Upper Echelon Academy Summer Reading Books

Summer Reading


Alexandra Thornton:

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi

[1]  When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

The Defining Decade

[2]  Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth

[3]  In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit”

I’m just beginning Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline [4].

It’s dystopian fiction, which is not normally my thing, but apparently superb.

Brianne Goutal:

Great Speeches of Our Time, by Hywel Williams.

I found the political and social relevancy of historic speeches (even those from the 1940s) astounding/chilling.

Catherine Tyree:

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.

[5]  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.

Lucy Davis:

If on a winter’s night a traveler, by Italo Calvino.

[6] Italo Calvino’s masterpiece combines a love story and a detective story into an exhilarating allegory of reading, in which the reader of the book becomes the book’s central character.

Georgina Bloomberg:

“Well I’m reading a lot of Babar and Peppa Pig these days.

But in my free time I’m trying to fit in Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (who wrote Gone Girl) and my mother just gave me Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, who wrote The Girl on the Train. Theme: Nothing balances out a child’s bedtime story like a good murder mystery! I would also recommend Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime although I haven’t read it yet…

Jenn Gates:

“I just finished Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins, and it’s so good!”

[7]  A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.


[1] https://www.amazon.com/When-Breath-Becomes-Paul-Kalanithi/dp/081298840X

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Defining-Decade-Your-Twenties-Matter/dp/0446561754

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Grit-Passion-Perseverance-Angela-Duckworth/dp/1501111108

[4] https://www.amazon.com/Ready-Player-One-Ernest-Cline/dp/0307887448

[5] https://www.amazon.com/Glass-Castle-Memoir-Jeannette-Walls/dp/074324754X

[6] http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/23123/if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler-by-italo-calvino/9780679420255/

[7] https://www.amazon.com/dp/0735211205