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Reading: Summer

A guide for books and reading

Summer readings

Recommended titles of eBooks for the Summer holidays. 

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Bierce, Ambrose

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge opens with the story's hero, Peyton Farquhar, hanging bound from a bridge, awaiting hanging. Farquhar is a Confederate sympathizer in the American Civil War and has been brought to this end by a Union spy. The novel was unique in its time for its jumbled chronology and is also famous for its surprising conclusion.

Short stories, War, Ghost storiesundefinedundefined

Because of Winn-Dixie by DiCamillo, Kate

One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.

Animals undefined

Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous  

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

Dystopian fiction 

Camp Nine : A Novel by Schiffer, Vivienne

When Camp Nine, a relocation camp for Japanese Americans, is built near tiny Rook, Arkansas, Chess Morton becomes involved with two young internees and an American soldier who has some connection with her mother's past.


 Historical fiction, Social issues, Cultural heritage, Japanese Americansundefinedundefined

Chat Room by Butcher, Kristin

Linda is shy and avoids getting involved at school. But when her high school sets up online chat rooms she can’t resist the urge to visit them. Fueled by interest in a student with the nickname Cyrano, Linda participates in online conversations using the nickname Roxanne and gains a reputation as the queen of one-liners. Soon Linda starts receiving gifts from a secret admirer who signs his gifts, “C.” She is certain that her life has taken a turn for the better until “C” reveals his true identity. Middle school content for reluctant readers.

Teen issues, Confidence 

Daredevil Club by Withers, Pam

Kip's only friends are the members of the Daredevil Club, a club whose mission is to complete seven dangerous dares before their rivals, the Wildmen, complete their list of dares. Before the cliff diving accident in which he lost the use of his leg, Kip had been the leader of the Daredevil club. Now he has difficulty completing the dares and suspects that his membership is threatened. As the daredevils plan their final stunt, a dangerous climb along a narrow steel shelf beneath a bridge, they try to convince Kip that he may not be up to the task. Kip refuses to back down even though he suspects his friends might be right.

Adventure stories, Disabilities, Coming of age 

Death Benefits by Harvey, Sarah N. 

Looking after his ninety-five-year-old grandfather is not what Royce had in mind for his summer vacation. Royce (aka Rolly) is having a bad year. Not only has his mother dragged him across the country in order to be close to her aged father Arthur, a celebrated cellist, but he's also recovering from mono. When he convinces his mother to let him finish the school year by correspondence, he's left feeling isolated and lonely, and spends his time watching TV and plotting ways to get back to his friends in Nova Scotia. But before his plans can be implemented, his grandfather has a small stroke. Suddenly Arthur needs more care than Royce's mother can provide and, after a couple of hired care aides quit, Royce is pressed into service.

Families, Humor 

The Dubliners by Joyce, James

The Dubliners is considered one of the greatest story collections in the English language – a brutal, brilliant, and often tragic portrait of early twentieth-century Dublin. The book begins with "stories of my childhood" and on to tales of public life. Its larger purpose, Joyce said, was to furnish a moral history of Ireland.

Short stories 

Kim by Kipling, Rudyard 

Kim follows the life of Kimball O’Hara, an orphan in colonial India who is in turn a beggar and vagabond, disciple to a wandering Buddhist priest, and agent of the British Secret Service. Kipling uses Kim’s travels and experiences as the setting for descriptions of India, its people, its customs, and its landscape. While Kipling has been criticized for his racial views, this 1901 novel nonetheless forms an important part of any review of classic modern literature, if only for Kipling’s first hand and vivid portrayal of life in India at the turn of the century, “such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.”

Adventure stories, India, Historical fiction 

The Lit Report by Harvey, Sarah N.

Julia and Ruth have been unlikely best friends since they first met in Sunday school— Ruth was standing on the Bible-crafts table belting out "Jesus Loves Me." Now that they're a year away from graduation, they're putting the finishing touches on their getaway plans. But their dream of a funky big-city loft and rich, interesting older men is threatened when preacher's daughter Ruth goes to a wild party without studious Julia, and all hell breaks loose. Ruth gets pregnant; Julia gets creative. Determined to support her friend and stay on track for life after high school, Julia comes up with a plan that will require all her intelligence, compassion, ingenuity and patience. Drawing on some great (and some not-so-great) works of literature, Julia proves that you can learn a lot just by opening up a book.

Faith, Relationships 

Little Whale : A Story of the Last Tlingit War Canoe by Peratrovich, Roy A. 

Keet, a ten-year-old Tlingit Indian boy, stows away for a voyage on his father's canoe... and soon finds himself caught in the middle of a wild seastorm. The story carries him far from his home village, and when he makes land, he winds up right in the middle of a dangerous dispute between two Indian clans. The story of how he copes with these surprises and extricates himself from danger is dramatic and unforgettable. And it's mostly true. Roy Peratrovich here builds a wonderful children's tale on the bones of a story his own grandfather passed down. His accompanying illustrations bring the people and landscapes of Alaska—to say nothing of the adventures!—to stunning life, drawing young readers into a long-gone time when the whims of nature and man could suddenly test a boy's courage.

