Summer Reading 2019

THIRD FORM Humanities Required Reading
Welcome to Third Form Humanities! We are excited to meet you this September when we will gather around the table to begin a challenging and fun year in Humanities III. In preparation, you are REQUIRED to read:
Jim Lynch’s The Highest Tide (Bloomsbury edition, ISBN 978-1-58234-629-8).
This text will introduce you to many of the themes we will explore this coming year.
Please be sure to bring this book with you to school in the fall. We will use it during the first two weeks of the fall term and will reference it at various times throughout the year.
In addition to this required text, we encourage you to read a wide variety of other books this summer, for fun and entertainment and for broadening your experiences and perspectives. You can find a suggested reading list below.
Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to meeting you in the fall!
FOURTH FORM Humanities Required Reading
Welcome to Humanities IV! In preparation for your study of the American experience during your Fourth Form year, you are REQUIRED to purchase and read:
When The Emperor Was Divine by Julia Otsuka (ISBN: 978-0385721813); and
The Book of Unknown Americans by Christina Henriquez (ISBN: 978-0385350853).
There will be assignments addressing these texts when you arrive at St. Paul’s in the fall, and these texts will provide helpful starting points to the material we will address in the course. Please be sure to bring both books with you to school in the fall.
We hope, of course, that you will read much more than these novels in the weeks ahead. Summer is a wonderful time to read widely. 
If you are new to St. Paul’s School, we recommend reading these two texts, which were discussed in Humanities III, in preparation for joining Humanities IV:
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The students in Humanities III also read the following works, should you be interested in exploring them this summer:
The Odyssey by Homer
Antigone by Sophocles
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
All the best for an enjoyable summer. We look forward to seeing you in September.
FIFTH FORM Humanities Required Reading
This summer, rising Fifth Form students are REQUIRED to read one of the following (choose one):
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (ISBN: 978-1416562603); or
The Attack by Yasmina Khadra (ISBN: 978-0307275707); or
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (ISBN: 978-1616202415).
We will begin the year with several discussions of your chosen book, so please bring it with you when you return to school in the fall. Please make sure to annotate as you read. If you are new to annotation or could use a refresher, the following link offers very helpful tools and strategies for annotation:
NOTES AND READING JOURNAL: Whatever your note taking or annotating technique, as you read you should write down important ideas, themes, questions, things you don't understand, "aha!" moments, your favorite passages, the author's important points, as well as other aspects of the novel that catch your eye.
If you are new to St. Paul’s School, we recommend you read the books listed below in preparation for joining Humanities V. These books were read by students either in Humanities III or IV:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (IV Form)
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (III Form)
For all students: The Fifth Form Humanities teachers also strongly encourage students to read as much as possible this summer, as we believe it not only is a true pleasure but also makes you better Humanities students. We offer a list of suggested books for you to consider (see below). We hope you also ask your parents and friends for their ideas, as well as adding books on your own. And, if after thirty or forty pages a book doesn’t engage you, put it down and find another one. There are plenty of books that you’ll find fascinating!
Enjoy your summer and your reading.


Recommendations from SPS Students, Faculty, and Staff (alphabetical by author)
Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
“This fantastic and hilarious satire of academia relates the story of one Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer in history at a British university, and his encounters with annoyingly brilliant undergraduates and dimwitted, pretentious colleagues. Much of the humor (and satire) in the book comes from Dixon’s reactions to those around him and his elaborate imaginings of how to avenge himself on them.”
Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury
“Short, sweet, and full of flavor. Bradbury’s descriptive language transports the reader to the world of a small town’s summer. From the writer of Fahrenheit 451 comes a surprisingly touching story about a town not unlike one in the real world.”
Boy: Tales of Childhood – Roald Dahl
“The autobiography of the man who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, etc. This brilliantly funny book takes the reader from the author’s birth to his childhood in Wales and Norway up through prep school.”
Going Solo – Roald Dahl
“The sequel to Boy. Dahl, now a young man, goes to  work for the Shell Oil Company in East Africa. When World War II breaks out, he joins the RAF and learns to ?y a ?ghter plane. Also in this book is the account of how he sold his ?rst story and began his career as a writer.”
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More – Roald Dahl
“A brilliant collection of short stories, all with the trademark Dahl irony. ‘Henry Sugar’ (about a man who develops a never-fail technique for gambling) and ‘The Mildenhall Treasure’ (the true story of the 1940s discovery of a large horde of Roman silver in England) are two of my favorites.”
Funny in Farsi – Firoozeh Dumas
“An engaging autobiographical account of an immigrant Iranian family’s transition to life in America in general, and California in particular, where ‘one’s tan is a legitimate topic of conversation’ and the name ‘Firoozeh Dumas’ is rendered as ‘Fritzy Dumbass.’ The book follows Dumas from her immigration to the U.S. as a young child to her marriage.”
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
“Intrigue, suspense, and the strange death of the  nameless narrator’s predecessor. One of three du Maurier tales filmed by Alfred Hitchcock.”
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
“The delightful autobiography of naturalist Gerald Durrell. When he was ten years old, Durrell and his family moved to the Greek island of Corfu. A dinner party interrupted by the introduction of a large family of scorpions, puppies rejoicing in the names of Widdle and Puke, and a brilliant but eccentric tutor who fences with olive trees are but a few of the wonderful events and characters found in this charming book.”
Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
“The novel follows a young American man who goes to Ukraine to find the woman that saved his grandfather from the Holocaust. Told in the broken English of his Ukrainian tour guide, this beautifully written story will leave you hooting with laughter and brimming with tears. I highly recommend it.”
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
“Orphaned at nineteen, Flora Poste decides to live with her distant relatives, the Starkadders, who live on an ancestral estate rejoicing in the name of Cold Comfort Farm. Life at Cold Comfort is cheerless and eccentric. It is a place where cows have names such as Aimless, Feckless, Pointless, and Graceless, and the most exciting time of the year is when the ominous sukebind is in flower. Flora’s challenges include spurning the advances of film fanatic Seth and pseudo-intellectual Mr. Mybug, soothing a melancholy and paranoid Cousin Reuben, and uncovering the mystery of Aunt Ada Doom, a woman whose conversation is limited to the cryptic phrase, ‘I saw something nasty in the woodshed.’ This glorious book is a brilliant parody of many literary genres and characters.”
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
“This book concerns the life of a teenage girl with cancer and how she falls in love with a boy who also has cancer. It is a book that questions the meaning of life and explores love in its truest forms.”
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
“The funniest book I have ever read. Heller deals with the real issues of being a soldier with dark humor and empathy. His humor is original and doesn’t prevent Catch 22 from being a ‘real’ book.”
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
“In his story of a young Brahman’s search for enlightenment, Hesse is provocative and brings originality to a (sometimes) trite conversation. Short and easy read but powerful.”
The Road From Coorain – Jill Ker Conway
“Raised on a sheep farm in the desolate and  unforgiving Australian outback, the precocious Conway is as comfortable rounding up herds on horseback and helping with the sheep shearing as she is reading the classic works of Western literature. In a time and place that viewed educating women as a waste of time and money, Ker fought to obtain her college degree, which eventually led to graduate school at Harvard, and, ultimately, the position of the ?rst female president of Smith College.”
For the Love of Physics – Walter Lewin
“A pretty fun and simple book on physics.”
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
“…changed my life.”
The Long Walk – Slavomir Rawicz
“Near the end of World War II, Polish soldier Rawicz is sent to a work camp in Siberia. He and several fellow prisoners escape from the camp, crossing the hot Gobi desert and enduring the cold of Nepal and Tibet until they reach India. The book was published as an autobiographical account, but many claim that it is, in fact, fiction.”
