Animal Farm (George Orwell) A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever written.
Downriver (Will Hobbs) Fifteen year old Jesse is one member of a wilderness survival group that pirates boats and supplies from their adult leader and tries to travel the white water river of the Grand Canyon on their own. This story describes how the young people challenge authority, work through conflicts in their group, and struggle with their own identities.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain) From playing pirates on a deserted island to attending his own “funeral,” Tom Sawyer is a genius and getting himself into dangerous adventures.
Captains Courageous (Rudyard Kipling) Harvey Cheyne, son of a millionaire, is saved from drowning by a New England fishing schooner and forced to prove his worth by mastering the skills on which common survival depends.
Fried Green Tomatoes and the Whistle Stop Café (Fannie Flagg) Astory of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present—for Evelyn and for us—will never quite be the same.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie) In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist who leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school. This heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written tale, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, is based on the author’s own experiences and chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he seems destined to live.
Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Is Ender the general Earth needs?
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom) After dying in an accident, amusement park maintenance man Eddie finds himself in the five heavens of the five people who have significantly affected his life.
Make Lemonade (Virginia Euwer Wolfe) LaVaughn needed a part-time job. Something she could do after school to help earn money for college. Jolly needed a babysitter. Someone she could trust with two kids while she worked the evening shift. It didn’t matter that LaVaughn was fourteen years old…only three years younger than Jolly. It didn’t matter that Jolly didn’t have a husband…or a mom and dad. Because LaVaughn gives Jolly and her two babies more love and understanding than should be possible for a fourteen-year-old.
English 9 H
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) This book focuses on a young woman's adolescent years in early 20th century Brooklyn. It is rich in character as Francie's family and the people in her school shape the developing pattern of her life. This book gives students the opportunity to look at another period in American life and to reflect on the value systems that have shaped their own lives.
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) In this classic bestseller about censorship, firemen are paid to set books ablaze. Read about what happens when Guy Montag begins to question the status quo.
The Book Thief(Marc Zusak) Set in Nazi Germany, the story describes a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, Harry and Rosa, and the other residents of their neighborhood, including a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during the escalation of WWII.
Ender’s Game(Orsen Scott Card) – In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Is Ender the general Earth needs?
To Kill a Mockingbird(Harper Lee) The story follows the family of Atticus Finch, a respected lawyer, who defends a black man accused of assaulting a white woman in the deep south of America during the depression.
The Call of the Wild and White Fang(Jack London) The Call of the Wild is the story of Buck, a dog stolen from his home and thrust into the merciless life of the Arctic north to endure hardship, bitter cold, and the savage lawlessness of man and beast. White Fang is the adventure of an animal - part dog, part wolf - turned vicious by cruel abuse, then transformed by the patience and affection of one man.
English 10 R
The Giver (Lois Lowry) In a grim story set in a totalitarian community somewhere in the future, in a world devoid of conflicts, poverty, divorce, unemployment, and injustice, or so it seems, Jonas awaits with fear the Ceremony of the Twelves and the assignment that will be his life-work.
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) In this classic bestseller about censorship, firemen are paid to set books ablaze. Read about what happens when Guy Montag begins to question the status quo.
Feed(M.T. Anderson) A brilliant new satire takes on consumerism--in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains. www.candlewick.com
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) The Hunger Games is written in the voice of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, where the countries of North America once existed. The Capitol, a highly advanced metropolis, exercises political control over the rest of the nation. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12–18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.
English 10 H
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) This fascinating story of an English governess involves hardship, adventure, romance, modern realism and melodrama.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) This is the autobiography of Angelou's painful yet enriching experiences as a child in Stamps, Arkansas, during the 1930's.
In Cold Blood (Truman Capote) Capote reconstructs the story of the November 1959 murders of a family in Kansas, the Clutters, by a shotgun held inches from their faces. There were few clues and apparently no motives for the murders. Capote investigates the capture, trial, and execution of the killers in a non-fiction book that reads like a suspense novel.
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) All is well for Edmond Dante: he has a beautiful girlfriend, plenty of money, a loving father, and a good job as a sailor, soon to be captain--that is, until he is accused of being part of the Bonapartist party. On the day he is to marry his fiance, he is taken to the worst prison in the area. From here, the story chronicles his years in prison, his escape and his “transformation” into the “Count of Monte Cristo,” who helps people around the world.
White Oleander (Janet Fitch) This is the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes (each with its own set of hard lessons to be learned) becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.
English 11 R
Black Like Me (John Howard Griffin) This is a shocking book. It is the story of a man who underwent a series of medical treatments to change his skin color temporarily to black. From November 6 to December 14, he hitchhiked, walked and rode buses through Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia. The experiences he encountered in the Deep South--the squalor, the violence, the antagonism, the hopelessness--will burn deeply into the conscience of every American who believes in the justice of democracy.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle) In this classic tale of suspense, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the mystery of the fiendish hound which has terrorized the Baskerville family for four generations
The Water is Wide (Pat Conroy) A teacher recounts his touching and memorable experience teaching disadvantaged students in an island off of the coast of South Carolina.
Monster (Walter Dean Myers) This is the innovative story of 16-year old Steve Harmon’s trial, told with the help of Steve’s journal entries. During the opening remarks of the trial, the prosecutor calls Steve a “monster,” based on his supposed role in the shooting of a local convenience-store owner. As Steve prepares a movie script about his life, the reader becomes both a juror and a witness during the trial.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon) This mystery story is told from the point of view of the 15-year old, autistic Christopher Boone. When the neighbor’s poodle is murdered, Christopher sets out to solve the mystery in the same manner as Sherlock Holmes, one of his favorite characters. The novel goes beyond a mystery as the reader views the nature of autism and the workings of the mind.
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) This novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events.
Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt) “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”
So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.
The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls) Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
The City of Falling Angels (John Berendt) The City of Falling Angels is a portrait of the intriguing and colorful private Venice—the world that exists in the off-season, when the tourists have departed and Venetians have Venice all to themselves. The book opens with Berendt riding in a water taxi to his hotel three days after a colossal fire destroyed the Fenice Opera House, one of the most beloved cultural landmarks in Venice. Berendt decides to extend his stay to learn more about the fire and the city from the most beguiling source, though not necessarily the most reliable—the Venetians themselves.
Drawing on all his talents as an investigative reporter, Berendt goes behind the façades of decaying buildings to reveal the city's intricate, hidden private life. Byzantine by nature, the Venetians reveal themselves in both open and secretive ways—after all, as Count Marcello tells him, "Venetians never tell the truth. We mean precisely the opposite of what we say." Berendt meets people whose families lived through a thousand years of Venetian history. He speaks with a variety of people who make their homes in grand palaces and in tiny cottages. There is the Plant Man, the wealthy rat-poison genius, the fearless and much feared Venetian prosecutor who unravels the mystery of the Fenice fire, the celebrated artist who schemes to get himself arrested, the well-known Venetian poet who commits suicide, the politicians struggling to point the finger of blame for the Fenice fire away from themselves, the former mistress of Ezra Pound, and the woman who may or may not have stolen her family legacy. Berendt spins a suspenseful tale out of the threads of many stories—some directly connected to the fire, others not. He finds chaos, corruption, and crime are as characteristic of Venice as its winding canals. With a compelling combination of curiosity and equanimity, Berendt presents an intimate look at a community of natives and expatriates as multifaceted as the colors reflected in the Fenice fire and in the artwork designed to commemorate it.
The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien) The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and, of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of 43. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves.
English 11AP (Language and Composition)
Pudd’nhead Wilson (Mark Twain) This tragedy juggles three plot lines, which all come together in a murder trial at the novel's end. Pudd'nhead Wilson is a Northerner who comes to the small Missouri town of Dawson's Landing to build a career as a lawyer. Immediately upon his arrival he alienates the townspeople, who don't understand his wit. They give him the nickname "Pudd'nhead" and refuse to give him their legal work. He scrapes by on odd work and spends most of his time dabbling in scientific hobbies, most notably, fingerprinting.
Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner) This book uses analytical tools from economics to address a range of questions that, at first glance, might seem to be far removed from the discipline of the "dismal science." They consider questions such as how to determine if teachers are aiding in students' cheating on standardized tests, the impact of information asymmetry on the operation of the Ku Klux Klan, how the organizational structure of crack gangs resemble other businesses, and the influence of parents on child development.
Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way (Bill Bryson) With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson—the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent—brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.
The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English (Roy Peter Clark) Early in the history of English, the words "grammar" and "glamour" meant the same thing: the power to charm. Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools, aims to put the glamour back in grammar with this fun, engaging alternative to stuffy instructionals. In this practical guide, readers will learn everything from the different parts of speech to why effective writers prefer concrete nouns and active verbs. THE GLAMOUR OF GRAMMAR gives readers all the tools they need to "live inside the language"—to take advantage of grammar to perfect their use of English, to instill meaning, and to charm through their writing. With this indispensable book, readers will come to see just how glamorous grammar can be.
You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity (Robert Lane Greene) With the erudite yet accessible style that marks his work as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking tour around the world, illustrating with vivid anecdotes the role language beliefs play in shaping our identities, for good and ill. Beginning with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the word “shibboleth,” Greene shows how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from building cohesive communities to building modern nations. From the notion of one language’s superiority to the common perception that phrases like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic beliefs too often define “us” and distance “them,” supporting class, ethnic, or national prejudices. In short: What we hear about language is often really about the politics of identity. You Are What You Speak is concerned more with the things people say about language than with the way it works. Readers will gain a deeper understanding of language structure and language change from the books of Pinker and McWhorter. But Greene comes into his own in his knowledgeable discussion of the politics of language in nations from Turkey to Israel to India, and of the folly in trying to regulate language from the top down.
The Story of English: Third Revised Edition (Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil, William Cran) Originally written in tandem with a 1986 TV series (produced by one of the authors) and updated in 1992, this introduction to the leading global language traces its evolution, varieties, and debates over its future. McCrum is a retired British editor; MacNeil retired from The McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. A tie-in for a nine-part television series to be broadcast over PBS beginning in September, this is a wide-ranging account of the travels and changes of the English tongue from its beginnings to tomorrow, from England to America to Australia to Africa and India and the Pacific. Despite an occasionally perceptible British bias, the authors have tried hard to paint a colorful, vivid picture of the many faces and varieties of English. The text is never dull, but is enlivened by innumerable examples and by interviews with representative individuals: a minister in Scotland, a couple from the Appalachians, a storekeeper in Newfoundland, a Philadelphia shoeshine man, a cockney fruitseller, an Australian farm family, the president of Sierra Leone, a writing professor in India. A readable book that all public libraries should have.
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English (John McWhorter) Why do we say, “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history. Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it's not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).
Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (Patricia T. O’Conner) The second edition of O'Connor's delightful guide to good English offers a new chapter on e-mail etiquette that ought to make many people-even grammar snobs-feel a tad guilty: "E-mail," she writes, "is no excuse for lousy English." Let your audience determine your attention to tone and mechanics; use salutations and signatures; resist the urge to indiscriminately forward mail; and leave those emoticons and abbreviations at home, she says. Commonsense stuff-but every once in a while, it's nice to be reminded. The rest of the volume is similar to the first: witty, economical and fun to read, it explains the secrets to grammar in refreshingly jargon-free sentences illustrated by numerous examples ("'I assure you,' said the grieving widow, 'I ensured he was insured to the hilt'"). When is "majority" plural, and when singular? How does saying "Trixie loves spaghetti more than I?" mean something completely different than "Trixie loves spaghetti more than me?" While the volume is certainly handy to someone struggling with grammar basics-there are few style guides so breezy-the "Verbal Abuse" section will appeal to language experts and purists, especially those who decry the use of partner as a verb, or grow with a direct object (as in "grow the business"). As for those who like to use dialogue as a verb, "Don't talk to them," O'Connor says.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (Lynne Truss) We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. Former editor Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing...
Search for Self - Reading and Writing for College (12R and 12R Inclusion)
I am the Messenger (Marc Zusak) Nineteen-year-old cabbie Ed Kennedy has little in life to be proud of: his dad died of alcoholism, and he and his mom have few prospects for success. He has little to do except share a run-down apartment with his faithful yet smelly dog, drive his taxi, and play cards and drink with his amiable yet similarly washed-up friends. Then, after he stops a bank robbery, Ed begins receiving anonymous messages marked in code on playing cards in the mail, and almost immediately his life begins to swerve off its beaten-down path.
Nineteen Minutes (Jodi Picoult) Nineteen Minutes, deals with the truth and consequences of a small town high school shooting. Set in Sterling, New Hampshire, Picoult offers reads a glimpse of what would cause a 17-year-old to wake up one day, load his backpack with four guns, and kill nine students and one teacher in the span of nineteen minutes.
The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien) Focusing on O’Brien’s nightmarish experiences, this “vision of horror that was Vietnam circles and echoes as it pierces the reader’s mind and soul.” Not only does the book explore war, it examines the human heart and the meaning of truth.
Room (Emma Donoghue) Five-year-old Jack is the narrator of this fascinating look at a world that consists of one room, an eleven-by-eleven foot space. Since this room contains the only reality Jack has ever known, the reader is granted a glimpse into his imagination’s ability to manufacture endless wonders from the most mundane objects. Jack’s “ma” struggles to create a normal life for her son even though she has been a prisoner for seven years. Ma knows that she can’t maintain her sanity much longer, so she sets out to escape with Jack’s help.
Twentieth Century Literature as Philosophy (12H)
The Life of Pi (Yann Martel) Martel’s imaginative and unforgettable book is a story of adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year old Pi Patel is raised in India, where he tries on various “faiths.” Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family, and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26 foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450 pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Demian (Herman Hesse) This novel takes on the teenager's search for identity. Taking a various look at friends, control and philosophy, the novel gets to the soul and starts the question of self-reflection.
AP English 12
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) One of the most poetic works of fiction by a black writer in the first half of the twentieth century, this novel is also one of the most revealing treatments in modern literature of a woman's quest for a satisfying life.
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) Victims of the Dust Bowl of the thirties, the Joad family join thousands of farmers in the great migration to California, the promised land, to find a new life.
A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) This comic novel makes us care about Owen Meany, a character who believes he is God’s instrument. The small boy with the strange voice becomes an appealing martyr.