Summer Reading, Anyone?

June 01, 2010

I'm sure you're all looking for a few good books to read this summer!  I have a list a mile long and that makes me HAPPY!  There's not much that beats a good book on the deck on a warm evening.  Along with the newer releases I've planned on reading, I need to hit some titles on this list.  This is the list I give my PreAP kids at the beginning of the school year.  No, they don't read them all.  They do have to pick 4 to read on their own, 1 per 9 weeks period.  The list has some great titles, so check one out.  You have to let me know if you read one of them -- it can be a first reading or a re-reading.  I'm a big fan of re-reading those books that mean something to you.  My top re-reads are The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Enjoy the list!

*Oh, the S and the P after the titles indicate school library/public library...

American Literature

Agee, James
A Death in the Family (P)
Story of loss and heartbreak felt when a young father dies.

Anderson, Sherwood
Winesburg, Ohio (P)
A collection of short stories lays bare the life of a small town in the Midwest.

Baldwin, James
Go Tell It On the Mountain (P, S)
Semi-autobiographical novel about a 14-year-old black youth's religious conversion.

Bellamy, Edward
Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (P, S)
Written in 1887 about a young man who travels in time to a utopian year 2000, where economic security and a healthy moral environment have reduced crime.

Bellow, Saul
Seize the Day
A son grapples with his love and hate for an unworthy father.

Cather, Willa
My Antonia (P, S)
Immigrant pioneers strive to adapt to the Nebraska prairies.

Chopin, Kate
The Awakening (P, S)
The story of a New Orleans woman who abandons her husband and children to search for love and self-understanding.

Clark, Walter Van Tilburg
The Ox-Bow Incident (P, S)
When a group of citizens discovers one of their members has been murdered by cattle rustlers, they form an illegal posse, pursue the murderers, and lynch them.

Cormier, Robert
The Chocolate War (P, S)
Jerry Renault challenges the power structure of his school when he refuses to sell chocolates for the annual fundraiser.

Crane, Stephen
The Red Badge of Courage (P, S)
During the Civil War, Henry Fleming joins the army full of romantic visions of battle which are shattered by combat.

Dorris, Michael
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (P, S)
Three generations of Native American women recount their searches for identity and love.

Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man (P, S) **Be sure you read Ellison’s novel, not H.G. Wells.
A black man's search for himself as an individual and as a member of his race and his society.

Faulkner, William
As I Lay Dying (P, S)
The Bundren family takes the ripening corpse of Addie, wife and mother, on a gruesomely comic journey.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott
The Great Gatsby (P, S)
A young man corrupts himself and the American Dream to regain a lost love.

Gaines, Ernest
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (P, S)
In her 100 years, Miss Jane Pittman experiences it all, from slavery to the civil rights movement.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter (P, S)
An adulterous Puritan woman keeps secret the identity of the father of her illegitimate child.

Heller, Joseph
Catch-22 (P)
A broad comedy about a WWII bombardier based in Italy and his efforts to avoid bombing missions.

Hemingway, Ernest
A Farewell to Arms (P, S)
During World War I, an American lieutenant runs away with the woman who nurses him back to health.

Hurston, Zora Neale
Their Eyes Were Watching God (P)
Janie repudiates many roles in her quest for self-fulfillment.

Kesey, Ken
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (P, S)
A novel about a power struggle between the head nurse and one of the male patients in a mental institution.

Lee, Harper
To Kill a Mockingbird (P, S)
At great peril to himself and his children, lawyer Atticus Finch defends an African-American man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town.

Lewis, Sinclair
Main Street (P, S)
A young doctor's wife tries to change the ugliness, dullness and ignorance which prevail in Gopher Prairie, Minn.

London, Jack
Call of the Wild (P, S)
Buck is a loyal pet dog until cruel men make him a pawn in their search for Klondike gold.

McCullers, Carson
The Member of the Wedding (P, S)
A young southern girl is determined to be the third party on a honeymoon, despite all the advice against it from friends and family.

Melville, Herman
Moby-Dick (P, S)
A complex novel about a mad sea captain's pursuit of the White Whale.

Morrison, Toni
Sula (P)
The lifelong friendship of two women becomes strained when one causes the other's husband to abandon her.

O'Connor, Flannery
A Good Man is Hard to Find (P, S)
Social awareness, the grotesque, and the need for faith characterize these stories of the contemporary South.

Parks, Gordon
The Learning Tree
A fictional study of a black family in a small Kansas town in the 1920s.

Plath, Sylvia
The Bell Jar (P)
The heartbreaking story of a talented young woman's descent into madness.

Poe, Edgar Allan
Great Tales and Poems (S)
Poe is considered the father of detective stories and a master of supernatural tales.

Potok, Chaim
The Chosen (P, S)
Friendship between two Jewish boys, one Hasidic and the other Orthodox, begins at a baseball game and flourishes despite their different backgrounds and beliefs.

Salinger, J.D.
The Catcher in the Rye (P)
A prep school dropout rejects the "phoniness" he sees all about him.

Sinclair, Upton
The Jungle (P, S)
The deplorable conditions of the Chicago stockyards are exposed in this turn-of-the-century novel.

Steinbeck, John
The Grapes of Wrath (P, S)
The desperate flight of tenant farmers from Oklahoma during the Depression.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Uncle Tom's Cabin (P, S)
The classic tale that awakened a nation about the slave system.

Twain, Mark
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (P, S)
Huck and Jim, a runaway slave, travel down the Mississippi in search of freedom.

Vonnegut, Kurt
Slaughterhouse-Five (P, S)
Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist from Ilium, New York, shuttles between World War II Dresden and a luxurious zoo on the planet Tralfamadore.

Walker, Alice
The Color Purple (P)
A young woman sees herself as property until another woman teaches her to value herself.

Wells, H.G.
The Time Machine (P, S)
A scientist invents a machine that transports him into the future.

Welty, Eudora
Thirteen Stories
A collection of short stories about people and life in the deep South.

Wolfe, Thomas
Look Homeward, Angel
A novel depicting the coming of age of Eugene Gant and his passion to experience life.

World Literature

Achebe, Chinua
Things Fall Apart (P)
Okonkwo, a proud village leader, is driven to murder and suicide by European changes to his traditional Ibo society.

Allende, Isabel
House of the Spirits (P)
The story of the Trueba family in Chile, from the turn of the century to the violent days of the overthrow of the Salvador Allende government in 1973.

Austen, Jane
Pride and Prejudice (P, S)
Love and marriage among the English country gentry of Austen's day.

Balzac, Honore de
Pere Goriot (P, S)
A father is reduced to poverty after giving money to his daughters.

Borges, Jorge Luis
An anthology of literary fireworks based on Borges' favorite symbol.

Bronte, Charlotte
Jane Eyre (P, S)
An intelligent and passionate governess falls in love with a strange, moody man tormented by dark secrets.

Bronte, Emily
Wuthering Heights (P, S)
One of the masterpieces of English romanticism, this is a novel of Heathcliff and Catherine, love and revenge.

Camus, Albert

The Stranger (S)
A man who is virtually unknown to both himself and others commits a pointless murder for which he has no explanation.

Cervantes, Miguel de
Don Quixote (P, S)
An eccentric old gentleman sets out as a knight "tilting at windmills" to right the wrongs of the world.

Conrad, Joseph
Heart of Darkness (P, S)
The novel's narrator journeys into the Congo where he discovers the extent to which greed can corrupt a good man.

Defoe, Daniel
Robinson Crusoe (P, S)
The adventures of a man who spends 24 years on an isolated island.

Dickens, Charles
Great Expectations (P, S)
The moving story of the rise, fall, and rise again of a humbly-born young orphan.

Dostoevski, Feodor
Crime and Punishment (P, S)
A psychological novel about a poor student who murders an old woman pawnbroker and her sister.

Eliot, George
The Mill on the Floss (S)
Maggie is miserable because her brother disapproves of her choices of romances.

Esquivel, Laura
Like Water for Chocolate (P)
As the youngest of three daughters in a turn-of-the-century Mexican family, Tita may not marry but must remain at home to care for her mother.

