Summer Reading 2012
“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation, at a standstill.”
Henry David Thoreau
To directly support Berkshire’s commitment to developing critical readers and writers, all our students are expected to read four books over the summer:
- The form-specific book for English class
- Any AP-specific books, as applicable
- The remainder of the four from the form-specific lists below or from the list of Classics.
Please keep in mind:
- Our list each year is intentionally broad and diverse in order to encourage students to select books that spark a particular interest or passion. Books have been carefully selected by Form with an eye to reading level and Berkshire’s curriculum—underformers may read up in level, but not down; fifth and sixth formers may read from each other’s lists.
- Students in Advanced Placement courses must first read the specific books listed for those courses. They then may fulfill the rest of the four-book requirement from elsewhere on the list. The AP French and AP Spanish books must be read in the original language. Any student may choose to read an Advanced Placement book as one of his or her four books.
- All English-specific titles will be part of the core curriculum and students’ knowledge of those titles will be assessed immediately upon their return to school. For each of the other titles, students should fill out the Berkshire School summer reading form. Parents are encouraged to review and discuss these with their children, as parental signatures will be required at registration. Thereafter, students will discuss these books with their advisors.
English Books for 2012
Third Form: Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott (ISBN: 978-0385491808)
Fourth Form: Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane (ISBN: 978-0684848280)
Fifth Form: Our Town by Thornton Wilder (ISBN: 978-0060535254)
Sixth Form / Post-Graduate: Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (ISBN: 978-0312642808)
*The editions mentioned here are only suggestions. Students may choose any edition they wish, including those for e-readers such as Kindle™, Nook™, or Ipads™.
Please direct any questions about summer reading to:
An asterisk (*) indicates the book is nonfiction.
Bowers, Rick. Spies of Mississippi. The True Story of the Spy Network That Tried to destroy the Civil Rights Movement*
In 1956, the state of Mississippi devised a Sovereignty Commission that began as a propaganda operation and morphed into a spy network, with a goal of stopping integration and crushing the civil rights movement in the state. Using primary sources and interviews, Bowers give a thorough account of the development of this spy network.
Fukuda, Andrew Xia. Crossing
In this fast-paced thriller high school freshman Xing Xu, one of two Chinese students in an all-white high school, seeks to avoid the isolation he feels and overcome his social awkwardness. He turns his life in two directions. First, he signs up for the school musical and gets a part. Then he begins to investigate a series of killings and disappearances that have happened on the campus.
Herlong, M. H. The Great Wide Sea
Soon after their mother’s death, 15-year-old Ben and his two brothers are shocked to learn that their father has sold their house and plans for them all to live on a 30 foot boat for a year in the Bahamas.
One night during a fierce storm, their father disappears from the boat which is subsequently washed up on an island where the boys must fend for themselves and hope for an eventual rescue.
Hubbard, Jenny. Paper Covers Rock
Hubbard’s novel about a boarding school death and its fallout has been favorably compared to John Knowles’ classic novel A Separate Peace.
Janeczko, Paul. The Dark Game: True Spy Stories*
Janeczko presents a fascinating variety of spies from the Revolutionary War through the Cold War, finishing with Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.
McKernan, Victoria. The Devil’s Paintbox
In 1865, 15-year-old Aiden and his 13-year-old sister Maddy, penniless orphans, leave drought-stricken Kansas on a wagon train journey on the famed Oregon Trail hoping for a better life in Seattle, but find there are still many hardships to be faced.
McKinley, Robin and Peter Dickinson. Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits
The authors tell five tales of creatures who live and die by fire, whether in the present day or the prehistoric past. From the amazing Firespace, where only fire-breathing dragons can survive; to a heroic young man who chases the mythic fireworm through dark tunnels of a dream; to a fascinating history of the Phoenix, the bird who dies and is resurrected by fire.
Riordan, Rick. The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: Lost Hero
A few months after The Last Olympian ends, Jason wakes up on a bus filled with problem kids from the Wilderness School who are headed to the Grand Canyon. He has no memory of his previous life, but seems to be with his girlfriend, Piper, and his best friend, Leo. The action takes off quickly: storm spirits attack them and capture their coach, who turns out to be a Satyr. Searching for Percy, who is missing, Annabeth arrives and takes the three to Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods.
