Alex Boshell

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Welcome to the 9th Grade!

This page will be a resource for the class advisor to post information for announcements. Check back often for updates.

To start, below is the summer reading list, including the summer's topic genre, novels of the future. At the bottome of the page, you'll find three response forms attached.


Books are in three categories: science and mathematics; history, biography, and social science; and fiction. Choose books from different categories.

  1. All students will read one of the selected novels of the future.
  2. Teachers will also read at least one of the selected novels of the future, and more as they are able.
  3. All students will read two additional books from two different categories.
  4. Seniors may substitute books relating to their senior project research topic if approved by their faculty advisors. Seniors must still fill out response forms for the books they read.



Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. 1950
The Martian Chronicles follows a "future history" structure. It is a series of short stories, complete in themselves, that are also episodes in a larger three-part story of the human settlement of Mars. The overall structure is in three parts, punctuated by two catastrophes: the near-extinction of the Martians and the parallel near-extinction of the human race. The story takes places between 1999 and 2026.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Herland. 1915
Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order free of war, conflict, and domination.

Hopkins, Nolo. Brown Girl in the Ring. 1999
Nalo Hopkinson's debut novel tells the story of Ti-Jeanne, a young woman in a near-future Toronto that's been all but abandoned by the Canadian government. Anyone who can has retreated to the relative safety of the suburbs, and those left in "the burn" must fend for themselves. Ti-Jeanne is a new mother who's trying to end her relationship with her drug-addict boyfriend Tony. Still, when Tony runs afoul of Rudy, the local ganglord, Ti-Jeanne convinces her grandmother Gros-Jeanne to help out. Gros-Jeanne is a Voudoun priestess, and it's clear that Ti-Jeanne has inherited some of her gifts.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. 1931
Far in the future, 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 harboring 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.

LeGuin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness. 1961
This novel takes place many centuries in the future. Genly Ai is an envoy sent to the planet Winter ("Gethen" in the language of its own people) to convince the citizens to join an interplanetary league called the Ekumen. The inhabitants of winter are unique in the galaxy because they are "ambisexual," spending the majority of time as asexual "potentials." They only adopt sexual attributes once a month, during a period of sexual receptiveness and high fertility, called kemmer, in which individuals can assume male or female attributes, depending on context and relationships. The complete absence of sexual prejudice has shaped the development of civilization on Winter. Among other things, the planet has never known war.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Player Piano. 1952
Kurt Vonnegut's first novel takes place in a near-future society that is almost totally mechanized, eliminating the need for human laborers. This widespread mechanization creates conflict between the wealthy upper class—the engineers and managers who keep society running—and the lower class, whose skills and purpose in society have been replaced by machines.



Becker, Robert. The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. 1998
Becker describes the role electricity plays in healing, challenging the traditional mechanistic model of the body. These discoveries that offer new possibilities for fighting disease and harnessing the body's healing powers.
Recommended by Mr. Gleichauf

Birkhead, Tim. Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird. 2012
Most people would love to be able to fly like a bird, but it is not just wings that make birds unique. How does a nightingale improvise as it sings? How do desert birds detect rain hundreds of kilometers away? How do birds navigate? Tim Birkhead explains in fascinating detail how birds interact with one another and their environment.

Braasch, Gary. Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World. 2014
A comprehensive look at the world-wide effects of climate change, its implications, and what countermeasures are being taken. Dramatic photographs show how the earth is being changed right now. Braasch concludes with a vision of how we can slow global warming and improve the lives of people everywhere.

Carroll, Sean. The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. 2012
Before discovering the elementary particle, the Higgs boson, scientists did not know if anything at the subatomic level had mass. Now a doorway is opening into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The electron was only discovered just over a hundred years ago and that discovery has taken us from nuclear energy to quantum computing. The inventions that will result from the Higgs discovery will be world-changing.

