Summer Reading

2018 Summer Reading

Rising Sixth Form - American Studies

All American Studies students must read the following:

  1. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (978-0-618-70641-9 )
  2. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (978-1-4000-3342-3)
  3. The following short stories:

Below are 15 songs we’ll be studying this year. Listen to them and think about the questions they raise about the American experience:

  1. Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
  2. Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
  3. My Old Kentucky Home by Stephen Foster
  4. 4th of July by X
  5. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream by Bob Dylan
  6. Television, the Drug of the Nation by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
  7. Back in the U.S.A. by Chuck Berry
  8. America, the Beautiful by Ray Charles
  9. Jesus, Etc. by Wilco
  10. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Indigo Girls
  11. This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
  12. The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
  13. Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
  14. What’s Going On? By Marvin Gaye
  15. This is America by Childish Gambino

Think about these discussion questions: we hope these questions will help introduce some of the themes of the course and the ways we will approach literature.

  • How do each of the authors deal with the connection between history and identity? What role does the past play in our understanding of ourselves and in creating opportunities for the future?
  • What role does storytelling play in each work? Why do we tell stories? What role do they play?
  • Each of these works (including the short fiction and the songs) speaks to the American identity in a unique way. You’ve studies ancient, world, and European cultures. From your reading, what makes the American identity unique or distinctive?

Prepare for the following assessments for when you return to class in August.

  • Objective quizzes offer you the chance to confirm that you have met the baseline expectation of completing the reading
  • Essays will assess your use of specific textual references to connect the themes and content of the works to one another
  • A Harkness discussion will ask you to relate your reading to essential questions of the course using specific textual support

Rising Fifth Form - European Studies

All European Studies students must read the following:

  1. Animal Farm by George Orwell (ISBN: 978-0-451526342)
  2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel by Anthony Marra (ISBN: 978-0770436421)

Think about these discussion questions: we hope these questions will help introduce some of the themes of the course and the ways we will approach literature.

  • One of the essential questions of the course is, “What is the cost of order and stability?” What is the cost of order for the society in each book? Do the costs to the individual differ from the costs to the society as a whole? How does the ruling group’s view of what can or must be sacrificed differ from that of the ruled?
  • Compare and contrast the role of women—both the individual female characters and the place of women in the society—in each story. Where do the individual characters and the expectations for women in general overlap? Where do they diverge?
  • For each book, what is the MOWAW (Meaning of the Work as a Whole)? What does the author want to have us understand or consider?
  • Consider the narrative form of each work. How does the chosen form fit or enhance the content? What is the author trying to accomplish with these choices? Is it effective?

Prepare for the following assessments for when you return to class in August.

  • An objective quiz (approx. 25-30 points) offers you the chance to confirm that you have met the baseline expectation of completing the reading.
  • An in-class essay will assess your ability to emulate the writing style of one our summer essayists.
  • A Harkness discussion will ask you to relate your reading to essential questions of the course using specific textual support

Rising Fourth Form - World Studies

All World Studies students should read the following:

  • Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
    • Edition: REV 06
    • Author: Niane, D.T.
    • ISBN 13: 978-1-4058-4942-5
    • ISBN 10: 1-4058-4942-8
    • Publisher: Pearson
    • Publisher Imprint: Longman, Inc.
  • Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic
    • Edition: 2006
    • ISBN 13: 978-0-14-303967-9
    • ISBN 10: 0-14-303967-9
    • Publisher: Penguin Random House Llc
    • Publisher Imprint: Penguin Classics
    • Author: Narayan, R. K.
  • Monkey: A Journey to the West
    • Edition: 1992
    • Author: Kherdian, David
    • ISBN 13: 978-1-59030-258-3
    • ISBN 10: 1-59030-258-3
    • Publisher: Penguin Random House Llc
    • Publisher Imprint: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Think about these discussion questions: we hope these questions will help introduce some of the themes of the course and the ways we will approach literature.

  • Monkey, Ramayana, and Sundiata are epic tales for the nations of China, India, and Mali. As World Studies scholars read them, they should consider what values are at the heart of them.
  • How do these stories shape the culture and national identity of these three very different nations?
  • Students should also pay attention to the shared patterns of the stories.
  • All three are about heroes who must go on a quest to restore balance to the world, gaining allies and facing villains along the way. What other specific similarities exist?
  • How do these stories connect to other stories the students have read such as The Odyssey, The Aeneid, or Gilgamesh?

Prepare for the following assessments for when you return to class in August.

  • An objective quiz offers you the chance to confirm that you have met the baseline expectation of completing the reading of all three books.
  • An analytical paper will assess your ability to craft a compelling thesis concerning authorial intent of one of the summer reading books and then support it with specific textual evidence and reasoned analysis.
  • An in-class essay will assess your ability to compare and contrast specific characters and themes from the other two summer reading books.
  • Several Harkness discussions will ask you to relate your reading to essential questions of the course using specific textual support.

Rising Third Form - Ancient Studies

The summer assignment for Ancient Studies has two parts:

  • Ancient Literature: READ selected chapters of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
  • Ancient History: VIEW the PBS Empires Video, “The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization

Both the book and the videos will provide a good foundation for our study of the Ancient World. Students can expect to write about both in the early weeks of school.

  • Ancient Literature Assignment:
    • Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes is widely available from Amazon and other major booksellers, including MBS Direct. Students should get the Grand Central Publishing Edition in paperback.
      • Required Chapters:
        • Introduction (pages 1-16)
        • Part 1 – Chapter 1: The Gods (pages 17-50)
        • Part 4 – Chapter 13: The Trojan War (pages 253-276)
        • Part 4 – Chapter 14: The Fall of Troy (pages 277-290)
        • Part 4 – Chapter 15: The Adventures of Odysseus (pages 291-319)
        • Part 4 – Chapter 16: The Adventures of Aeneas (pages 320-344)
        • Part 5 – Chapter 17: The House of Atreus (pages 345-372)
        • Part 5 – Chapter 18: The Royal House of Thebes (pages 373-393)

Ancient History Assignment:

Tips to Guide Your Reading and Viewing

One fundamental purpose of your summer reading and viewing assignment is to give you a basic introduction to the major figures (mythical, literary, and historical) that you will encounter throughout the coming year. Before you read the great epic poems of Homer and Virgil, the tragedies of Sophocles, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and the apology of Socrates, we want you to experience the basic stories that these ancient poets and writers tell. Edith Hamilton provides an accessible retelling of the great tales from the Greek world, and PBS presents an engaging dramatization of the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire. We hope you will enjoy these first encounters over the summer. When you get to school, we will spend a few classes making sure that you know the major figures you have met in your reading and viewing.

Beyond that, that we ask that you consider the following questions. We will discuss them in some detail in the year ahead, but for now, keep them in mind as you read:

  • What traits do Greeks gods and Greek mortals share in common? And more importantly, what traits set them apart? What does this tell us about what it means to be fully human?
  • What are the defining characteristics of the following ancient figures? Which figures seem to you to offer the best models for leading a good life?
    • Achilles
    • Odysseus
    • Aeneas
    • Oedipus
    • Antigone
    • Cleisthenes
    • Themistocles
    • Pericles
    • Socrates
  • In a number of these myths, Greek heroes face reversals or complications. What are some of the reversals or complications you notice as you read about these figures?

We will not ask you to write for us over the summer, but please know that you will get plenty of opportunities to write in the year ahead! Have fun and see you in August.

Quantitative Reasoning 1 & 2 Optional Reading Challenge

Humanities Seminar

The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance (ISBN: 0-8021-3041-0)