2017 Summer AP Literature and Composition Assignment

Welcome to AP Lit! I’m excited that you’ve all chosen to challenge yourself, and I hope that we’ll all have a fantastic year together. The first key to a successful year is to ensure you guys all keep practicing your critical reading skills over the summer. I would hate for your brains to atrophy! =) It is vital that you complete all parts of this summer assignment as our first few weeks of class (and therefore a large chunk of your first quarter grade) w ill be dealing with the books you read this summer and the notes you take over them. You’ve all earned a well-deserved break, and I sincerely hope you enjoy your summer. Just do yourself a favor and don’t put this all off until August. You’ll want to kick yourself if you have to spend the last two weeks of break doing homework instead of enjoying your last summer hurrahs.

The Assignment:

Choose a book: I have attached a reading list taken from previous AP Lit and Comp tests. Your assignment for this summer is to read two of these works. You have many titles and authors to choose from, some of which may be unfamiliar to you. Reading some reviews (Amazon’s a great source) may help you narrow down your options to something you’ll find interesting. The books on this list are probably not the type of books you would typically choose for some light, vacation reading. However, they serve a few important purposes:

They are a sampling of the types of texts we’ll be reading, discussing, and writing about next year. They provide you with enough depth and complexity to get you thinking about key themes and the elements used to express them. They begin/add to your literary storehouse of knowledge which you’ll need to pull from when you take the AP exam next spring.

Take notes: In order to get the most out of your reading (and make your fall assignments much easier),make sure you’re an active reader of these books. As you read, take notes over character/character development, conflict, theme, rhetorical devices/word choice, setting, and form/structure. (You’ll have two sets of notes—one for each work.) I would recommend setting up a couple of pages for each category in a notebook or journal. Pose questions and do your best to answer them. Remember to jot down page numbers so it is easy to find the passages you want. These notes should be ample proof that you have carefully read the work. Do not just summarize the plot!

Write a final response: Write a one-page response as soon as possible after you finish each book. This is just an informal, first person reaction to the novel. Did you like it? Why or why not? What did you find to be interesting in the text as a whole? There are really no rules for a response; it’s just a chance for you to collect your thoughts on the entire piece and vent your excitement, frustration, or questions.

Your notes and responses will be due the first day of class—make sure to bring them with you! Structured writing assignments will follow.

  • Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte
  • Wise Blood—Flannery O’Conner
  • Catch 22—Joseph Heller
  • Notes from the Underground —Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Invisible Man—Ralph Ellison
  • Moby Dick—Herman Melville
  • Great Expectations—Charles Dickens
  • Gulliver’s Travels—Jonathan Swift
  • Frankenstein—Mary Shelley
  • The Trial—Franz Kafka
  • The Metamorphosis—Franz Kafka
  • The Loved One—Evelyn Waugh
  • Benito Cereno—Hermann Melville
  • Miss Lonelyhearts—Nathanael West
  • The Winter’s Tale—William Shakespeare
  • The House of Seven Gables—Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Brave New World—Aldous Huxley
  • Wide Sargasso Sea—Jean Rhys
  • All the Pretty Horses—Cormac McCarthy
  • Bless Me, Ultima—Ruldolfo A. Anaya
  • Ceremony—Leslie Marmon Silko
  • The Color Purple—Alice Walker
  • Crime and Punishment—Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Cry, the Beloved Country—Alan Paton
  • Emma—Jane Austen
  • Heart of Darkness—Joseph Conrad
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—James Joyce
  • The Portrait of a Lady—Henry James
  • Song of Solomon—Toni Morrison
  • The Stone Angel—Margaret Laurence
  • The Tempest—William Shakespeare
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God—Zora Neale Hurston
  • Twelfth Night—William Shakespeare
  • As I Lay Dying—William Faulkner
  • Bleak House—Charles Dickens
  • Cat’s Cradle—Kurt Vonnegut
  • Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte
  • The Optimist’s Daughter—Eudora Welty
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead—Tom Stoppard
  • The Turn of the Screw—Henry James
  • Waiting for Godot—Samuel Beckett
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—Edward Albee
  • An American Tragedy—Theodore Dreiser
  • Another Country—James Baldwin
  • The Awakening—Kate Chopin
  • The Bluest Eye—Toni Morrison
  • The Diviners—Margaret Laurence
  • The Grapes of Wrath—John Steinbeck
  • House Made of Dawn—N. Scott Momaday
  • Light in August—William Faulkner
  • M. Butterfly—David Henry Hwang Medea—Euripides
  • The Merchant of Venice—William Shakespeare
  • Middlemarch—George Eliot
  • Moll Flanders—Daniel Defoe
  • Murder in the Cathedral—T.S. Eliot
  • Native Son—Richard Wright
  • The Sun Also Rises—Ernest Hemingway
  • Winter in the Blood—James Welch
  • A Passage to India—E.M. Forster
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream—William Shakespeare
  • Antony and Cleopatra—William Shakespeare
  • A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens
  • The Woman Warrior—Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy
  • Things Fall Apart—Chinua Achebe
  • A Streetcar Named Desire—Tennessee Williams
  • The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Mansfield Park—Jane Austen
  • The Scarlett Letter—Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • A Farewell to Arms—Ernest Hemingway
  • The Age of Innocence—Edith Wharton
  • Alias Grace—Margaret Atwood
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man—James Weldon Johnson
  • Daisy Miller—Henry James
  • Ethan Frome—Edith Wharton
  • A Gathering of Old Men—Ernest J. Gaines
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain—James Baldwin
  • The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood
  • Hedda Gabler—Henrik Ibsen
  • The Joy Luck Club—Amy Tan
  • Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen
  • Ragtime—E. L. Doctorow
  • The Scarlet Letter—Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Sister Carrie—Theodore Dreiser
  • Slaughterhouse Five—Kurt Vonnegut
  • Snow Falling on Cedars—David Guterson
  • The Things They Carried —Tim O’Brien

Ron Baer
M.F.A., M.A., N.B.C.