Menaul Middle School is reading…

A Wrinkle in Time

Menaul Upper School is reading…

9th Grade

In-class response essay (50 points)
Group Presentation (50 points)

Step 1: Choose and obtain one book from the list below to read over the summer.

Step 2: As you read, consider the book’s themes, characters, cultural or historical context, settings, and plot to prepare for an in-class writing assignment during the first week of classes. The in-class writing assignment will give you the opportunity to respond to the ideas in the text. You must be ready to write about the book during the first week of classes to earn full credit for the assignment.

Step 3: After you complete the writing assignment, you will work with classmates who read the same book to create and deliver a presentation which will teach the rest of the class about the book’s content, literary merits, and author.

Children of Blood and Bone
By Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But, everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, Maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Salt to the Sea
By Ruta Sepetys

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Annie John
By Jamaica Kincaid

Annie John, the headstrong, brilliant heroine of Jamaica Kincaid’s bestseller, is a child of Antigua but an adolescent of the whole world. An adored only child, Annie has until recently lived an idyllic life. She is inseparable from her beautiful mother, a powerful presence, who is the very center of the little girl’s existence. Loved and cherished, Annie grows and thrives within her mother’s shadow. When she turns twelve, however, Annie’s life changes, in ways that are often mysterious to her. She begins to question the cultural assumptions of her island world; at school she instinctively rebels against authority; and most frighteningly, her mother ceases to be the source of unconditional adoration and takes on the new and unfamiliar guise of adversary.

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho

Combing magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

The Giver
Lois Lowry

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

The Red Pony
John Steinbeck

Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher’s life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, a hot-tempered pony his father gives him. With Billy Buck, the hired hand, Jody tends and trains his horse, restlessly anticipating the moment he will sit high upon Gabilan’s saddle. But when Gabilan falls ill, Jody discovers there are still lessons he must learn about the ways of nature and, particularly, the ways of man.

10th Grade

In-class response essay (50 points)
Group presentation (50 points)

Step 1: Choose and obtain one book from the list below to read over the summer.
Step 2: As you read, consider the book’s themes, characters, cultural or historical context, settings, and plot to prepare for an in-class writing assignment during the first week of classes. The in-class writing assignment will give you the opportunity to respond to the ideas in the text. You must be ready to write about the book during the first week of classes to earn full credit for the assignment.
Step 3: After you complete the writing assignment, you will work with classmates who read the same book to create and deliver a presentation which will teach the rest of the class about the book’s content, literary merits, and author.

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

Quirky and utterly captivating, A Wild Sheep Chase is Murakami at his astounding best. An advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend and casually appropriates the image for an advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes readers from Tokyo to the remote mountains of northern Japan, where the unnamed protagonist has a surprising confrontation with his demons.

The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

“The Queue … has drawn comparisons to Western classics like George Orwell’s 1984 and The Trial by Franz Kafka. It represents a new wave of dystopian and surrealist fiction from Middle Eastern writers who are grappling with the chaotic aftermath and stinging disappointments of the Arab Spring.” — The New York Times
Written with dark, subtle humor, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism, and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling, internationally acclaimed graphic memoir. Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved
homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls. “A genius [who] who spent his life decrying the onward march of the Machine” (The New Yorker), Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization. Brave New World, his masterpiece, has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. Written in the shadow of the rise of fascism during the 1930s, Brave New World likewise speaks to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites.

11th Grade

In-class response essay (50 points)
Group presentation (50 points)

Step 1: Choose and obtain one book from the list below to read over the summer.

Step 2: As you read, consider the book’s themes, characters, cultural or historical context, settings, and plot to prepare for an in-class writing assignment during the first week of classes. The in-class writing assignment will give you the opportunity to respond to the ideas in the text. You must be ready to write about the book during the first week of classes to earn full credit for the assignment.

Step 3: After you complete the writing assignment, you will work with classmates who read the same book to create and deliver a presentation which will teach the rest of the class about the book’s content, literary merits, and author.

