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Upper School Library: Summer Reading Groups

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Fall 2022

LIBRARY HOURS: Mon., Tues. & Thurs:  7:30am-4:30pm;
Wed: 7:30am-2:15pm (afternoon faculty meeting); Fri: 7:30am-4pm. CLOSED on non-class days.


Summer Reading: Review Your Book Selection


Reunion, by James Kennedy George, Jr. 
begins and ends with the 45th reunion of the 1960 class of Princeton, West Virginia. Set in a small town on the southern edge of the state, it deals with usual themes of coming-of-age and high school, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime experience of desegregation and its impact on a group of friends. In addition, the debut novel, written in the first person in an engaging style, probes the relationship, or lack of it, between an emotionally-distant father and his son, who much later in life begins to understand what it means to grow up as the adult child of an alcoholic.

The characters are rich and varied, with the very essence of Americana: high school, football, and social interactions on multiple levels; the music of the 50’s; the thrill of short-wave ham radio; a unique peer group, including an emerging high school rock band; and of course the family of origin, a complex mix of stately Virginians and more informal Kentuckians.
Find it:; Powell's Books ; US Library




Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.  Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary King Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful--irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath. They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause and, torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib

Summary : Review 


City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certianly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Csairo, she's a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by--palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing--are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she's forced to reconsider her beliefs.
Find it: US Library; MultCoLibPowell's Books




Summary : Review


What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat, by Aubrey Gordon
Anti-fatness is everywhere. In What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat, Aubrey Gordon unearths the cultural attitudes and social systems that have led to people being denied basic needs because they are fat and calls for social justice movements to be inclusive of plus-sized people’s experiences. Unlike the recent wave of memoirs and quasi self-help books that encourage readers to love and accept themselves, Gordon pushes the discussion further towards authentic fat activism, which includes ending legal weight discrimination, giving equal access to health care for large people, increased access to public spaces, and ending anti-fat violence. As she argues, “I did not come to body positivity for self-esteem. I came to it for social justice.”
Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib


Interview : Review 


Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay

After finding out about his cousin Jun's violent death, Jay Reguero travels from America to the Philippines to uncover how such a gentle person met such a grim end. He finds that the place that he remembers-the place of his birth-has changed in the face of a sweeping drug war initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte, a war that Jun's father, Tito Maning, enthusiastically endorses. Jay digs into the circumstances of Jun's death, while navigating the sinuous history between family members, including the schism created by his own father's decision to raise his children in America. Jay's investigations are an intriguing setup for what is actually a deep, nuanced, and painfully real family drama. Jay himself is a relatable character for biracial readers straddling two different cultures. This dynamic comes into play both when he tries to convey his feelings to his American friends and when he travels abroad and is treated like an outsider by other Filipinos despite looking the same. Ribay's focus, however, is on showing the current-day war on drugs ravaging Filipino society, characterized by extrajudicial vigilante killings endorsed by the highest levels of government. By deftly weaving key details into Jay's quest for the truth, Ribay provides a much-needed window for young people of the West to better understand the Filipino history of colonization, occupation, and revolution.  --Booklist    
Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib


Summary : Review


Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction" if they don't kill each other first.  

Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib


Summary : Review


Parable of the Talents, by Octavia Butler

This is the story of "Lauren Oya Olamina, an 18-year-old African American who has survived most of her family's demise and a lengthy journey on the dangerous roads of early-twenty-first-century California. She has created her own religion, Earthseed, which empowers people to master change and has as its ultimate goal the colonization of other worlds. Olamina has gathered around her a community of outcasts and wanderers that is beginning to thrive when a fundamentalist Christian wins the presidency. His zealots overrun Olamina's village, enslave the adults with pain-inflicting collars, and adopt the children into Christian American families. Olamina must somehow free herself and her followers and begin another painful journey to find her infant daughter. She is unexpectedly reunited with her brother Marcus, but instead of helping each other, they are on opposite sides of a deep religious chasm. The novel revolves around the question of which is more important to Olamina: her fledgling religion or her own flesh and blood."  --Booklist
Find it: MultCoLib; US Library

Summary : Review


Defending Jacob, by William Landay
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He is his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own, between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he has tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Find it:  MultCoLib; US Library

