- Select one book from the given selection
- Read the entire book
- Take notes while you read (see below for directions). These will be checked for a grade on the first day of class. If these notes are not with you on Day 1, you will begin this class with a 0%.
The following works have been carefully chosen to broaden the literary and cultural worlds of readers. A writing assignment is included for each reading. Students will follow the writing process of outlining, drafting, and producing a final, edited draft. The essay assigned will be a four or five paragraph essay, graded according to the State Education Department’s expository writing rubric. The essay must contain specific textual evidence, refer to specific literary elements, include at least two direct quotations from the given work, follow the MLA format for documentation, and include a Works Cited page (as well as parenthetical documentation).
Begin by selecting a reading. You have three genres to choose from for your reading selections (Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, and Memoir & Autobiography). You are to select and read ONE book. You are required to take notes as you read (see the directions on note taking).
When you return to school, you will follow the writing process by preparing an outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. Specific due dates will be given in September; typically, the final draft is due the second week in September.
Choose ONE novel from the list below (the genre will dictate which writing prompt you must complete when you return). Descriptions of each story can be found here.
- & Autobiography: Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi A
- Historical Fiction: City of Thieves by David Benioff OR Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Science Fiction: 1984 by George Orwell OR Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
- Memoir rabia by Jean Sasson OR Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Synopsis of Each Text (again, choose ONE):
City of Thieves by David Benioff is both a coming of age story and a dark comedy. The story recounts the World War II adventures of two young men in the Leningrad area, as they desperately search for a dozen eggs for a Soviet NKVD officer, during the German siege of their city.
(The Complete) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is graphic novel about the author’s life in pre and post-revolutionary Iran and then in Europe. The story traces Satrapi’s growth from child to a rebellious, punk-loving teenager in Iran. Make sure that you read the entire story (not just book 1).
1984 by George Orwell is about a man who loses his identity while living under a repressive regime. Winston Smith is a government employee whose job involves the rewriting of history in a manner that casts his fictional country’s leaders in a charitable light. His relationship with Julia provides his only measure of enjoyment, but lawmakers frown on the relationship — and in this closely monitored society, there is no escape from Big Brother.
Robopocalypse is a novel by Daniel H. Wilson. This is a story that depicts what would happen if humanity created a form of artificial intelligence that it could not control. The story is told from multiple points of view.
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson is a true story based on information given to the writer by a Saudi Arabian princess. Sultana was born the tenth daughter of a prince of Saudi Arabia and grew up in a world of luxury. That luxury was belied, however, by the oppression of women that took place all around her as Sultana grew up. Sultana would suffer some of this oppression herself when she was forced into marriage to a man she barely knew before she was seventeen.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is meant to be a letter to the author’s son, Samori. He (Ta-Nehisi Coates) weaves his personal, historical, and intellectual development into his thoughts on how to live in a black body in today’s America.
Directions on Taking Notes: Choose from the two options below:
OPTION A: Annotate the Text by Hand (only do this if you OWN the materials you are using)
- Use (*) stars to indicate major moments in the plot
- Underline important quotes
- Place question marks (?) near anything that confuses you
- Place exclamation marks (!!) near any information that you can connect to history or another reading
- Place a box around words that you don’t know, then define them in the margin (look them up, or use context clues)
OPTION B: Construct Handwritten Notes
- Construct a list of 10-15 new words you come across during your reading.
- Include definitions and parts of speech.
- Construct a list of 2-5 central themes that you find in the story
- Write down which pages or chapters you have covered during each reading you conduct, and jot down notes that identify:
A) Important Moments: Note whether anything significant happens.
B) Questions: Write out any question that arise as you read.
C) Connections: If you can connect your reading to any outside stories or history, note that.
D) Central Ideas: List any central ideas that seem to pervade any of your readings.
NOTES DUE: The First Day of Class (Seriously)
September’s Essay Prompts: Construct a complete MLA essay, based on the novel you have read. This essay will be due before the end of September.
- HISTORICAL FICTION ESSAY: How is conflict utilized to generate a central theme in this work of literature?
- SCIENCE FICTION ESSAY: How does the author’s usage of an antagonists create a central theme in their work?
- MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY ESSAY: How does the author utilize setting to construct a major theme in their work?