Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading List 2018
Posted on 07/29/2018
  • English 9: Please read Breaking Through, by Francisco Jimenez
  • English 9 Honors: Please read Breaking Through, by Francisco Jimenez, and either The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. The other book not read over the summer will be required reading at the start of the fall semester.
  • English 10: Please read Animal Farm, by George Orwell. 
  • English 10 Honors: Please read Kindred, by Octavia Butler, and Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.  Please also read either A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, or Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. The other book not read over the summer will be required reading at the start of the fall semester.  
  • English 11: Please read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
  • English 11 AP: Please read Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey, and East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.
  • English 12: There is no assigned summer reading.
  • English 12 AP: Please read three novels or plays by the same author; the following two pages includes all the pertinent details and a link to sign up for your author. If you have any questions or concerns after reading the requirements of AP English 12 summer reading, please contact AP English 12 teacher, Paris De Soto, at

AP English Literature and Composition

Summer Reading List for the 2018 - 2019
Academic Year

Approximately seven weeks after school starts, you will turn in the infamous Senior Research Paper.[1]  Over the summer, in preparation for this, you must read three sustained works of fiction by the same author.   Please note that “sustained fiction” means novels or plays—short stories, even anthologies of short stories, do not work for this assignment; memoirs do not work for this assignment, either. The second page of this document is a partial list of approved authors; I am very open to suggestions. The main objective of this research paper of approximately eight to ten pages is to come up with an overarching thesis that is provable, arguable, and addresses some sort of thematic connection(s) among all three texts. Please note that you may not include any novel or play you have read for a previous English class as one of your three texts. 

Please also note that up to but no more than eight students may choose any one author.  If you are interested in choosing an especially popular author, you should sign up sooner rather than later because its on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to your three primary sources (e.g., your chosen novels or plays), you are required to cite at least five literary critics within your paper. By “critics,” I don’t mean grumpy people who blog about how much they love or hate the book. Almost all literary critics are English professors or professional writers themselves who analyze a text in a close and careful way and offer an interpretation supported by textual evidence. (P.S. Once you finish this paper, you, too, will be a literary critic. Ta-da!)

Before you commit to your three works of fiction—novels or plays—do some preliminary research to make certain that there is an adequate amount of literary criticism on those works (I recommend google scholar). If you choose a more modern author, you should read his or her older works (published at least ten years ago), so there will be actual literary criticism available. Again, make sure there is enough relevant and interesting scholarship on that author and the particular texts you’ve chosen to analyze.

Once you’ve chosen your books, read all of them actively: write notes in the margins; underline complicated, thought-provoking passages (not self-evident summary); circle words or ideas that are confusing or unfamiliar; ask questions.  Pay particular attention to characterization, imagery, style, and theme.  After reading, with your newfound context of the whole book, go back and write down the significance of each part you noted/underlined/highlighted/tabbed with a Post-itÔ note.   Try to answer the questions you posed while reading.  If what you have to say can't fit in the margin or on a Post-itÔ note, write it down somewhere else and keep it with the book. Maintain a list of any unanswered questions, as these questions may provide a basis for an eventual argument.[2]  This is what I mean by reading “actively.”  Though it may seem like a slow and tedious way of reading a book, you will be very glad you did all of this prep work before school starts and you get hit with the tsunami known as first semester senior year, what with most of you taking all AP courses and applying to over a dozen colleges.

Do not wait until mid-August to begin this project. Please see me in room 20 before the end of this school year to sign up for an author. Alternatively, you may sign up via:

When you click on this link, you will notice that some authors have spaces for four students to sign up; other authors have eight spaces (those others being, historically, the most popular authors).  If you would like to work with an author who is not on the list, please see me in room 20 for prior approval.  Alternatively, you may email me at, but make every effort to drop by room 20 before this year is over so that I may meet you in person. If you have absolutely no idea about author choice, I have binders of author evaluations written by current and former students. I am going to repeat this last part because so many students from this year had no idea about these binders.  I have BINDERS full of former student evaluations.  I am happy to offer advice on authors as well.[3]

Thats it for now. Come by room 20 or send me an email. I absolutely love teaching this course, and Im really looking forward to working with you next year!

What follows is a partial list of approved authors.  I am always open to suggestions.

Amis, Martin

Contemporary British


Atwood, Margaret

Contemporary Canadian


Auster, Paul

Contemporary American


Baldwin, James

20th C. American


Byatt, A.S.

Contemporary British


Calvino, Italo

20th C. Italian


Carter, Angela

20th C. British


Cather, Willa

20th C. American


Coetzee, J.M.

Contemporary South African


DeLillo, Don

Contemporary American


Didion, Joan

Contemporary American


Doctorow, E.L.

Contemporary American


Drabble, Margaret

Contemporary British


Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

19th C. Russian

(Not Notes from Underground)


Eliot, George

19th C. British


Erdrich, Louise

Contemporary Native American


Faulkner, William

20th C. American












Fowles, John

20th C. British


Garcia Marquez, Gabriel

Contemporary Colombian


Gordimer, Nadine

Contemporary South African


Hardy, Thomas

19th C. British


Ibsen, Henrik

19th C. Norwegian

(not A Doll’s House)


Ishiguro, Kazuo

Contemporary English


Kawabata, Yasunari

20th C. Japanese


Kincaid, Jamaica

Contemporary Caribbean


Kingsolver, Barbara

Contemporary American


Kundera, Milan

Contemporary Hungarian


Lawrence, D. H.

19th C. British


Lessing, Doris

Contemporary South African


Mamet, David

Contemporary American


McCarthy, Cormac

Contemporary American


Morrison, Toni

Contemporary American

(not Beloved)


Murakami, Haruki

Contemporary Japanese











Nabokov, Vladimir

20th C. Russian


Ondaatje, Michael

Contemporary Sri Lankan-Canadian


O’Neill, Eugene

20th C. American


Palahniuk, Chuck

Contemporary American


Patchett, Ann

Contemporary American


Pinter, Harold

20th C. English


Pynchon, Thomas

Contemporary American


Rushdie, Salman

Contemporary Indian


Shaw, George Bernard

19th/20th C. Irish


Smith, Zadie

Contemporary British


Vonnegut, Kurt

20th C. American


Wallace, David Foster

20th C. American


Wharton, Edith

19th C. American


Wilde, Oscar

19th C. Irish


Williams, Tennessee

20th C. American


Winterson, Jeannette

Contemporary British


Woolf, Virginia

20th C. British





[1]Thank you to Pam Larkin and Rachelle Stein for putting a distinctly student spin on this memorandum.

[2] Thank you to Kat Winkleman for sharing her highly effective close reading strategies.

[3] If you are totally bewildered by this whole project, go here for samples and such: