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Welcome to Summer 2022!
Hello Upper School! As you can see, your teachers have taken time to suggest to you books they have loved, books they have found inspirational, books they have found thought-provoking and educational, and books they have found FUN! You may take one--or many--of their suggestions, or none at all. The important thing is that this summer you find the time to READ SOMETHING YOU WANT TO READ!
- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. I first read this classic satirical novel in high school, and I loved it. It's about an American bombardier fighting in Italy during WWII, but it's really about the frustrating and hilarious ways in which the world can be entirely absurd. It gave birth to the very idea of a "catch-22," a problem that you can't escape because of the very nature of the problem itself (trust me, you'll get it if you read the book). I promise you a good laugh as well as classic satire. Enjoy!
- In The Woods by Tana French. Do you like mysteries? Then allow me to introduce you to Tana French. She's an Irish writer who carefully constructs her mysteries to keep you guessing to the end. While some mysteries are just good, fun reads, French writes in beautiful prose, exploring complex themes with stories that will leave you haunted. And if you like this book, she has 7 more books for you to explore.
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Wonderful gothic style novel set in Cornwall. The book has never been out of print since it was first published in 1938. Several movie adaptations have been made. The story line is intriguing and the prose style is a joy to read. Available as an ebook and audiobook.
- You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner. Ring Lardner was a sports writer in the early 20th Century who later turned to short story writing. You Know Me Al was first published in 1916. The book is written in the form of 'letters' from fictional baseball rookie Jack Keefe to his buddy Al back home. It's written in a satirical style with an impeccable ear for vernacular speech. Available as an ebook and audiobook.
- The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders. A brief, satirical, look at politics, genocide, and humanity through the lens of the Hornerites.
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. A look into the lives of four Chinese American Immigrant mother/daughter relationships told through vignettes which alternate between story teller.
- Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner. A great read for anyone interested in evolutionary biology topics. This book follows the lives of Rosemary and Peter Grant - two professors at Princeton who dedicated their career to learning about the Galápagos Finches and showing the strength and applications of Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
- Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Amazing, dark, hilarious, and mind-blowing post-modern, apocalyptic tale by the world's greatest writer. You'll never be the same after you read it.
- Neuromancer by William Gibson. Witness the invention of cyberpunk and one of the greatest speculative fiction novels of all time. See how many things this writer predicted in 1984 that you now take for granted.
- This Land podcast hosted by Cherokee journalist Rebecca Nagle. This Land focuses on indigenous peoples' stories and rights. The first season explored the issues surround the Supreme Court case McGirt v. Oklahoma, and the second season focused on the as yet unresolved case Brackeen v. Haaland, which will decide the future of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Nagle explores all sides of the questions underlying these cases.
- Dissect podcast. This podcast analyzes albums (mostly hip hop). Some of the albums have visual guides as well. Not only is this podcast interesting, but it models the exact kind of analysis that you need to do as a student at WA and beyond.
- The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl. Whether you like Nirvana and the Foo Fighters or not, it will be hard to dislike this wonderful memoir by musician Dave Grohl. He takes you back to his early days as a child growing up in Virginia through his experiences in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, including some great stories that only a rock legend like Dave Grohl could experience. I highly recommend the audiobook, read by Grohl himself.
- The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton. Whether you're a fan of classic rock or not, you will enjoy this wonderful cast of characters as they recount the story of groundbreaking (fictional) musical duo Opal Jewel and Nev Charles as they break the music industry open only to be undone by tragedy. This book is excellent on audio, read by a cast of characters.
- How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith. In his first nonfiction book, poet and Atlantic magazine writer Clint Smith visits various places around the United States and Senegal to explore the history of slavery and racism connected with these places.
- The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai. This multigenerational family saga will introduce you to the Trần family and their story, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War.
- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. If you like horror, you'll be captivated by this novel in which the vengeful "spirit" of a poached deer takes on the persona of the Deer Woman, a mythological creature associated with many Native American cultures, and stalks the men who cut her life short. You'll love it if you enjoyed movies by Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us).
- Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Andi Alpers is struggling after the death of her little brother. Her father, aghast over the notion that Andi might not graduate high school if she doesn't complete her thesis, forces her to go to Paris with him to finish her research on the composer Amadé Mahlerbeau. She finds the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, a performer who lived during the French Revolution. The line between the past and present is blurred as Andi finds herself drawn back in time. This one will appeal especially to music lovers.
- Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. This book explores the Troubles, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, through the lens of the murder of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who was murdered by the I.R.A. Fascinating and gripping nonfiction.
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Daily Show host and comedian Trevor Noah shares the story of his life from being born during apartheid in South Africa to his experiences as a young comedian on the come up. The audiobook is fantastic.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Goblins and dragons and orcs OH MY!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The movie is coming out this summer (featuring a new single from Taylor Swift), but it's more fun to read the book first. Read the book, then watch the movie!
The Firekeeper's Daughter by Ojibwe author Angeline Boulley. "A contemplative exploration of existing between two cultural identities meets fake relationship romance meets backwoods thriller in this absolute powerhouse of a debut." -NPR
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. At its core, The Bluest Eye is a story about the oppression of women. The novel's women not only suffer the horrors of racial oppression, but also the tyranny and violation brought upon them by the men in their lives. The novel depicts several phases of a woman's development into womanhood
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This novel was published by Random House in 1952. It addresses many of the social and intellectual issues faced by African Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.
- Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Asks questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan. This New York Times bestseller is the story of Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish Nationalist who was transported to Tasmania by the British after leading a failed Irish uprising in the 1840s, and who ended up being a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Caddy for Life: the Bruce Edwards Story by John Feinstein. The book is the inspirational story of Bruce Edwards, caddy for legendary golfer Tom Watson, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. The book tells the story of the friendship that developed between Edwards and Watson as the illness developed. You do not need to know about golf to appreciate this work! One WA student called it "the best book I ever read."
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (fantasy written for adults). This book is SO charming. If you love Fredrik Backman, you'll love this. "A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret." --GoodReads
- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (ya fantasy). "Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him." -GoodReads
- Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (nonfiction written for adults). "Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work." -GoodReads
- Fangs by Sarah Andersen (graphic). "Elsie the vampire is three hundred years old, but in all that time, she has never met her match. This all changes one night in a bar when she meets Jimmy, a charming werewolf with a wry sense of humor and a fondness for running wild during the full moon. Together they enjoy horror films and scary novels, shady strolls, fine dining (though never with garlic), and a genuine fondness for each other’s unusual habits, macabre lifestyles, and monstrous appetites." -- GoodReads
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Two half-sisters are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. One is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to her, her sister is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One sister’s descendants experience centuries of warfare in Ghana, the other’s experience life in America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, right up through the present day, this novel makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. - paraphrased from GoodReads
Mildred H. McEvoy Library at Worcester Academy | 81 Providence Street | Worcester, MA 01604