Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Veronica by Mary Gaitskill

My Christmas present from my husband this year was Veronica by Mary Gaitskill. It is beautifully written but not a book that I think a lot of my friends would enjoy. The narrator is a fashion model who views her success through the eyes of her friend, Veronica, who is dying of aids. The details of her modeling life are pretty sordid. It is a story of friendship.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

AP Free Choice Book List 2005-2006

Free Choice Booklist for AP English 2005-2006 Mrs. Lackey
Choose one title and have book available to bring to class by Monday, December 12th.

Nonfiction Selections
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt
For 30 years Frank McCourt taught high school English in New York City and for much of that time he considered himself a fraud. It's about educating, about forming intellects, about getting people to think. McCourt's many fans will of course love this book, but it also should be mandatory reading for every teacher in America. And it wouldn't hurt some politicians to read it, too.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious"--a 24/7 mental valet--that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he went to live in the wilderness. Four months later, he turned up dead. His diary, letters and two notes found at a remote campsite tell of his desperate effort to survive, apparently stranded by an injury and slowly starving.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of an All American Meal by Eric Schlosser
Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Reading Lolita in Tehran – A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran.

The Culture of Fear : Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner
Glassner explains why Americans are afraid, exposing the people and organizations that manipulate our perceptions and profit off of our anxieties; politicians who attempt to win elections by heightening concerns about drug use and crime; advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases; and finally and perhaps most perniciously, the media that peddle new scares each week in desperate attempts to garner ratings.

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. Friedman has a flair for business reporting and finds amusing stories about Wal-Mart, UPS, Dell and JetBlue, among others, that relate to his basic theme.

Fiction Selections
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, commits a random murder without remorse or regret, imagining himself to be a great man far above moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with a suspicious police investigator, his own conscience begins to torment him and he seeks sympathy and redemption from Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The Awakening begins at a crisis point in twenty-eight year-old Edna Pontellier's life. Edna is a passionate and artistic woman who finds few acceptable outlets for her desires in her role as wife and mother of two sons living in conventional Creole society

The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
Faulkner’s story of the fall of the aristocratic Compson family, and, implicitly, of an entire social order, from four different points of view.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies? Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead., Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Set in Kerala, India, during the late 1960s when Communism rattled the age-old caste system, the story begins with the funeral of young Sophie Mol, the cousin of the novel's protagonists, Rahel and her fraternal twin brother, Estha. Beneath the drama of a family tragedy lies a background of local politics, social taboos and the tide of history, all of which come together in a slip of fate.

Middlesex : A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
From the opening paragraph, in which the narrator explains that he was "born twice," first as a baby girl in 1960, then as a teenage boy in 1974, readers are aware that Calliope Stephanides is a hermaphrodite. To explain his situation, Cal starts in 1922, when his grandparents came to America.

You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
In this, his first novel, Dave Eggers has written a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
A young Jewish American--who just happens to be called Jonathan Safran Foer--travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He is aided in his search by Alex Perchov, a naïve Ukrainian translator, Alex's grandfather (also called Alex), and a flatulent mongrel dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. On their journey through Eastern Europe's obliterated landscape they unearth facts about the Nazi atrocities and the extent of Ukrainian complicity that have implications for Perchov as well as Safran Foer.