2020 summer reading list for OIB students

Lycée Summer Reading 2019 (Literature – Helen Shall)

Welcome to new students and to the Edouard Branly OIB tradition of summer holiday reading lists!

  • All students must purchase and read the following books over the summer (see the relevant section below).

  • Highlight interesting passages and take notes as you read through the novels.

We also strongly recommend that you work on your English language skills by revising your grammatical structures.

We recommend the following book to do this:

English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy published by CUP.

Students entering Seconde OIB: (read at least two of these novels – see summary below)

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

George Orwell – ​Nineteen Eighty Four

Lord of the flies by William Golding

The Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood

Meera Syal – ​Anita and Me

Oscar Wilde – ​The Picture of Dorian Gray

Students entering Première OIB: (read all of these over the summer)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1986)

The Bloody Chamber and other stories  by Angela Carter (1979)

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Students entering Terminale OIB: (read 4 in the following list over the summer)

If you liked Gothic Literature:

• If you feel in the mood for more classic Gothic, then Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is very good. There’s also The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories.

• More modern Gothic novels include Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, here are some more dystopias:

• Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

• Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

• The Road by Cormac McCarthy

• The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

• The Power by Naomi Alderman

• Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates

• An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

• Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

• The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale)

If you liked Kei Miller, here are some novels that explore similar themes:

• Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

• A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

• A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

• Augustown by Kei Miller

• Small Island by Andrea Levy

• Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

• Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you want to read more 20th and 21st century poetry, try anything by:

• Anne Sexton

• Carol Ann Duffy

• Grace Nichols

• Helen Dunmore

• Jackie Kay

• John Agard

• Owen Sheers

• Philip Larkin

• Raymond Antrobus

• Raymond Antrobus

• Seamus Heaney

• Seamus Heaney

• Sylvia Plath

• Sylvia Plath

• Ted Hughes

• Ted Hughes


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

William Golding – ​Lord of the Flies A plane crashes on an uninhabited island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. In this, his first novel, William Golding gave the traditional adventure story an ironic, devastating twist. The boys’ delicate sense of order fades, and their childish fears are transformed into something deeper and more primitive. Their games take on a horrible significance, and before long the well-behaved party of schoolboys has turned into a tribe of faceless, murderous savages.

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with almost everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.
So begins this original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.

George Orwell – ​Nineteen Eighty Four

Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

Meera Syal – ​Anita and Me

Nine-year-old Meena can’t wait to grow up and break free from her parents. But, as the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington, her struggle for independence is different from most. Meena wants fishfingers and chips, not chapati and dhal; she wants an English Christmas, not the usual interminable Punjabi festivities – but more than anything, she wants to roam the backyards of working-class Tollington with feisty Anita Rutter and her gang. Anita and Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colourful portrait of a British childhood in the Seventies, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the brink of change.

Oscar Wilde – ​The Picture of Dorian Gray

This Victorian novel was considered very shocking when it was first published. ​Dorian Gray is having his picture painted by Basil Hallward, who is charmed by his looks. But when Sir Henry Wotton visits, and seduces Dorian into the worship of youthful beauty with an intoxicating speech, Dorian makes a wish he will live to regret: that all the marks of age will now be reflected in the portrait, rather than on Dorian’s own face. The stage is now set for a masterful tale about appearance, reality, art, life, truth, fiction and the ultimate burden of conscience.

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