2018 Sophomore Summer Reading

All rising sophomores will read two books for summer reading, and it is important for the students to have completed these texts prior to the start of school in September.  While there is no written work required as part of the summer assignment, we do want for students to read carefully and thoughtfully; thus, some students may want to take notes or to keep a journal as part of the active engagement of their two texts.  All students will spend several class periods engaging in some activities related to summer reading in early September and will then complete one or more writing assignments involving their two texts.  We encourage you to read with care, consideration, and curiosity. 

Required Reading #1

All rising sophomores will read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.

It is an autobiographical novel that depicts the author’s childhood and young adult years in Iran, leading up to and following the Islamic Revolution.  This memoir will prepare students for the coming year in English II as we utilize a variety of genres to explore the effects of community and culture on identity formation. 

Required Reading #2

In addition to this novel, all rising sophomores must read one additional text from the following list of nine recommended texts.  

  • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
    This work depicts a dystopian society in which access to knowledge is severely restricted and books are forbidden. Everything is turned on its head in this world as the firemen are called to light fires rather than extinguish them.
  • Albert Camus’ The Stranger
    In this classic French existentialist novel, the protagonist Monsieur Meursault, is devoid of emotion and empathy.  The author explores his sense of isolation and the myriad ways in which society responds to someone who rejects accepted norms and values related to identity.
  • Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist
    This novel depicts a young man’s journey to find worldly goods, which ultimately turns into a quest to find the treasure within.  
  • Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour
    This play explores the effect of malicious gossip on the lives of two women in 1930’s New England.  The story centers on two female teachers who are condemned by their community when a student alleges that they are having a homosexual affair.  
  • Richard Kim’s Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood
    In this novel, Kim tells the story of a young boy growing up in Korea during the Japanese occupation. He struggles with his identity while his extended family struggles simply to survive.
  • Pablo Neruda’s Fully Empowered
    This collection of poetry includes thirty-six poems that vary from short, intense lyrics to longer odes that speak to Neruda’s declared purpose: “to be in his poems a voice for all those people -- and things -- that have no voice:  that is the poet’s obligation.” (from Alastair Reid’s Introduction to the Collection) 
  • Mine Okubo’s Citizen 13660
    This text is an early graphic novel that explores life in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. This autobiographical account reflects one woman’s struggles during that dark time.
  • George Orwell’s 1984
    This classic dystopian novel chronicles life in a government-controlled country that, in some ways, shines light on trends in our contemporary world.
  • Art Spiegelman’s MAUS I
    In this graphic novel about World War II, Spiegelman tells of his father Vladek’s survival during the Nazi Holocaust.  The first installment of two, this novel explores Vladek’s pre-war life in Poland, Art’s childhood as the son of Holocaust survivors, and his own journey as an artist while writing this book.