Cohen, David Elliot, ed. What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time. 2008
In 18 stories, each made up of photos by leading photojournalists and elucidated by short essays by public intellectuals and journalists, this book explores environmental devastation, war, disease, and the ravages of both poverty and great wealth.
Recommended by Dr. Kotz

Durrell, Gerald. My Family and Other Animals. 1958
As a self-described "champion of small uglies," English writer Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) devoted his life to writing and the preservation of wildlife, from the Mauritius pink pigeon to the Rodrigues fruit bat. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the Greek island of Corfu, but ended up as a delightful account of his family's experiences that were, according to him, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas."
Recommended by Ms. Vig

Kingsolver, Barbara. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. 2008
Barbara Kingsolver, her husband, and two daughters made a twelve-month commitment to eat only locally grown foods. This entailed a move away from their home in non-food-producing Tuscon to a family farm in Virginia, where they grew and raised their own food and supported local farmers.
Recommended by Ms. Meinke and Ms. Gambill.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction. 2014
Kolbert takes us on an around-the-world journey. In Scotland, Peru, Italy, the Great Barrier Reef and more, she profiles the rise and fall of species both present and ancient. By the end, the hubris of Homo sapiens emerges as particularly shortsighted: we may be the first species to actively kill ourselves off.

Livio, Mario. The Golden Ratio: The Story of Pi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number. 2002
A captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics; this ratio impacts so many facets of our lives that it has fascinated us through the ages.

McKibben, Bill. The Global Warming Reader: A Century of Writing about Climate Change. 2011
Edited by perhaps the most widely-respected writer on the environment today, this is a comprehensive resource that collects seminal texts and voices on climate change from the phenomenon's discovery in the late 19th century to the present. What is happening to our planet—and what can we do about it? 
Recommended by Dr. Kotz

Sacks, Oliver. Hallucinations. 2012
Dr. Sacks elegantly and compassionately summarizes his lifelong fascination with the life-changing visions he and others have experienced. He investigates what hallucinations tell us about the structure of our brains, how they have influenced folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.

Sobel, Dava. A More Perfect Heaven. 2012 
Ms. Sobel imagines how a German mathematician convinced Nicholas Copernicus to share his heretical ideas about the movement of the planets with the world.

Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. 1995
The little known story behind the greatest innovation in navigational science; an 18th century version of the Global Positioning System.
Recommended by Dr. Kotz

Taylor, Graeme. Evolution’s Edge. 2008
Evolution's Edge shows that limitless economic expansion is impossible on a finite planet. Our growth-based global system is headed for collapse as critical resources become scarce and major ecosystems fail. Evolution's Edge is a practical guide to a sustainable future, showing how a common, cooperative vision can accelerate constructive global change.
Recommended by Dr. Kotz

Watson, James. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. 1968
A compelling description of scientific process and human betrayal in the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule.



Braun, Adam. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. 2014
Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling, he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “a pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 250 schools around the world.
Recommended by Mr. Holdrege

Brierly, Saroo. A Long Way Home: A Memoir. 2015
At five years old, Saroo Brierley found himself in Kolkata, India, alone, lost, and more than 1,000 miles from his family. He lived on the streets until he was taken into an orphanage and ultimately adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, with nothing but memories to guide him, Brierley began searching for his childhood home on Google Earth — and you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next.

Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods. 1998
The Appalachian Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine is the classic hiker’s challenge, and Bill Bryson is the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy folks he meets along the way – along with a couple of bears. 

Dyer, Geoff. Another Great Day at Sea. 2014
A lanky, elderly Englishman in a deeply American world, Dyer brilliantly records daily life on the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush. In the process it becomes clear why he has been praised as one of the most original and funniest voices in literature.

Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. 2009
Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born painting contractor, stays in New Orleans to protect his property while his family flees Hurricane Katrina. After the levees break, he uses his canoe to rescue people, before being arrested and swept into a vortex of bureaucratic brutality. When a guard accuses him of being a member of Al Qaeda, he sees that race and culture may explain his predicament.
Recommended by Ms. Huckabay

Haley, Alex. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 1965
Alex Hailey collaborated with Malcolm X to outline Malcolm X’s philosophy of black pride, Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism, as well as his conversion to Islam.
Recommended by Mr. Welcher.