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks
“A collection of case studies by famous neurologist Oliver Sacks. Each chapter examines a particular  disorder (Tourette’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, tics, amnesia, etc.). Each is fascinating, and sometimes disturbing, but perhaps none more so than the title case. Though at times unsettling, this book seeks to help the general public better understand some of these disorders and the people who suffer from them.”
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner – Alan Sillitoe
“An engrossing collection of post-World War II short stories written by one of Britain’s famous ‘angry young men’ of the 1950s. The title story is arguably the best and tells of a young man in a borstal (juvenile prison) for robbery who has a remarkable talent for distance running.”
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Solzhenitsyn’s account of a day in the life of a gulag prisoner. The book is short; the story haunting. (Solzhenitsyn’s son Stephan is a St. Paul’s alumnus.)”
Aiding and Abetting – Muriel Spark
“Few people would dare to write a satirical novel about a famous murder, even thirty years after the event. Completely undaunted by convention, Muriel Spark chose the unsolved story of the vanished murderer Lord Lucan as the subject of one of her last indictments of society. In the thirty years since the murder of his children’s nanny (actually a botched attempt to kill his wife) and his subsequent disappearance, ‘Lucky’ Lucan has acquired a useful double and an alibi. Desperate for cash and having just heard a very valuable piece of information, he and his double hit upon a new scheme - blackmail. The deceptively simple novel is a powerful arraignment against the upper class and their hopeless snobbery. Spark carefully and deliberately treads on aristocratic toes, ignoring any howls of protest.”
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
“Made famous by the 1969 film starring Maggie Smith (better known these days as Minerva McGonagall), this amusing yet unsettling novel is primarily, and most famously, an exploration of what can happen when a teacher crosses the boundary between adult and child and exploits her students as her legacy. It is also an exploration of some of the lesser-known effects of World War I and the generation of husbandless, childless, and often faceless women who were the unrecorded casualties.”
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
“I read it last summer and found this story to be one that could provoke many reflections on the themes of love, beauty, passion, responsibility, and so on. In my opinion, this is an epic story of man’s search for love and truth in the delicate language of Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors of all time.”
Vanity Fair – W.M. Thackeray
“The classic story of a conniving and grasping, yet strangely sympathetic, individual who manages to claw her way to the top of English society. This has been one of my favorite books ever since age 16.”
The Loved One – Evelyn Waugh
“Waugh described this novel as ‘a little nightmare produced by the unaccustomed high-living of a brief visit to Hollywood.’ This unlikely tale of a funeral home, its workers, and, of course, the ‘loved ones,” is nightmarish indeed, yet oddly entertaining.”
Leave It to Psmith – P.G. Wodehouse
“Wodehouse has incredible English wit and his humor makes this a quick read. Hilarious and easy to get through.”
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
“Perhaps the most accessible of Woolf’s novels, Mrs. Dalloway takes place in a between-the-wars London, examining a day in the life of a fairly ordinary middle-aged woman who longs for the days of her youth.”
Also recommended:
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez
Band of Brothers – Stephen Ambrose            
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
The American Revelation: Ten Ideals that Shaped Our Country from the Puritans to the Cold War – Neil Baldwin
The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
What Looks Crazy on an Ordinary Day – Pearl Cleage
The Power of OneBryce Courtenay                    
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Dune – Frank Herbert
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Kidd   
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri                   
Wicked – Gregory Maguire
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Life of Pi – Yann Martel
All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze – Maaza Mengiste
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison                 
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett                            
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
The Shipping News – Annie Proulx                        
Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
In Dubious Battle – John Steinbeck            
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck          
The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
The Color Purple – Alice Walker                 
Night – Eli Wiesel                             
Jefferson’s Pillow – Roger Wilkins
April, 1865: The Month That Saved America – Jay Winik                         
Old School – Tobias Wolff
Black Boy – Richard Wright
Native Son – Richard Wright