You will be reading 1984 over winter break. Reading is good for you, so stop your complaining. I thought you were honors students who want to excel.
Check out this slideshare presentation about the novel. I cannot vet the author of this presentation, but the information seems pretty valid. I would not cite this person as a source on the novel though because I cannot verify his credentials.
Check out Orwell's own reasons for writing the novel: LINK!
Check out what Aldous Huxley, author of the dystopian novel Brave New World, has to say about 1984: LINK!
As you read the novel, take notes the similarities and differences between the culture, society, government, and economy of 1984 and our own (2014). Set your notes up like this. (NOT OPTIONAL - if you do it differently, I will not accept the notes)
There are three parts to the novel and within those, there are multiple divisions. There can’t be a set number of notes to take, but generally, good readers will find around 10 items to record for each of the divisions within the three major parts. The better your notes are, the better your understanding of the novel will be. The fewer your notes, the less analysis you will do and the poorer your understanding of the novel will be.
You might read the novel through first and then go back and make notes or you might make notes as you read. Whichever will work better for you.