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. 2003
Paul Farmer is a renowned infectious-disease specialist and a world-class Robin Hood whose life’s calling is to diagnose and cure diseases and to bring modern medicine to those in need. He is both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti, and he blasts through convention to get results.
Recommended by Mr. Holdrege and Ms. Gambill

Kingsolver, Barbara. Poisonwood Bible. 1998
Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist takes his family – a wife and four daughters - to the Belgian Congo in 1959 as missionaries. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.
Recommended by Ms. Desouches

Larson, Erik. Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. 2004
A true story that reads like a novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the construction of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. 2014
Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history. Even as millions of girls followed her adventures, Wonder Woman's progressive politics panicked conservative sorts, like the psychiatrist who testified to the Senate about the comic's terrifying vision that "women in these stories are placed on equal footing with men."

Levitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Levitt gives a new spin to things we thought we “knew” about how society works. For example, analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make less than minimum wage.

Lewis, Michael. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. 2004
Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues on a small budget. Believing that games could be won affordably with such methods as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who got lots of ground outs, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young players and castoff veterans.

Marcus, Greil. The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs. 2014
No writer puts you inside the experience of music the way Greil Marcus does. His descriptions of songs unfold like thrillers or romantic rhapsodies, sucking you in and revealing aspects of each beat or vocal trill that you'd never have noticed on your own. Here, he re-imagines the very idea of rock history as a series of associations rather than chronological events. You may have never thought to connect Joy Division's “Transmission” to Buddy Holly's “Crying, Waiting, Hoping," or Christian Marclay's video-and sound-installation Guitar Drag to the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him is to Love Him,” but you'll think of music differently because Marcus did.

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. 2011
In 2000, Wes Moore had recently been named a Rhodes Scholar when he read a newspaper article about a man named Wes Moore who was on his way to prison. Both were young black men raised in inner-city neighborhoods by single mothers. Stunned by the similarities in their names and backgrounds and the differences in their fates, one Wes Moore contacted the other and began a long relationship.
Recommended by Mr. Holdrege

Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. 1995
President Obama’s autobiography describes his early years.

Steiner, Rudolf. The Story of My Life. 1928
Rudolf Steiner’s autobiography in which he traces his life through age 46. Rather than focusing on outer events, he describes the path of his soul development and the struggles he went through to develop his world view.
Suggested by students.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. 2012
At age 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself alone near the foot of the Pacific Crest Trail--inexperienced, over-equipped, and desperate to reclaim her life. Wild vividly describes the grueling life of the long-distance hiker, the ubiquitous perils of the PCT, and its peculiar community of wanderers. 
Suggested by students.

Tobar, Hector. Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories Of 33 Men Buried In A Chilean Mine, And The Miracle That Set Them Free. 2014
It was a miracle watched around the world on live TV. On Oct. 13, 2010, 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days inside the San Jose mine were raised to the surface of the earth — resurrected — through a freshly drilled escape tunnel into which a capsule was lowered and raised by a giant crane.



Asimov, Isaac. I Robot. 1950
Nine stories share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots, and morality. Together they tell a larger story of Asimov’s fictional history of robotics.
Recommended by Ms. Harwood

Benioff, David. City of Thieves. 2008
In 1941, the Germans circled Leningrad, starving its citizens. Lev Beniov, caught out after curfew, is thrown into prison and expects to be executed. He is joined by a gregarious, literature-spouting soldier, Kolya, imprisoned for desertion. Their lives are spared, but the impossible task of acquiring a dozen eggs for the wedding of a colonel’s daughter takes them into a series of dark adventures.

Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. 1979
A twelve-year-old boy's magical summer in small town Illinois in 1928. These linked stories have a bittersweet edge.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847
A mild-mannered young woman of firm principle overcomes adversity to find employment as a governess. She uncovers a shocking secret and finally finds true love.
Suggested by students.

Chbosky, Steve. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 1999
The story of what it’s like to grow up in high school, told through a series of hilarious and devastating letters.
Recommended by Ms. Goodwin

Courlander, Harold. The African. 1967
A young African boy, Hwesuhunu, is kidnapped from his homeland. His story recreates the horrors of the Middle Passage and of slavery.
Recommended by Mr. Welcher

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. 2014
The stories of blind, French teenager Marie-Laure LeBlanc and German orphan Werner Pfennig move across the convulsing landscape of the last half of World War II and come together, eventually, in a walled Breton town just before D-Day. 
Recommended by Ms. Huckabay

Frazier, Charles. Thirteen Moons. 2007
A melodic, melancholy novel narrated by its lead character, Will Cooper, who bears witness to the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, and its aftermath over his  90 years of life.
Recommended by Ms. Meinke.

