ATYP IV Summer Reading


Students must read/watch all four selections before class meets in the fall, according to the submission deadlines below. The order is up to you, but take note of length/genre and be mindful of time management. Digest carefully, take good notes, and be sure to refresh/reacquaint yourself with all texts before we meet in September.


  1. Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Nonfiction, 449 pgs. including notes and index. ISBN: 9780062464347
  2. Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake. Fiction, 376 pgs. ISBN: 9780385721677
  3. Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars. Poetry, 88 pgs. ISBN: 9781555975845
  4. Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Film, 2hr29min.


On our first day of class, I will check your annotations (for the physical books) and either physical or digital notes on all four summer texts. By your fourth year in ATYP, I expect you to understand and know that such practices are an important part of your scholarly and creative process!

Annotation can look like any or all of the following:

  • Page synopsis: Write minimally at the top of every or almost every page summarizing the events or contents of that page or section. Write whatever will help you quickly orient yourself within the text when you flip through and reference later. This will come in extraordinarily handy for our future discussions and the critical work you will perform on these works.
  • Underline key quotes/lines. Consider passages that sum up or epitomize core themes, central conflicts or tensions, or are indicative of certain characters. Put your brain in a critical mode: what might you want to quote and easily find later?
  • Write down questions in the margins, as well as any connections to other texts/current events/etc. you notice.
  • You will do this FIRST, before tackling the written reflections.
  • If you have an eBook or some other form of the book that you are unable to annotate physically (library book, etc.), you will still need to complete the above work to the best of your ability; that might include notebook work or digital annotations. 


For each of the above texts, compose a 1-2 page, single-spaced response paper according to the prompt below. One response paper is due by each of the following due dates: June 30th, July 31st, August 30th, and the first day of class (TBA). Email your papers by these dates to (And introduce yourself while you’re at it, if I don’t know you already!) You will also bring all response papers printed to the first day of class.

Summer Response Prompt: Each of these texts explores, to some degree, visions of the future, whether through anthropological and historical analysis, poetic connections to the past, or speculation upon elements of our current existence. How do the key themes and ideas in these works both relate to and deviate from the circumstances, values and conditions of contemporary life? You are encouraged to make connections between other texts, including previous ATYP readings, as long as each journal primarily focuses on its designated text. Note that these responses are neither simple summaries nor book/film reviews; hone in on 1-2 key concepts per text and exercise your finely-tuned analytical and critical skills. To really show off, apply those critical theories you know so well!


  1. Parents should be aware that some of the texts contain mature content. ATYP faculty are trained in facilitating productive conversations on potentially difficult topics. . We encourage students to discuss what they’re reading with their parents. To review the books, we suggest looking for the titles on or
  2. ATYP English uses MLA style for paper formatting and citations.
  3. Zhang Scholarship recipients can have summer reading novels purchased for them. The ATYP office will send an email regarding obtaining the books. If you are not a scholarship recipient but purchasing the texts is a hardship, please contact the ATYP office. We will help!

In the spirit of supporting local business…Please consider purchasing your texts from a local store! We will give our titles to This is a bookstore/Bookbug and Kazoo Books so they can help you.

P.S. It’s absolutely OK to purchase used copies—but see if you can find copies that don’t have other people’s annotations in them.