• Summer Reading for Rising SENIORS 2020-21

    COMMUNITY BOOK. You must read the following community book. The community book is one which is read by every member of the class. Parents are also invited to read the community book. During the first week of school, your English teachers will review, conduct, or oversee projects, presentations, and group seminars -- all in an effort to generate a sharing of ideas as a community.



    Tim O'Brien

    The Things They Carried. A collection of interrelated short stories reveals the realistic and sometimes shocking picture of war. Each story explores the human heart and the importance of life against the backdrop of the jungles of Vietnam.

    ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHOICE: You must also read one book from the following list.



    Louise Erdrich

    Tracks. Part of a series of books on 20th century Native American families. This novel explores the early lives of many characters from Love Medicine, an earlier work, through folklore, myth, magic, and storytelling.

    Joseph Heller

    Catch-22. Set in World War II in Italy, the novel focuses on a group of American soldiers and satirizes the absurdity of war through scenes which are sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious.


    The Illiad. Maybe the greatest war story ever written. Follow heroes, legends, gods, godesses, and mere mortals as they battle for Troy. 

    Khaled Hosseini

    A Thousand Splendid Suns. The Taliban "beard patrols" of Afghanistan kept women under burqas, but Hosseini uncovers Mariam and Laila, rivals who become best friends.  Locked into their "lot in life," these women suffer through unimaginable anguish, but together, they triumph. 

    Zora Neal Hurston

    Their Eyes Were Watching God. A young black woman evolves from the protection of her grandmother to domination by her first husband to an eventual sense of self-fulfillment and independence.

    Jack Kerouac

    On the Road. The Beat Generation of the 50s rebels against a conformist adult society as they pursue adventure while traveling across America.

    Ursula K. LeGuin

    The Left Hand of Darkness. Science fiction novel about a planet on which most of the time there is no gender. A visitor from Earth is involved in a dangerous political situation which builds to a dramatic escape and chase across the planet.

    Colum McCann

    Let the Great World Spin. A kaleidoscopic novel set in the 1970s New York. Lots of strange characters and dazzlingly connections.

    Toni Morrison

    Beloved. In post-Civil War Ohio, the past continues to haunt the ex-slave Sethe and the surviving members of her family in this love story / ghost story.

    Toni Morrison

    Song of Solomon. Follow the strange, haunted life of Milkman Dead as he navigates a magically bizarre world of noble and dangerous characters, all in a search for himself and his history.

    Ferroll Sams

    When All The World Was Young. In this continuation of Run With the Horsemen and The Whisper of the River, Porter Osborne Jr. struggles with the early years of medical school and then abandons the struggle for war-time adventures.

    William Shakespeare

    A Midsummer Night's Dream. Possibly Shakespeare's most accessible and whimsical play, this work follows several pairs of lovers as they try to find happiness. Also, a dude gets turned into a creature who has the head of a donkey. Oh, and lots of magic and dreams and lines about the nature and value of art.

    William Shakespeare

    The Tempest. Shakespeare’s response to the colonization of the “New World,” this play tells the story of a shipwrecked magician and his daughter as they encounter the boundless beauty and chaos of an untamed world.

    George Bernard Shaw

    Arms and the Man. A comic play satirizing the Romantic ideas of bravery, the glories of war, and ideal love through comic characters, situations, and language.

    Amy Tan

    The Joy Luck Club. This novel chronicles the lives of four Chinese women, their forty-year friendship, and how the death of one brings her daughter into the fold and creates an understanding for each.

    Donna Tartt

    The Goldfinch. Teen angst, adult intrigue, art, action, and adventure. This thrilling novel follows the life of Theo Decker, a boy who somehow survives the accident that kills his mother. His attachment to a painting – his only reminder of his mother – leads him into a dangerous world of art dealers and hustlers.


    The Aeneid. Meet Aeneas, a wandering warrior who leaves broken bodies and broken hearts in his wake. This classic Latin tale will keep you reading for more. 

    Kurt Vonnegut

    Cat's Cradle. A book about reality, love, religion, and the end of the world -- and it's funny. The narrator discovers the Hoenikker family and their dark secret, and before you can say foma, he's in San Lorenzo ready to marry the most beautiful woman in the world and become president.

    Booker T. Washington

    Up from Slavery. Washington's exploration of the value of hard work, an education, and grit. This autobiography follows forty years of Washington's life, as he moves from slave to educator to influential member of American society.

    Thornton Wilder

    Our Town. Welcome to Grover’s Corners, which feels a whole lot like all of life. A play that casts cool light on the simpler times of nostalgic “America.”

     Leni Zumas

    Red Clocks. This disturbing and eerie feminist novel imagines a future America where the rights of women are brutally repressed. Told from the shifting points of view of five extraordinary women and written in an easy-to-read style, this book will make you think and, eventually, cheer for the resiliency of the characters. If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, this novel is for you.