2019 Summer Reading

2019-2020 Summer Reading List


The Summer Reading Program at Suffield Academy reflects several important aims. First, we want to encourage our students to read outside of the classroom and beyond the school year. Additionally, we value the shared experience of all faculty and students reading a common text. Students should annotate their books as they read and expect to write and discuss the selections during the first few weeks of fall term. At a minimum, students must read the community text and choose one book from the reading list. However, students are encouraged to read throughout the summer and urged to choose two books from the reading list.
If you have any questions, please contact: Sara Yeager (syeager@suffieldacademy.org)

THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Away Offshore:Nantucket Island and Its People by Nathaniel Philbrick
This book provides a rich narrative about the contemporary vacation destination. Nathaniel Philbrick remains a compelling author of many historic nonfiction pieces and
Away Offshore does not disappoint in offering an engaging and informative overview of the island’s history. As late author Russel Baker puts it, “For everyone who loves Nantucket Island this is the indispensable book.”

Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle
It is Camilla who has sent our hero, Andre Kelly, to Cap Ferrat to take glamorous photographs of the houses and treasures of the rich, famous, and fatuous. He happens to have his camera at the ready when he spots a Cézanne being loaded onto a plumber’s truck near the home of an absent collector. Odd, thinks Andre. And in no time, he’s on the trail of a state-of-the-art art scam, chasing Cézanne.
Citizens of London by Lynne Olson
Olson reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBA News in Europe; Averell Harriman, the hard- driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain. Each man formed close ties with Winston Churchill--so much so that all became romantically involved with members of the Prime Minister’s family.

Dear Evan Hansen:The Novel by Steven Levenson
This book is based on a lie. A BIG lie. But in that lie, there is a truth that is told. This novel is based off the Tony Award winning musical. “[A] particularly authentic first-person narration about family dynamics, the importance of kindness, and the horrors of not fitting in at high school.

Every Man in this Village is a Liar: An Education in War by Megan Stack
In the fall of 2001, 25 year-old journalist Megan K. Stack was sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan on assignment. This is her riveting story of dodging gunmen, prodding warlords for information, and witnessing the changes sweeping the Muslim world. She relates her initial wild excitement and slow disillusionment as the cost of violence outweighs the promise of democracy; she records the raw pain of suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and, one by one, she marks the deaths and disappearances of those she interviews.

Feed  by M.T.Anderson
Imagine walking through a mall and having the ads for each store you pass pop into your mind. Now imagine a constant feed of information about the world around you interrupting your thoughts.
Feed is a futuristic dystopian novel about a group of teenagers who visit the moon. Meanwhile, their feeds malfunction, causing their heads to be silent for days. This is not too distant from our lives today! You are surrounded by ads online, in apps, and while you listen to music. We walk around with music in our ears and when people say hello, we can’t hear them! When we gather in the fall, will discuss larger themes such as the impact of technology on our daily lives, how technology boosts consumerism, and how we can interact with others in a more human way. Please also read the poem “Look Up” by Gary Turk.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom,
The Four Agreements offers a code of conduct that can help shape your life into a new experience of freedom, happiness and love. This book is about personal growth and will help you focus on what is important in life and to help you take away some of the stress you face. The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word - Speak with integrity and say what you mean. Choose your words carefully. Words are more powerful than you think.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally - Nothing others do is because of you.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Clear communication is essential so you can avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
4. Always Do your Best - Your best is going to change from moment to moment. Set out to do your best each and every moment.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier
History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of 16 year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius, even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This memoir shares Jeannette Walls unconventional and profoundly flawed upbringing. Despite her parents’ stubborn nonconformity, she shares her unconditional love towards her family as well as the lessons they taught her. Despite adversity, Walls reflects how her childhood prepared her to forge her own path and purpose. Both the writing style and the way Walls reminisces about her childhood will pull you into another world and life, dragging you along for the ride.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. In an age of declining births, Offred and the other handmaids are only valued if they produce babies made by the Commander. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.
How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt
This is a riveting story of obsession, music, crime, and money, featuring visionaries and criminals, moguls and tech-savvy teenagers. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, a revolutionary invention and an illegal website four times the size of the iTunes Music Store.

Internment  by Samira Ahmed
Set in a horrifying near-future United States, 16 year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s director and his guards. Heart-racing and emotional,
Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick
About the events leading to the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Though published by Viking Press on October 16, 2018, a new paperback edition was just released. Join this exciting group for a discussion in Old Wethersfield where the middle pages of the book explain George Washington and French General Rochambeau’s meeting in May 1781 to plan the campaign which led several months later to the final battle of the Revolutionary War and the defeat of the British in Yorktown, Virginia. After touring the house where the meeting took place, we will visit the historic cemetery and equally historic Main Street Creamery for ice cream.

Kindred by Octavia Butler
This outstanding novel follows a black woman living in 1976 Los Angeles who time travels to a plantation in the south in the early 18th century. The book is an incredible feat of science fiction and historical fiction in one text; its suspense will grip from the first page. This is a moving book that also provides a strong social critique of the antebellum south. It is one of Octavia Butler’s most acclaimed novels.

Longbourn by Jo Baker
This terrific novel gives an alternative view of the events in Jane Austen’s
Pride and Prejudice, telling the story from the perspective of the servants at Longbourn, the Bennet family home. It has been translated into 21 languages, was shortlisted for the IBW Book Award and is due be made into a film, directed by Sharon Maguire.

