Honors English Summer Reading


9th grade:

Ten Little Indians
, also published under the title And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
Ten houseguests, trapped on an isolated island, are the prey of a diabolical killer.  When they realize that every one of them is marked for murder, terror mounts as their number dwindles.  Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme?  Who will be left to tell the tale?  Clues abound in this masterpiece from Agatha Christie, her most popular mystery ever.

10th grade:

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
At the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, Mark Bragg, an officer in the Air Force, warns his brother Randy that nuclear war is imminent.  Mark, who lives in Omaha, sends his wife and children to live with Randy in the isolated town of Fort Repose, Florida as the tensions are escalating between the two superpowers.

11th grade:

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
As a youth of 18, Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War.  Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead. Hemingway emerged from the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, years later, spin into literary gold in A Farewell to Arms.  This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse.  The two meet in Italy and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war.

12th grade:


1984 by George Orwell
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London.  Big Brother stares out from every poster; the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal.  When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that  life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards a conspiracy.  Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind.  For those with original thoughts, they invented Room 101. Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to tyrannical regime.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman.  In his world, where television rules and  literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.  Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.”  But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.