Standiford, Natalie. How To Say Goodbye In Robot
Beatrice Szabo’s family has moved so many times that to protect herself from the emotional stress caused by the constant moves and her parents’ troubled marriage, she has invented a cold, emotionless identity for herself: Robot Girl. When she begins her senior year at a small private school, she enters a class where the students have known one another since kindergarten. She finds herself drawn to outcast Jonas Tate, aka Ghost Boy, who introduces her to the Night Light show, a local late-night radio show. They form an intense friendship complicated by Jonas’ love for his severely disabled brother.
Welch, Diana and others. The Kids Are All Right*
This heart-rending memoir told from four points of view chronicles the ups and downs of the Welch siblings after the death of both of their parents.
Westerfield, Scott. Behemoth
Behemoth continues the story of Austrian Prince Alek who, in an alternate 1914 Europe, eludes the Germans by traveling in the Leviathan to Constantinople, where he faces a whole new kind of genetically-engineered warships.
Yang, Gene Luen (author) and Derek Kirk Kim (illustrator). The Eternal Smile: Three Stories
In three graphic novellas, Yang and Kim explore the lure of dreams--and the power of waking up. Yang’s main characters include a lowly monk (“Duncan’s Kingdom”), frog Gran’pa Greenbax (“The Eternal Smile”), and oppressed office worker Janet Oh (“Urgent Request”).
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. They Call Themselves the K.K.K.*
Bartoletti traces the origin and evolution of the Ku Klux Klan from a small, mischievous social club into a powerful, destructive organization that can still be found in parts of the United States to this day.
Beam, Cris. I Am J
Protagonist J, who lives in Manhattan’s Washington Heights with his Mexican mother and Jewish father, struggles with gender identity. Though J has female attributes, he feels he is really a male. Eventually, he leaves home because he feels his parents will not understand his feelings. In his new environment in a rundown hotel, he finds the support he needs to deal with his gender identity crisis.
Carriger, Gail. Souless
In 19th century London, 25-year-old soulless spinster Alexia Tarabotti kills a vampire with her parasol at a party. With the help of Scottish Lord Conall Maccon, himself a werewolf and government official as well as the only man interested in her, she must investigate a supernatural mystery.
Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games).
Following her second victory in the Games, Katniss has been adopted by rebel factions as their symbol for freedom and becomes the rallying point for the districts in a desperate bid to take down the Capitol and remove President Snow from power.
Davis, Tanita. Mare’s War
Mare is a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less than perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women’s Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters two willful teenagers in their own rite on a cross-country road trip.
Ehrlich, Amy (ed.) When I Was Your Age: Original Stories About Growing Up*
Twenty award-winng authors share their experiences of growing up in this outstanding collection of essays.
Fforde, Jasper. Shades of Grey
Century after the cataclysmic Something That Happened, a Colortocracy, founded on the inflexible absolutes of the chromatic scale, rules the world. Amiable Eddie Russett, a young Red, is looking forward to marrying a notch up on the palette and settling down to a complacent bourgeois life. But after meeting Jane G-23, a rebellious working-class Grey, and a discredited, invisible historian known as the Apocryphal Man, Eddie finds himself questioning the hitherto sacred foundations of the status quo in this dystopian fantasy.
Freedman, Russell. Lafayette and the American Revolution*
This is an excellent biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of not only the American Revolution, but also of two revolutions in his native France. Freedman chronicles his growth from impetuous young man and inexperienced soldier to a leader of wisdom and valor.
Grahame-Smith, Seth. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
When Abraham Lincoln discovers that his mother’s early death was caused by vampires, he vows to strengthen himself in mind and body to combat the scourge of the undead. Gifted with height, strength and skill with an axe, Lincoln sets out on a path that leads him to the White House.
Grant, Helen. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
Pia and her friend are entranced by a kindly neighbor’s ghost stories which seem connected to the mysterious disappearance from their quaint German town in this terrifying thriller.
Grossman, Lev. The Magicians
17-year-old Quentin Coldwater gives up his ordinary Brooklyn life to join the magical society of
Brakebills College with both unexpected and sometimes tragic consequences.
Jandy, Nelson. The Sky Is Everywhere
Lennie Walker, a 17-year-old bookworm and band geek, spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey suddenly dies, Lennie is thrust to center stage of her own life.
Annotation: Lennie Walker, a 17-year-old bookworm and band geek, spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey suddenly dies, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life.