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Magic for Beginners is an exquisite, dreamlike dispatch from a virtuoso storyteller who can do seemingly anything. Kelly Link reconstructs modern life through an intoxicating prism, conjuring up unforgettable worlds with humor and humanity. These stories are at once ingenious and deeply moving. They leave the reader astonished and exhilarated.

Midnight Rising: John Brown and The Raid That Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz
In honor of Tony Horwitz who recently passed away, students are invited to read his compelling text,
Midnight Rising, which fills in the exciting backstory of the militant idealists who sparked the great Civil War. More importantly, this reading group will visit nearby sites that are crucial to the John Brown story. Many historians now place great emphasis of Brown’s time in Springfield where he lived a few blocks from the Springfield Armory and created the plan to raid the Harper Ferry’s arsenal. We will also visit Brown’s grandmother’s house in East Granby, which may or may not be a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke has returned from war to find his beloved southwestern desert threatened by industrial development. Joining with Bronx exile and feminist saboteur Bonnie Abzug, wilderness guide and outcast Mormon Seldom Seen Smith, and libertarian billboard torcher Doc Sarvis, M.D., Hayduke is ready to fight the power--taking on the strip miners, clear-cutters, and the highway, dam, and bridge builders who are threatening the natural habitat. The Monkey Wrench Gang is on the move and peaceful coexistence be damned.

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels, even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.

The Number Devil:A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
In twelve dreams, Robert, a boy who hates math, meets a number devil, who leads him to discover the amazing world of numbers: infinite numbers, prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, numbers that magically appear in triangles, and numbers that expand. As we dream with him, we are taken further and further into mathematical theory, where ideas eventually take flight, until everyone – from those who fumble over fractions to those who solve complex equations in their head – winds up marveling at what numbers can do.

Pablo:Art Masters Series byJulie Birmant
This award-winning graphic biography of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) captures the prolific and eventful life of one of the world’s best-loved artists. Pablo explores Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Montmartre, his turbulent relationship with artist/model Fernande Olivier, and how his art developed through friendships with poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse. Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie depict a career that began in poverty and reached its climax with the advent of cubism and modern art.

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero
Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, the oldest of 13 children. When tragedy struck Iturbide as a young mother, she turned to photography for solace and understanding. From then on Iturbide embarked on a photographic journey that has taken her throughout her native Mexico, from the Sonora Desert to Juchitán to Frida Kahlo’s bathroom, to the United States, India, and beyond. Photographic is a symbolic, poetic, and deeply personal graphic biography of this iconic photographer. Iturbide’s journey will excite readers of all ages as well as budding photographers, who will be inspired by her resolve, talent, and curiosity.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Unlikely hero Wade Watts uses his gaming skills and his knowledge of 1980s pop culture to find clues left behind by billionaire James Halliday. Clues lead to control of the Oasis, the online virtual platform reality within which everyone in 21st century Earth lives the better part of their lives.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man who left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs
When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our water, land, and air. Carson inspired a generation of environmental activists and prevails as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters. Her writing initiated a transformation in the relationship between humans and the natural world and stirred an awakening of public environmental consciousness.

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel
In this dystopian novel, set in the near future, civilization is on the verge of collapse. A band of singers and actors, a Hollywood star, a would-
be prophet and other characters try to re-establish civilization around the Great Lakes region. What does it take to survive in this dangerous world?

The Three-Body Problemby Liu Cixin
This the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a $100,000 reward at stake and
her best and most fearless friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams
Addams recounts her “famed settlement house in Chicago’s West Side slums...this book stands as the immortal testament of a woman who lived and worked among the immigrant settlers, the sweatshop toilers, the unwed mothers, the hungry, the aged, the sick, to show them in practice what others merely preached: the true concept of American democracy.”

The Ugly American by Bill Lederer and Eugene Burdic
This book is a scathing criticism of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia and the world in the early years of the Cold War. Set in fictitious Sarkhan, an Asian country, the authors exposed major problems in the approach and conduct of American foreign policy. They also explained why the communists were gaining ground in Asia and throughout the world.

The Undercover Economist: Exposing why the rich are rich, the poor are poor, and why you can never buy a decent used car by Tim Harford
This book is a witty and enlightening collection of 10 essays (chapters), each examining a common, everyday event or transaction from a unique perspective which exposes often overlooked or misunderstood incentives and motivations governing human decisions. The stories can be read
in any order and challenge many presumptions about why we do what we do. Steven Levitt, co-author of
Freakonomics, says of this book, “...it brings the power of economics to life. This book should be required reading for every elected official, business leader, and university student. This book will challenge what you believe you know about why you do what you do.

The View from Lazy Point by Carl Safina
Setting off from his home on Lazy Point along the shore of Long Island, Safina takes us on a journey through the seasons and around the world, marveling at the beauty and power of the nature. He encounters whales, coral reefs, salmon runs, peregrine falcons, sharks and the short- sighted greed of humans. He manages to balance hope and despair, literary art and science, politics and economics. In the end, he holds out hope that the destruction of our natural world can be undone by our capacity for justice and well-being and nature’s capacity for renewal.

You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education by George Anders
This book examines all the ways people who majored in the humanities have gone on to use their degrees and the paths they take to surprising and interesting jobs. It discusses how the skills associated with various non-STEM or finance majors are transferable to many jobs, how to market those skills to employers, and how to choose a major that is suited for you. It is an uplifting and inspiring book about using a liberal arts degree in the 21st century.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
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