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Summer Reading

Page history last edited by Mrs. Blankenship 11 years, 10 months ago

Mandatory Books

  • Frankenstein**
  • Much Ado about Nothing**
  • Reading Test: September 2 or 3  


Choice Book

** Copies available to loan out.


 Top Recommendations

o   The Secret Life of Bees  Sue Monk Kid**1

o   the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime  Mark Haddon**1

o   Their Eyes Were Watching God  Nora Neale Hurston**

o   The Awakening   Kate Chopin **1

o   Kite Runner  Khaled Hosseini**1

o   Snow Falling on Cedars  David Guterson**1

o   Catch 22  Joseph Heller**1

o   The Great Gatsby  F. Scott Fitzgerald**


Other Options

o   An approved classic novel of your choice that you weren’t assigned for school.  Please get the book approved before writing your essay.   Books Already Approved for AP.doc 

     For Example

o Any Shakespearean play: Anthony and Cleopatra, Hamlet**, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II, Macbeth**, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Richard II, Richard III**, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night

o 1984**

o A Tale of Two Cities**

o All Quiet on the Western Front**

o Cry, the Beloved Country**

o Fahrenheit 451**

o Gulliver’s Travels**2

o Jane Ere**1

o Moby-Dick

o Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

o Song of Solomon**1

o Things Fall Apart**

o To Kill a Mockingbird** 

o Wuthering Heights**


Choice Book Essay

  • Due: August 1st 

Turn in Options

               Mrs. Blankenship

               c/o Mardela High School               

               24940 Delmar Road     

               Mardela Springs, MD 21837

Essay Prompt

     Write a well-written two to five page essay on the book of your choice.  The topic is “What makes this book worth studying as part of great British or American literature?”  You will have to decide what makes any book worth studying and use evidence from your novel to show how it fits your chosen criteria. You may email me with questions. 


Summer Essay Rubric









Writer convincingly and thoroughly answers the question with well-chosen evidence to support his/her ideas. 

Writer answers the question with some appropriate evidence for support.


Writer does not address the question or doesn’t use appropriate evidence for support.



Writing demonstrates an understanding of the complexity of the novel and of “great literature.” 

Writing reveals accurate comprehension of the novel and the topic, but little insight. 

Writing does not show knowledge of the novel or of its place in the cannon. 






Conventions errors are rare: they occur fewer than one time per paragraph.


Conventions errors provide only a minor distraction because they add up to one or two a paragraph. 

Conventions errors distract the reader because they add up to more than two a paragraph. 




Paper follows the formatting guidelines with no more than 1 error or omission. 

Paper makes an attempt to follow the formatting guidelines with 2-4 omissions or errors. 

Paper does not attempt to follow the formatting guidelines and/or has 5 omissions or errors 


Paper is between two full pages and five pages. 

Paper is over one page, but doesn’t fill two-thirds of the second page. 

Paper is one and a quarter pages or less.



Other Summer Book Activitities

  • Coffee House - A relaxed opportunity to discuss our summer reading and get to know each other over a cup of hot chocolate and a snack.
  • Impromtu - An in-class timed essay test on one of the manatory books.  It will be your first experience writing the most frequent type of essay you'll use this year.  It will be after we've discussed the books at least a little.
  • Reading Reference Sheet - A handout you'll create describing the book so you can refresh your memory later.


So, What are you reading?


Mrs. Blankenship

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess  

     I promised one of my former students (Andrew M.) that I would read this alternative-future violence-extravaganza.  He loved the cryptic language that makes reading this book an endeavor for the determined.  I, however, HATED the book.  The author describes the violence as cathartic, an enjoyable release.  I was both shocked and disgusted by the horrors. However, it would have been worth it if Burgess didn't have such a vapid theme.  His message is that "Evil is a phase teenagers go through."  Okay, he wouldn't have said it like that.  He wrote in his introduction (which I read after reading the book) "Senseless violence is a prerogative of youth, which has much energy but little talent for the constructive.  Its dynamism has to find an outlet in smashing telephone kiosks, derailing trains, stealing cars and smashing them and, of course, in the much more satisfactory activity of destroying human beings."  That is crap  How many cars did you steal as a teenager?  None for me.  Nor do most teens I know enjoy seeing the blood and suffering of random strangers.  What is worse is that the main character never grows or shows remorse.  One day he just gets bored with murder and decides to get married. It is a sappy and artificial ending.  I would much perfer the "Old" American version of the book that ended after the 20th chapter with Alex being "cured" and planning his future crimes.  That would have conveyed the theme that some people are evil at heart and will not change.   Really, I hate the message of this story.


Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

    I loved these books.  They are written for younger readers, but they have a depth that works for all ages. Some people see these books as religious allegories.  They are, but they are so much more.  You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy the fight of good vs. evil and the joy of honorable innocence triumphing over the dark forces.  Lions, witches, dwarfs, and children fill this amazingly complicated world.  I will admit that I did not love the last book as much as the rest of the series.  It is the one that is the most depressing and religious.   But I highly recommend the rest for all ages.  


American Gods by Neil Gaiman

    This book was recommended by a stranger in a book store.  I love it when you meet someone, mention a few book and they know what you have to read.  I am not sure if I liked it, but it is sure a fun book to talk about.  All the Gods that Americans have ever believed in are wandering around fighting for a life.  Loki and his chaos play a big role.  However it is not one story so much as dozens of short stories of gods tied together.  You learn a little about a lot.  The central story line is not lost along the way, but it does get you sidetracked often. 


Katie M. and Baily B. 

1984 by George Orwell

    (Katie) Is George Orwell’s 1984 a British classic worth reading?  With its superb use of language, horrifyingly creative plot of a future world gone wrong, 60 year track record, and presentation of the idea that we must think for ourselves or extinguish the spark of true life, the answer is obviously a resounding ‘yes!’


Carlos O.

The Stranger by Albert Camus  

Written by Albert Camus in 1942, this is one of the most influential French novels of the 20th century. It tells the story of an average man who unknowingly gets drawn in to senseless murder on an Algerian beach. The Stranger is a fiction novel, but it contains a philosophical motive behind it. In this novel, Camus posits his theory of the "absurd." Heasserts that individual lives and human existence have no rational meaning or purpose. The way the story is told is absolutely stunning, from the beginning to the end, the reader is vividly walkedthrough the last days of Monsieur Meursault’s life. The story keeps the reader’s attention from the first page to the last. I feel that many people would actually enjoy this book because it does not drag on pointless details.


Chandell B.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

     As in other great novels this one shows how us as Americans in time grow from different thing: struggle, change and forgiveness.  Lily struggles with the guilt of killing her mother, changes how she views life, and forgives herself.


Chelsea F.

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

  The novel is an early space science fiction about an alien invasion of the planet Earth. A strange Martian cylinder landed in a small surrey of Great Britain, containing aliens with hostile intentions.  The style of writing in the novel, is worth studying because of the author’s attention to detail and his elaborate descriptions of the alien invaders.  “If one could have hung that June morning in a balloon in the blazing blue above London every northward and eastward road running out of the tangled maze of streets would have seemed stippled black with the streaming fugitives, each dot a human agony of terror and physical distress” (121).


Chessa F.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The author created a wonderful tale of adventure, along with quite a few different messages, which made this a must read for those individuals who love a good adventure. It gives the reader a glimpse of what life was like in the mid- 1600’s.


Dylan M.

The Plague by Albert Camus

    Camus puts forth a story that examines the way in which humans deal with tragedy.  The Plague also shines a light on the way in which humans live and how they die.  Camus ingeniously uses the plague as a tool to dissect and examine these different facts of humanity and how they intertwine together.  It also touches on religious aspects of the struggle for life and god's role in human suffering. If more authors were to take this type of approach to writing, a thoughtful mindset would be much more prevalent in the readers of today.


Megan S.

the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by Mark Haddon

    The entire story was written from the first point of view of a young boy, Christopher, who has autism.  Because the story is written from this point of the view the reader is given a unique glimpse at how the mind of an autistic person works and processes.  This story, I feel, can be enjoyed by many age groups.  It is written in a simple language that a teenager could enjoy, and it contains deeper messages (as well as complex math problems) that an adult may enjoy.


Sarah R.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Austen’s signature classic has long been an object of enduring popularity.  What makes it worth studying is subjective to the interest of the reader – whether it’s a historian’s interest in the daily lives or class system of early Britain, the casual novel-eater’s desire for a well-written romantic indulgement, or the English connoisseur’s dissection of admirable storytelling elements.  Pride and Prejudice’s elegant writing contains enough to satisfy all three of these myriad solicitors in their separate causes; the book’s regard can largely be attributed to its ability to appeal to a mass of tastes, and though by no means a ‘groundbreaking’ read, the merit of perusing and understanding the assets of Austen’s use of language is a nice experience to have and keep and comprehend.


Savannah B.

The Time Machine by H.G Wells

With all the books messages, advice, action, and mystery it tends to give people a feeling to express themselves.  For anyone who reads the book will feel appreciation, compassion, and even excitement.


Taylore T.

The Iliad by Homer

This is the retelling of one of the oldest stories in history, the Trojan War. The Iliad is one of the few books that actually show how the Greeks thought the Gods, though being all powerful, didn’t act all that different from normal people. Homer’s tale shows how the Gods and Goddess used their influence to change outcomes in the battle and to save people. The Gods aren’t only seen on the battle you also get a look at how they look on Mount Olympus. They act a bit like the family in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen.



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