Summer 2013 Reading Blogs for Incoming Seniors (Class of 2014)
Please check the date below for the dates for your Summer Reading 2013 blog will begin.
The blog sites will be found on Edline. You must login with your Edline account, point to MY EDLINE and you will see a new group attached to your list of courses.
Band of Brothers by Steven Ambrose (Mr. McVey – Aug. 5 to 11):
The men of E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, volunteered for this elite fighting force because they wanted to be the best in the army--and avoid fighting alongside unmotivated, out-of-shape draftees. The price they paid for that desire was long, arduous, and sometimes sadistic training, followed by some of the most horrific battles of World War II.
Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall (Mr. Skelly – July 8 to 14):
Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts (Mrs. Maggiacomo – Aug. 12 to 18):
Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo.
Final Rounds by James Dodson (Mr. Ricci – July 8 to 14):
The Dodsons always knew where to go to solve their problems: the golf course. For decades, father and son took refuge there together; in the game, they found connection. James Dodson’s memoir of his last golf excursion with his father, taken through England and Scotland in the months before his father's death, is alternately heartwarming and heartbreaking.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Mr. Russell Aug. 12 to 18)
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet’s name in a used book and invites articulate -- and not-so-articulate -- neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories.
The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien (Mr. Tanski July 22 to 28)
The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a “little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves.” He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf the Grey stops by one morning, “looking for someone to share in an adventure,” Baggins fervently wishes the wizard elsewhere. No such luck, however; soon 13 fortune-seeking dwarves have arrived on the hobbit’s doorstep in search of a burglar, and before he can even grab his hat or an umbrella, Bilbo Baggins is swept out his door and into a dangerous adventure.
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Mrs. Martinelli – July 15 to 21):
The terrifying true story of how a strain of the Ebola virus came to the United States. It details various outbreaks of hemorrhagic fevers, traces them to their possible origins, and provides a basic education about viral evolution and forensics, all couched in narratives that will keep you turning page after page.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Ms. Doyle – Aug. 19 to 25):
Praised by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (Mr. White – Aug. 19 to 25):
A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster.
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (Ms. Smith – Aug. 12 to 18)
Twelve-year-old Frankie Adams, longing at once for escape and belonging, takes her role as “member of the wedding” to mean that when her older brother marries she will join the happy couple in their new life together. But Frankie is unlucky in love; her mother is dead, and Frankie narrowly escapes being assaulted by a drunken soldier during a farewell tour of the town. Worst of all, “member of the wedding” doesn't mean what she thinks.
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab (Mrs. Hajian – June 24 to 30)
Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child -- and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut Hannah so much slack.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Ms. Culpepper – July 15 to 21)
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku (Mr. Lakeland – Aug. 19 to 25):
A look into the not-so-distant future that envisions what the world will look like. It should be an exciting place, with driverless cars, Internet glasses, universal translators, robot surgeons, the resurrection of extinct life forms, designer children, space tourism, and a manned mission to Mars.
Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice (Mrs. Lawrence – Aug. 12 to 18):
A beautifully rendered narrative of childhood loss and a powerfully simple fable about the necessity of imagination. Pobby and Dingan are Kellyanne Williamson’s best friends, maybe her only friends, and only she can see them. Kellyanne’s brother, Ashmol, can’t see them and doesn’t believe they exist anywhere but in Kellyanne’s immature imagination. Only when Pobby and Dingan disappear and Kellyanne becomes heartsick over their loss does Ashmol realize that not only must he believe in Pobby and Dingan, he must convince others to believe in them, too.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Mr. Hajian – June 24 to 30):
This futuristic novel expertly mines a copious vein of 1980s pop culture, catapulting the reader on a light-speed adventure in an advanced but backward-looking future. The story is set in a near-term future in which the new, new form of the Internet is a realistic virtual multi-verse called the OASIS. Most human interaction takes place via goggles and gloves in millions of unique worlds, including the boring (and free) “public education” world from which our teenage protagonist must escape.
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (Mrs. Chapman – Aug. 19 to 25):
After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also connected to her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Note: Because this novel is written for young readers, blog may require additional readings on immigration.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Ms. Frega – July 8 to 14)
This satire is a Christian classic. Screwtape is a veteran demon in the service of “Our Father Below” whose letters to his nephew and protégé, Wormwood, instruct the demon-in-training in the fine points of leading a new Christian astray. Lewis's take on human nature is as on-target as it was when the letters were first published in 1941.
The Soloist by Steve Lopez (Mrs. Misiaszek – July 22 to 28)
The true story of journalist Steve Lopez's discovery of Nathanial Ayers, a former classical bass student at Julliard, playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row. Deeply affected by the beauty of Ayers music, Lopez took it upon himself to change the prodigy's life-only to find that their relationship would have a profound change on his own life.
Spotting for Nellie by Pamela Lowell (Mrs. Trissler – Aug. 5 to 11):
Claire Perry knows a split second can change everything. It can be the difference between sticking a perfect landing or falling off the beam. It can be the difference between a really fun party or a totally messed up one. Or sometimes, as Claire finds out, it can even be the difference between life . . . or death. For Claire’s younger sister, Nellie, an elite gymnast who is "destined for gold," things have always come easy. A split second is usually all it takes to capture the attention of a boy at a party, and the judges at a meet, or their critical father -- everyone. Then one night, one decision, one split second—changes their world forever.
The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Mr. Pare – July 29 to Aug. 4):
In 1955, Garcia Marquez was working for El Espectador, a newspaper in Bogota, when in February of that year eight crew members of the Caldas, a Colombian destroyer, were washed overboard and disappeared. Ten days later one of them turned up, barely alive, on a deserted beach in northern Colombia. This book, which originally appeared as a series of newspaper articles, is Garcia Marquez's account of that sailor's ordeal.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Mrs. Cerros – Aug. 5 to 11):
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Ms. Murphy- Aug. 19 to 25):
Wuthering Heights is one of the world's greatest tales of unrequited love, captivating readers with its intense passion and drama since its publication in 1847. In this special collector's edition, the powerful, complex bond between Heathcliff and Catherine that unfolds in the wild, romantic landscape of the Yorkshire moors is beautifully presented in illustrated form for the first time.