2016 UPPER school

Summer reading list


Note: Each student in the Upper School will choose one of these titles to read over the summer. She or he will then be prepared to discuss her or his book when we begin school in the fall. The Summer Reading Discussion X Period will take place in the first few weeks of school. Students are also welcome and encouraged to take on the Summer Reading Challenge [form coming soon]. 

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  by Sherman Alexie (Little Brown, 2009; ISBN 9780316013697). Young-adult fiction, 229 pages

[Recommended by Bisrat B. '17 and Alana Kaholokula, English]

From publisher comments: "Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live."



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 2014; ISBN 9781476746586). Historical fiction, 531 pages

[Recommended by Katrina Perry, French]

From IndieNext: "The French girl cannot see, but she can hear, feel, and explore the world around her like a budding naturalist. The German boy has no parents, but he teaches himself how coils of copper can receive lessons of love and learning. It's World War II, however, and the potential of thousands of children will be unrealized or thwarted. Will a mythical gemstone save them or unite them? Gorgeously written, Doerr's epic tale brings alive the beauty of two souls, their quest for learning, the turbulent times they cannot control, and the rock that mysteriously guides their fate." (Harriet Logan, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio)




The Art of War by Sun Tzu (Shambhala, 1988; ISBN 9780877734529). Military science, 172 pages

[Recommended by Neil D. '17 and John Holloran, History]

From publisher comments: "The Art of War is almost certainly the most famous study of strategy ever written and has had an extraordinary influence on the history of warfare. The principles Sun-tzu expounded were utilized brilliantly by such great Asian war leaders as Mao Tse-tung, Giap, and Yamamoto. First translated two hundred years ago by a French missionary, Sun-tzu’s Art of War has been credited with influencing Napoleon, the German General Staff, and even the planning for Desert Storm. Many Japanese companies make this book required reading for their key executives. And increasingly, Western businesspeople and others are turning to The Art of War for inspiration and advice on how to succeed in competitive situations of all kinds."

Confessions   by Kanae Minato (Mulholland, 2014; ISBN 9780316200929). Thriller, 234 pages

[Recommended by Emily H. '17 and Katie Horton, Library Assistant]

From Publishers Weekly (starred review): "The murder of a young science teacher's trusting four-year-old daughter — by some of her own 13-year-old students — sets in motion a diabolic revenge plot with devastating collateral damage in Minato's outstanding debut, which inspired the Oscar nominated film. Initially, single mother Yuko Moriguchi's grief mixes with guilt when police rule little Manami's death accidental; But when she subsequently discovers evidence that points to foul play, Yuko decides to draw on her knowledge of the culprits to exact retribution far more terrible than the punishment that would have been meted out to such youthful offenders by the authorities. The plan's twisted genius emerges gradually through restrained first-person chapters narrated by Yuko and other principals. The suspense intensifies as the entire Machiavellian web only belatedly becomes clear."

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (HarperPerennial, 2015; ISBN 9780062421074). Science fiction, 400 pages

[Recommended by Harry Z. '17 and Jenny Cleveland, Chaplaincy]

From publisher comments: "A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart. To visit Urras to learn, to teach, to share will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change."


Down in My Heart: Peace Witness in War Time  by William Stafford (Oregon State University Press, 2006; ISBN 9780870710971). Memoir, 94 pages

[Recommended by Henry T '17 and Art Ward, English]

From publisher comments: "From 1942 to 1945, William Stafford was interned in camps for conscientious objectors for his refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Stafford's memoir of these years offers a rich glimpse into a little-known aspect of World War II and a fascinating look at the formative years of a major American poet."


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Albert Lansing (Basic, 2015; ISBN 9780465062881). True adventure, 416 pages

[Recommended by Bettina Gregg, Mathematics and Science]

From publisher comments: "Days before the outbreak of World War One renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail to attempt the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. More than eighty miles from their destination, however, their ship Endurance was trapped and then crushed by ice. The crew were left stranded on ice blocks, set adrift as castaways for the next five months in the most savage of climates and terrain. After five months in open boats on freezing seas, tackling overland treks across savage glaciers the crew made it to safety, astonishingly without one single life lost. First published in 1959, and a bestseller ever since, Alfred Lansing's Endurance is not only the best of the many books about Shackleton's famous 1915 expedition, it is also one of the best - and most popular - adventure books ever written."

