The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School





 One of the best ways to feel productive during the summer is to spend time reading books. It can be overwhelming to pick a book because there are so many options and they are a commitment. To make things easier, Expressions compiled a Summer Reading list for different types of San Luis Obispo High School student readers.

 For the future Advanced Placement Literature (A.P) students here are five books that are recommended to read:

  1. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by author Zora Neale Hurston is a novel about the different types of love a person experiences throughout their life. The book has been featured previously in the multiple choice section of the test, but it is also a good novel to read in regards with gender issues, love, race, and innocence.
  2. “The Awakening” by author Kate Chopin follows Edna Pontellier, a woman who experiences an identity crisis and rebels against societal norms.
  3. “Cat’s Cradle” by author Kurt Vonnegut focuses on issues that surround science, technology, religion, and the arms race during the Cold War. The novel explains science as a gateway to finding truth and religion as creating lies. “Cat’s Cradle,” debates if the truth is in fact the good.

 If you are looking for a newer release here are some captivating reads:

  1. “The Refugees” by author Viet Thanh Nguyen is a collection of short stories about the experiences of Vietnamese immigrants. Nguyen’s novel focuses on themes of immigration, death, and communism.  “It is a glimpse of culture. He takes topics that are hard to talk about. Viet Nguyen is the future,” said English teacher Ivan Simon.
  1. “Heart Berries” is a memoir by author Terese Marie Mailhot about her mental illness, romantic past, and family history on an Indian reservation in British Columbia. The collection of essays talk about poverty, abuse, and addiction.
  2. “Barracoon” by author Zora Neale Hurston published this May, sixty years after her death, is a story based off of her interviews in 1931 with one of the last survivors of the United States slave trade, Cudjo Lewis. This novel explains the hardships of living and being forced into slavery and the journey to freedom.

 If you enjoy reading absurdist books (the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any) here are some that will make you think:

  1. “The Metamorphosis,” by author Franz Kafka is a shorter book about a man who loses his ability to work after turning into an insect and is confined to his room for a large part of the story. The themes in the book are morality, man and the natural world, transformation, and identity.

 “It’s not long. You can read it in a week or so. It’s kind of a wild thing that talks about World War One and his shell shock. He’s talking about PTSD in a weird way. The main themes are isolation and dehumanization that comes from isolation,” said senior Kayley Rolph.

  1. “The World According to Garp” by author John Irving is a novel about a man born to a feminist author who has more success than he does writing novels. The novel focuses on feminism, masculinity, literature, and morality.
  2. “Waiting for Godot” written by author Samuel Beckett is a play about two men waiting for a man named Godot to arrive. The play is almost like a quest saga, only the men never set out for a quest but instead wait for it to come to them. “Waiting for Godot” is about humanity and truth.

 For people that are looking for non-fiction books, here are some that are worth your time:

  1. “Silent Spring,” by author and environmentalist Rachel Carson, written in 1962, was crucial in the turning point of environmental writing. The novel talks about the issues of pesticides harming the environment. Carson inspired a nationwide ban on DDT (a insecticide) for agricultural after the publishing of her book.
  2. “All the President’s Men” written by journalist Bob Woodward and journalist Carl Bernstein, who investigated the scandal Watergate for the Washington Post, explains their journey investigating Watergate and everything that happened afterwards like President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
  3. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by author Barbara Kingsolver is a story about her family’s journey in attempting to eat locally grown food only for a year.


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