Adventure stories, Indians 

‚ÄčMichael Faraday : Father of Electronics by Ludwig, Charles 

Charles Ludwig retells Michael Faraday’s remarkable life story in fictionalized form. Here is the father of the electric motor, the dynamo, the transformer, the generator. Few persons are aware of the brilliant man’s deep Christian convictions and his determination to live by the Sermon on the Mount. 

Biography, Science 

Tar Heel Ghosts by Harden, John 

An amazing assortment of twenty-three stories and ten short shorts comprise this popular selection. More than merely entertaining, Tar Heel Ghosts captures the spirit of North Carolina's past.

Short stories, Ghost tales, Folklore 

Mrs. Dalloway by Woolf, Virginia 

Mrs. Dalloway is a unique novel in that it takes place in a single day in 1923, and tells two seemingly unconnected stories. Clarissa Dalloway, the protagonist, is preparing for a party she is hosting in the evening and throughout the day reflects on her past, including her decision to marry Richard Dalloway thirty years earlier. The second story line focuses on Septimus Smith, a veteran who is suffering from post traumatic stress. The novel travels forward and backward in time and in and out of characters’ minds. Mrs. Dalloway is one of Virginia Woolf’s best known novels and was included on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best English language novels.

Mental health, Women 

A Room With a View by Foster E.M.

This 1908 novel is a gem. Forster's comedy of manners brings into play the class system, social convention, passion and poetry, snobbery, education and culture, all through the eyes of the delightful Lucy Honeychurch, an intelligent and strong-willed young woman trying to find her place in the world. Set in Florence and environs and at a family estate in Surrey England, Forster's novel delights and engages the reader while using gentle satire that is not meant to be unkind, but merely instructive.

Romance, Class divisions 

The Boy of Chancellorville and Other Civil War Stories by Marten, James Alan

The Boy of Chancellorville and Other Civil War Stories is an unforgettable collection of stories for and about children during the Civil War, with contributions from American luminaries such as Louisa May Alcott, Ambrose Bierce, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Walt Whitman. The book reveals that the war affected the lives of children differently than their mothers and fathers: some looked at it as a grand adventure and for others it was a puzzling, premature end to childhood. James Marten includes accounts from nearly every viewpoint-boys and girls, Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites-and various situations, ranging from life on the home front to confronting enemy soldiers to the aftermath of the war. Each story begins with a short introduction to place it in its literary context and explains the author's connection to the war.

Historical fiction, Short Stories, American Civil Warundefined

Tender is the Night by Fitzgerald, F. Scott 

Tender is the Night is a novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel; the title is taken from the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent, and write short stories for commercial magazines. Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple, Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise.

Historical fiction, Romance 

The Devil's Tramping Ground and Other North Carolina Mystery Stories by Harden, John

From the first colonization at Roanoke Island, the bizarre and inexplicable have shrouded the Tar Heel State. From history and legend, John Harden records ominous events that have shaped or colored state history.

Mystery stories, Folklore 
 

The Trail Book by Austin, Mary

The Trail Book is a classic of American nature writing. First published in 1918, it is a collection of children's tales, framed by its setting in New York's Museum of Natural History. For two children, Oliver and his sister Dorcas, the museum's famed dioramas (which were new at that time) come to life and admit them into a series of exciting adventures that include talking animals and magical travels. Along the way, the children discover the ways of the ancient Native Americans and the landscapes of the pre-Columbian continent, as well as the impact on both Indians and wildlife from contact with European explorers and Euro-Americans. Told by a variety of narrators, including some of the animals, the stories offer a perceptive and sympathetic view of the natural history of North America and of Native American–white relations. This edition of The Trail Book includes an afterword by Austin scholar Melody Graulich that addresses Austin's motives in writing the book and its significance as an early example of interdisciplinary multicultural literature. The illustrations by Milo Winter that enlivened the original edition are included, as are Austin's appendix giving historical background and a glossary of Indian and Spanish names.

Short stories, Nature 

To Keep the South Manitou Light by Smucker, Anna Egan

Set on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during the fall of 1871, To Keep the South Manitou Light tells the fictional tale of a twelve-year-old girl named Jessie, whose family has been taking care of the lighthouse on the island for generations. Jessie's mother has kept the light by herself since Jessie's grandfather died of a heart attack ten days before the story begins. Afraid her family will lose the lighthouse, Jessie decides not to mail her mother's letter informing the Lighthouse Service of her grandfather's death and instead puts it in one of her mother's canning jars and tosses it into the lake. Later, as a fierce November ice storm hits the island, the repercussions of this action will not only teach Jessie about honor and responsibility but will also give her hard-earned insight into what it means to be brave. 

 Historical fiction, Coming of age

Way to Go by Ryan, Tom

Danny thinks he must be the only seventeen year old guy in Cape Breton—in Nova Scotia, maybe—who doesn't have his life figured out. His buddy Kierce has a rule for every occasion, and his best friend Jay has bad grades, no plans and no worries. Danny's dad nags him about his post high school plans, his friends bug him about girls and a run-in with the cops means he has to get a summer job. Worst of all, he's keeping a secret that could ruin everything.

Coming of age, LGBT, Friendship 


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