The Glass Sentence (Mapmakers Trilogy, Book One),  by S.E. Grove (Puffin, 2015; ISBN 9780142423660). Fantasy, 528 pages

[Recommended by Vanessa L. '17 and V.J. Sathyaraj, Religion and History]

From publisher comments: "Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself. Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack's maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation."

Godel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (Basic, 1999; ISBN 9780465026562). Mathematics/logic/philosophy, 824 pages

[Recommended by Chandler W. '17 and Lauren Shareshian, Mathematics]

From publisher comments: "First published in 1979, this is a genuine interdisciplinary work of nonfiction, with dozens of historical references and subtexts. Critics and reviewers have summed up its meaning in varying ways, yet consistently with praise. A mixture of art, philosophy, music, math, technology, and cognitive science, the book's title only reflects one aspect of its subject matter; namely, the connection between the work of mathematician Kurt Gödel, the artist M. C. Escher, and the composer J. S. Bach. In the preface to the 20th-anniversary edition, the author calls his book "a very personal attempt to say how it is that animate beings can come out of inanimate matter."

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graphia, 2009; ISBN 9780547258300). Fantasy, 471 pages

[Recommended by Aley B. '17, Elise K. '17, and Tanja Horvat, Science]

From IndieNext: "In a world where some people are born with extreme and often feared skills -- called Graces -- Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, that of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king. Action-packed and featuring a strong, feisty girl.” (Kristi Tiedt, Butterfly Books, De Pere, Wis.)

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book One) by Stephen King (Scribner, 2016; ISBN 9781501143519). Fantasy, 288 pages

[Recommended by Samuel B. '17 and Gabe Edge, Mathematics]

From publisher comments: "The first volume in the epic Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King's most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake. Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came", The Gunslinger is, according to The Milwaukee Sentinel, "a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievably to its center."

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Anchor, 1998; ISBN 9780385490818). Dystopian fiction, 320 pages

[Recommended by Chad Gilton, Science]

From publisher comments: "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 only valued if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days 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." The Houston Chronicle writes: "Atwood takes many trends that exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions... An excellent novel about the directions our lives are taking...Read it while it's still allowed."

Her Majesty's Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage by Stephen Budiansky (Plume, 2006; ISBN 9780452287471). History, 235 pages

[Recommended by Jeff Hornick, Music]

From publisher comments: "Sir Francis Walsingham's official title was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, but in fact this pious, tight-lipped Puritan was England's first spymaster. A ruthless, fiercely loyal civil servant, Walsingham worked brilliantly behind the scenes to foil Elizabeth's rival Mary Queen of Scots and outwit Catholic Spain and France, which had arrayed their forces behind her. Though he cut an incongruous figure in Elizabeth's worldly court, Walsingham managed to win the trust of key players like William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester before launching his own secret campaign against the queen's enemies. Covert operations were Walsingham's genius; he pioneered techniques for exploiting double agents, spreading disinformation, and deciphering codes with the latest code-breaking science that remain staples of international espionage."


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau, 2015; ISBN 9780812984965).  Law / current events, 368 pages

[Recommended by Brad Hoffman, Residential Life]

From IndieNext: "The history of incarceration in America is deeply colored by our history of racism and poverty. Stevenson's work providing legal aid to death row inmates exposes truly inhumane, unjust practices and astonishing legal carelessness often fueled by outright prejudice. Just Mercy does not stop at reportage, but examines the costs to the individual, the family, the community, and society at large of these practices. This is a powerful book about one man's efforts to address injustice and a clarion call for reform not just for those imprisoned, but for a society that has lost its way.” (Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, Calif.)

