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Dear Students and Families,

The English Department hopes that you will find the summer reading and viewing options listed below compelling. While everyone’s reading experience is unique, we recognize that when next semester begins we will all gather around those oblong tables and transform those unique experiences into a more collective one.

There may very well be moments of real joy and contemplation as we read, as well as encounters with language and/or images that may unsettle or even offend us. Navigating such encounters is essential, and should we find ourselves in such a moment, we—and the works themselves—will be best served by considering the context of vexing material: Does the author use it disparagingly or gratuitously? How are the language and the described events in coherent service of the work as a whole?   

We offer such questions as ways to help us all make the most of our summer’s reading and to begin what soon becomes a shared communal inquiry next fall.  

As a reflection of the English Department's goal of encouraging literacy across genres we offer as “summer reading” the following lists of options, drawn from a variety of genres, including film.

Students must choose at least one work from each genre list for their class level. Students should, of course, feel free to explore more than one option.

Next fall students will be asked to speak about their choices of works and to share their reactions and reflections. We aim to establish class atmospheres of respectful rapport and curiosity, and students’ speaking about their summer readings and viewings are first steps to that end. 

These works complement this year’s all-School summer reading of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.

C.H. Frankenbach III

Head of English Department

All-School Summer Read

All students must read and be prepared to discuss this book in the fall.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Please note, you will be emailed a study guide for this assignment in the coming weeks.

Prep Class (9th Grade)

Please choose at least one work from each genre list.

Poems: “Wild Geese” (Mary Oliver); “The United Fruit Company” (Pablo Neruda, translated by Mac Williams); "In Flanders Fields" (Lt. Col. John MacRae); “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” (Stevens); “The Moose” (Elizabeth Bishop); “Aunt Sue’s Stories” (Langston Hughes); “Where You From” (Gina Valdes)

Films: Persepolis; Kwaidan; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Beauty and the Beast (1946);  Life Is Beautiful; West Side Story (most recent version); In the Heights; The Color of Friendship 

Novels/short story collections/non-fiction: The Epic of Gilgamesh; Persepolis (Satrapi); A Thousand Splendid Suns (Hosseini); Kaffir Boy (Mathabane); Cutting for Stone (Verghese); The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Kamkwamba); Things Fall Apart (Achebe); Fifth Business (Davies); Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Márquez); Invisible Cities (Calvino); Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Sijie); The Summer Book (Jansson); A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah); Born a Crime (Noah); Clap Before You Land (Acevedo); The Other Wes Moore (Moore)

Lower-Mid Class (10th Grade)

Please choose at least one work from each genre list.

Poems: The Drunken Driver has the Right of Way (Ethan Coen); #632 The Brain -is Wider than the Sky (Dickinson); Design (Frost); Bird-Understander (Craig Arnold); The Writer (Richard Wilbur); Who Said It Was Simple (Audre Lorde); Saturday’s Child (Countee Cullen); Metamorphosis (Jenny Xie); Ah Ah (Joy Harjo)

Films: Watchmen (2020); The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941); A Night at the Garden (2017, short film); Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh’s); The King’s Speech; Roman Holiday (Wm. Wyler); Rebel Without A Cause (1955); Crooklyn (1994); Boyhood (2014); The Birds (1963); Look Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967); The Help; Hidden Figures; Manchester by the Sea

Novels/short story collections/non-fiction: The Watchmen (Moore); The Devil and Daniel Webster (short story, Benet, 1936); This House of Sky (Doig); Breaking Clean (Blunt); Hunger of Memory (Rodriguez); The Turn of the Screw (James); The House of Mirth (Wharton); The Awakening (Chopin); Passing (Larsen); The Beet Queen (Erdrich); Interpreter of Maladies (Lahiri); The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Chabon); The Sportswriter (Ford); Cold Mountain (Frazier); Our Country Friends (Shteyngart); The Vanishing Half (Bennett); The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger); Ragtime (Doctorow);  A Confederacy of Dunces (Toole)

Upper-Mid Class (11th Grade)

Please choose at least one work from each genre list.

Poems: Sunday Morning (Stevens); When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (Whitman); Shine, Perishing Republic (Jeffers); One Art (Bishop); Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey (Wordsworth); Ode on a Grecian Urn (Keats); Ozymandias (Shelley); The Second Coming (Yeats); Tulips (Plath); Aunties (Young); An Arundel Tomb (Larkin); The Poet (Neruda); The Good Soldier (Ford); Wessex Heights (Hardy); What I Mean When I Say Farmhouse (Davis)

Films: The Sting; Romeo & Juliet (Danes & DiCaprio), West Side Story (either version), My Left Foot (Day-Lewis); The Talented Mr. Ripley; The Hours; The Trip (2002); Waking Life (2001); Girlhood (2014); The Master (2012); Erin Brockovich; Mystic River; Big Fish

Novels/short story collections/non-fiction: Gulliver’s Travels (Swift); Mythology (Hamilton); A Lesson Before Dying (Gaines); Slaughterhouse-Five (Vonnegut); My Brilliant Friend (Ferrante); Possession (Byatt); The Moonstone (Collins); David Copperfield (Dickens); Jane Eyre (Bronte); Wuthering Heights (Bronte); Beowulf (transl. Seamus Heaney); The Remains of the Day (Ishiguro); A Time of Gifts (Patrick Leigh Fermor); One Hundred Years of Solitude (Marquez); The Bell (Murdoch); A Tale for the Time Being (Ozeki); The Matrix (Groff); Franny & Zooey (Salinger); The Ambassadors (James); The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Hamid); NW (Z. Smith); The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood)

Senior Class (12th Grade)

Please choose at least one work from each genre list.

Poems: The Waking (Roethke); The Colonel (Forche); Facing It (Komunyakaa); In Memoriam (Tennyson); 77 Dream Songs (Berryman); Divine Comedies (Merrill); Tape for the Turn of the Year (Ammons); The Almanac of Time (D. Thomas); High Windows (Larkin); American Smooth, Demeter’s Prayer to Hades (Dove); At the Fishhouses (Bishop); What Kind of Times Are These (Rich); Midsummer (Gluck); A Map to the Next World (Harjo); On Disappearing (Jackson)

Films: Do The Right Thing (1989); Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; Jojo Rabbit; Charlie Wilson’s War; Apocalypse Now; Schindler’s List; The Color Purple; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; The Graduate (1967); Mustang (2015); Parasite (2019); Rashomon (1950); Psycho (1960); Requiem for A Dream; Hoop Dreams

Novels/short story collections/non-fiction: The Things They Carried (O’Brien); Cloud Atlas (Mitchell); Atonement (McEwan); Kindred (Butler); Open City (Cole); Americanah (Adichie); David Copperfield (Dickens); Wonder Boys (Chabon); Ironweed (Kennedy); The Virgin Suicides (Eugenides); Wolf Hall (Mantel); The Road (McCarthy); Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Thien); The Crying of Lot 49 (Pynchon); If On A Winter’s Night a Traveler (Calvino); White Noise (DeLillo); Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Foer)

The Hotchkiss School | 435-2591

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