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Summer Reading 2017

Information to guide you in your 2017 Summer Reading

Summer Reading List 2017

All-School Summer Reading List, 2017

"Truth(iness), Technology, and Totalitarianism"



Every single student, regardless of grade or track, chooses and reads one of these books.

Honors/AP students ALSO read the book below that corresponds to their course. Honors/AP Students read a total of 2 books.

  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  • Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  • Feed - M.T. Anderson
  • Maggot Moon - Sally Gardner
  • Prez, Volume 1: Corndog in Chief - Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell (graphic novel)
  • UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation -  Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Jamieson (non-fiction)
  • Watched - Marina Budhos

Honors I (9th):

Fahrenheit 451 and one other choice from the list (two books total from the Summer Reading List.)


Honors II (10th):

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline


Honors III (11th):

Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather


AP (12th):

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë


Hypothetical Examples:

  • Nina Ninthgrader is entering English I (9th grade),  she chooses to read:    Watched from the list. Yay!
  • Norman Nines is entering Honors English I (9th grade), he chooses to read: 1984, from the list AND WILL ALSO READ Fahrenheit 451
  • Terry Twelvsies is entering English IV (12th grade), he or she chooses to read: UnSpun from the list.  Done.
  • Torquil Twelvingham is entering AP English (12th grade), he chooses to read: Prez, Vol 1: Corndog in Chief, from the list AND WILL ALSO READ Jane Eyre.
  • Eamonn Elevensie, and Tamika Tenners use pattern-recognition and knowledge of their schedules to choose books from the list, and also read required books as necessary.

For each book on the list, we have prepared a short guide that includes background material, context as to why the book is relevant, resources to go deeper, and questions to think about to help guide your reading, as well as links to places to find a copy of the book.  You can find those links in the left-hand column of this page.

When we return to school in the fall, we will engage in classroom activities that will be based on the Guiding Questions found below.

**Students: What Do You Plan to Read? (Survey)**

You're not stuck with this choice, but we'd love to know what you think you might read. Please click on the survey link below (Thanks!!!)...

Guiding Questions


These are the kind of questions you should be prepared to answer and discuss in the fall, using evidence and quotations from the book you chose. 

All of the books on the reading list relate to these questions in some way, and you will be discussing these questions with people who have read other books.

There are also useful guiding questions on the pages for each individual book. Being able to answer those questions will help you participate in the conversation, and find supporting textual evidence.

How (and why) do institutional authorities use language and/or technology to establish, and maintain power?


Consider also:

  • Why are those techniques effective?
  • How has new communication technology affected language? Our understanding of the "Truth"?

How important is individual privacy in a technologically connected world? Why?

Consider also:

  • What are the benefits of privacy? Drawbacks?
  • Who stands to benefit when there is less privacy?

Considering the following quotation, which perspective do you think better describes current American society? Why?

“What Orwell (1984) feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley (Brave New World) feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.”  

-Neil Postman,  Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985)‚Äč

Consider also:

  • Is it a mix of both? if so, how?
  • Is it neither? Do the conditions in another book on our list come closer? Why?

Do individuals have a duty to resist Totalitarianism (or institutions they perceive to be unjust)?

Consider also:  

  • How do we determine if an institution is just?
  • What role does technology play in resistance?
  • What are the risks involved, and how does that affect the duty?

Quick Choice Guide

Comparison Chart to Help With a Quick Decision

Quick Comparison of Books
BOOK Setting Main Characters Tone Genre Length Notes?
1984 London, 1984 Adults, Male Lead Bleak Speculative 300 All other books connect in some way
Brave New World Earth , 2540 Adults Satrical Speculative/ Sci-fi <300 Satirical Utopia
Fahrenheit 451 Earth, ~2053 Adults Bleak Speculative <200 REQUIRED for Honors I (9th grade honors)

Earth, ~2100

Teens Male, Female Satirical, Serious Sci-fi <250 Strong Language, used for satirical purpose.
Maggot Moon England, 1954

Teen Male (Learning Difference)

Bleak / Heroic Alternate History <300, short chapters  Simply written, but with depth. One violent scene.
Prez, vol 1 USA, 2036 Teen Female Satirical, Humorous Speculative. Comics Format <160,  Illustrated Worth reading twice: first for plot, then for images
UnSpun USA, Modern Day n/a Informative Non-Fiction <200 Examples from 2004, but content still highly relevant
Watched NYC, Modern Day Teen Male (Immigrant) Suspenseful Realistic Fiction <300 Least "Techy", but technology still plays a role.