- Rising Sixth Form (12th) - American Studies
- Rising Fifth Form (11th) - European Studies
- Rising Fourth Form (10th) - World Studies
- Rising Third Form (9th) - Ancient Studies
- Humanities Seminar
Welcome, Sixth Formers!
Click this link to watch a video of your teachers introducing your summer reading books.
All American Studies students must read the following for the English side of the course:
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (978-1-5011-7666-1)
- Description: Her novel explores familial love, racial injustice, addiction, and transgenerational trauma, and it is told from the perspective of three different characters. One literary critic explains, “Jesmyn Ward leads readers into rural Mississippi, to the pain and grief and struggle of a family who can’t escape history…Ward’s uniquely lyrical prose ties the family’s modern-day struggles to the literal ghosts of Southern history.” Throughout the year we will return to themes in this novel as we try to better understand the American identity and the lasting effects slavery and institutionalized racism have on both citizens and the American conscience.
In addition, all American Studies students must also read the following for the history side of the course:
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (978-0-618-70641-9 )
- Description: O'Brien's work is a collection of stories about a platoon of soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. These stories deal with themes of love, fear, combat, family, friendship, and the nature of story-telling. O’Brien challenges our understanding of history and makes us think carefully about the nature of fact and fiction. This work will allow us to begin the year thinking about the American narrative and the art and act of story-telling.
If you have finished summer reading and are looking for something else to read...
Your American Studies teachers have created a list of books we think pair well thematically with our curriculum, and we have included a few that we have not read but plan to read this summer. This list is entirely optional — we just wanted to share it with you:
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Southernmost by Silas House
- True Grit by Charles Portis
- Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
- Jazz by Toni Morrison
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Welcome, Fifth Formers!
Click here to watch a video introduction of your summer reading presented by the European Studies team. Every student in European Studies will read two books and watch four episodes of a documentary...
Summer Reading Assignments:
Regeneration by Pat Barker (ISBN: 978-0-14-218059-4)
One of the novels you will read for European Literature is Regeneration, by Pat Barker. Set in a Scottish hospital during World War I, it follows the experiences of a group of soldiers who left the war due to injuries, as well as the doctors who must treat these men and return those who are fit back to the front lines. World War I marked a turning point in the treatment of shell shock and PTSD, and the novel portrays the psychological trauma some experienced, as well as their recoveries. It also explores what it means to wage war, to object to war, to create, to suffer, and to love. We will use this text to transition back to the classroom, and will return to it in the spring as we approach that era in history and literature.
Animal Farm, 50th Anniversary Edition by George Orwell (ISBN: 978-0-451-52634-2)
With satirical humor, George Orwell’s fable Animal Farm exposes the ugly underbelly of politics and revolution. Intoxicated by the notion of liberty, the animals stage a rebellion, overthrow farmer Jones, and run the farm themselves. Freed from tyranny, the animals try to form a perfect society founded on the ideals of progress, justice, and equality for all. Their utopia devolves, however, when the clever pigs, led by their power-hungry leader Napoleon, gain control. To hold on to it, they treacherously manipulate language, fact, and reality. Written in 1945 as an allegory of Stalin’s Soviet state, Animal Farm explores how revolutionary ideology can go awry. Tensions between the colorful and conflicting animal personalities will get you thinking about the tenuous nature of social order, the abuse of power, the rights of individuals, and the perennial quest for a better world – recurrent themes that will engage us throughout the course of the year.
Summer Viewing Assignment:
In addition to the two novels you will read this summer, we ask that you spend four hours watching a "PBS Empires" documentary:
"The Medici - Godfathers of the Renaissance"
This series, available on both Amazon Prime and YouTube, will help orient you for the early weeks of the course. The Medici family and the City of Florence helped European civilization move from the medieval to the modern world. You will follow the arc of a political dynasty over two centuries and see how they interacted with the great artists, philosophers, and scientists of the age. You will meet amazing painters, sculptors, and architects: Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Vasari. You will encounter significant politicians and political theorists: Cosimo de Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Machiavelli. You will confront pioneering figures in religion and science: Savanarola, Martin Luther, and Galileo Galilei. The PBS series combines great storytelling, impressive scholarship, and marvelous visual imagery to bring an important era to life. We think you'll enjoy it -- and you'll have plenty to write about and discuss in the early days of the history course.
Welcome, Fourth Formers!