Flaubert, Gustave
Madame Bovary (P)
In her extramarital affairs, a bored young wife seeks unsuccessfully to find the emotional experiences she craves.

Forster, E.M.
A Passage to India (P, S)
A young English woman in British-ruled India accuses an Indian doctor of sexual assault.

Fuentes, Carlos
The Death of Artemio Cruz
A powerful Mexican newspaper publisher recalls his life as he lies dying at age 71.

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel
One Hundred Years of Solitude (P)
A technique called magical realism is used in this portrait of seven generations in the lives of the Buendia family.

Gogol, Nikolai
The Overcoat
Russian tales of good and evil.

Golding, William
Lord of the Flies (P, S)
English schoolboys marooned on an uninhabited island test the values of civilization when they attempt to set up a society of their own.

Grass, Gunter
The Tin Drum
Oskar describes the amoral conditions through which he has lived in Germany, both during and after the Hitler regime.

Hardy, Thomas
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (P, S)
The happiness of Tess and her husband is destroyed when she confesses that she bore a child as the result of a forced sexual relationship with her employer's son.

Hesse, Hermann
Siddhartha (P, S)
Emerging from a kaleidoscope of experiences and pleasures, a young Brahmin ascends to a state of peace and mystic holiness.

Huxley, Aldous
Brave New World (P, S)
A bitter satire of the future, in which the world is controlled by advances in science and social changes.

Joyce, James
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (P)
A novel about a young man growing up in Ireland and rebelling against family, country, and religion.

Kafka, Franz
The Trial (P?)
A man is tried for a crime he knows nothing about, yet for which he feels guilt.

Lawrence, D.H.
Sons and Lovers (P)
An autobiographical novel about a youth torn between a dominant working-class father and a possessive genteel mother.

Mann, Thomas
Death in Venice (P)
In this novella, an author becomes aware of a darker side of himself when he visits Venice.

Pasternak, Boris
Doctor Zhivago (P)
An epic novel of Russia before and after the Bolshevik revolution.

Paton, Alan
Cry, the Beloved Country (P)
A country Zulu pastor searches for his sick sister in Johannesburg, and discovers that she has become a prostitute and his son a murderer.

Remarque, Erich Maria
All Quiet on the Western Front (P, S)
A young German soldier in World War I experiences pounding shellfire, hunger, sickness, and death.

Scott, Sir Walter
Ivanhoe (S)
Tale of Ivanhoe, the disinherited knight, Lady Rowena, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and Robin Hood at the time of the Crusades.

Shelley, Mary W.
Frankenstein (P, S)
A gothic tale of terror in which Franken-stein creates a monster from corpses.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksander
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (P)
Ivan Denisovich Shukhov endures one more day in a Siberian prison camp and finds joy in survival.

Swift, Jonathan
Gulliver's Travels (P, S)
Gulliver encounters dwarfs and giants and has other strange adventures when his ship is wrecked in distant lands.

Tan, Amy
The Joy Luck Club (P)
After her mother's death, a young Chinese-American woman learns of her mother's tragic early life in China.

Tolstoy, Leo
Anna Karenina (P)
Anna forsakes her husband for the dashing Count Vronsky and brief happiness.

Weisel, Elie
Night (P, S)
A searing account of the Holocaust as experienced by a 15-year-old boy.


Angelou, Maya
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (P, S)
An African-American writer traces her coming of age.

Ashe, Arthur and Arnold Rampersad.
Days of Grace (P)
Biography of a highly respected tennis star and citizen of the world who dies of AIDS.

Baker, Russell
Growing Up (P)
A columnist with a sense of humor takes a gentle look at his childhood in Baltimore during the Depression.

Berenbaum, Michael
The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (S)

Brown, Dee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (P, S)
A narrative of the white man's conquest of the American land as the Indian victims experienced it.

Cooke, Alistair
Alistair Cooke's America (P)
A history of the continent, with anecdotes and insight into what makes America work.

Criddle, Jan. D. and Teeda Butt Mam
To Destroy You Is No Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family
After the 1975 Communist takeover of Cambodia, Teeda's upper-class life is re-duced to surviving impossible conditions.

