• 12th Grade AP Lit and Comp Summer Reading Assignments

     
    1. REQUIRED: Read The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms 
    by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland.

    Complete this assignment as you read. Bring your completed assignment to our first class.

     

    2. REQUIRED: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers

    Complete this assignment as you read. Bring your completed assignment to our first class. 

    3. REQUIRED: Read one book from this list: 

    - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    - Emma by Jane Austen
    - No Country for Old Men by  Cormac McCarthy
    - All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
    - Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
    - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    - Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyrvsky
    - Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
    - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
     
    Be prepared to write an essay during the first week of school. 
      
    4. REQUIRED: College Personal Essay Brainstorming: Due the first week of school.

    One of the best methods of brainstorming for your college essay is to begin with a grand list of potential topics and slowly let the best rise to the top. In order to generate a laundry list of important people, events, accomplishments and activities in your life, fill in the worksheet below. Once you have a topic, draft a complete essay to bring to class the first week of school

    Click here to access the Brainstorming Worksheet

     

     

  • 1. REQUIRED

     

    The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland

    Two of our foremost poets provide here a lucid, straightforward primer that "looks squarely at some of the headaches and mysteries of poetic form": a book for readers who have always felt that an understanding of form (sonnet, ballad, villanelle, sestina, among others) would enhance their appreciation of poetry. Tracing "the exuberant history of forms," they devote one chapter to each form, offering explanation, close reading, and a rich selection of exemplars that amply demonstrate the power and possibility of that form

     

    Reviews:

    “Much more poetry than commentary appears, making the book both a splendid classroom text and, since the selections are top-drawer poems by first-rate poets, a book any poetry lover or would-be poetry lover may learn from and love.” -Booklist

     

    fresh take on the ever new pleasure of reading poems.... illuminating, energetic and very American.” -Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times
     

    “A good start for people who have read very little poetry.” -Teresa Elsey, Harvard Book Review


  • 2. REQUIRED
     

    Power of Myth  

     This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell’s work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture.  

    Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life; a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture - Newsweek

  • 3. REQUIRED
    Read one book from the nine listed below.
     

    All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

    More than just a classic political novel, Warren’s tale of power and corruption in the Depression-era South is a sustained meditation on the unforeseen consequences of every human act, the vexing connectedness of all people and the possibility—it’s not much of one—of goodness in a sinful world. Willie Stark, Warren’s lightly disguised version of Huey Long, the onetime Louisiana strongman/governor, begins as a genuine tribune of the people and ends as a murderous populist demagogue. Jack Burden is his press agent, who carries out the boss’s orders, first without objection, then in the face of his own increasingly troubled conscience. And the politics? For Warren, that’s simply the arena most likely to prove that man is a fallen creature. Which it does.

    Reviews:

    "To read it in this new edition is to be struck again by its raw power, its urgency and relevance." -New Orleans Times-Picayune

     

    "A fully restored American political classic. . . . Now we can read it as it was written." -Chicago Tribune

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

     

    Reviews:

    "A fine novel, as bitter and remorseless as her last poems -- the kind of book Salinger's Fanny might have written about herself ten years later, if she had spent those ten years in Hell." -The New York Times Book Review

    "A special poignance... a special force, a humbling power, because it shows the vulnerability of people of hope and good will."-Newsweek

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    The poverty-stricken Raskolnikov, a talented student, devises a theory about extraordinary men being above the law, since in their brilliance they think “new thoughts” and so contribute to society. He then sets out to prove his theory by murdering a vile, cynical old pawnbroker and her sister. The act brings Raskolnikov into contact with his own buried conscience and with two characters — the deeply religious Sonia, who has endured great suffering, and Porfiry, the intelligent and discerning official who is charged with investigating the murder — both of whom compel Raskolnikov to feel the split in his nature. Dostoevsky provides readers with a suspenseful, penetrating psychological analysis that goes beyond the crime — which in the course of the novel demands drastic punishment — to reveal something about the human condition: The more we intellectualize, the more imprisoned we become. 

     

    Reviews:

    “This fresh, new translation…provides a more exact, idiomatic, and contemporary rendition of the novel that brings Fyodor Dostoevsky’s tale achingly alive…It succeeds beautifully.” -San Francisco Chronicle 

     

    “Reaches as close to Dostoevsky’s Russian as is possible in English…The original’s force and frightening immediacy is captured…The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard English version.” -Chicago Tribune

  • Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin is set in the early days of the second world war, before Benito Mussolini invaded Greece. Dr Iannis practices medicine on the island of Cephalonia, accompanied by his daughter, Pelagia, to whom he imparts much of his healing art. Even when the Italians do invade, life isn't so bad--at first anyway. The officer in command of the Italian garrison is the cultured Captain Antonio Corelli, who responds to a Nazi greeting of "Heil Hitler" with his own "Heil Puccini", and whose most precious possession is his mandolin. It isn't long before Corelli and Pelagia are involved in a heated affair--despite her engagement to a young fisherman, Mandras, who has gone off to join Greek partisans. Love is complicated enough in wartime, even when the lovers are on the same side. And for Corelli and Pelagia, it becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate the minefield of allegiances, both personal and political, as all around them atrocities mount, former friends become enemies and the ugliness of war infects everyone it touches. 

     

    Reviews:

    "An exuberant mixture of history and romance, written with a wit that is incandescent" -Los Angeles Times Book Review

     

    "Stunning. . . . A high-spirited historical romance. . . . Remarkable." -The New York Times Book Review

  • Emma by Jane Austen

    Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

     

    Reviews:

    “This book is true to Jane Austen: elegant writing, engaging and lovable characters, and quick wit and humor.” -Amazon Review

  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

    In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. 

    One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain.

    As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. 

     

    Reviews:

    “Feels like a genuine diagnosis of the postmillennial malady, a scary illumination of the oncoming darkness.” -Time

    “He is nothing less than our greatest living writer, and this is a novel that must be read and remembered.” -Houston Chronicle

  • One Hundred Years of Solitudeby Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

     

    Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.

     

    Reviews:

    “More lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from 100 years of novelists, let alone one man.” -Washington Post Book World

     

    “The first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” -New York Times Book Review


  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

    Who has not dreamed of life on an exotic isle, far away from civilization? Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe's famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language. 

     

    Reviews:

    “This book had adventure and suspense but it also was told in a narrative of a man who grew older in body, soul and mind.” -Amazon Review

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...

     

    Reviews:

    “For me, Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more” -Zadie Smith