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Summer Reading Primer – Everything you Need to Know

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Overton High School has a tradition of academics. From its very beginnings, nearly 55 years ago, it has been a mission to prepare every for being ready for college or a career.

Below is the list, by the type of class, of summer reading every student is expected to complete by the end of the summer, and should have the attached assignment completed before returning to school.

Be careful to read the assignment thoroughly, all will be taken up the first full week of school.

If you are new to Overton, speak to the Academy  Guidance counselor or principal for details about your situation.


Freshmen: King of Ithaca by T. Barrett

King of ithaxaSummary: Telemachos has a comfortable life on his small island of Ithaka, where his mother, Penelopeia, keeps the peace even though the land has been without its king, his father Odysseus, since the Trojan War began many years ago. But now the people are demanding a new king, unless Telemachos can find Odysseus and bring him home. With only a mysterious prophecy to guide him, Telemachos sets off over sea and desert in search of the father he has never known. Tracy Barrett brings Greek mythology to life in King of Ithaka.« 


IGSCE Freshmen: Outliers by M. Gladwell

Summary:  Now that he’s gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? OUTLIERS

Challenging our cherished belief of the “self-made man,” he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don’t arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: “they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.” Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, “some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.”

Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendents of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots’ culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there’s more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples–and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps–Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential. —Mari Malcolm


WES MOORE AVID I: The Other Wes Moore by W. Moore

Summary: Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.

Link to AVID Website and Assignments Here




 SophomoresThe Hunger Games by S. Collins

HUNGER GAMESSummary: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.


IGSCE SophomoresNo Longer at Ease by C. Achebe or Mansfield Park by J. Austen

no longer at easeSummary: No Longer At Ease The second book in Achebe’s “African trilogy”: A classic story of personal and moral struggle as well as turbulent social conflict.

When Obi Okonkwo—grandson of Okonkwo, the main character in Things Fall Apart—returns to Nigeria from England in the 1950s, his foreign education separates him from his African roots. He’s becoming a part of a ruling elite whose corruption he finds repugnant. Forced to choose between traditional values and the demands of a changing world, he finds himself trapped between the expectations of his family, his village, and the larger society around him. With unequaled clarity and poignancy, Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease remains a brilliant statement of the challenges facing Nigeria today.


mansfield parkSummary: Jane Mansfield – Jane Austen was an English author best known for her books of romantic fiction. Despite writing many books that are now considered classics, Austen did not gain much fame during her lifetime, likely due to being a woman. Austen was just 41 years old when she died yet she is still considered one of the best writers of English literature. Austin’s novel Mansfield Park tells the story of Fanny Price, a young girl who is sent to live with her wealthy relatives.


AVID IIThe Tipping Point by M. Gladwell

tipping pointSummary: The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

Link to AVID Website and Assignments Here



General PaperThe Glass Castle by J. Walls

JuniorsThe Glass Castle by J. Walls

Dual EnrollmentThe Glass Castle by J. Walls

GLASS CASTLESSummary: The first book by the beloved author of the new novel The Silver Star, the extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, “nothing short of spectacular” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir from one of the world’s most gifted storytellers.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.


AICE LanguageThe Writing of Life by A. Dillard or A Memoir of the Craft by S. King or Bird by Bird: Instruction on Writing and Life by A. Lamott

WRITING LIFESummary The Writing of Life: Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. SHOP


memoir of writingSummary A Memoir of the Craft Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.

King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.


Summary of  Bird by Bird: Instruction on Writing and Life : Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. BIRD BY BIRD

We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'”



AICE LiteratureThe House of Mirth by E. Wharton or The Namesake by J. Lahiri

HOUSE OF mIRTHSummary of House of Mirth

‘It was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions’

A searing, shocking tale of women as consumer items in a man’s world, The House of Mirth sees Lily Bart, beautiful and charming, living among the wealthy families of New York but reluctant to finally commit herself to a husband. In her search for freedom and the happiness she feels she deserves, Lily is ultimately ruined by scandal.
Edith Wharton’s shattering novel created controversy on its publication in 1905 with its scathing portrayal of the world’s wealthy and the prison that marriage can become.

The Penguin English Library – 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.


Summary of The Namesake Any talk of The Namesake–Jhumpa Lahiri’s follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, Interpreter of Maladies–must begin with a name: Gogol Ganguli. Born to an Indian academic and his wife, Gogol is afflicted from birth with a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all.  namesake

He is given the name by his father who, before he came to America to study at MIT, was almost killed in a train wreck in India. Rescuers caught sight of the volume of Nikolai Gogol’s short stories that he held, and hauled him from the train. Ashoke gives his American-born son the name as a kind of placeholder, and the awkward thing sticks. Awkwardness is Gogol’s birthright.

He grows up a bright American boy, goes to Yale, has pretty girlfriends, becomes a successful architect, but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world. There’s a lovely section where he dates a wealthy, cultured young Manhattan woman who lives with her charming parents. They fold Gogol into their easy, elegant life, but even here he can find no peace and he breaks off the relationship. His mother finally sets him up on a blind date with the daughter of a Bengali friend, and Gogol thinks he has found his match. Moushumi, like Gogol, is at odds with the Indian-American world she inhabits. She has found, however, a circuitous escape: “At Brown, her rebellion had been academic … she’d pursued a double major in French. Immersing herself in a third language, a third culture, had been her refuge–she approached French, unlike things American or Indian, without guilt, or misgiving, or expectation of any kind.” Lahiri documents these quiet rebellions and random longings with great sensitivity. There’s no cleverness or showing-off in The Namesake, just beautifully confident storytelling. Gogol’s story is neither comedy nor tragedy; it’s simply that ordinary, hard-to-get-down-on-paper commodity: real life. –Claire Dederer

  SeniorsThe White Tiger by A. Adiga

WHITE TIGERSummary: The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur.

On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.

Recalling The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, The White Tiger is narrative genius with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation—and a startling, provocative debut.


STEP #2 –  Purchase, Acquire or Check Out Book!

****It should be noted that all of the sources will run out of the book you need.


A) Above under “SHOP” is a link to Amazon Books. We have found it to be the most reliable and most college friendly.

B) Below are lists of Libraries and Bookstores WITH phone numbers.

Main Libraryuntitled

615 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37219

Bellevue Branch

720 Baugh Road
Nashville, TN 37221

Edmondson Pike Branch

5501 Edmondson Pike
Nashville, TN 37211

Green Hills Branch

3701 Benham Ave
Nashville, TN 37215

Southeast Branch

5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy
Antioch, TN 37013

Thompson Lane Branch

380 Thompson Ln
Nashville, TN 37211



1. Parnassus BooksParnassus Books

Green Hills

3900 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

Phone number (615) 953-2243

Rhino Booksellers Rhino Booksellers

Green Hills

4006 Granny White Pike
Nashville, TN 37204

Phone number (615) 279-0309

Barnes & Noble® Official

1701 Mallory Ln, Brentwood, TN

Summaries are from Amazon Books

Links to Purchase are to Amazon Books, but there is no affiliation with the Bobcat Beat and Amazon

Step # 3 Do the ASSIGNMENT!!!!



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Summer Reading Primer – Everything you Need to Know