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required ELA choices

5 Books | by Reagan Smith

my summer reading options for my ELA class

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Books

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).**Amazon.com ReviewAn Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: Does the world need yet another novel about WWII? It does when the novel is as inventive and beautiful as this one by Anthony Doerr. In fact, All the Light We Cannot See--while set mostly in Germany and France before and during the war--is not really a “war novel”. Yes, there is fear and fighting and disappearance and death, but the author’s focus is on the interior lives of his two characters. Marie Laure is a blind 14-year-old French girl who flees to the countryside when her father disappears from Nazi-occupied Paris. Werner is a gadget-obsessed German orphan whose skills admit him to a brutal branch of Hitler Youth. Never mind that their paths don’t cross until very late in the novel, this is not a book you read for plot (although there is a wonderful, mysterious subplot about a stolen gem). This is a book you read for the beauty of Doerr’s writing-- “Abyss in her gut, desert in her throat, Marie-Laure takes one of the cans of food…”--and for the way he understands and cherishes the magical obsessions of childhood. Marie Laure and Werner are never quaint or twee. Instead they are powerful examples of the way average people in trying times must decide daily between morality and survival. --Sara NelsonReview“Exquisite…All the Light We Cannot See, 10 years under construction, is the written equivalent of a Botticelli painting or a Michelangelo sculpture—as filled with light and beauty as the landscapes, museums, and cathedrals…in Rome…Meticulously researched and chock full of beautiful imagery…Nothing short of brilliant, All the Light We Cannot See gives off the kind of mesmerizing and legend-making light as that of the mysterious diamond that sits in the center of the story.” (Alice Evans Portland Oregonian) “Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr’s hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be.…Werner’s experience at the school is only one of the many trials through which Mr. Doerr puts his characters in this surprisingly fresh and enveloping book. What’s unexpected about its impact is that the novel does not regard Europeans’ wartime experience in a new way. Instead, Mr. Doerr’s nuanced approach concentrates on the choices his characters make and on the souls that have been lost, both living and dead.” (Janet Maslin The New York Times) “Doerr, a fabulous writer, pens an epic novel about a blind French girl and a German boy in occupied France and their struggles to survive World War II.” (Mary Ann Gwinn Seattle Times) “Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits.” (Elissa Schappell Vanity Fair) “The whole shebang enthralls.” (Good Housekeeping) “Incandescent…Mellifluous and unhurried…Characters as noble as they are enthralling. Doerr looms myriad strains into a luminous work of strife and transcendence.” (Hamilton Cain O, the Oprah magazine) “History intertwines with irresistible fiction—secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier’s deepest doubts—into a richly compelling, bittersweet package. After you wipe away those stray tears, you’ll be casting the movie in your head; this carefully crafted novel fairly begs for a lush Hollywood conversion.” (Mary Pols People (3 1/2 stars)) “Intricately structured…All the Light We Cannot See is a work of art and of preservation.” (Jane Ciabattari BBC) “Endlessly bold and equally delicate…An intricate miracle of invention, narrative verve, and deep research lightly held, but above all a miracle of humanity….Anthony Doerr’s novel celebrates—and also accomplishes—what only the finest art can: the power to create, reveal, and augment experience in all its horror and wonder, heartbreak and rapture.” (Shelf Awareness) “A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. . . . Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably recreates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.” (Booklist (starred review)) “Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review)) “If a book’s success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize-winner Doerr’s novel triumphs on both counts. Along the way, he convinces readers that new stories can still be told about this well-trod period, and that war—despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices—cannot negate the pleasures of the world.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review)) “This novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece…[All the Light We Cannot See] presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending…Highly recommended for fans of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.” (Evelyn Beck Library Journal (starred review)) "What a delight! This novel has exquisite writing and a wonderfully suspenseful story. A book you'll tell your friends about..." (Frances Itani, author of Deafening) “This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece, its many threads coming together so perfectly. Doerr’s writing and imagery are stunning. It’s been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion. The story still lives on in my head.” (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone) “All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” (Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins) “Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet. He knows about everything—radios, diamonds, mollusks, birds, flowers, locks, guns—but he also writes a line so beautiful, creates an image or scene so haunting, it makes you think forever differently about the big things—love, fear, cruelty, kindness, the countless facets of the human heart. Wildly suspenseful, structurally daring, rich in detail and soul, Doerr’s new novel is that novel, the one you savor, and ponder, and happily lose sleep over, then go around urging all your friends to read—now.” (J.R. Moehringer, author of Sutton and The Tender Bar) “A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time. The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the settings as intricately evoked. A compelling and uplifting novel.” (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle Deluxe Reading Group Edition)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle Deluxe Reading Group Edition)

Books

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILMThis deluxe eBook edition of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society features more than eighty additional pages of exclusive, author-approved annotations throughout the text to enrich your reading experience. You can access the eBook annotations with a simple click or tap on your eReader via the convenient links. Access them as you read the novel or as supplemental material after finishing the entire story. There is also Random House Reader’s Circle bonus content, sure to inspire discussion at book clubs everywhere.   A runaway New York Times bestseller that was named one of the ten best books of the year by Time and USA Today, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has captivated readers around the world. Told with warmth and humor in a series of letters, this is a tale of finding connection in the most unexpected places.   January 1946: As London emerges from the Second World War, writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis? As Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club formed to protect its members from arrest by the Germans. Through their letters, she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the Occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey. What she finds there will change her forever.

Elie Wiesel's Night

Elie Wiesel's Night

Books

Night, a memoir by concentration camp survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, is a key work of Holocaust literature. It bears witness to the horrors endured by a teenage boy whose freedom and family are forcibly wrested from him. This new study guide to Wiesel's moving story also features an annotated bibliography, a listing of other works by the author, and an introduction by literary scholar Harold Bloom.

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

Books

This enhanced edition features exclusive material and bonus content. In addition to the novel, this ebook includes:- ‘Something Worth Doing’: the short story that inspired Code Name Verity, never before published in the UK- A filmed interview with Elizabeth- Exclusive footage of Elizabeth Wein at The Shuttleworth Collection, home to some of the oldest operational aircraft in the world- The Verity Collection: a fascinating documentary of Elizabeth’s personal collection of WW2 memorabiliaTwo young women become unlikely best friends during World War II, until one is captured by the Gestapo.Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity”’s own words, as she writes her account for her captors.Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they've ever believed in is put to the test . . .A gripping thriller, Code Name Verity blends a work of fiction into 20th century history with spine-tingling results. A book for young adults like no other.“This is a remarkable book” Daily Mail

Maus: a Survivor's Tale

Maus: a Survivor's Tale

Books

The author-illustrator traces his father's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp through a series of disarming and unusual cartoons arranged to tell the story as a novel.

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