Leavy, Jane. The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood.*
Drawing on more than 500 interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, Leavy delivers the definitive account the New York Yankee super star outfielder’s life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of an illustrious talent with a damaged soul.
McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart
Waking up in a military hospital in Iraq, Private Matt Duffy is haunted by the image of a young Iraqi boy dying as a bullet enters his chest. Though he feels he is somehow involved in the boy’s death, his own head injury is preventing him from clarifying the matter to his own satisfaction.
Miller, Madeline. The Song of Achilles
In this outstanding novel, Miller tells the story of Achilles using his intimate friend Patroclus as narrator. She describes how the two first met in Greece, how their friendship developed as they grew to adulthood and how the wrath of Achilles with its tragic consequences and devastating aftermath developed.
Moran, Michelle. Madame Tussaud
Marie Grosholtz, better known as Madame Tussaud, rose to prominence during the French Revolution because of her skill sculpting wax images of the famous and infamous.
Hers is a tale of both artistic talent and survival during a particularly brutal period in French history.
Riordan, Rick. The Serpent’s Shadow
Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all.
Rock, Peter. My Abandonment
13-year old Caroline and her somewhat paranoid father live in a nature preserve outside Portland, Oregon where they must scavenge material to build a shelter. On one of their expeditions into the city they are detained but then are helped by Jean Bauer who secures employment for Caroline’s father and a better place for both of them to live. This haunting story of familial love, survival and hope is based on a true story.
Smith, Sherri. Flygirl
When America entered World War II, the Army created the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots. Ida Mae Jones, a young African-American woman, suddenly sees learning to fly as a way to do something to help her brother stationed in the Pacific.
Sparks, Nicholas. Safe Haven
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo.
Angel, Ann. Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing*
Angel gives an wonderful account of the all too brief and tragic life of the life of the super talented rock star Janis Joplin who died at age 27 from drug and alcohol addiction.
Bass, Rick. Nashville Chrome
Rick Bass has written a fictionalized account of the Browns, an actual family of country music trailblazers who pioneered the 1950s sound known as Nashville Chrome. Maxine Brown, now partly blind and living in obscurity in Memphis, ponders the trio’s rise and subsequent fall from grace.
Bausum, Ann. Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Homefront during World War I*
Bausum looks closely at the American homefront during the First World War when government propaganda led to persecution of German-Americans as well as the erosion of civil liberties.
de Waal, Edmund. The Hare with Amber Eyes. A Family’s Century of Art and Loss*
In this family memoir, de Waal, a descendant of the Ephrussi family, wealthy Russian Jewish grain dealers, traces the history of his family’s collection of priceless Japanese netsuke carvings. The family was driven from Europe by the Nazis, but after WWII, they discovered that their maid, Anna, had preserved the netsuke collection, which Ignace Ephrussi then inherited before he settled in postwar Japan.
Doerr, Anthony. Memory Wall: Stories
Set on four continents, Anthony Doerr’s new stories are about memory, the source of meaning and coherence in our lives, the fragile thread that connects us to ourselves and to others. Every hour, says Doerr, all over the globe, an infinite number of memories disappear. Yet at the same time children, surveying territory that is entirely new to them, push back the darkness, form fresh memories, and remake the world.
Fey, Tina. Bossypants*
The brilliant, funny Fey,writer and performer on Saturday Night Live and Thirty Rock, offers career advice and other observations on what it takes to make it in a male-dominated workplace.
Greenberg, Paul. Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food*
In this entertaining investigation into global fisheries, New York Times seafood writer Greenberg examines our historical relationship with wild fish. Greenberg discusses four fish-salmon, tuna, bass, and cod-and their often complicated relationship with humans.
Grisham, John. Calico Joe
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records. He quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever.
Gwynne, S. C. Empire of the Summer Moon. Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Commanches *
Gwynne traces the rise of the Comanche people from their roots as primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to their mastery of the horse and emergence as the feared power brokers of the area. At the center of the narrative is the charismatic Quanah Parker, who skillfully navigated the gaps between his traditional culture and the emerging, settled culture of the late-nineteenth century.
Harbach, Chad. The Art of Fielding
At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. This is a great story as well as being a great baseball book.
Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption*
Hillenbrand tells the story of Louie Zamperini-a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is an incredible tale of survival.