Click this link to watch a video of your World Studies teachers introducing your summer reading books:
All World Studies students must read the following for the English side of the course:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (ISBN: 978-1-78689-168-6)
- Description: On one level, Life of Pi is a tale of survival. After his ship sinks with his whole family aboard, a young boy is stuck on a small lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. To make matters worse, his only companion is a 450-pound tiger that wants to eat him. However, that’s just the surface. One critic said Life of Pi is “a story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction” while the narrator of the text says it’s “a story that would make him believe in God.” So… which is it? One or the other? Both? Neither? While reading the book, please consider the author’s central argument. Do you agree with it? Why or why not? A big focus in World Studies is providing students with a solid grounding in the eight major world religions, and this book introduces you to some of the ways in which these diverse world religions interact in our pluralistic world. This is also a story of coming to terms with one’s own religious identity, which is something we will wrestle with in this course.
In addition, World Studies students must CHOOSE ONE additional book to read from the following five options to read for the history side:
- Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie (ISBN: 978-0-30-745592-5)
- The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco (ISBN: 978-0-06-231377-5)
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (ISBN: 978-1-59448-177-2)
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (ISBN: 978-0-358-06268-4)
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (ISBN: 978-0-19-479263-9)
Overview: These five books you can choose from on the history side of World Studies pertain to cross-cultural explorations of identity. The stories you will read about describe immigrant stories and the inevitable struggle of having conflicting ideologies stemming from the differences in nationality and ethnicity. All of the authors live in America and can trace their family lineage to a different country: Lahiri to India, Tan to China, Hosseini to Afghanistan, Blanco to Cuba, and Adichie to Nigeria. The following novels introduce you briefly to the cultural differences of the various regions we will learn about next year through a common experience: coming to America. The themes present in each of the novels reflect the essential questions we will explore in our class: themes of self-identity, cultural identity, national identity, and religious identity.
Here is a brief description of each book (but please also check the reviews at Amazon to help guide your choice):
- In Americanah, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who comes to the US to attend college. It highlights the themes of belonging and otherness.
- In The Prince of Los Cocuyos, author Richard Blanco tells the story of a young Cuban American man who yearns to understand where he came from. It seems like everyone around him knows who they are except him.
- In The Namesake, author Jhumpa Lahiri tells the story of Gogol Ganguli—the son of immigrant parents from India and named after a Russian playwright—who struggles to find a place and community to which he can belong.
- In The Joy Luck Club, author Amy Tan interweaves the lives of eight characters—four women who immigrated from China and their four American-born daughters, thus exploring family relationships, generation gaps, and the immigrant experience.
- In The Kite Runner, author Khaled Hosseini crafts a story of a father and son who flee Afghanistan and end up in California. But what have they left behind? And can they ever be really free of it?
If you have finished your summer reading and are looking for something else to read...
Your World Studies teachers have created a list of books we think pair well thematically with our curriculum, and we have included a few that we have not read but plan to read this summer. This list is entirely optional — we just wanted to share it with you:
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
- Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference by Tim Keller
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
- Factfulness by Hans Rosling
- Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
- The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Welcome, Third Formers!
Click here to watch a video of your Ancient Studies teachers introducing your summer reading books, and see below for detailed instructions.
For Ancient Studies - English:
Explore the collection of ALA's award winners and select one book from any list that interests you. During the first week of classes, you will be asked to share your book title and your reaction to it. Although the books offered below are contemporary, they echo themes found in texts we will read together in Ancient Studies: home, family, journey, fate vs. free will, perseverance, and loyalty. Plan on discussing how your particular summer book connects with one of those timeless ideas and come ready to join a community of readers!
Link to ALA Award Winners webpage: https://libguides.ala.org/recommended-reading/YA-teens
For Ancient Studies - History:
Read The Siege of Troy by Theodor Kallifatides (ISBN: 978-1-59051-971-4)
- Description: In this perceptive retelling of The Iliad, a young Greek teacher draws on the enduring power of myth to help her students cope with the terrors of Nazi occupation. As bombs fall over a Greek village during WWII, a teacher takes her students into a cave for shelter. There she tells them of another war - when the Greeks besieged Troy. Since our course begins with Homer’s epic tale of this ten-year battle, The Siege of Troy will help set the stage and be a good introduction to Ancient Studies.
Hello, Humanities Seminar scholars!
This summer you'll be reading the following:
The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance (ISBN: 978-0-8021-3041-9)
Please return in the fall prepared to discuss this powerful drama based upon the life of Joseph Merrick (1862-1890), a man whose severe physical deformity led him to became known as the “Elephant Man.”