Crow Dog, Mary and Richard Erdoes
Lakota Woman (P)
Mary Crow Dog stands with 2,000 other Native Americans at the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, demonstrating for Native American rights.

Curie, Eve
Madame Curie (P, S)
In sharing personal papers and her own memories, a daughter pays tribute to her mother, a scientific genius.

Delany, Sara and A. Elizabeth with Amy Hill Hearth
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (P)
Two daughters of former slaves tell their stories of fighting racial and gender pre-
judice during the 20th century.

Epstein, Norrie
Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard. (S)
Gain a perspective on Shakespeare's works through these sidelights, interpretations, anecdotes, and historical insights.

Franklin, Benjamin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (P, S)
Considered one of the most interesting autobiographies in English.

Haley, Alex
Roots (P, S)
Traces Haley's search for the history of his family, from Africa through the era of slavery to the 20th century.

Hersey, John
Hiroshima (P, S)
Six Hiroshima survivors reflect on the aftermath of the first atomic bomb.

Karlsen, Carol
The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England
The status of women in colonial society affects the Salem witch accusations.

Keller, Helen
The Story of My Life (P, S)
The story of Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, and her relationship with her devoted teacher Anne Sullivan.

Kennedy, John F.
Profiles in Courage (P, S)
A series of profiles of Americans who took courageous stands in public life.

King, Martin Luther, Jr.
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. (S)
King's most important writings are gathered together in one source.

Kovic, Ron
Born on the Fourth of July
Paralyzed in the Vietnam War, 21-year-old Ron Kovic received little support from his country and its government.

Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince (P)
A treatise giving the absolute ruler practical advice on ways to maintain a strong central government.

Malcom X, with Alex Haley
The Autobiography of Malcom X
Traces the transformation of a controversial Black Muslim figure from street hustler to religious and national leader.

Marx, Karl
The Communist Manifesto
Expresses Marx's belief in the inevitability of conflict between social classes and calls on the workers of the world to unite and revolt.

Mathabane, Mark
Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa (P)
A tennis player breaks down racial barriers and escape to a better life in America.

Maybury-Lewis, David
Millenium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World
Profiles members of several tribal cultures.

McPherson, James
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (P)
From the Mexican War to Appomattox, aspects of the Civil War are examined.

Mills, Kay
This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (S)
Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper's daughter, uses her considerable courage and singing talent to become a leader in the civil rights movement.

The Republic
Plato creates an ideal society where
justice is equated with health and happiness in the state and the individual.

Rogosin, Donn
Invisible Men: Life in Baseball's Negro Leagues
Negro League players finally gain recognition for their contributions to baseball.

Thoreau, Henry David
Walden (P, S)
In the mid-19th century, Thoreau spends 26 months alone in the woods to "front the essential facts of life."

Tocqueville, Alexis de
Democracy in America (S)
This classic in political literature examines American society from the viewpoint of a leading French magistrate who visited the U.S. in 1831.

Tuchman, Barbara
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
Tuchman uses the example of a single feudal lord to trace the history of the 14th century.

Williams, Juan
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-65
From Brown vs. the Board of Education to the Voting Rights Act, Williams outlines the social and political gains of African-Americans

Yolen, Jane
Favorite Folktales From Around the World
Yolen frames these powerful tales with explanations of historical and literary significance.


Attenborough, David
The Living Planet: A Portrait of the Earth
Various habitats expand the vision of Planet Earth.

Bronowski, Jacob
The Ascent of Man
A scientist's history of the human mind and the human condition.

Carson, Rachel
Silent Spring (P, S)
Carson's original clarion call to environmental action sets the stage for saving our planet.

Darwin, Charles
The Origin of Species (P, S)
The classic exposition of the theory of
evolution by natural selection.

Hawking, Stephen
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (P)
Cosmology becomes understandable as the author discusses the origin, evolution, and fate of our universe.

Leopold, Aldo
A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There (P)
Leopold shares his present and future visions of a natural world.

Social Science

Campbell, Joseph
The Power of Myth (P)
Explores themes and symbols from world religions and their relevance to humankind's spiritual journey today.

Hamilton, Edith
Mythology (P,S)
Gods and heroes, their clashes and adventures, come alive in this splendid retelling of the Greek, Roman and Norse myths.