Hirsch, James S. Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend*
Considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, Mays brought a skill and passion to the game of baseball rarely seen before or since. In this authorized biography, Hirsch gives a detailed account of a man who is truly a sports hero.
King, Martin Luther. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King.*
"We've got some difficult days ahead," civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., told a crowd gathered at Memphis's Clayborn Temple on April 3, 1968. "But it really doesn't matter to me now because I've been to the mountaintop. . . . And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land." These prophetic words, uttered the day before his assassination, challenged those he left behind to see that his "promised land" of racial equality became a reality; a reality to which King devoted the last twelve years of his life. These words and other are commemorated here in the only major one-volume collection of this seminal twentieth-century American prophet's writings, speeches, interviews, and autobiographical reflections. "A Testament of Hope" contains Martin Luther King, Jr.'s essential thoughts on nonviolence, social policy, integration, black nationalism, the ethics of love and hope, and more.
King, Stephen. 11/22/63: A Novel
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination.
LaPierre, Alxandra. Women Travelers: A Century of Trailblazing Adventures 1850-1950*
An award winning novelist, LaPierre brings to life thirty-one of the most intrepid women travelers from fourteen countries, including Fanny Vandegrift, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, who ventured all the way from Indiana to Samoa, and Nellie Bly, journalist and social reformer, who went around the world in seventy-two days.
Lynskey, Dorian. 33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs from Billie Holiday to Green Day*
British music critic Dorian Lynskey provides a comprehensive examination of thirty-three protest songs from seven decades and five continents.
Masur, Louis. The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America*
Using Stanley Forman’s 1976 photograph of a white man attacking a black man with an American flag during race riots in South Boston, Masur captures a deeply troubled period in American history from a variety of angles.
McCullough, David. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris*
Renowned historian McCullough has written a fascinating narrative of Americans who came to Paris between 1830 and 1900 to broaden their horizons. They cast of characters includes writer like James Fenimore Cooper, inventor Samuel F. B. Morse and painter Mary Cassatt to name but a few of the prominent figures who lived and studied in the City of Lights.
Morris, Edmund. Colonel Roosevelt*
Morris concludes his highly acclaimed biography of the restless, dynamic first President Roosevelt, at once soldier, politician, conservationist, hunter.
Murray, Liz. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard*
This is a story of survival. Murray grew up in a household of severely drug-addicted parents. By age 15 she was a runaway living by her wits on the streets. After her mother’s death from a drug overdose, she began attending an alternative high school which ultimately led to a New York Times Scholarship to Harvard.
Olsen, Lynne. Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour*
American involvement in World War II was not a certainty. President Roosevelt held back from sending convoys to protect commercial ships from German submarines. With Britain near surrender, three Americans living in Europe were instrumental in rallying America to the British cause. They were journalist Edward R. Murrow; American ambassador John Winant; and the wealthy playboy
industrialist Averill Harriman who was just beginning a career of community service.
Roth, Philip. Nemesis
Roth sets his latest novel in Newark, NJ in 1944 as the city faces a polio epidemic, a disease whose cause was unknown at the time and prevention virtually impossible. Protagonist Bucky Cantor, the young playground director of the Chancellor Avenue playground, a hero to the boys, becomes frightened and gives in to the wishes of his fiancée, who wants him to take a job at the Pocono summer camp where she works. The novel then fast-forwards to the 1970s where the narrator, one of the young boys who had so admired him, runs into Buddy, whose life has become one of poor decisions and bad luck.
Rubalcaba, Jill. Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates*
An exploration of archaeology which approaches the popular subject through four important discoveries of hominin skeletons in the past 30 years. The famous finds, located on three continents and dated 1.6 million to 5,300 years old, include Turkana Boy, the most complete Homo erectus yet discovered; Lapedo Child, a Paleolithic ritual burial; Kennewick Man, whose bones became the subject of a major legal battle; and the Iceman, which had skin as well as bones preserved under a glacier.
Raffles, Hugh. Insectopedia*
In this fascinating book, which is part reference, part memoir and part scientific detective story, Raffles travels the Amazon, visits Chernobyl, and enter laboratories and sidewalk cafes in search of insects and the ideas and cultures they inspire.