The Kite Runner by Kholed Hosseini (Riverhead, 2013; ISBN 9781594631931). Realistic fiction, 371 pages

[Recommended by Maya H-F '17, Mirabel H. '17, and Dana Lewis, Spanish]

From publisher comments: "The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons — their love, their sacrifices, their lies.The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvases of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century." Kirkus Reviews writes: “Rather than settle for a coming-of-age or travails-of-immigrants story, Hosseini has folded them both into this searing spectacle of hard-won personal salvation. All this, and a rich slice of Afghan culture, too:. Irresistible."

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson (Faber & Faber, 2008; ISBN 9780571242924). Technothriller, 454 pages

[Recommended by Peter Langley, Biology]

From the London Guardian: "Johnny Porter is the only Westerner who can hope to break into and out of a top secret scientific research base that is literally hidden inside a mountain in Siberia. (So secret is this base that nobody who ever enters is allowed to leave alive.) Porter, however, is descended from Canadian Inuits, who remain – physically, ethnically and culturally – virtually identical to their Siberian counterparts, despite the decades-long political rift between the two. That, alongside his linguistic skills – he also has to pass himself off as a Korean at one point – makes him the only spy able to get anywhere near the base without arousing suspicion. I've never read a thriller that so successfully transported me to a hitherto unimagined place. After a few racy globe-trotting chapters in which Porter is painstakingly inserted into his undercover role, we enter the dark, icy world of the Siberian winter. And it never gives up its grip until the end."

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (Ballantine, 1992; ISBN 9780345371980). Ecology / science, 256 pages

[Recommended by Grant T. '17 and Debby Schauffler, English]

From publisher comments:  “Join bestselling author Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Hilarious and poignant--as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth's magnificent wildlife galaxy.” The Washington Post Book World says: "Very funny and moving...The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams'] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live."

Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin (HarperPerennial, 2010; ISBN 9780061456534). Realistic fiction, 277 pages

[Recommended by Colleen Shoemaker, Academic Support]

From IndieNext: "Vlautin's third, and arguably best, book is the harrowing and heartbreaking story of a high-school-age boy in Portland, Oregon, who is set adrift when his father dies. With no resources and nowhere else to go, he sets out to find an aunt who may or may not still be in Wyoming. Vlautin's prose is skillful without artifice, telling the story directly and cleanly, and we ache as our protagonist tries to make his way in an indifferent and sometimes dangerous world.” (Kevin Ryan, Green Apple Books, San Francisco)



The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (Mariner, 2012; ISBN 9780547572482). Speculative fiction, 288 pages

[Recommended by Lucas L. '17 and Robin Weitzer, ELS Coordinator]

From publisher comments: "It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo-Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake."

Mermaid in Chelsea Creek  by Michelle Tea (McSweeney's, 2014; ISBN 9781938073953). Young-adult fantasy, 344 pages

[Recommended by Deb Walsh, History and Dean]

From Publishers Weekly: ""Cult memoirist and adult fiction author Tea (Valencia) makes her YA debut with a gripping, though bleakly imagined fantasy. Sophie Swankowski drifts along in the still and depressing backwater of Chelsea, Mass., numbing her pain by holding her breath by the creek until she passes out, along with her friend Ella. This becomes a dangerous but seductive game. In one such reverie, teetering between death and unconsciousness, Sophie awakens to see a mermaid, 'unreal but unmistakable.' After Sophie's mother learns of her daughter's habits, she forces Sophie to work for her scary, mean grandmother in the local dump. A mysterious cast of characters leads Sophie on a bizarre and enchanting quest to uncover the truth about her identity. Even through the veil of magical realism, the world of Sophie's adolescence remains ugly, hopeless, and suffocating, a mood that's amplified by Polan's b&w line drawings. Still, readers will be impelled to explore this tangled web of human beings and beasts while awaiting Sophie's redemption, whatever form it may take."

