Summer Reading for Rising Seniors

    COMMUNITY BOOK. You must read the following community book. The community book is one which is read by every member of the class. Parents are also invited to read the community book. During the first week of school, your English teachers will review, conduct, or oversee projects, presentations, and group seminars -- all in an effort to generate a sharing of ideas as a community.



    Tim O'Brien

    The Things They Carried. A collection of interrelated short stories reveals the realistic and sometimes shocking picture of war. Each story explores the human heart and the importance of life against the backdrop of the jungles of Vietnam.



    INDEPENDENT CHOICE: Read one book from one of the lists of literary prize-winners. Be sure to choose a book which you have not already read for another school assignment. 


    ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHOICE: You must also read one book from the following list.



    Louise Erdrich

    Tracks. Part of a series of books on 20th century Native American families. This novel explores the early lives of many characters from Love Medicine, an earlier work, through folklore, myth, magic, and storytelling.

    Lorraine Hansberry

    A Raisin in the Sun. An African-American family's American Dreams collide with prejudice and other problems in 1950s Chicago in this moving, essential American play. Sean Combs (P-Diddy) recently starred in a filmed version.

    Joseph Heller

    Catch-22.Set in World War II in Italy, the novel focuses on a group of American soldiers and satirizes the absurdity of war through scenes which are sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious.

    Khaled Hosseini

    A Thousand Splendid Suns. The Taliban "beard patrols" of Afghanistan kept women under burqas, but Hosseini uncovers Mariam and Laila, rivals who become best friends.  Locked into their "lot in life," these women suffer through unimaginable anguish, but together, they triumph. 

    Jack Kerouac

    On the Road. The Beat Generation of the 50s rebels against a conformist adult society as they pursue adventure while traveling across America.

    Ursula K. LeGuin

    The Left Hand of Darkness. Science fiction novel about a planet on which most of the time there is no gender. A visitor from Earth is involved in a dangerous political situation which builds to a dramatic escape and chase across the planet.

    Colum McCann

    Let the Great World Spin. A kaleidoscopic novel set in the 1970s New York. Lots of strange characters and dazzlingly connections.

    Toni Morrison

    Beloved. In post-Civil War Ohio, the past continues to haunt the ex-slave Sethe and the surviving members of her family in this love story / ghost story.

    Ferroll Sams

    When All The World Was Young. In this continuation of Run With the Horsemen and The Whisper of the River, Porter Osborne Jr. struggles with the early years of medical school and then abandons the struggle for war-time adventures.

    George Bernard Shaw

    Arms and the Man. A comic play satirizing the Romantic ideas of bravery, the glories of war, and ideal love through comic characters, situations, and language.

    Amy Tan

    The Joy Luck Club. This novel chronicles the lives of four Chinese women, their forty-year friendship, and how the death of one brings her daughter into the fold and creates an understanding for each.

    Donna Tartt

    The Goldfinch. A young boy faces tragedy and ends up thrust headlong into the world of art and loss. A page turning, exciting book.

    Kurt Vonnegut

    Cat's Cradle. A book about reality, love, religion, and the end of the world -- and it's funny. The narrator discovers the Hoenikker family and their dark secret, and before you can say foma, he's in San Lorenzo ready to marry the most beautiful woman in the world and become president.

    Thornton Wilder

    Our Town. Two small-town families symbolize the American way of life in an earlier, simpler era. The play includes a boy-next-door romance and a sense of both the joy and pain of life