Students are to choose one book from the list to read. All students will be
tested on their choice at the start of the school year in their English classes.
Books may be borrowed from the state library system or purchased from the local
bookstores. New and used paperback books may be purchased online. Two such sites
are http://www.campusi.com and Amazon.com
*Parental Advisory – occasional profanity and/or drug-use or sexual references.
Indian Killer, Sherman Alexie*
“Native American Sherman Alexie's new novel is a departure in tone from his lyrical and funny earlier work, which include The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Reservation Blues. The main character is an Indian serial killer who incites racial tension by murdering whites in retribution for his people's history. The killer leaves clear signs of his motives by scalping his victims, and leaving feathers as gestures of Indian defiance. The killer is a conflicted creation--raised by loving white parents, but twisted by loss of his identity as an Indian. Alexie layers the story with complications and ancillary characters, from a rabid talk show host, to vengeance seeking whites, to liberals who find their patronizing espousal of Indian causes no longer so easy.” — review by Amazon.com
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
“First novel by Chinua Achebe, written in English and published in 1958. The novel chronicles the life of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo (Ibo) community, from the events leading up to his banishment from the community for accidentally killing a clansman, through the seven years of his exile, to his return. The novel addresses the problem of the intrusion in the 1890s of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society. It describes the simultaneous disintegration of its protagonist Okonkwo and of his village. The novel was praised for its intelligent and realistic treatment of tribal beliefs and of psychological disintegration coincident with social unraveling. Things Fall Apart helped create the Nigerian literary renaissance of the 1960s.” — from The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich.*
"Vibrant with music, with magic, with the knowledge of age-old mysteries as well as fresh injustice, here is the saga of two Native American families, told with an authenticity unmatched in contemporary fiction. As the destinies of the Kashpaws and the Lamartines touch, ignite, and explode on a North Dakota reservation, the death of one extraordinary Chippewa woman becomes the flash point for old memories, new truths, and secrets whose time has come. In lives crowded with tragedy and comedy, strong-willed men and women find themselves bound by all the forms of love: the endlessly true snag of the flesh, the bind of blood, the union that begins in white-heat and ends in betrayal . . . an unforgettable drama of anger, desire, and the healing power called Love Medicine."
Decolonizing the Mind, Ngugi wa Thiongo
“Ngugi describes this book as "a summary of some of the issues in which I have been passionately involved for the last twenty years of my practice in fiction, theatre, criticism and in the teaching of literature. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Europe stole art treasures from Africa to decorate their houses and museums; in the twentieth century Europe is stealing the treasures of the mind to enrich their languages and cultures...."”
Beloved, Toni Morrison*
“Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.”
Tales of the Tikongs, Epeli Hauofa*
“In this first book of stories, [Hau’ofa] wryly describes daily life on the tiny isle of Tiko where "truth is flexible and can be bent this way so and that way so." The book contains comic, well-developed characters like Ti Pilo Simini (in "The Wages of Sin"), a "weedy little man . . . who may be seen with two or even three cigarettes stuck between his lips," but Hau'ofa's talent is most evident in his satires of human frailties. In "Blessed Are the Meek," Puku Leka receives "excellent training in bowing and bending and crawling" from his family in preparation for a farmer's life. Hau'ofa also skillfully parodies the "development" of underdeveloped countries. In "The Seventh and Other Days," an Australian "Overseas Expert" named Dolittle is hired to "look into the feasibility of making Tikongs work on weekdays" but despairs after speaking with a VIP who fritters away the office hours playing cards with his secretary.”
Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism,
Dr. Noenoe Silva
This book is a must for any student interested in a kanaka maoli view of the history of annexation. In 1897, as a white oligarchy made plans to allow the United States to annex Hawai'i, native Hawaiians organized a massive petition drive to protest. Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition, causing the annexation treaty to fail in the U.S. Senate. This event was unknown to many contemporary Hawaiians until Noenoe K. Silva rediscovered the petition in the process of researching this book. With few exceptions, histories of Hawai'i have been based exclusively on English-language sources. They have not taken into account the thousands of pages of newspapers, books, and letters written in the mother tongue of native Hawaiians. By rigorously analyzing many of these documents, Silva fills a crucial gap in the historical record. In so doing, she refutes the long-held idea that native Hawaiians passively accepted the erosion of their culture and loss of their nation, showing that they actively resisted political, economic, linguistic, and cultural domination. Drawing on Hawaiian-language texts, primarily newspapers produced in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Silva demonstrates that print media was central to social communication, political organizing, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and culture. A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism.