New Summer Reading Option: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (Juniors)

Over the next few weeks, we will be revealing the remaining titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

tomgordon

One minute you are hiking in the woods with your family and, the next thing you know, you are lost, desperately trying to retrace your steps on the path behind you.  You couldn’t possibly be lost for real?  And, if you are, how would you survive?  Such is the dilemma of nine-year-old Trisha McFarland, who gets lost in the Maine–New Hampshire woods while on a hiking trip with her mother and older brother, Pete.

Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a narrative told from the perspective of Trisha as she tries to survive in the wilderness, meeting conflict upon conflict–and having to face them all on her own.  With faith in her beloved Red Sox player Tom Gordon to guide her, Trisha faces the woods’ adversity with determination and her characteristic foul mouth.

As the novel progresses, Trisha takes on the woods and, at the same time, comes to terms with her family situation and her parents’ recent divorce.  King’s knack for horror gloss the descriptions of Trisha’s experiences as she makes her way through the woods, wondering what is in the dark and if she will make it out alive.

PSAT Scores Looking Up at BHS

We’ve compiled some data regarding the PSAT scores in English at BHS, and are pleased to point out an increase in our scores compared to the Massachusetts averages over the past 9 years (which covers all of the scoring information available through the CollegeBoard website). In that timeframe, the PSAT scores at BHS have gone from being at or slightly below the statewide average from 2006-08 to being now approximately 80 points higher than Massachusetts juniors, and 75 points higher than other sophomores in the state. Aside from an anomaly year in 2012, when the state averages were significantly higher than expected, the overall trend remains upward as well, with the all-time best results in Critical Reading and in Writing, for both juniors and sophomores, all coming in the past two years. Check out the graph below for a snapshot of our progress, and congratulations, BHS students!

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 1.19.50 PM

New Summer Reading Option: The Color of Water (Juniors)

Over the next few weeks, we will be revealing the remaining titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

The Color of Water by James McBride

color of water

“I’m dead.”

So begins James McBride’s memoir, The Color of Water:  A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.  It took McBride fourteen years to convince his mother, Ruth McBride, to tell her story.  What he eventually learns is that Ruth was born Rachel Shilsky, the daughter of a poor Orthodox Jewish rabbi in the anti-semitic and racist south.  Rachel crossed the color line to marry a black man in 1942, a decision that rendered her dead to her family.

Ruth, the family’s “commander in chief”, raises her 12 black children in the Brooklyn projects, presiding over controlled chaos.   Her parenting style is eccentric, but she is both fiercely loving and fiercely determined.  She sends all 12 children to college.

James tells his story through alternating chapters that give voice to his mother’s story as well as to his own search for racial identity, a journey that takes him from high school honor roll student to a life of petty crime and drugs before he finds his way to Oberlin College, becoming a musician and writer.

McBride’s memoir is funny, compelling and inspiring.  You will be moved by this exploration of race, religion, identity and family.

New Summer Reading Option: Pride and Prejudice (Seniors)

Over the next few weeks, we will be revealing the remaining titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well-loved English novels due to its sharp wit, indelible characters, and focus on human foibles. The Bennet family at the center of the novel features five unmarried daughters (each of them are “eligible to be married” but they live in a rural part of England where suitors are scarce). The family is headed by an acerbic father and hindered by a moronic mother, and Austen has drawn each daughter as her own person. The main focus of the tale is sharp-witted and strong Elizabeth, the second daughter, but the trials and tribulations of the other four daughters are also featured.

The novel is a comedy of manners, but modern readers still connect with this story where true love is seemingly thwarted, egotistical buffoons blunder their way through life, and catty women abound. Austen’s characters are well-drawn and memorable: readers choose to spend time with Eliza & Jane Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Charles Bingley, George Wickham, Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Lydia Bennet, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh over and over again.

By the end of the story, pride is deflated, prejudice recedes, and happiness abounds. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen could be a lovely summer read for you, if you so choose.

New Summer Reading Option: Brave New World (Seniors)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

BraveNewWorld

A society where Shakespeare and poetry are outlawed might sound like a fantasy for some — but if you were to spend time in this twisted dystopia, you might wish differently.  In the World State, people are grown in labs; citizens are zoned out on government-supplied “happy pills” most of the time; societal conditioning begins with babies being given electric shocks; and “everyone belongs to everyone else.”

On many critics’ lists as one of the Top 100 Novels of all time, Brave New World is laugh-out-loud funny, but also heartbreakingly tragic — and, as it turns out, stunningly prophetic for a novel that was written over 80 years ago.  George Orwell, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth — there isn’t a dystopian author past or present who hasn’t been influenced by Huxley’s nightmarish vision.

If you gravitate towards the sci-fi genre in all its forms — or even if you just like thought-provoking satire about what it means to be human — pick up Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.  

New Summer Reading Option: Golden Boy (Freshmen)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

16099325Golden Boy is a moving, eye-opening,  and amazing account of prejudice and acceptance.  Habo has albinism and has never been accepted, not even by all of the members of his family. He lives in a small village in Tanzania, but when his family is forced to move to the village of Mwanza, he learns what being Albino means in some parts of Tanzania. He learns that albino body parts are thought to be lucky and it is common to hunt people with albinism. Habo realizes he is in grave danger and must leave his family to find a place where he will be safe and accepted. You will be captivated by Habo’s journey to a new city and his quest to find his place in society.

The Throwback Thursday Throw-Down is TONIGHT

Tonight, from 6 to 8 in the BHS Cafeteria, join the BHS Slam Team and the Devils’ Playlist for the THROWBACK THURSDAY THROW-DOWN – there will be lip sync battles, there will be dance competitions, there will be milkshakes.

Admission is $5, and the proceeds will support the BHS Poetry Slam Team as they enter the 2015 Louder Than A Bomb competition. Click below for the Devils’ Playlist page about the event, or see Mrs. Janovitz with any questions.

http://bhsdevilsplaylist.org/2015/04/16/tdp-presents-throwback-thursday-throw-down/

The 100 Bestselling Used Books since 2000

Abebooks.com recently compiled their list of the top 100 bestselling used books of the 21st century, and there are a few surprises here (as well as a lot of Red Devils literature – highlighted below …)

Bestselling Used Books on AbeBooks Since 2000:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Intro to Literature I)

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (American Literature, AP Language)

4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (American Literature, AP Language)

5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Intro to Literature II)

6. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Intro to Literature II)

8. Night by Elie Wiesel (Former MSMS core text, coming soon to BHS)

9. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Intro to Literature I)

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

11. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (British Literature)

12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

13. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

14. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

16. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien (Intro to Literature II)

17. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (AP Literature)

18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

19. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

21. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

22. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

23. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

24. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Intro to Literature II – summer reading)

25. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

26. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

27. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

28. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

29. Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

30. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

31. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Intro to Literature II)

32. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

33. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

34. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

35. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America  by by Barbara Ehrenreich

36. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

37. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (American Literature – summer reading)

38. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Former World Literature text)

39. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

40. Beloved by Toni Morrison

41. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

42. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

44. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

45. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

46. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

47. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (British Literature – summer reading)

48. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

49. Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch

50. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (British Literature – Summer Reading)

51. Animal Farm by George Orwell (Intro to Literature I)

52. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Intro to Literature II)

53. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

54. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

55. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

56. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

57. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Intro to Literature II)

58. The Best American Short Stories Series

59. The Giver by Lois Lowry

60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Young Adult Fiction)

61. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

62. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

63. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X

64. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson

65. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

66. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

67. Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer

68. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (American Literature)

69. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

70. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

71. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

72. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

73. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

74. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

75. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

76. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

77. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

78. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

79. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

80. Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries by Naomi Wolf

81. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

82. Ulysses by James Joyce

83. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

84. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

85. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Intro to Literature I)

86. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (AP Literature)

87. Love in the Times of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

88. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

89. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

90. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

91. The Stranger by Albert Camus

92. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

93.The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Young Adult Fiction)

94. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

95. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

96. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

97. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

98. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

99. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

100. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

New Summer Reading Option: We Were Liars (Sophomores)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

liarsCadence has a dark secret. So dark that not even she knows it. Every summer Cadence vacations on her family’s private island off Cape Cod where her family hides their sordid lives behind their money, her cousins are her best friends, and the family outsider, Gat, becomes her first love. So what makes this a great mystery? During her stay on the island when she is 15 years old, Cadence suffers a severe head injury that impacts her ability to remember the events of that year. It is now two years later and we journey with Cadence back to the island as she attempts to put the pieces of that summer together. Little by little Cadence begins to remember and reveal fragments of that summer leading to an unexpected twist that leaves the reader stunned with emotion and surprise. This book will capture you from beginning to end with its suspenseful plot and shocking ending.