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967
One of the 20th century's enduring works, the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the tragicomic history of a family.
Suggested by students.

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. 2004
Amir is the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul; Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant. As children, the boys are inseparable, running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes their relationship forever.
Suggested by students

Johnson, Adams. The Orphan Master’s Son. 2012
A young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Recommended by Ms. Huckabay

Kline, Christina Baker. The Orphan Train. 2013
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.
Recommended by Ms. Meinke

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Lowland. 2013
But for its lyrical, evocative scenes of life in the Calcutta neighborhood in which her heroes grow up, this tale of two brothers could be set anywhere, in almost any time. Udayan is passionate, idealistic and ripe for involvement in 1960’s political rebellion. Subhash is the “good brother,” the parent-pleaser, who goes off to study and teach in America. But when Udayan ends up a victim of his self-made political violence, Subhash steps in and marries his dead brother’s pregnant wife. His is the proverbial good deed that will never go unpunished; Subhash soon becomes a victim of his own goodness. Lahiri’s prose is lyrical and rich and her story is steeped in history.
Recommended by Ms. Meinke

Lethem, Jonathan. Motherless Brooklyn. 1999
Lethem has written a classic detective story with an unusual detective. Lionel Essrog is an orphan whose Tourette’s Syndrome makes him bark, count, and rip apart language in startling and original ways. With three other veterans of St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. When Frank is fatally stabbed, Lionel’s world is topsy-turvy. This outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. 

Li, Yiyun. Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. 2010
Exquisite stories set in China. A professor introduces her middle-aged son to a favorite student, unaware of the student’s true affections. A lifelong bachelor finds kinship with a man wrongly accused of an indiscretion. Six women establish a private investigating agency to battle extramarital affairs in Beijing. This is the “One Chicago One Book” choice for 2012.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. 1990
These stories follow Tim O'Brien's platoon of American soldiers through a variety of personal and military encounters during the Vietnam War.
Suggested by students.

Robinson, Marilynne. Housekeeping: A Novel. 1980
Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. They live in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. Ruth and Lucille's struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience. Ms. Meinke finds this book “beautifully written and magical to read”.
Recommended by Ms. Meinke

Satrapi, Mariane. Persepolis. 2004
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi describes her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.
Suggested by students

Scalzi, John. Lock In. 2014
A highly contagious virus is exposed to the world. Most who get sick experience mild flu-like symptoms, but 1%, are left fully awake but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The illness comes to be known as "Haden's Syndrome" with its victims called "Hadens". Humanoid robotic personal transport units controlled by a Haden's brain (nicknamed "Threeps" after C-3PO from Star Wars) are developed so Hadens can interact with the outside world. 25 years after the initial virus exposure, FBI agents Chris Shane (who is a Haden) and Leslie Vann are assigned to a Haden-related murder, with a suspect who is an "Integrator" – he can let a Haden use his body.
Recommended by Ms. Harwood

Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. 2009
The Lovely Bones unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie, a teenage murder victim, narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case.
Suggested by students

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 1852
This moving, melodramatic novel fueled the fire of the human rights debate in 1852 by condemning the institution of slavery through powerfully realized characters.
Recommended by Mr. Welcher.

Thurber, James. The Thirteen Clocks. 1950
The Thirteen Clocks mixes puns and nonsense in a story complete with a princess, prince, and happy ending.
Recommended by Sr. Correa

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. 1982
Celie’s letters tell the story of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is abused and raped by her father and attempts to protect her sister from the same fate. During her marriage to the brutal "Mister", Celie learns that her abusive husband has kept her sister's letters from her. Her rage and the loving example of her friend Shug, push her toward change. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Suggested by students

Zander, Joakim. The Swimmer. 2014
The Swimmer is indeed a high-octane thriller. A retired spy comes out of retirement because a young woman named Klara is in trouble and he’s the only one who can help her. She's involved in government and she sees something that really endangers her life – a laptop screen that she shouldn't have seen, and the race is on.
Recommended by Ms. Goodwin

Zusac, Markus. The Book Thief. 2007
Liesel Meminger scratches out a meager existence for herself in World War II Munich by stealing. And she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. A selection of One Book One Chicago for 2012.

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