2023 Required Summer Reading for Honors/AP/ACP English Classes 9-12th grades
Please note: students should have books available to them for classroom use, either on paper or electronically, when school starts.
Students should choose between the titles. Read 1.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. (Parents, please note: The Invention of Wings is historical fiction depicting the atrocities of slavery and includes some mature content.)
Choose ONE of the following books. Have the book with you the first week of school.
You want to read a classic text?
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald- is a crazy love story filled with brilliant and ambitious characters set in Southern France and Switzerland. Be careful about dismissing the characters, especially the women, as one-dimensional. Pay attention to the framing of the story and the narrative voice. Be forewarned that some of the relationships are cringe by our standards.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway- is about a young American soldier serving on the Italian front in WWI who falls in love with a nurse. Even though this story deals a lot with love and wanting to run away with the person you love, it also deals a lot with what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. If you aren’t a close reader, it may be easy to misunderstand how Hemingway challenges societal expectations, but paying attention to the framing of the story and the narrative voice can help guide you. Be forewarned that, despite Hemingway’s pushing of boundaries, at times the language reflects old ways of thinking. (Same with Fitzgerald.)
1984 by George Orwell- is a dystopian novel that still gets pop culture references. In the future, an average man works for The Ministry of Truth where he edits old newspaper articles to revise the past. The world is at constant war, people are under government surveillance, love has been outlawed and life isn’t so great. Be forewarned that this novel contains images of brutal violence and disturbing imagery.
You want to read a modern text?
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- is a story that cuts back and forth between a young German boy and a young French girl who is blind. Their lives will intersect during the bombing of German-occupied France in 1944. This story is about cruelty, evil, fear and loss, but it’s also about light and hope. You may find it helpful to use Google translate for the bits of French and German. Be aware that some critics have objected to the portrayal of the Nazi soldier.
Looking for Alaska by John Green- is a novel about a teen looking for adventure, but it’s also about love, grief, hope and redemption. Be aware that Miles's philosophical musings include the topics of alcohol, cigarettes and sex, so if these topics are inappropriate for you, don’t choose this book. The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseni- is a novel set in both the US and Afghanistan and tells the story of a young man’s attempt to reconcile his past with his present. The novel is about love, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. Although essential to the story, the book does deal with violence and violence against children, including sexual violence, so if this topic is inappropriate for you, don’t choose this book. If you have any questions about the summer reading assignment, please see Sheila McDermott-Sipe or Maggie Guschwan.
AP Language and Composition (11th grade)
Students enrolling in AP Language and Composition are expected to read ONE NONFICTION BOOK from those on the list below. If you find another nonfiction book you prefer, please contact your teacher for approval first. If you have questions, you can email AP teachers Erin Crowley, Susie Shelton, James Kerr, or Kathleen Mills. Please do NOT consult an older list of authors; this list has been revised.
Students will take an assessment on their summer reading. Teachers may assign personal writing, an oral presentation, an analytical paper, or some other way in which students will be held accountable for the reading and note-taking they completed over the summer. It is not necessary to take notes on separate paper, but marking items of note in the book, either written in or on sticky notes, is a good idea.
W131 ACP (12th grade)
Students should email W131 teachers Erin Crowley, Lauren Mark, or Susie Shelton with questions.
No book assigned. An article will be distributed the first week of the course.
AP Literature and Composition (12th grade)
Students should read AT LEAST one of the paired sets of novels below (that is, a minimum of two novels). Students are encouraged to read more than one pairing. See AP Lit. teachers Ian Rickerby or Sheila McDermott-Sipe with questions.
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Awakening - Kate Chopin
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Native Son - Richard Wright
King Lear - William Shakespeare
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Beloved - Toni Morrison