Shalev, Meir. My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir*
Grandma Tonia was never seen without a cleaning rag over her shoulder. She received visitors outdoors. She allowed only the most privileged guests to enter her spotless house. In this hilarious and touching memoir, Grandma Tonia, who had emigrated from Russia to Palestine in 1923, and her regulations come richly to life in a narrative that circles around the arrival into the family’s dusty agricultural midst of the big, shiny American sweeper sent as a gift by great-uncle Yeshayahu (he who had shockingly emigrated to the sinful capitalist heaven of Los Angeles!).
Sounes, Howard. Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney*
On his way to completing this biography of the music legend, Sounes interviewed every living person he could find with a connection to McCartney in creating this comprehensive, warts-and-all account.
Teachout, Terry. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong*
Louis Armstrong is generally considered to be the greatest jazz musician of the 20th century. Teachout draws on a wealth of previously unavailable archival material, including Armstrong’s own recorded archives, to create a detailed portrait of this ever joyful music legend.
Vaillant, John. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival*
Deep in the Siberian wilderness an Amur tiger hunts its newest prey: man. Vaillant gives a frightening account of the encounter between a tiger and the inhabitants of a Siberian village in the 1990s.
Wasdin, Howard E. and Stephen Templin. Seal Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite SEAL Sniper*
Wasdin takes readers deep inside the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world.
Wiener, Jonathan. Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality*
Wiener has written an elegant account of the scientific search for the Fountain of Youth where recent advances in both evolutionary and molecular biology have made the prospect of finding a cure for our apparently inevitable deterioration seem tantalizingly reachable.
Bartok, Mira. The Memory Palace*
In this fantastic memoir Mira Bartok, a celebrated children’s author, recounts her upbringing by a schizophrenic mother who had once been a concert pianist. She and her sister run away from their mother in their late teens after they can no longer take their mother’s harassment and threats to kill herself. They change their names, leaving only a post office address where their mother can contact them. After Bartok suffers a traumatic brain injury which forces her to relearn all she once knew how to do, she reaches out to her estranged mother only to find out she is dying.
Berry, Wendell. The New Collected Poems*
Berry revisits for the first time his immensely popular Collected Poems, which The New York Times Book Review described as “a straight-forward search for a life connected to the soil, for marriage as a sacrament and family life” that “affirms a style that is resonant with the authentic,” and “[returns] American poetry to a Wordsworthian clarity of purpose. It showcases the work of a man heralded by The Baltimore Sun as “a sophisticated, philosophical poet in the line descending from Emerson and Thoreau . . . a major poet of our time.”
Biddle, Daniel R. and Dubin Murray. Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America*
Thoroughly researched well-written narrative about Ocatvius Catto(1839-1871), a Philadelphia school teacher, orator and founder of Philadelphia’s first black baseball club, who became a martyr for the cause of civil rights.
Boyle, T. Coraghessan. Wild Child and Other Stories
In his latest collection of stories, Boyle operates under a single theme: people succumbing to their baser instincts.
Byers, Michael. Percival’s Planet
This is a historical novel is the story of Clyde Tombaugh, an unassuming Kansas farm boy who achieved international fame for his discovery of Pluto. As he tells Tombaugh’s story, Byers offers a detailed view of Depression-era America, from the easy extravagance of the Boston Brahmins to hardscrabble rural life.
Carter, Miranda. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I.*
Carter views the shifting alliance entanglements of the Great Powers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and especially the growing animosity and rivalry between Britain and Germany, with particular focus on the attitudes and actions of three royal first cousins: Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, and King George V of Great Britain.
Chaon, Don. Stay Awake: Stories
Chaon has a gift for writing about very odd things happening to very ordinary people. It's easy to feel a kinship with his characters; they could be me or my friends and neighbors. What makes his stories unique is the mash-up of the "regular folks" and the weird and sometimes terrifying situations that Chaon drops them into.
Chollet, Derek. The Unquiet American*
This is an outstanding biography of one of America’s pre-eminent diplomats, Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke was an outsized personality who could both charm and offend with ease. A pivotal player in American diplomacy for forty years, Holbrooke served several administrations and was considered to have one of the most penetrating minds of any modern diplomat of any nation. He is perhaps best known for brokering the Dayton Peace Accords which brought an end to the hostilities in Bosnia, but also served as special envoy both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dubus, III, Andre. Townie: A Memoir*
After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their overworked mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and violence. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. In this unforgettable memoir, Dubus details the clash between the rough neck, hard living townies and the students debating books and ideas. Dubus shows us how he escaped the cycle of violence and found empathy in channeling the stories of others—bridging, in the process, the rift between his father and himself.
