Please check the date below for the dates for your Summer Reading 2014 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.
Recently updated on 6-4-2014
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Mr. Vargas – July 28 to Aug. 3)
This charming, simple and well-written allegory tells of a boy, Santiago, who has the imagination and courage to follow his "Personal Legend." Santiago finds fairy godfathers at many turns who help him learn to keep up his courage, and to read omens and his own heart.
Band of Brothers by Steven Ambrose (Mr. McVey – Aug. 11 to 17)
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.
The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb (Ms. Broccoli – Aug. 4 to 10)
Raised in the United States but Vietnamese by birth, Maggie has come to Hanoi seeking clues to the fate of her father, a dissident artist who disappeared during the war. Her search brings her to Old Man Hu'ng's pho stall. The old man once had a shop frequented by revolutionary artists, but now Tu', a hustling young entrepreneur, is his most faithful customer.
Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall (Mr. Skelly – Aug. 4 to 10)
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 – July 21 to 27)
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.
Eleanore & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Mrs. Trissler – Aug. 4 to 10)
Eleanor is the new girl in town and her wild red hair and patchwork outfits are not helping her blend in. She ends up sitting next to Park on the bus, whose tendencies towards comic books don’t jibe with the rest of his family’s love of sports. They sit in awkward silence every day until Park notices that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder; he begins to slide them closer to her side of the seat and thus begins their love story.
Feed by M.T. Anderson (Mr. Hajian – July 7 to 13)
This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon--and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.
Final Rounds by James Dodson (Mr. Ricci – June 23 to 29)
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 Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien (Mr. Tanski July 7 to 13)
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.
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Mrs. Martinelli – July 7 to 13)
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 Girl by Tara Conklin (Mrs. Cameron – June 23 to 29)
From 1852 to 2004....from one artist to another....from a farm in Virginia to the hustle and bustle of New York City. This story flawlessly switches between these two time periods telling of the life of Josephine, a slave girl, Lina, a New York City attorney, and Lina's father, Oscar, an artist. The book leads you through the life of Josephine as she struggles with her decision to run, it leads you through the life of Lina who is researching families who may benefit from wrong doing during the period of slavery in the United States, and it leads you through the life of Oscar trying to make amends through his artwork.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Ms. Doyle – Aug. 11 to 17)
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 – July 14 – 20)
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.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Mrs. Cerros – Aug. 4 to 10)
A fabulous romp through an imagination by turns ecstatic, cunning, despairing and resilient, this novel is an impressive achievement "a story that will make you believe in God," as one character says. The peripatetic Pi Patel spends a beguiling boyhood in Pondicherry, India, as the son of a zookeeper. Growing up beside the wild beasts, Pi gathers an encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world. His curious mind also makes the leap from his native Hinduism to Christianity and Islam, all three of which he practices with joyous abandon.
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (Ms. Smith – July 28 to Aug. 3)
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 raped by a drunken soldier during a farewell tour of the town. Worst of all, “member of the wedding” doesn't mean what she thinks.
Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Mrs. Chapman – Aug. 11 to 17)
"Monster" is what the prosecutor called 16-year-old Steve Harmon for his supposed role in the fatal shooting of a convenience-store owner. But was Steve really the lookout who gave the "all clear" to the murderer, or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? In this innovative novel by Walter Dean Myers, the reader becomes both juror and witness during the trial of Steve's life. To calm his nerves as he sits in the courtroom, aspiring filmmaker Steve chronicles the proceedings in movie script format.
My Life with the Saints by Rev. James Martin, SJ (Mrs. Bell – July 28 to Aug. 3)
It is one thing to read the lives of the saints, quite another to read about somebody who lives with the saints, who thinks about, researches, and calls upon certain saints regularly. Such a person is, today, a rarity. Such a person is GE-exec-turned-Jesuit Martin, associate editor of the national Catholic weekly America.
The Once and Future King by T.H. White (Mr. Lagace – July 21 to 27)
T.H. White’s masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Ms. Culpepper – Aug. 11 to 17)
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.
Persuasion by Jane Austen (Ms. Murphy- Aug. 11 to 17)
An intimate portrait of country gentry in early 19th century England, this novel describes the social milieus with which Austen was so familiar. She alternates the plot development between modest estates and the seaside resorts of Lyme and Bath. Travel and distant communication proved serious obstacles, so letters and notes were the more prized and preserved.
Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku (Mr. Lakeland – Aug. 4 to 10)
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.
The Priority List by David Menasche (Ms. Sanga – Aug. 11 to 17)
David Menasche lived for his work as a high school English teacher. His passion inspired his students, and between lessons on Shakespeare and sentence structure, he forged a unique bond with his kids, buoying them through personal struggles while sharing valuable life lessons. When a six-year battle with brain cancer ultimately stole David’s vision, memory, mobility, and – most tragically of all – his ability to continue teaching, he was devastated by the thought that he would no longer have the chance to impact his students’ lives each day.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (Mr. Quigley – July 28 to Aug. 3)
Henry Fleming, a private in the Union Army, runs away from the field of war. Afterwards, the shame he feels at this act of cowardice ignites his desire to receive an injury in combat—a “red badge of courage” that will redeem him. Stephen Crane’s novel about a young soldier’s experiences during the American Civil War is well known for its understated naturalism and its realistic depiction of battle
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Ms. Frega – July 7 to 13)
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. John Cleese's narration is perfect as he takes Screwtape from emotional height to valley, from tight control to near apoplexy.
The Soloist by Steve Lopez (Mrs. Misiaszek – July 7 to 13)
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.
The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Mr. Pare – July 14 to 20)
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.
Transatlantic by Colum McCann (Mr. Russell July 28 to Aug. 3)
The book begins with three transatlantic crossings, each a novella within a novel: Frederick Douglas’s 1845 visit to Ireland; the 1919 flight of British aviators Alcock and Brown; and former US senator George Mitchell’s 1998 attempt to mediate peace in Northern Ireland. McCann then loops back to 1863 to launch the saga of the women we’ve briefly met throughout Book One, beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, whose bold escape from her troubled homeland cracks open the world for her daughter and granddaughter.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (Fr. Najim – July 21 to 27)
Originally published in 1968, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea marks the first of the six now beloved Earthsea titles. Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
You Are Not Special by David McCullough, Jr. (Mrs. Hajian – July 7 to 13)
Children today, says David McCullough—high school English teacher, father of four, and son and namesake of the famous historian—are being encouraged to sacrifice passionate engagement with life for specious notions of success. The intense pressure to excel discourages kids from taking chances, failing, and learning empathy and self-confidence from those failures. McCullough elaborates on his now-famous speech exploring how, for what purpose, and for whose sake, we're raising our kids. With wry, affectionate humor, McCullough takes on hovering parents, ineffectual schools, professional college prep, electronic distractions, club sports, and generally the manifestations, and the applications and consequences of privilege.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (Mrs. Estes – Aug. 4 - 10)
The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina. Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home.