictable adventure, Ren, a one-handed eighteenth-century orphan, becomes apprenticed to a con man. Surprisingly, Ren seems born to it.
City of Thieves by David Benioff: Two teenage boys encounter cannibals, murderers, prostitutes, and assassins as they struggle to complete an impossible task during the freezing Siege of Leningrad in this funny, shocking, and briskly written tome.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: This is a classic fantasy of the future where babies are produced in bottles and people exist in a mechanized world without a soul.
Sophie’s World by Joestein Gaardner: Sophie is about to turn 15 when she receives a letter and as she answers; she learns about major schools of thought, and philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hegel, Locke and Hobbes. This is an exploration of time, God, science and politics through all of the great philosophical concepts.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon: Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat to date: smuggling himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague. He is looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn’s own Sammy Clay, is looking for a collaborator to create the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book.
Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates: Ever make a stupid comment or joke, or say something you obviously didn’t mean? Of course you have — we all have. Was it ever taken out of context? Written in the wake of some highly publicized school shootings, Big Mouth & Ugly Girl takes a look at the shock waves that emanate from an overheard comment muttered in sarcasm, and the overzealous reaction of the school and surrounding community that follows.
Crooked by Laura and Tim McNeal: Clara Wilson has a crooked nose. It bothers her. She fusses with it in the mirror. She thinks about plastic surgery. She touches it all of the time. Her nose doesn’t bother Amos Mackenzie. He thinks she is pretty. And he will tell her so, in due time.
Black Mass by Dennis Lehr and Gerard O’Neill: In the spring of 1988, Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill set out to write the story of two infamous brothers from the insular Irish enclave of South Boston: Jim “Whitey” Bulger and his younger brother Billy. Whitey was the city’s most powerful gangster and a living legend–tough, cunning, without conscience, and above all, smart.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an unforgettable story of a mental ward in which the despotic Nurse Ratched reigns over the doctor and all the inhabitants. She exercises a somewhat cultic tactics to render her patients completely submissive.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: When reality got “too dense” for 18-year-old Susanna Kaysen, she was hospitalized. It was 1967, and reality was too dense for many people. But few who are labeled mad and locked up for refusing to stick to an agreed-upon reality possess Kaysen’s lucidity in sorting out a maelstrom of contrary perceptions.
Sold by Patricia McCormick: The book is written in poetic free verse in a very personal way through the main character’s eyes. Lakshmi, 13, knows nothing about the world beyond her village shack in the Himalayas of Nepal, and when her family loses the little it has in a monsoon, she grabs a chance to work as a maid in the city so she can send money back home. What she doesn’t know is that her stepfather has sold her into prostitution.
Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell: This graphic novel is a complex tale of two adolescent step-siblings struggling not only through the usual teenager problems of identify, family and friends but also mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: The chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.” He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team.
SWAMPSCOTT HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER READING LIST FOR JUNIORS: 2012
The Swampscott High School English Department presents its summer reading selections for the 2012-2013 school year in accordance with Swampscott High School’s Mission Statement and Academic Expectations which state: “The mission of Swampscott High School is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse and evolving global society by promoting academic and personal excellence…” and, “Students will communicate effectively through multiple forms of expression and solve problems through analytical and critical thinking.” Summer reading plays a vital role in maintaining students’ close reading skills and allows students to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming curriculum. Students taking 130 must read the required text plus two additional choice books from the list provided. Students taking 131 must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Students taking the 145, 146, 147, or 148 courses must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Please see the page entitled “Expectations for Summer Reading” for more information. American Studies students have their own lists and assignments. If you are taking that course, please see Mr. Franklin for details.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien: They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. And, if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only just beginning to absorb. Since its first publication, this novel has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok: The odyssey of two young men journeying from boyhood to manhood, set against the background of the conflicts and traditions of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan: An instant bestseller, this startlingly original debut novel tells the emotionally honest and intensely moving story of several generations of Chinese-American women and their families, illuminating the special mysteries of the bonds between mothers and daughters.
The Color of Water by James McBride: As an adult, James McBride finally persuaded his mother to tell her story – a story of a rabbi’s daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a church, and raised twelve children.
1,000 Acres by Jane Smiley: Hidden family secrets erupt when a father decides to leave his prosperous farm to two of his three daughters.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines: In late 1940′s Louisiana, a poor, uneducated black youth is convicted of murder for his unwitting role in a liquor store holdup and the ensuing shoot-out.
Plainsong by Kent Haruf: Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelors farmers.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: Sylvia Plath’s autobiographical novel about a young woman on the brink of madness and suicide.
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud: Frank Alpine, a drifter, participates in the robbery and beating of a poor Jewish grocer. Feeling guilt, Frank is drawn back to the store to seek forgiveness. He begins to work at the store and falls in love with the grocer’s daughter. However, Frank has great difficulty giving up his dishonest ways, even when it costs him the daughter’s love.
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III: In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis.
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez: This powerful, darkly funny debut novel brilliantly evokes the trials of Chino, a smart promising young man who finds himself over his head in an urban underworld of switchblades and violence.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski: Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home.
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb: In this extraordinary coming-of-age story, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. Meet Dolores Price. She’s thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye.
Manchild In the Promised Land by Claude Brown: Claude Brown’s life was difficult, dangerous, and violent, and he shows all of that in unflinching detail, he also recalls much of his childhood with pleasure and a good measure of pride that he survived.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy: McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole’s tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge.
Lush Life by Richard Price: Price (Clockers) turns his unrelenting eye on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in this manic crescendo of a novel that explores the repercussions of a seemingly random shooting. When bartender Ike Marcus is shot to death after barhopping with friends, NYPD Det. Matty Clark and his team first focus on restaurant manager and struggling writer Eric Cash, who claims the group was accosted by would-be muggers, despite eyewitnesses saying otherwise.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut: Kurt Vonnegut’s absurd classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In the plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer: The tragedy that took the lives of experienced mountain guides and novice climbers in a raging blizzard atop Mt. Everest in 1996 is chronicled with clarity, poignancy, and brutal honesty by one who witnessed the even first-hand.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: This novel is a magical chronicle of Mitch and Morrie’s time together, of a teacher’s gift to a student, and a heartfelt lesson of life and the things that are of true value.
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card: Bean is in Battle School with Ender Wiggins and becomes his right hand, his strategist, and his friend. He is there with Ender at the final battle. This is his story. A parallel novel to the best seller Ender’s Game.
In Country by Bobby Ann Mason: Sam Hughes, a contemporary girl, searches to understand who her father was and what the Vietnam War that killed him was about.
Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane: Private detectives Kenzie and Gennaro, who live in the same working-class Dorchester neighborhood of Boston where they grew up, have gone to visit drug dealer Cheese in prison because they think he’s involved in the kidnapping of 4-year-old Amanda McCready.
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk: The consequences of media saturation are the basis for an urban nightmare in Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk’s darkly comic and often dazzling thriller. Assigned to write a series of feature articles investigating SIDS, troubled newspaper reporter Carl Streator begins to notice a pattern among the cases he encounters: each child was read the same poem prior to his or her death.
Smashed: The Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas: This isn’t just one girl’s story of sneaking drinks in junior high, creeping out for night-long keg parties in high school and binge-drinking weeknights and weekends through college—it’s also a valuable cautionary tale. At 24 (her present age), Zailckas gave up drinking after a decade of getting drunk, having blackouts and experiencing brushes with comas, date rape and suicide.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult: Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out.
Bleachers by John Grisham: With Bleachers John Grisham departs again from the legal thriller to experiment with a character-driven tale of reunion, broken high school dreams, and missed chances. While the book falls short of the compelling storytelling that has made Grisham a bestselling author, it is nonetheless a diverting novella that succeeds as light fiction.
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Curtis Sittenfeld’s poignant and occasionally angst-ridden debut novel Prep is the story of Lee Fiora, a South Bend, Indiana, teenager who wins a scholarship to the prestigious Ault school, an East Coast institution where “money was everywhere on campus, but it was usually invisible.” As we follow Lee through boarding school, we witness firsthand the triumphs and tragedies that shape our heroine’s coming-of-age.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang: Many good books have been written about the history of hip-hop music and the generation that nurtured it. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop ranks among the best. Jeff Chang covers the music–from its Jamaican roots in the late 1960s to its birth in the Bronx; its eventual explosion from underground to the American mainstream–with style, including DJs, MCs, b-boys, graffiti art, Black Nationalism, groundbreaking singles and albums, and the street parties that gave rise to a genuine movement.
House Rules by Jodi Picoult: Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject–in his case, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions.
Columbine by Dave Cullen: In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen debunks the myths and produces a profile of teen killers that burrows to the core of psychopathology. He reveals two radically different killers: Eric Harris, the callously brutal mastermind, and Dylan Klebold, the quivering depressive who journaled obsessively about love and attended the Columbine prom three days before opening fire.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers: Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian-born painting contractor, decides to stay in New Orleans and protect his property while his family flees. After the levees break, he uses a small canoe to rescue people, before being arrested by an armed squad and swept powerlessly into a vortex of bureaucratic brutality.
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder: This compelling and inspiring book shows how one person can work wonders. In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Kidder’s magnificent account takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.”
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: Eugenides’s tantalizing, macabre first novel begins with a suicide, the first of the five bizarre deaths of the teenage daughters in the Lisbon family; the rest of the work, set in the author’s native Michigan in the early 1970s, is a backward-looking quest as the male narrator and his nosy, pals describe how they strove to understand the odd clan of this first chapter.