Ferreiro, Larrie D. Measure of the Earth: The Enlightenment Expedition That Reshaped Our World*
In the early eighteenth century, at the peak of the Enlightenment, a team of European scientists and naval officers set out on the world’s first international, cooperative scientific expedition. Intent on making precise astronomical measurements at the Equator, they were poised to resolve one of mankind’s oldest mysteries: the true shape of the Earth.
Frazier, Ian. Travels in Siberia*
Frazier chronicles his five trips to Siberia, a wide open, frozen land which he came to love. He discusses his repeated visits, from a summer trip across the Bering Strait to a winter trip to Novosibirsk; however, the centerpiece of the book is his overland crossing from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
Heilbron, John. Galileo*
Heilbron illuminates Galileo’s overlooked love of literature in this penetrating portrait of the man who changed the way we look at the world.
Hijuelos, Oscar. Beautiful Maria of My Soul
In this sequel to The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Hijuelos tells the story of the beautiful Maria, about whom Nestor Castillo wrote his famous bolero. In this novel set in pre-Revolutionary Havana, the enchanting Maria is torn between two men: Ignacio, a nefarious, strong-willed businessman who provides poor María with extravagant clothes and an apartment, and Nestor, a poor musician whom she loves passionately.
Hohn, Donovan. Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them*
In this fascinating science travelogue the author journeys to beaches, seas and factories to find out what happened to 28,000 Chinese-made rubber ducks which fell off a container ship headed for Seattle.
Homans, Jennifer. Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet*
Homans brings her intimate experience as a dancer and her discerning dance critic’s eye to her fascinating and exquisitely detailed history of ballet, an art that combines rigor and idealism.
Horwitz, Tony. Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War.*
Howitz gives an accurate account of Brown’s life through original sources. Brown, often dismissed as a fanatic or even a lunatic, emerges as a complex but passionate anti-slavery proponent.
Hughes, Robert. Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History*
Famed art critic Hughes opens his narrative with an account of his first visit to the Eternal City from his native Australia at age twenty-two, and then describes the rise of the city from its founding by Romulus and Remus into the twentieth century. He chronicles the empire, the rise of Christianity, the arts and the politics of this ancient city.
James, P. D. Death Comes to Pemberley
Famous crime writer P. D. James pays homage to Jane Austen in this novel which takes place in 1803, six years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth. On the eve of a ball, as the guests prepare to retire for the evening, a coach arrives and Elizabeth’s undependable sister, Lydia Wickham, stumbles out and screams that her husband has been murdered. Darcy, the local magistrate must investigate.
Kundera, Milan. Encounter: Essays*
This collection of brief essays explores Kundera’s relationship with art (especially modern art) and mortality (to some extent, his own). Though his subjects include Fellini, Schoenberg, and painter Francis Bacon, much of what Kundera has to say has to do with the novel and the successes and shortcomings of certain novelists.
Leherer, Jonah. Imagine: How Creativity Works*
From the New York Times best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.
Mantel, Hilary. Bring Up the Bodies.
In this sequel to Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell plots to destroy Anne Boleyn who has become an irritant to his boss, King Henry VIII. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring.
Martin, Gerald. Gabriel García Márquez*
This well-researched, authorized biography of the great Columbian writer’s life and career is a brilliant, lasting biographical treatment.
McDermott, Terry and Josh Meyer. The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed*
Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer go deep inside the US government's dogged but flawed pursuit of this elusive and dangerous man. One pair of agents chased him through countless false leads and narrow escapes for five years before 9/11. And now, drawing on a decade of investigative reporting and unprecedented access to hundreds of key sources, many of whom have never spoken publicly, as well as jihadis and members of KSM's family and support network-this is a heart-pounding trip inside the dangerous, classified world of counterterrorism and espionage.
Montefiore, Simon. Jerusalem*
In this biography of one of the oldest and most famous cities in the world, shrine for three major world religions, Montefiore chronicles how this city became the “center of the world” and remains crucial in finding a lasting peace in the Middle East.
Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball*
This is a fascinating, well-documented, well-illustrated account of great players who were denied the chance to show their skills in major league baseball because of their race.
Nicholls, David. One Day
The episodic novel takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. Dexter, a disreputable public school boy, and Emma, a brainy Yorkshire lass, who met the day they graduated from university in 1988. They continue to meet once a year for the next 20 years. He has become a TV presenter whose life of sex, booze, and drugs spins out of control, while she slogs her way through awful jobs before becoming the author of young adult books. They each take other lovers and spouses, but they cannot really live without each other.
Ozick, Cynthia. Foreign Bodies
In the summer of 1952, Bea Nightingale, a divorced middle-aged high school English teacher in New York, has been dispatched by her bullying brother, Marvin, a successful businessman, to Paris to bring home his wayward son, Julian, who turns out to be an ambitionless waiter now married to an older Jewish woman, Lili, who lost her husband and young son in the war.
Quinoñes-Hinojosa and Eichler Rivas, Mim. Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon *
At nineteen Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa was an undocumented worker tending tomatoes and peppers in the San Joaquin Valley. In this compelling autobiography he chronicles his rise to a position of great eminence in the medical world as a top neurologist at Johns Hopkins University leading the fight against brain cancer.
Rose, Sarah. For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History*
Through the adventures on nineteenth century plant hunter Sarah Rose provides a wonderful account of the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world.
van Niekerk, Marlene. Agaat
Seventy-year-old Milla de Wet is dying slowly of ALS on her South African farm. During the final phase of her life her caretaker is a black woman named Agaat with whom she has had a complex and often difficult relationship. Van Niekerk uses a variety of techniques to evoke the resigned mind of a dying woman who realizes, too late, the horrible mistakes that have made her life a waste.
Walcott, Derek. White Egrets: Poems*
The latest book of poetry from the Nobel Prize winner Walcott who again uses the past to clarify the present and find a direction for the future.
Wulf, Andrea. Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens.*
Anrea Wulf has written a fascinating account of the eighteenth-century quest to observe the transit of Venus and measure the solar system. On June 6, 1761, the world paused to observe a momentous occasion: the first transit of Venus between the earth and the sun in more than a century. Through that observation, astronomers could calculate the size of the solar system—but only if they could compile data from many different points of the globe, all recorded during the short period of the transit.
ADVANCED AND ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES
All books listed here are required for specific courses. All French and Spanish books must be read in the original language.
AP AMERICAN GOVERNMENT
Heilemann, John. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime
AP AMERICAN HISTORY
Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels
Dawkins, Richard. The Greatest Show on Earth
Le Couteur, Penny. Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History
ECONOMICS (ALL CLASSES)
Wheelen, Charles. Naked Economics
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Diaz, Junot. The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
AP ENGLISH LITERATURE
Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Davis, Derva. When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution
AP EUROPEAN HISTORY
Manchester, William. A World Lit Only by Fire
Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall: A Novel
AP FRENCH LANGUAGE
Duras, Marguerite. Hiroshima Mon Amour
Siefe, Charles. Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking
SPANISH IV REGULAR
Dos Palabras – Isabel Allende (Ctrl Click to access text – copyright through Creative Commons) http://marcoele.com/descargas/13/albaladejo-dos_palabras.pdf
SPANISH IV ADVANCED
Unas obras – Gabriel García Márquez (Ctrl Click to access text – copyright through Creative Commons) http://biblio3.url.edu.gt/Libros/garcia_marquez/funerales.pdf
AP SPANISH LANGUAGE
de Unamuno, Miguel. San Manuel Bueno, Mártir
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman – Gaines
Catch-22 – Heller
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway
Giovanni’s Room – Baldwin
Innocents Abroad – Twain
The Lady in the Lake – Chandler
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets – Crane
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Kesey
The Song of the Lark – Cather
Twenty Years at Hull House – Addams
Agnes Grey – Bronte
Nicholas Nickleby – Dickens
The Mayor of Casterbridge – Hardy
Moll Flanders – Defoe
Nostromo – Conrad
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Spark
Sense and Sensibility – Austen
Silas Marner – Eliot
Tristram Shandy – Sterne
A Zoo in My Luggage – Durrell
The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevsky
Ficciones – Borges
Germinal – Zola
Faust – Goethe
Old Goriot – Balzac
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Solzhenitsyn
Out of Africa – Dinesen
Swann’s Way – Proust
The Satires – Juvenal
The Voyage of the Argo – Apollonius of Rhodes