2017 Summer Reading
There is a list of books for each grade level. Please choose one book from the Humanities Book List and one book from the STEM Book List.
Then, you will choose a different project (listed below) to accompany each book. Make sure you read the project description carefully so you know what is expected of you. Projects should be neat and aesthetically pleasing. Please include the project number somewhere on the completed project.
All projects are due in homeroom on Friday, September 8, 2017.
(Any project can be used with any book, though some projects may make less sense for certain books. Use your judgement.)
Project 1: Create a timeline of events for the book of your choosing. The time line must be composed of no less than 15 events. Each event must be labeled and accompanied by a description of how the event was significant to the development of the characters or the overall story.
Project 2: Create a booklet that contains 15 quotes from the novel where you see imagery/figurative language being used. Accompany each quote with a picture or drawing and a brief description of the significance of the quote. Each page will feature a new quote, an image and a brief explanation of what it means.
Project 3: Write a newspaper article. Choose an event from the book and “report” on this event in the style of a newspaper article. Your article should be written in the style of professional news articles. (For example, read articles in The New York Times. Think of the Who, What, When, Where and Whys.)
Project 4: Create a detailed characterization of one main character and one supporting character. Your character sketches should include a list of traits (physical characteristics, personality traits, motivations, actions, beliefs, etc.), each accompanied by an example from the text.
Project 5: Create a book of at least 5 original poems of varying styles, written from the perspective of one of the novel’s characters. Your poems should tell us about the character’s experiences, lifestyle, beliefs, culture, and personality.
Project 6: Identify the theme of the novel and design a book cover that highlights this theme. Then, write a paragraph, citing examples from the novel, explaining how you determined the theme.
Project 7: Develop a thesis statement (position statement) and write a formal essay supporting that statement. The essay should include and introductory paragraph, at least two body paragraphs (with at least two quotes each), and a concluding paragraph. A good thesis statement should not be an obvious fact (i.e. Scout Finch lived during the Great Depression), but rather, a statement that is supportable and needs to be proven (i.e. Scout Finch grows and changes as a result of her experiences, and therefore, can be considered a rite-of-passage character).
Project 8: Some novels are written as social commentaries designed to highlight a societal concern. Examine your novel as a social commentary and explain what you think your author is saying about society. Then, find at least 3 current news articles that you think your author would find interesting and briefly explain your choices.
Project 9: Create a movie trailer for your novel. Choose pictures, video clips, and music, or create original content. The trailer should be at least 1 minute and 30 seconds. You must be prepared to submit this via Google Drive.
Project 10: Create an alternate ending to the novel. Perhaps you were surprised or disappointed, or simply envisioned a different ending. Be sure that the new ending is true to the themes and makes sense based on character motivations.
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Sophomore Book List
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Considered among the top 100 books of all time, A Tale of Two Cities is a novel set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same period.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
The Shack by William P. Young
Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in this midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.
Sophomore Book List
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
With this, Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov blends fact and fiction and chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Obsessed with the secret of creation, Swiss scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein cobbles together a body he’s determined to bring to life. And one fateful night, he does. When the creature opens his eyes, the doctor is repulsed: his vision of perfection is, in fact, a hideous monster. Dr. Frankenstein abandons his creation, but the monster won’t be ignored, setting in motion a chain of violence and terror that shadows Victor to his death. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a gripping story about the ethics of creation and the consequences of trauma, is one of the most influential Gothic novels in British literature. It is as relevant today as it is haunting.
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Junior Book List
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The influential and widely acclaimed story details the two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally ill, in a psychiatrist's office. After he recovers from his breakdown, Holden relates his experiences to the reader.
Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro
Follow Your Heart is a bittersweet, heartwarming novel spanning generations and teaching the universal truths about life, love, and what lies within each of us.
It begins in late autumn 1992 as an elderly Italian woman, prompted by the knowledge of her encroaching death, sits down to write a letter to her granddaughter now grown and living in far-off America. Through these moving reflections, we see one life laid bare–joys, sorrows, regrets, and all. And through the eyes of a woman nearing the end of her days, we come to understand what life experience has taught her: that no matter what the stakes, we must look within ourselves and gather the courage to follow our hearts.
Junior Book List
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; she has also experienced it firsthand. For even while she was pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide.
Here Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. An Unquiet Mind is a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom—a deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order--all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. Brave New World has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
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Senior Book List
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.
Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers - Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah-the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a damaged youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of Biblical women's society.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.
Senior Book List
Freakonomics by Stephen D. Levitt
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?
What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
How much do parents really matter?
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind’s classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man’s indulgence in his greatest passion—his sense of smell—leads to murder.
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”. Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.