Manhunt-The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson: For 12 days after his brazen assassination of Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was at large, and in Manhunt, historian James L. Swanson tells the vivid, fully documented tale of his escape and the wild, massive pursuit. Get a taste of the daily drama from this timeline of the desperate search.
SWAMPSCOTT HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER READING LIST FOR SENIORS: 2012
The Swampscott High School English Department presents its summer reading selections for the 2012-2013 school year in accordance with Swampscott High School’s Mission Statement and Academic Expectations which state: “The mission of Swampscott High School is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse and evolving global society by promoting academic and personal excellence…” and, “Students will communicate effectively through multiple forms of expression and solve problems through analytical and critical thinking.” Summer reading plays a vital role in maintaining students’ close reading skills and allows students to prepare for the challenges of the upcoming curriculum. Students taking 140 must read the required text plus two additional choice books from the list provided. Students taking 141 must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Students taking the 145, 146, 147, or 148 courses must read the required text and one additional choice book from the list. Please see the page entitled “Expectations for Summer Reading” for more information. Students taking AP English have a separate, specific reading list and assignment.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when she’s roused by regular nightmares about her younger brother’s death.
The Reader by Bernard Schlink: This mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolded against the haunted landscape of post World War II Germany.
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Set mainly in Kerala, India, in 1969, it is the story of Rahel and her twin brother Estha, who learn that their whole world can change in a single day, that love and life can be lost in a moment.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: Author Anita Diamant, in the voice of Dinah, gives an insider’s look at the details of women’s lives in biblical times and a chronicle of their earthy stories and long-ignored histories.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening — until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage.
The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima: Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. A young fisherman is entranced at the sight of the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. They fall in love, but must then endure the calumny and gossip of the villagers.
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound.
Waiting by Ha Jin: This is the story of Lin Kong, a man living in two worlds, struggling with the conflicting claims of two utterly different women as he moves through the political minefields of a society designed to regulate his every move and stifle the promptings of his innermost heart
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez: Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republica in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.
The Aguero Sisters by Christina Garcia: Garcia’s magisterial work opens with a murder. In Cuba’s shimmering Zapata Swamp, Blanca Aguero turns in time to see her naturalist husband, Ignacio, point a gun at her and pull the trigger. At the heart of the novel that then unfolds are the two daughters of the ill-fated couple.
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby: High Fidelity is the story of Rob, a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend Laura has just left him for Ian from the flat upstairs. Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection?
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: The History of Love spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character’s psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love.
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter Godwin: In 1996 when his father suffers a heart attack, Godwin returns to Africa and sparks the central revelation of the book—the father is Jewish and has hidden it from Godwin and his siblings. As his father’s health deteriorates, so does Zimbabwe.
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid: With Annie John, the story of a young girl coming of age in Antigua, Kincaid tears open the theme that lies at the heart of all her fierce, incantatory novels: the ambivalent and essential bonds created by a mother’s love.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: With his second novel, Khaled Hosseini proves beyond a shadow of doubt that The Kite Runner was no flash in the Afghan pan. Once again set in Afghanistan, the story twists and turns its way through the turmoil and chaos that ensued following the fall of the monarchy in 1973, but focuses mainly on the lives of two women, thrown together by fate.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Few have failed to be charmed by the witty and independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet. Her early determination to dislike Mr. Darcy is a prejudice only matched by the folly of his arrogant pride. Their first impressions give way to true feelings in a comedy profoundly concerned with happiness and how it might be achieved.
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle: “Dublin soul” is what the lads call it. Obsessed with James Brown, Percy Sledge and other rhythm-and-blues greats from across the ocean, young Jimmy Rabbitte organizes the “world’s hardest working band,” made up of fellow Dubliners, and sets out to teach the town a lesson about soul.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie and Ina Rilke: This beautifully presented novella tracks the lives of two teens, childhood friends who have been sent to a small Chinese village for “re-education” during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, their days are now spent muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson: The book is a thriller on many levels: It is the mystery about what happened to the heiress of Swedish family, the Vangers, it is about a journalist’s crusade to redeem his reputation, and it is about a computer-genius named Lisabeth who enacts vendettas and struggles to interact with other humans.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones Diary follows the fortunes of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement.
Lucky by Alice Sebold: One night near the end of her freshman year at Syracuse University, Alice Sebold was raped while walking home through a park. From that experience comes Lucky, an account of the rape and the year that followed it.
Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates: The senator. The girl. The accident. Oates creates an unforgettable allegory about power, morals, and ambition.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
So Far From God by Ana Castillo: Sofia and her fated daughters, Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, and la Loca, endure hardship and enjoy love in the sleepy New Mexico hamlet of Tome, a town teeming with marvels where the comic and the horrific, the real and the supernatural, reside.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon: Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher: Based on research and her own battle with anorexia and bulimia, which left her with permanent physical ailments and nearly killed her, Hornbacher’s book explores the mysterious and ruthless realm of self-starvation, which has its grip firmly around the minds and bodies of adolescents all across this country.
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey: James Frey’s memoir of drug addition and recovery was a bestseller even before Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club in 2005, but the subsequent revelations about discrepancies between the story and the author’s real life touched off a national debate about the line between fact and fiction.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt: Despite impoverishing his family because of his alcoholism, McCourt’s father passed on to his son a gift for superb storytelling. He told him about the great Irish heroes, the old days in Ireland, the people in their Limerick neighborhood, and the world beyond their shores.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith: This novel is a mash-up of the original story of the Bennett sisters who at the mercy of the world they live in, balance their desire to be loved with the need to make a economically good marriage AND some awesome zombie-killing!
All Souls by Michael Patrick MacDonald: In this plainly written, powerful memoir, MacDonald, now 32, details not only his own story of growing up in Southie, Boston’s Irish Catholic enclave, but examines the myriad ways in which the media and law enforcement agencies exploit marginalized working-class communities. MacDonald was one of nine children born (of several fathers) to his mother, Helen MacDonald, a colorful woman who played the accordion in local Irish pubs to supplement her welfare checks.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian: Readers will be startled to learn early on that the heroine of this engrossing puzzle, 26-year-old Laurel Estabrook, was born in West Egg. Wait a minute, wasn’t West Egg where Jay Gatsby lived? Laurel works in a Burlington, Vt., homeless shelter and is trying to overcome mental and physical scars incurred from a brutal assault some six years earlier.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay : Sarah Starzynski, a ten-year-old Parisian girl born to Jewish parents, is captured in the round-up of June 16, 1942, and imprisoned with almost 10,000 others in an indoor cycling arena, the Vélodrome d’Hiver, awaiting transportation to Auschwitz. When the police arrive, she has just time to hide her younger brother in a concealed closet in their apartment, locking him in and promising to return. Sixty years later, Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a Frenchman, researching for a story on the “Vél d’Hiv,” stumbles on the trail of Sarah’s family, and becomes obsessed with trying to discover her fate.
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci: The often-tortured class weirdo has disappeared, leaving an enigmatic note on the school library computer. Is he a runaway, a suicide, a murder victim?
AP Literature and Composition Summer Reading Assignments (2012)
I. Snow, Orhan Pamuk
A. Please read and annotate using sticky notes.
B. Be ready to discuss and write about the novel in class the first week of school.
C. I suggest that you read this novel last because you will be able to use the book when you are assigned the writing/dialectic journal in class. You can borrow this from the library. In addition, it may be helpful to have already read How to Read Literature Like a Professor. (See assignment below)
II. How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster and one novel of choice from the senior summer reading list.
A. Please purchase How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster. We will use it throughout the year.
B. Before reading your book of choice, read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.
C. Choose FIVE chapters from How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Foster and apply what you have learned in those chapters to the book you have chosen in a power point.
D. Create a power point presentation that explains the main points made in the five chapters you have chosen from the book and explain how those points apply to the novel.
a.) You need to have the following information in your presentation:
1. Begin with a slide that has the title and author of the book.
2. Include a brief summary of the book. (Make slides visually appealing)
3. A slide that explains that main points of each chapter from How to Read Literature Like a Professor that you have chosen to explain.
4. A slide that provides at least two examples (quotes please) from the novel for each
chapter in Foster’s book that you chose. Please include page numbers for each example.
Be ready to present by the end of the first week of school.
III. Read the novel Tinkers by Paul Harding.
A. You are to read the novel and then answer ONE of the following questions in a 2-3 full-page typed essay. (This is a critical analysis essay that will be graded)
1. Many writers use setting to establish values within a work of literature. For example, the setting may be a place of virtue and serenity or one of primitivism and ignorance. Write an essay in which you analyze how the setting functions in the work as a whole and how it connects to a theme. Do not merely summarize the plot.
2. A symbol is an object, action, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In literary works a symbol can express an idea, clarify meaning, or enlarge literal meaning. Write an essay analyzing how a particular symbol functions in the work and what it reveals about the characters or themes of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.
3. In many works of literature, past events can affect, positively or negatively, the present actions, attitudes, or values of a character. Write an essay in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole
B. This is a critical analysis essay that will be graded on your writing skills and how you prove your thesis. (Please do not use anything larger than 12 point Times New Roman font.)
C. The essay will be due the first day of class. If possible, bring the novel with you to class.
Try to start reading as soon as you can so that you are not overwhelmed at the end of summer. You may use a “Kindle” reader or a similar device–just make sure it has annotating capabilities.
Email me at: email@example.com with any questions you have about the assignments.