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Fall Choice: Coming of Age Choice Book: Home

Fall Choice Book - Ms. Rakusin

In addition to reading several short stories in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, you will choose a book OF YOUR CHOICE. THIS IS NOT AN “ORB.” Much of 

 the reading and intensive analysis of your chosen book will be conducted IN CLASS. The only guidelines are as follows:

  • The book must be fiction or memoir, published no earlier than 1985.

  • The language must be rich and sophisticated; the diction should pose at least a slight challenge for you (no YA). The book must be distinguished as a finalist or winner of a major literary award (consider the Man Booker Prize, The National Book Award, the Orange Prize, The Christopher Award, the Pulitzer Prize).

  • Do not choose a book you’ve read before.

  • The book must be more than 200 pages in length.

  • You must get a parent to approve and sign off on on your proposal.

Book Proposal

Research your choices. Read reviews. Ask family members or friends for suggestions. Write a proposal in which you paraphrase the premise of the book and defend the book’s merit. Did the book win any awards? Is the author prolific, renown? Which aspects of the book seem interesting or provocative to you? What do you hope to learn or understand from reading this book? Cite two quotes from a reputable book review of your choice. Magazines, newspapers only.


The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Review of Books


Fall Deliverables

Fall Deliverables:

To begin:

  1. A printed and annotated book review from approved source

  2. A typed, one-page proposal for your Choice Book

  3. A formal book review



  • Notebook checks: vocabulary and reflection

  • Annotated printed passages (approx. one per week)

  • Short explications of prose (approx. one per month)


Book Presentation (adapted from book review: refined passage explication; visual components)

Select Covers

Titles to Consider

Titles to consider:

  • Running With Scissors (Memoir)

  • This Boy’s Life (Memoir)

  • The Liars’ Club (Memoir), Karr

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me (Memoir), Alexie

  • Born a Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood (Memoir), Noah

  • The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver*

  • The Namesake, Lahiri

  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Alvarez

  • All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy*

  • The Joy Luck Club, Tan

  • Middlesex, Eugenides*

  • The Art of Fielding, Harbach

  • Station Eleven, Mandel

  • Underground Railroad, Whitehead*

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Foer

  • Old School, Tobias Woolff

  • A Prayer For Owen Meany, Irving*

  • The Kite Runner

  • Homegoing*

  • Salvage the Bones, Ward

  • A Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius, Eggers

  • The Woman Warrior, Kingston*

  • Amy and Isabelle, Strout

*indicates a more challenging read