Life of Pi
By Yann Martel

Piscine Molitor Patel, the son of an Indian zookeeper in Pondicherry, begins his narrative back in India when as a child he developed his peculiar religious convictions — peculiar because Piscine (“Pi” as he becomes known) decides to embrace Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam at the same time. His frustrated parents don’t know what to make of Pi’s unorthodox devotion to three religions, but Pi himself sees no contradiction between his sets of beliefs.
When the family zoo falls on hard times, Pi’s father decides to move the family to Canada in search of a new life. They travel on a Japanese cargo ship, along with many of their animals, and begin the long journey across the Pacific. The ship does not make it far beyond the Philippines, though, before encountering a strong storm. In mysterious circumstances the animals are released from their cages and the ship ruptures and begins to founder. Pi scrambles for safety, but when the confusion fades, he finds himself alone in a life raft with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and Richard Parker — a full-grown male Bengal tiger. (Provided by Bergen County Cooperative Library System)

Bless Me, Ultima
Rudolpho Anaya

Set in rural New Mexico in the 1940s, the novel tells the story of a boy who learns to navigate the changing American landscape during World War II with the help of a curandera (spiritual healer) who guides him through the cultural, religious, and moral contradictions he faces in his community of farmers, priests, cowboys, and soldiers. Like his protagonist, Rudolfo Anaya grew up in a New Mexico community heavily influenced by both Catholicism and spiritual healers, with a vaquero (cowboy) father and three older brothers who went off to war in their youth. Anaya is an “extraordinary storyteller” that has “always written unpretentiously but provocatively about identity. (National Endowment for the Arts)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm X, Alex Haley, Attallah Shabazz

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America. (Provided by publisher)

The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield, about to be kicked out of yet another boarding school for flunking most of his courses, decides not to wait until the end of term and takes off for his hometown, Manhattan, a few days early. He figures he’ll hole up in a cheap hotel, look up a few friends, then arrive home on time. But Holden is deeply troubled by the death of his beloved younger brother from leukemia, as well as a classmate’s suicide. Alone in an uncaring city, his already fragile psyche begins to unravel. There are three true things that can be said about J.D. Salinger’s masterpiece: It is one of the great works of American literature, it is one of the most frequently challenged by would-be book-banners, and, therefore, it is one of the most misunderstood books of the 20th century. (Common Sense Media)

Falling Angels
Tracy Chevalier

Falling Angels chronicles the lives of two girls whose families own adjacent plots in a London cemetery—one decorated with a sentimental angel, the other with an elaborate urn. During a ceremonial stroll through the graveyard grounds, an act of mourning for the recently deceased Queen Victoria, Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse meet, forging a fast friendship. Despite being neighbors, Kitty Coleman and Gertrude Waterhouse occupy different positions in the British class system—the Waterhouses are lower-middle class, while the Colemans are upper-middle class, with a larger house and garden, and live-in servants. The women have little in common, and their views on the changing political climate fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. The death of Queen Victoria marked the end of an era. Britain emerged from the shadows of oppressive Victorian values to a more liberal Edwardian lifestyle. As with most periods of political turmoil, the fight for the right of women to vote had its own victim of change, as felt by both families. Falling Angels is an intimate story of childhood friendships, sexual awakening and human frailty. (Provided by the publisher)

Behold the Dreamers
Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwards’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice. (Provided by the publisher)

12th Grade

In-class response essay (50 points)
Group presentation (50 points)

Step 1: Choose and obtain one book from the list below to read over the summer.
Step 2: As you read, consider the book’s themes, characters, cultural or historical context, settings, and plot to prepare for an in-class writing assignment during the first week of classes. The in-class writing assignment will give you the opportunity to respond to the ideas in the text. You must be ready to write about the book during the first week of classes to earn full credit for the assignment.
Step 3: After you complete the writing assignment, you will work with classmates who read the same book to create and deliver a presentation which will teach the rest of the class about the book’s content, literary merits, and author.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own. At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive. A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer. Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

A.P. English Literature and Composition Students

In-class response essay (50 points)
Group presentation (50 points)

Step 1: Choose and obtain one pair of linked books from the following options:
Option 1: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen & Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Option 2: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie & Antigone by Sophocles
Option 3: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte & Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Option 4: The Tempest by William Shakespeare & Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Step 2: As you read your chosen books, consider the similarities and differences in the ways the two different books address the same story/plot to prepare for an in-class writing assignment during the first week of classes. The in-class writing assignment will give you the opportunity to respond to the ideas in the text. You must be ready to write about your thoughts, responses, and reactions to the books in relation to their themes, characters, plot elements, etc. during the first week of classes to earn full credit for the assignment.
Step 3: After you complete the writing assignment, you will work with classmates who read the same books to create and deliver a presentation which will teach the rest of the class about the books’ content, literary merits, and authors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.