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English II Honors Required Summer Reading List 2019

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  • The summer required reading book is The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (available on Amazon; new or used paperback copy is required), first published in 2012.


    This work of historical fiction is set in 1914 and is told from the perspective of Grace Winter, a newlywed aboard the luxury ocean liner Empress Alexandra. She secures a spot on a lifeboat after an explosion on the ship, and what follows is the suspenseful unfolding of the moral and psychological challenges she and the other survivors face in their days and nights at sea.


    You will be expected to complete a reading journal that will be presented on the first day of school. The journal is to be divided into four sections labeled:

    • Reading Summary, Surprises, and Questions Still Pending
    • Characters
    • Vocabulary and Figurative Language
    • Ethical Dilemmas


    Be neat and creative in subdividing your journal. You may buy a divided spiral and label/decorate the section dividers, or you may use a composition notebook and separate into four equal sections, creating tabs and labeling your divider pages.


    For the Reading Summary, Surprises, and Questions section, each time you read from the book, you will write a dated journal entry answering the following questions in thorough, detailed sentences. I will be looking at the content as well as mechanics of your writing.

    1. What is happening so far?
    2. What has surprised you?
    3. What unanswered questions do you have as a reader?


    For the Characters section, you will make lists and/or diagrams that help you sort out and remember the key players from the novel. Your descriptions should include what happens to the character, anything physically detailed, as well as your own impressions of the characters.


    Vocabulary and Figurative Language will be based on words and phrases you encounter during reading that you don’t already know. You will A) write the word, B) write the part of speech, C) define the word, and D) copy the complete sentence and page number in which the word is contained. If there is an etymology, you may include that for extra points. As you encounter similes, metaphors, and other forms of figurative language, you will cite these as well. I’m looking for a minimum of five (5) examples of figurative language that appear throughout the book. There will be a vocabulary section on the major test that will be given the first day of school. If you don’t have words in your journal, it will be assumed and expected that you know from memory the definitions of and how to use all words in the novel.


    For the Ethical Dilemma section you will define fully the terms ethical and dilemma. Write a minimum one-page total reflection on these questions: What would you have done if you were onboard that lifeboat? Do you believe any of the characters were guilty of a crime? Make sure your responses reflect depth of thought and include direct text cites to support your statements. We will use this section to address other issues during the first two weeks of school.


    Additional readings throughout the first semester (students are encouraged to read these over the summer to have a basic understanding of the plot, characters, and theme before we begin these in class; the pace will be rigorous): Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. These works of literature contain archaic language and involve intense study.