FORMS V AND VI Summer Reading
We Should All Be Feminists
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adchie
We Should All Be Feminists (2015), a thought-provoking TED Talk turned essay, explores what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century and argues that we still have much introspection and cultural change to attend to in order to achieve “A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.” In Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions (2017) Adichie takes her observations and beliefs and turns them into practical suggestions for a friend who asked how to raise a feminist daughter in today’s world. In both essays, Adichie is humorous and disarming yet blunt about the impact that gender roles and expectations have on everyone in society and what we can all do about it. Note: Students must read both titles.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
This novel imagines a world much like ours in which women discover that they have "the power," an electrical charge that comes from a strip of muscle running along their collarbones. This electrical charge allows them to zap whatever they want, giving them physical dominance in this world. We see this society turned upside down through the eyes of Roxy, the daughter of a British crime boss; Allie, a young girl who escapes abuse in her Alabama foster home; Margot, a rising politician who is the mayor of a city in the United States; and Tunde, a young male journalist from Nigeria. Alderman's book, which has some scenes of physical and sexual violence, asks us to consider the corrupting nature of power and whether it is possible to have power and not abuse it.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent rape that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world. (From Amazon.com)
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Read a tale of chilling October this summer! Two fourteen-year-old boys, best friends, hear the call of the calliope from a mysterious carnival that lures its attendees with delights that satisfy darker desires than a hunger for cotton candy. The challenge tests their friendship and draws out a distant father as they resist the allure of the carousel to round and round and round . . .
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Acclaimed fantasy author Neil Gaiman offers a fresh retelling of the major stories from the pantheon of Norse gods, giants, elves, Valkyries, and many other mystical beings. For those who don't have the patience for the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, Gaiman takes the original tales and creates a more accessible narrative out of them, as Edith Hamilton once did with Greek mythology, with great success. Unlike the Marvel comic and film franchises, Gaiman takes few liberties with the adventures of his characters; he merely puts them together in ways that are more readable for modern audiences. If you have been curious about the original versions of Odin, Thor, Loki, and the rest of the Norse gang, here's your chance to find out.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann is a non-fiction book that examines the murders of some of the wealthiest Americans during the 1920s. These millionaires were Native Americans of the Osage tribe living in the state of Oklahoma. At the close of the Wild West, the Osage found themselves sitting on top of a gold mine – black gold: that is, oil. The crude oil soon made them some of the richest people in the world. They built mansions, rode in chauffeured cars and sent their children to school in Europe. Their fortune, however, soon turned to grief as over twenty members of the tribe were murdered. Anyone who dared to investigate these homicides turned up murdered also. Eventually, the newly created Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) took on the case, one of the first homicide investigations in the agency’s history. This true-life murder mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out who was behind these heinous crimes.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
In this historical fiction novel, Kristin Hannah tells the story of sisters Vianne and Isabelle and their struggle to survive under Nazi occupation in France during WWII. While Isabelle takes a more active stance against the Germans by joining the resistance, Vianne is forced to make difficult choices regarding the enemy in order to save her family. There is some violence and sexual content.
Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why German, Spain, and France Win, and Why One Day Japan, Iraq, and the United States Will Become Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
As former England striker and current football pundit Gary Lineker once said, “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.” Soccernomics, by author Simon Kuper and economist Stefan Szymanski, is an attempt to explain why that happens. Kuper and Szymanski analyze historical trends and economic patterns to explain English failure, German and Spanish dominance, and the increased success of Asian teams, bringing a “Moneyball” approach to the beautiful game. The newly updated 2018 World Cup edition features sections on the recent exposure of FIFA corruption and Iceland’s international success, while still making the case for why soccer truly is America’s sport of the future. If you are planning to watch the World Cup this summer (or even if you aren’t!) and want to learn more about the favorites, the underdogs, and the future of the global game, this is the book for you. NOTE: There are older editions of the book (first published 2009), but please read the new 2018 World Cup Edition (red rather than green cover) for the updated content.
I Love Capitalism! An American Story by Ken Langone
Iconoclastic entrepreneur and New York legend Ken Langone tells the compelling story of how a poor boy from Long Island became one of America's most successful businessmen. Ken Langone has seen it all on his way to a net worth beyond his wildest dreams. A pillar of corporate America for decades, he's a co-founder of Home Depot, a former director of the New York Stock Exchange, and a world-class philanthropist (including $200 million for NYU's Langone Health). In this memoir he finally tells the story of his unlikely rise and controversial career. It's also a passionate defense of the American Dream- of preserving a country in which any hungry kid can reach the maximum potential of his or her talents and work ethic. (From Amazon.com)
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
Democracies can die in all sorts of ways. Military coups and revolutions are the most obvious, but rarely do democracies meet that kind of death today. Instead, they now die with a whimper. Harvard professors Levitsky and Ziblatt have both studied the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America and ask here the startling question: is American democracy in danger?