Kotlowitz, Alex
There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in Urban America
Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers and their family struggle to survive in one of Chicago's worst housing projects.

Kozol, Jonathan
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools (P)
Kozol's indictment of the public school system advocates equalizing per pupil public school expenditures.

Terkel, Studs
Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession
This kaleidoscope covers the full range of America's views on racial issues.


Beckett, Samuel
Waiting for Godot (S)
Powerful, symbolic portrayal of the human condition.

Brecht, Bertolt
Mother Courage and Her Children (S)
A product of the Nazi era, Mother Courage is a feminine "Everyman" in a play on the futility of war.

Chekhov, Anton
The Cherry Orchard (P, S)
The orchard evokes different meanings for the impoverished aristocrat and the merchant who buys it.

Ibsen, Henrik
A Doll's House (P, S)
A woman leaves her family to pursue personal freedom.

Marlowe, Christopher
Doctor Faustus (P, S)
First dramatization of the medieval legend of a man who sold his soul to the devil.

Miller, Arthur
Death of a Salesman (P, S)
The tragedy of a typical American who, at age 63, is faced with what he cannot face: defeat and disillusionment.

O'Neill, Eugene
Long Day's Journey Into Night (S)
A tragedy set in 1912 in the summer home of an isolated, theatrical family.

Sarte, Jean Paul
No Exit
A modern morality play in which three persons are condemned to hell because of crimes against humanity.

Shaw, Bernard
Man and Superman, Saint Joan, Pygmalion, others.

Oedipus Rex (P, S)
Classical tragedy of Oedipus who unwittingly killed his father, married his mother and brought the plague to Thebes.

Wilde, Oscar
The Importance of Being Earnest (P, S)
Comedy exposing quirks and foibles of Victorian society.

Wilder, Thornton
Our Town (P, S)
The dead of a New Hamshire village of the early 1900s appreciate life more than the living.

Williams, Tennessee
A Streetcar Named Desire (P, S)
Blanche Dubois' fantasies of refinement and grandeur are brutally destroyed by her brother-in-law.

Wilson, August
The Piano Lesson
Drama set in 1936 Pittsburgh chronicles black experience in America.

Angelou, Maya
And Still I Rise
Poems reflecting themes from her autobiography.

Brooks, Gwendolyn
Selected Poems (S)
Poetry focusing on the lives of African American residents of Northern urban ghettos, particularly women.

Cummings, E.E.
Complete Poems, 1904-1962 (S)
Prepared directly from the original manuscripts, preserving the original typography and format.

Dickinson, Emily
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (P, S)
A chronological arrangement of all known Dickinson poems and fragments.

Donne, John
The Complete Poetry of John Donne (S)
Poems distinguished by wit, profundity of thought, passion and subtlety.

Eliot, T.S.
The Waste Land (P)
A poem of despair by one of the most important modern poets in English.

Frost, Robert
The Poetry of Robert Frost (P)
Collected works reflecting both flashing insight and practical wisdom.

Ginsberg, Allen
Howl and Other Poems
Works from the leading poet of the so-called "beat generation."

Giovanni, Nikki
My House
The poems in this collection deal with love, family, nature, friends, music, aloneness, blackness, and Africa.

Hughes, Langston
Selected Poems (P, S)
Poems selected by Hughes shortly before his death in 1967, representing work from his entire career.

Keats, John
Complete Poems (P)
Among the greatest odes in English, written by a genius who died young.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
The Poetical Works of Longfellow (P, S)
Includes "The Song of Hiawatha" and "The Courtship of Miles Standish."

Sandburg, Carl
Complete Poems (P, S)
Sandburg celebrates industrial and agricultural America and the common people.

Thomas, Dylan
Poems of Dylan Thomas (P, S)
Poetry by a "word magician" with a powerful imagination.

Williams, William Carlos
Selected Poems (S)
Williams' poetry is firmly rooted in the commonplace details of American life.

Wordsworth, William
Poems (S)
Poetry revealing the extraordinary beauty and significance of simple things.

Yeats, William Butler
The Poems (S)
Leading poet of the Irish Renaissance.

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