mlhs english summer reading 2013


mlhs english summer reading 2013
June, 2013
Dear Members of the Classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017:
The Mountain Lakes High School English Department has once again provided a required
summer reading list for all students. We believe that reading of any kind sharpens language and
writing skills, so in addition to the required text, please keep reading throughout the summer.
Each reading is accompanied by a focus question or idea to be kept in mind as you read. While
we do not require written assignments during the summer, we strongly urge you to keep a reading
journal or notes to record thoughts and observations as you read. In September, you will find a
reading journal or notes helpful as you discuss the books in class. These will also help you to
prepare for the assessments that all teachers give on the required summer reading selections
during the first few days of the fall semester.
Local bookstores and libraries have been provided with copies of our reading list. Many students
will choose to download e-texts this year, and you can also obtain inexpensive new or used copies
from online booksellers.
The list of summer reading selections is also available on our English Department Web Page: If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact
me. Have an enjoyable, restful summer!
Paul Henry
Supervisor of English and Fine Arts
[email protected]
Each student should read carefully the book(s) identified for the class in which he or she is enrolled for the
2013-14 school year. The “FOCUS” for each book will help students to consider ideas and concepts which
will serve as key points of discussion and study in September. For all levels and classes, we would advise
keeping a journal or notes of events, characters, and situations by chapter so you will be better prepared for
class discussions. Using Cliff’s Notes or SparkNotes instead of reading the text would be a terrible mistake,
not only for your understanding of the novel, but also because you will miss a wonderful opportunity to
meet interesting characters, to grow as a reader, and to think deeply about engaging ideas.
Students entering 9th Grade English (one book):
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
FOCUS: The setting (time and place) of this novel brings characters from various national and
cultural backgrounds together at a pivotal moment in history. Think about how each of us
views our world from particular vantage points, through particular lenses, often determined by
nationality, culture, or family background. How do the characters in this book see the world
they live in through their own specific lenses? What does this book have to say about the
benefits of looking at the world through lenses other than our own and about the dangers of our
failure to do this?
Students entering 10th Grade College Prep (one book):
The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
FOCUS: Mark Haddon has said of the main character in his book: “Here’s a character whom
if you met him in real life you’d never, ever get inside his head. Yet something magical
happens when you write a novel about him. You slip inside his head, and it seems like the
most natural thing in the world” (from
Mark Haddon has chosen to show us the world through Christopher’s eyes. What does he help
us discover about ourselves and the different people who make up the world?
Students entering 10th Grade Honors (two books):
The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It is strongly suggested that you read Hound of the Baskervilles first! Curious Incident refers to
this book, and your knowledge of it beforehand will enhance your reading.
FOCUS: In The Hound of Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes notes, "The world is full of obvious
things which nobody by any chance ever observes." Compare how Holmes in Hound and
Christopher in Curious Incident are observant of these "obvious things." What can we learn
from people like Holmes and Christopher with their keen eyes for the truth?
Students entering 11th Grade College Prep (one book):
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
FOCUS: Krakauer’s true account of Chris McCandless is in some ways a classic man vs.
nature story. But, like all great narratives, it is about a person’s internal struggles and personal
desires. What does this story suggest about the nature of the human spirit, about what humans
want, and about what humans need to live a fulfilling life?
Students entering 11th Grade Honors: American Studies (one book):
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
FOCUS: In this novel, Robert Penn Warren writes, "Man is conceived in sin and born in
corruption and he passeth from the stink of the [diaper] to the stench of the shroud. There is
always something." Explain why this quote is central to the novel. Do you agree with this
Students entering AP English Language and Composition
(three books—two required, one choice):
Ms. Dunphy will contact you very soon with some focus ideas and things to think about. It is
suggested that you read one of the choice books first, and then one of the required texts.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
And CHOOSE ONE of the following:
Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.
Explores the tipping point phenomenon—what causes a fashion trend, the
popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. A book about how we
think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant...that aren’t as
simple as they seem…cutting edge neuroscience and psychology.
Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—And
More Miserable Than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge.
GenMe has created a profound shift in the American character, changing what it means
to be an individual in today’s society. The collision of this generation’s entitled selffocus and today’s competitive marketplace will create one of the most daunting
challenges of the new century. Engaging, controversial, prescriptive, funny, Generation
Me will give Boomers new insight into their offspring, and help those in their teens, 20s,
and 30s finally make sense of themselves and their goals and find their road to happiness.
The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge
Filled with arresting, alarming, and even amusing stories of vanity gone off the tracks,
this book is a riveting window into the consequences of narcissism, a prescription to
combat the widespread problems it causes, and a probing analysis of the culture at large.
Students entering English 12 College Prep (one book):
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
FOCUS: “The primal story from which all others come, is your own story—your own personal
history.” --John Rousse. These are all true stories. What is the personal history in this story?
What can we learn from someone else’s experience? What is your own personal story?
Students entering Honors English 12 (two books):
Oedipus, the King by Sophocles (Fitts and Fitzgerald translation if possible)
FOCUS: What control does an individual have over his fate?
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
1. At the time of the novel, one can see that Drouet and Carrie are seeking the "American
Dream" in a young and vibrant nation. How do they attempt to achieve their own vision of
that dream? Are their ideas of an "American Dream" valid in today's world?
2. Drouet and Carrie undergo tremendous change from the beginning of the novel to the end.
What events transpire to cause these changes? What happens to the people in their lives as
they make their transformations?
3. Wealth and poverty, women's issues, and a search for identity are central and recurring
themes in the novel. Keep track of these and other themes and be prepared to discuss in
Students entering AP Literature and Composition (read all three):
Mr. Leonardi encourages you to email him and establish a dialogue on the readings.
Oedipus, the King by Sophocles (Fitts and Fitzgerald translation if possible)
FOCUS: What control does an individual have over his fate?
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
FOCUS: Note the gender roles, allusions, and the concept of appearance versus reality.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
FOCUS: Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a story of fate, chance and injustice in 19 century
England. The central questions one should consider are those dealing with fate and
chance in your own life. Does Tess, Angel Clare, or any of the characters have any
control of the events in their lives? Do you in yours? Also consider justice; is there
any justice in the universe? How would you define justice? Note the connections or
parallels between Hardy’s questions and Sophocles’ questions found in Oedipus Rex.