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2022 Summer Reading List for High School

2022 Summer Reading List

High School


The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (2006)

A young girl living in Nazi Germany during World War II steals books and shares them with neighbors as well as with the Jewish refugee hiding in her foster family's basement.

***** Some of my students read this during the year. I think that it is an interesting, thought-provoking read.


The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)

During the civil rights movement of the mid-'60s, a young white Southern girl goes on the lam with her family's African American housekeeper, hoping to solve the mystery of the mother who abandoned her.

***** Very interesting story. Held my interest throughout, and my students enjoyed it.


Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (2001)

After a cargo ship full of zoo animals sinks at sea, an Indian boy is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger — or is he? A meditation on, among other things, religion and spirituality and how they fit into modern life. Winner of the 2002 Booker Prize.

This is on my personal reading list for the summer.


The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)

The dystopian, futuristic tale of a 16-year-old girl competing in a televised battle to the death in what was once North America.

Have not read this, but many of my students loved it.


Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson (2009)

A teenage girl comes to terms with her eating disorder and the resulting strained relationships with family and friends after her best friend dies of bulimia.


Classics


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.


A Tale of Two Cities is Charles Dickens’ great historical novel, set against the violent upheaval of the French Revolution. The most famous and perhaps the most popular of his works, it compresses an event of immense complexity to the scale of a family history, with a cast of characters that includes a bloodthirsty ogress and an antihero as believably flawed as any in modern fiction. Though the least typical of the author’s novels, A Tale of Two Cities still underscores many of his enduring themes—imprisonment, injustice, social anarchy, resurrection, and the renunciation that fosters renewal.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.


First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .


Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. (less)


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer revolves around the youthful adventures of the novel's schoolboy protagonist, Thomas Sawyer, whose reputation precedes him for causing mischief and strife. Tom lives with his Aunt Polly, half-brother Sid, and cousin Mary in the quaint town of St. Petersburg, just off the shore of the Mississippi River. St. Petersburg is described as a typical small-town atmosphere where the Christian faith is predominant, the social network is close-knit, and familiarity resides.


Unlike his brother Sid, Tom receives "lickings" from his Aunt Polly; ever the mischief-maker, would rather play hooky than attend school and often sneaks out his bedroom window at night to adventure with his friend, Huckleberry Finn ­ the town's social outcast. Tom, despite his dread of schooling, is extremely clever and would normally get away with his pranks if Sid were not such a "tattle-tale."


Animal Farm by George Orwell


A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.


When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.


Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

1984 by George Orwell


Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.


The House of the Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorne


The relentless working out of a curse on the Pyncheon family of Salem. who have inhabited the House of Seven Gables for generations, is reviewed two centuries later by their descendants, with surprising results.


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's vision of the future--of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Aldous Huxley's most enduring masterpiece.

The non-fiction work Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, is a fascinating work in which Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fantasy envisioned in Brave New World, including the threats to humanity, such as over-population, propaganda, and chemical persuasion.


The Stranger by Albert Camus


Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.


The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis



The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.



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