Summer Reading: High School Lists

6 Aug

I am missing my 10-year high school reunion this weekend. Since I now live in DC, and I went to high school in South Carolina, it’s a long trip to make and I just couldn’t justify it with the ubiquity of Facebook.* But thinking about the reunion, it did make me wistful for high school, especially after I read yesterday’s post by Meg (of write meg!) about summer reading that didn’t suck and one of her commentor’s posts, The Best Books I Read in High School. I was thinking about my own favorite summer reading, and just for the hell of it, decided to check out my high school’s website for their summer reading lists.

Notably, Pat Conroy makes an appearance in several grades and for a couple of reading levels – I guess reading a local author is important but I don’t know that I would’ve wanted to read the Prince of Tides when I was 16. Otherwise, I love the list of books for what would’ve been my reading level (AP Literature and Composition) when I was a senior:

Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man, James Joyce
Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev
Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
Sanctuary, William Faulkner
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis
Hard Times, Charles Dickens
Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
Possession, A.S. Byatt
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The assignment is to read three books from that list. I know when I was in high school, I probably would’ve chosen five or six if not more. I love seeing one of my favorites, All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque, on this list, as well as some newer selections. I somehow feel like I didn’t get assigned much modern fiction in high school.

And the AP Language and Composition Summer Reading List is even better!

British Literature-Choose two from this list.
1. Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
2. Heart of Darkness-Joseph Conrad
3. The Power and the Glory-Graham Greene
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Wilde
5. Brave New World—Huxley

Nonfiction-Choose one from this list.
6. A Walk in the Woods—Bill Bryson
7. Mountains Beyond Mountains—Tracy Kidder
8. The Perfect Mile—Neal Bascomb
9. Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption—Laura Hillenbrand
10. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in Boom-Time America—Barbara Ehrenreich

I’m sure the Summer Reading tables at the book stores will be picked over this weekend as students (myself included) get ready to start school in a few weeks. I’ve linked the IndieBound logo below to this complete booklist with each of these titles, in case you want to make a last-minute attempt at your own summer reading. I’ll expect oral reports and accompanying essays on my desk by Sept. 1st!

*Sidenote: I wonder how many people of my generation make this same justification. Is there a need anymore for traditional reunions if we’re all so connected online?


2 Responses to “Summer Reading: High School Lists”

  1. Leanne August 6, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Wow, your high school reading lists were WAY better than mine were out in southern New Mexico! Not only did we not have summer reading for a comparable class (AP Language & Lit), but I remember thinking during the school year that more of my peers would love reading if the books were more relevant for our age or taught better to make them so– Billy Budd and The Scarlet Letter didn’t do it on their own for most of us. I’m years out of high school but may pick a few of these up to refresh my memory!

  2. Meg August 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Definitely agree with you regarding Facebook dispelling the need for a real, face-to-face high school reunion. Anyone I’ve wanted to see or keep up with over the years is still in my life, and everyone else? Well, they’re my legions of random “friends,” I definitely know all about their romantic entanglements, unexpected pregnancies and bad job situations from checking my newsfeed! Seriously, sometimes it’s like high school never ended.

    And lots of great books on those summer reading lists! I read Pride and Prejudice during my sophomore year, though I wasn’t as enamored with Austen then as I am now (like, at all). It’s nice to see some more contemporary works on that list, too, like Nickel and Dimed and Unbroken.

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