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck (Simon & Schuster, 2015; ISBN 9781451659160). Travel memoir, 464 pages

[Recommended by Liz MacDonell, Director of Advancement]

From IndieNext: "Inspired by a family trip in a covered wagon in the 1950s, Rinker Buck and his brother Nick set out by wagon to discover what remains of the Oregon Trail between Missouri and Oregon. Along the way, readers learn about wagon design, mule heritage, and what pioneers needed to endure traveling west in the 19th century. This is also a moving personal story of brotherhood, endurance, and the kindness of strangers. Buck weaves fact, action, and reflection together into a page-turning delight that history buffs and fans of contemporary nonfiction will not want to miss.” (Dick Hermans, Oblong Books And Music, Millerton, N.Y.) 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Broadway, 2012;  ISBN 9780307887443). Science fiction, 374 pages

[Recommended by Jake C. '17 and C.T. Henry, History]

From IndieNext: "The world in 2044, is a mess. Energy sources are depleted, cities are jam-packed and the lives of average people are full of misery. In order to escape the hardships of everyday life, billions escape into the electronic virtual world OASIS. When the multi-billionaire creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his fortune in trust for the first avatar to complete three virtual quests. Wade Watts, a lonely teenage misfit, decides to compete and win the prize. Filled with references to 1970s and '80s pop culture, Ready Player One is a love story, a quest novel and a parable for the electronic age.”(John Hoover, Misty Valley Books, Chester, Vt.)

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen  by Lucy Knisley (First Second, 2013; ISBN 9781596436237). Graphic memoir, 173 pages

[Recommended by Amanda Weber-Welch, Counseling]

From publisher comments: "Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions. A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product."

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson (Simon & Schuster, 2014; ISBN 9781476729091). Comic fiction, 295 pages

[Recommended by Deri Bash, Assoc. Head of Upper School]

From NPR: "An utterly winning screwball comedy. . . . If you’re looking for sparkling entertainment along the lines of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally, The Rosie Project is this season’s fix. . . . This charming, warmhearted escapade, which celebrates the havoc—and pleasure—emotions can unleash, offers amusement aplenty. Sharp dialogue, terrific pacing, physical hijinks, slapstick, a couple to root for, and more twists than a pack of Twizzlers—it’s no surprise that The Rosie Project is bound for the big screen. But read it first."

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (Viking, 2015; ISBN 9780670025770). Historical fiction, 320 pages

[Recommended by Corbet Clark, Religion]

From Booklist: "In her gorgeously written novel of ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph, Brooks imagines the life and character of King David in all his complexity...The language, clear and precise throughout, turns soaringly poetic when describing music or the glory of David’s city...taken as a whole, the novel feels simultaneously ancient, accessible, and timeless."

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League  by Jeff Hobbs (Scribner, 2015; ISBN 9781476731919). Ethnic studies / current events, 432 pages

[Recommended by Vineet E. '17 and Gretchen Reed, CFO]

From IndieNext: "“On one level, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is about unfulfilled potential and heartbreaking loss, but more importantly, it deals with the pressure we all feel to succeed and be happy in an increasingly competitive society. It is a beautiful eulogy to a friend and an accurate portrayal of what it means to be young, talented, and conflicted."(Shawn Donley, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.)  

 Silent Spring  by Rachel Carson (Mariner, 2002; ISBN 9780618249060). Ecology, 400 pages

[Recommended by Julia W. '17 and Bevin Daglen, Chemistry]

From publisher comments: "First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water." Peter Matthiessen, writing in Time's "100 Most Influential People of the Century" issue, said: "Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations....It is well crafted, fearless and succinct....Even if she had not inspired a generation of activists, Carson would prevail as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters."


 A Spool of Blue Thread  by Anne Tyler (Ballantine, 2016; ISBN 9780553394399). Literary fiction, 384 pages

[Recommended by Meg H. '17 and Maria McIvor, Spanish]

From publisher comments: " 'It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family — their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog — is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red's father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler's hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family."

 Tell the Wolves I'm Home  by Carol Rifka Brunt (Dial, 2013; ISBN 9780812982855). Literary fiction, 372 pages

[Recommended by Reed H. '17 and Liz Weiler, Mathematics]

From publisher comments: "1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood 14-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. "

The Things They Carried  by Tim O'Brien (Mariner, 2009; ISBN 9780618706419). Realistic fiction, 246 pages

[Recommended by Emma F. '17 and Rick Rees, English]

From publisher comments: "The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and, of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of 43. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. With the creative verve of the greatest fiction and the intimacy of a searing autobiography, The Things They Carried is a testament to the men who risked their lives in America's most controversial war. It is also a mirror held up to the frailty of humanity. Ultimately The Things They Carried and its myriad protagonists call to order the courage, determination, and luck we all need to survive."

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen (HarperPerennial, 2016; ISBN 9783062319104). Young-adult fiction, 352 pages

[Recommended by Chris Myers, US Librarian]

From Booklist: "In Port Sabine, the air is thick with oil, superstition reigns, and dreams hang on making a winning play. All eyes are on Mercy Louis, the star of the championship girls’ basketball team. Mercy seems destined for greatness, but the road out of town is riddled with obstacles. There is her grandmother, Evelia, a strict evangelical who has visions of an imminent Rapture and sees herself as the keeper of Mercy’s virtue. There are the cryptic letters from Charmaine, the mother who abandoned Mercy at birth. And then there’s Travis, the boy who shakes the foundation of her faith. - Past crimes run a dark thread through this coming-of-age fable that calls to mind Laura Lippman's stand-alone novels and even The Scarlet Letter. Parssinen excels here at capturing the dueling emotions that rule teenage girls relationships, and the dire consequences of societal pressures."

 Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen (Algonquin, 2007; ISBN 9781565125605). Historical fiction, 350 pages

[Recommended by Belle S. '17 and Julie Sikkink, History]

Author Susan Cheever writes: "In this thrilling, romantic story set in a traveling circus in the 1930s, Sara Gruen has a big top’s worth of vivid characters and an exhilarating narrative that kept me up all night. From the perseverance of a terrier named Queenie to the charm of Rosie the elephant, this masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love."

 The Wave  by Todd Strasser (Ember, 2014; ISBN 9780307979124). Realistic fiction, 144 pages

[Recommended by Gabe Sutherland '17 and Carla Zilaff, Admissions]

From publisher comments: "This novel dramatizes an incident that took place in a California school in 1969. A teacher creates an experimental movement in his class to help students understand how people could have followed Hitler. The results are astounding. The highly disciplined group, modeled on the principles of the Hilter Youth, has its own salute, chants, and special ways of acting as a unit and sweeps beyond the class and throughout the school, evolving into a society willing to give up freedom for regimentation and blind obedience to their leader. All will learn a lesson that will never be forgotten."

When Breath Becomes Air  by Paul Kalantithi (Random House, 2016; ISBN 9780812988406). Medical memoir, 256 pages

[Recommended by Catherine L. '17, Lexy T. '17, and Tna Meyerhoff, Winterim Coordinator]

From IndieNext: "With a message both mournful and life-affirming, When Breath Becomes Air chronicles a young doctor's journey from literature student to promising neurosurgeon and finally to a patient in his own hospital after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Always profound, never sentimental, this important book refuses to take refuge in platitudes, instead facing mortality with honesty and humility. Written in engaging prose and filled with penetrating insights, this story is relevant to everyone and will captivate fans of memoir, literature, philosophy, and popular science alike. Lyrical passages of great beauty and vulnerability are deftly balanced by bright, candid moments of joy and even humor. Come prepared with plenty of tissues; over and over again this exquisite book will break your heart." (Carmen Tracey, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio)

The Wright Brothers  by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, 2015; ISBN 9781476728742). Biography / history, 336 pages

[Recommended by Rob Orr, Science]

From Powells.com: "In The Wright Brothers, David McCullough spins a history both exhaustive and personal, sharing original correspondence and examining secondary characters like the Wright sister, Katharine. With McCullough's signature depth and thoroughness, The Wright Brothers pays captivating homage to the two men who so exemplified the American spirit."






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