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Self-Select Projects

Page history last edited by paul bonnell 11 years, 6 months ago

Read 6 books and complete 6 projects, minimum, for the year.

1,500 pages per semester, minimum (if you choose to read shorter books, you only need to do six projects, although you should cover your other reading in your journal and/or on the wiki).


The books need to be "classic."  Please ask Mr. Bonnell if you need help with this definition.  Let's help you decide on reading that will be a delightful mix of challenge and pleasure.

1 of the 6 can be non-American.  The others should be American literature (All can be American literature).

At least 2 need to be novels.

At least 2 need to be non-fiction--one autobiography/biography/memoir, one regular non-fiction.


For your self-selects, you match the project with your book and your schedule.  They do not need to be completed in the order listed below.  For each book read, keep a record of invigorating vocabulary, quotations, and reflections in a reading journal, which will be checked periodically.  You will also post on this wiki.


Project Options:


1. Book Interview with Mr. Bonnell

2.  Mrs. Brown's project or similar project.

3.  Quotations Project?  quotations.doc

4.  Artistic Rendering--Represent your book in an artistic way.  See these photos of former student projects--Camille's artistic rendering of Seethe in Toni Morrison's Beloved Seethe and Mark's soundtrack for Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.  Dorothy's "Leg" from Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone Flying Leg. Tana's mailbox for Jason F. Wright's The Wednesday Letters Wednesday Letters MailboxDo NOT merely make a poster with printed pictures from the book or movie--weak, weak, weak (lamesauce, or whatever you want to call it).  If you are interested in true collage or photomontage, check out some discussion of these artistic formats and truly get creative http://www.collageart.org/.

5.  Thesis Paper or Critical Analysis. Thesis and Critical Analysis Style Sheets

6.  Personalized Question? (ask me about it)

7.  Literary letter

8.  Newspaper project ( testyourmettle.doc)

9.  Presentation

10. Video (movie trailer, maybe?)

11.  Other (recorded interview, musical score, edible items, etc., etc.)?


So, let's say I read the following: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson, Atomic Farmgirl by Teri Hein, and le' scaphandre et le' papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) by Jean-Dominique Bauby.


The Secret History--537 pages

Sister Carrie--473 pages

A Farewell to Arms--332 pages

Everything Bad is Good For You--276 pages (Kindle Edition from Amazon.com)

For Whom the Bell Tolls--471 pages

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly--132 pages

Atomic Farmgirl--255 pages

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson--770 pages


Total books read: 8.  Total pages read: 3,246 


 I could do an interview (Project 1) about Sister Carrie, discussing characters, themes, and the setting of Chicago and urbanizing America.  I could construct an artistic rendering (Project 2) of A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, using scraps of aluminum and an old, wooden door to make a three-dimensional montage piece about love, choices, and war.  I could write a thesis paper (Project 3) about The Secret History, arguing that modern and post-modern American collegiates use bachannals and other various permutations of the college party in an attempt to "go beyond" what they see as a prescribed existence.  I could make a newspaper (Project 4) for Atomic Farmgirl, utilizing photographs and historical information to expand upon the book.  I could do a quotations project (Project 5) for The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, choosing lines from poems such as "This is My Letter to the World" and writing about what they might mean to Dickinson's overall body of work as well as to me, the reader.  And I could learn French and write an alternate ending as a personalized question (Project 6) for le' scaphandre et le' papillon or make a first-person P.O.V. movie for it, telling the rest of the story and highlighting the controversies about Sylvie de la Rouchefoucauld.  And for the Johnson book, I could just write in my journal.


Does this make sense?


Make sure to ask if you have any questions. 

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