After much consideration, we are pleased to announce the winners of this year's All-School Summer Reading Contest! Just like last summer, we have selected two books - so please feel free to read either, or both.
Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown was the best book I read in 2020! Formatted like a screenplay, this book examines tropes, stereotypes, and other forms of oppression, discrimination, and marginalization faced by Chinese Americans. The book uses the structure of an action film script to satirize and critique limiting racialized “roles” within US society and culture, and is both hilarious and poignantly meditative.
The narrative focuses on Willis Wu, defined by the screenplay as the “Generic Asian Man” stuck playing “Background Oriental Male” and occasionally “Delivery Guy” in a fictional, stereotypical cop drama. He strives to work within established structures to achieve the highest role available to him: “Kung Fu Guy.”
Charles Yu wrote for HBO’s Westworld and has been published by the Atlantic, TIME, and McSweeneys. Interior Chinatown is super readable, a true Hannah Montana text in terms of its ability to cross genres and deliver the best of both worlds. Yu tackles an examination of racial marginalization in a way that’s accessible to all.
Little Women is a story about young women who do not want to fall into the roles that society has created for them. Rather than fall into these roles, they express their individuality through their hobbies and talents. While this book was written in 1868, many of the gender roles seen in the book are still experienced today. Little Women is also a story about selflessness; oftentimes the family finds themselves in near poverty. Despite this, they give what little they have to help those in need. I’m proposing only the first half of the book since the second half was written a few years after the first to explain who the girls get married to, “as if that was the only end and aim of a woman’s life,” said the book’s author, Louisa May Alcott. While the second half is still a great piece of writing, it implies that a woman is not complete without loving a man and complying with society’s gender roles. Alcott also strongly opposed writing the second half, which is yet another reason to only read the first. Overall, Little Women is a great ASSR choice as it explores topics relevant to today’s society. We could all learn something from Alcott’s writing and benefit from engaging in conversations next year about gender and the role it plays in our community.
It’s a hot August morning on the Holderness campus, and Elizabeth McClellan has a lot on her mind.
The summer sky, hazy from wildfires burning thousands of miles away in California and other western states, hints at a future dimmed by the widespread effects of climate change. Just a week ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning of “irreversible” warming in the coming decades, regardless of any future reduction in carbon emissions.
While we can’t wait to welcome students back to campus this fall, we’re just as excited to welcome a new class of faculty to the Holderness community. This year, we’ll meet a new dean of students, several classroom teachers, a new assistant athletic director, strength and conditioning coach, and an interim chaplain. Let’s take a minute to get to know our newest Holderness educators.
Is Holderness right for you? The best way to find the right boarding school is to reach out. Check us out in person in New Hampshire or virtually. See why Holderness is more than a school, it's an elevated experience.