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Written by the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, this engrossing novel describes an unusual romance between the characters Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. When Fermina opts to marry a wealthy doctor, Florentino waits his turn – for over fifty years! – until the time becomes right to again profess his love. One of the classic works of “magical realism” for which Márquez is justly famous, this novel should appeal to rising seniors who enjoyed their experience of Márquez in Literature of South America or Nobel Laureates. At the same time, it’s also a great pick for any reader who wants to get lost in a spellbinding setting peopled with colorful and unusual characters.
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
In 480 B.C.E., an invading Persian army, two million strong, came to the mountain pass of Thermopylae in eastern Greece. Led by King Xerxes, they were met by the finest three hundred Spartan warriors where the rocky confines were so narrow that the Persian multitudes and their cavalry would be at least partially neutralized. Here, the Greek loyalists hoped, the elite force could hold off, at least for a short while, the invading millions. Narrated by the sole survivor of the epic battle – a squire in the Spartan heavy infantry – Gates of Fire is a depiction of one man's indoctrination into the Spartan way of life and death, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity. Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle, Gates of Fire weaves history, mystery, and heartbreaking romance into a literary page-turner that brings the Homeric tradition into the 21st century. (from Barnes and Noble overview)
Goodbye Sarajevo: A True Story of Courage, Love and Survival by Atka Reid and Hanna Schofield
In May of 1992, Hana is twelve years old and she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye. Thinking that they will be apart for only a few weeks, they make a promise to each other to be brave. But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Set in the middle of the bloodiest European conflict since the Second World War, this book is a moving and compelling true story of courage, hope and extraordinary human kindness. (From Amazon.com)
Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman
This well-written book provides not only a history of the American grocery store, but it also provides a look at how we shop for food. How has grocery shopping changed over the last 50 years? What is a healthy way to shop for food today? What are the driving forces behind what is placed on our grocery shelves? These questions and more are answered! As you may soon be buying food for yourself, you will want to learn more so that you can be an educated consumer.
An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales by Oliver Sacks
Brilliant neurologist Oliver Sacks leads his readers through seven of his case studies of patients who face neurological impairment with the optimism and creativity that speaks of the best of humanity. His clients include artists, a blind fiancé who longs to see his bride, and the brilliant Temple Grandin. Sacks is a lyrical, even poetic, writer who brings science to the non-scientists and humanity to the scientists. This non-fiction text reads like a collection of short stories as it teaches about the brain and the many ways that people perceive the world around us.
Hellhound on his Trail by Hampton Sides
On April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, escaped in a breadbox. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man – whose real name was James Earl Ray – drifted through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace’s racist presidential campaign. On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage men were crushed to death in their hydraulic truck, provoking the exclusively African American workforce to go on strike. Hoping to resuscitate his faltering crusade, King joined the sanitation workers’ cause, but their march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King fatefully vowed to return to Memphis in April. With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel when the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King’s funeral, Sides gives us a riveting cross-cut narrative of the assassin’s flight and the sixty-five-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England – a massive manhunt ironically led by Hoover’s FBI. Magnificent in scope, drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material, this nonfiction thriller illuminates one of the darkest hours in American life – an example of how history is so often a matter of the petty bringing down the great. (from the jacket cover of the hardcover edition.)
Enough As She Is by Rachel Simmons
For many girls today, the drive to achieve is fueled by brutal self-criticism and an acute fear of failure. Though young women have never been more "successful" – outpacing boys in GPAs and college enrollment – they have also never struggled more. On the surface, girls may seem exceptional, but in reality, they are anxious and overwhelmed, feeling that, no matter how hard they try, they will never be smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough, thin enough, popular enough, or sexy enough. Rachel Simmons has been researching young women for two decades, and her research plainly shows that girl competence does not equal girl confidence – nor does it equal happiness, resilience, or self-worth. Backed by vivid case studies, Simmons warns that we have raised a generation of young women so focused on achieving that they avoid healthy risks, overthink setbacks, and suffer from imposter syndrome, believing they are frauds. As they spend more time projecting an image of effortless perfection on social media, these girls are prone to withdraw from the essential relationships that offer solace and support and bolster self-esteem. Deeply empathetic and meticulously researched, Enough As She Is offers a clear understanding of this devastating problem and provides practical parenting advice – including teaching girls self-compassion as an alternative to self-criticism, how to manage overthinking, resist the constant urge to compare themselves to peers, take healthy risks, navigate toxic elements of social media, prioritize self-care, and seek support when they need it. Enough As She Is sounds an alarm to parents and educators, arguing that young women can do more than survive adolescence. They can thrive. Enough As She Is shows us how. (From Amazon.com)
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. (From Strayed's website: http://www.cherylstrayed.com/wild_108676.htm.)
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in what he finds in the “cemetery of lost books,” a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets – an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (From Penguin Random House)