Summary : Review


Severance, by Ling Ma    
With apocalyptic fiction having become so popular a genre, how does one approach it with originality, avoiding the too-familiar reference points? Embracing the genre but somehow transcending it, Ma creates a truly engrossing and believable anti-utopian world. Ma's cause for civilization's collapse is a pandemic. Shen Fever spreads through fungal spores, causing its victims to lethargically repeat menial tasks, ignoring all external stimuli, including the need for sustenance. Prognosis is terminal. Candace Chen, a rare survivor of the outbreak, blogs anonymously as NY Ghost on a slowly disintegrating internet, capturing the horror of what has happened in her photographs of an empty New York City, where she lived when "the fevered" started dying. The narrative flashes back to Candace's life before the end, working for a book-manufacturing company in the Bibles department; spending free time watching movies with her on-and-off boyfriend, Jonathan; and longing for the seemingly fulfilled lives of other millennials her age. Candace's story also crosses that of a group led by a former IT specialist named Bob, who seems to be suffering from a messiah complex. Ma's extraordinary debut marks a notable creative jump by playing on the apocalyptic fears many people share today, as we live in these very interesting times. --Booklist

Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib

Summary : Review


The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
Few novels, debut or otherwise, are as masterful or as compelling as Sebold's. Her heroine, 14-year-old Suzy Salmon, is murdered in the first chapter, on her way home from school. Suzy narrates the story from heaven, viewing the devastating effects of her murder on her family. Each member reacts differently: her gentle father grieves quietly, intent on finding her killer; her aloof mother retreats from the family; her tough younger sister, Lindsey, keeps everything inside, except for the occasional moment when she tentatively opens up to her boyfriend; and her four-year-old brother, Bucky, longs for his older sister and can't comprehend her absence. Suzy also watches Ray Singh, the boy who kissed her for the first time, who represents all of her lost hopes, and Ruth Connors, who became obsessed with death and murder after Suzy's passing. Under Suzy's watchful eye, the members of her family individually grow away from her murder, each shaped by it in their own way. In heaven, Suzy herself continues to grapple with her death as well, still longing for her family and for Earth, until she is finally granted a wish that allows her to fulfill one of her dreams. Sebold's beautiful novel shows how a tragedy can tear a family apart, and bring them back together again. She challenges us to re-imagine happy endings, as she brings the novel to a conclusion that is unfalteringly magnificent. And she paints, with an artist's precision, a portrait of a world where the terrible and the miraculous can and do co-exist. --Booklist

Find it: US Library; MultCoLib

Summary : Review


Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, by Peggy Orenstein
With casual hookups and campus rape relentlessly in the news, parents can be forgiven for feeling anxious about their young daughters. They’re also fearful about opening up a dialog. Not Orenstein. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times best-selling author of books like Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein spoke to psychologists, academics, and other experts in the field and yes, 70 young women, to offer an in-depth picture of “girls and sex” today. - Publisher
Find it:  US Library; MultCoLib




Summary : Review


Downstairs Girl, by Stacey Lee

It's 1890 in Atlanta, and Jo Kuan has a secret: she's the anonymous author of the popular, yet polarizing, new agony aunt column "Dear Miss Sweetie." After spending her life living in a secret basement room (a relic of the Underground Railroad) beneath the press offices of The Focus, a newspaper run by the Bell family, she's picked up a masterful vocabulary to match her sharp wit, and the combination proves intoxicating to Atlanta's young ladies. But if anyone found out that a Chinese American teenager was behind the column, she'd be run out of town or worse. Lee (Outrun the Moon, 2016) has concocted another thrilling historical novel, blending stellar plotting and a dynamic cast of characters with well-researched details and sharp commentary on America's history of racism and prejudice. She pulls no punches when it comes to Jo's experiences of being Chinese in the Reconstruction South: a meeting of Atlanta's suffragettes proves unwelcoming despite their claim to want votes for all women, and though there's stirring romance between Jo and the son of the Bell family, Jo acknowledges the difficulties in that path. But best of all is Jo's first-person narrative, which crackles with as much witty wordplay and keen observations as her column. This spectacular, voice-driven novel raises powerful questions about how we understand the past, as well as the ways our current moment is still shaped by that understanding. --Booklist

Find it: US Library; MultCoLib


The Mountains Sing, by Phan Qûé Mai Nguŷẽn  

"The multigenerational tale of the Tr̀ân family, set against the backdrop of the Vîẹt Nam War. Tr̀ân Dịêu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Ṇôi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ĥò Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart"--Provided by publisher.

Find it: CGS Library; MultCoLib





Einstein's Dreams, by Alan Lightman
"In his first novel, Lightman focuses on three months during Albert Einstein's most remarkable year. In 1905, while working as an examiner at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern, Einstein published three important papers in Annals of Physics . Here Lightman re-creates the dreams that allegedly culminated in the famous essay on the relativity of time. Since most of the action is interior, this book is more lyric than narrative. One vision of a world without time is filled with vivid, haiku-like images. In another, time stands still, recalling the scene on the Grecian urn from Keats's ode. As a teacher of both physics and writing at M.I.T., Lightman offers provocative and elegantly wrought speculations on the nature of time." --Library Journal

Find it: MultCoLib ; US Library