What books on the AP reading list would you recommend because you enjoyed and profited from reading them?I am looking to add books from this list to our Library - student recommendations are the best!
I teach AP English Language and constantly search for works that will help my students for the AP exam and for life. My goal also is to inspire a love for reading which is getting more and more difficult to do. The work that my students have most enjoyed is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Below is a list of works that my students have liked so much that they went on to voluntarily read other works by the same author, recommended the book to other students, or told me that it was the first work that they had read completely for school.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (This was a huge hit last year with everything that is going on in the world right now.)
The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins
The Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
This I Believe (the updated publication of the 1950s series of essays)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Native Son seems to work well with my students. The content allows them to discuss a wide range of topics from prejudice to communism, to responsibility. The students are capable of tying many historical aspects into the novel as well as social aspects. After the Socratic Seminar discussion, we follow up with a debate about whether or not Bigger is responsible for killing the Dalton girl. The students really get into this topic.
Another good reading from the list is The Inferno. This is a summer read for my students. We begin the year with this and my students do presentations. One of the best topics is to take modern people and place them into Dante's circles of hell. It's interesting to see what famous people the students select (dead or alive) and see where they would be placed according to the circles of hell.
Two dramas that work well are Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. Again, both of these plays allow the students to relate the material to modern day life. We also focus on the connections between the two works with characters and themes. We then discuss the style each author uses to show some of the similarities.
Hope this helps!
Here were my four major units from AP Lit and Lang from this year:
The Stranger, Oedipus, Antigone, King Lear, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, The Things They Carried, The Invisible Man, As I Lay Dying, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Fences, Hamlet, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
The Importance of Being Earnest, The Great Gatsby, Macbeth, 1984, Persepolis, The Color Purple, Othello, The Things They Carried, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Beowulf.
Must have textbooks:
The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Michael Meyer, 2007
The Language of Composition, Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses, 2007
The big hit was the graphic novel, Persepolis. It lightened the 1984 dystopia unit like nothing else. The AP is putting more focus on graphic/images in literature as well.
For AP Language and Composition:
Newer, more contemporary, yet 'literary-worthy', books would be Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (hard book, but so good!), Cry, the Beloved Country and The Shipping News by Proulx (those 3 are some of my personal favorites!!)
In my AP lit classes over the years, some of the works that students read with enthusiasm and wanted to talk about, at length, included some oldies, but goodies--A Farewell to Arms, The Glass Menagerie, The Good Earth, and Ethan Frome. For whatever reasons, The Glass Menagerie and Ethan Frome always stayed with them all year long. Several years ago, I was invited to a class reunion of some former students, and two of the twenty-eight-year-old women wanted to talk about Ethan and Mattie! That is a real "seal of approval."
I am taking AP Literature this year and it is so much fun but also is something where I benefited a lot from taking this class. I have Death of a Salesman, How to Kill a Mockingbird, Hamlet, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and once I get back after break we are reading Frankenstein. These are only a few of the literature we have read this year and it has been really interesting but also recommended for the AP literature test.
I remember trying to pick good books from the AP English list as well (it ended up being one of my favorite classes I ever took in high school). Some of my favorites would definitely include The Kite Runner (fantastic book not a very difficult read, which means you can go through it quickly) and Catch-22 (a classic that is very well written is a beautiful book that I believe will be around for quite some time more).
Hope this helps!
Oedipus is a great book for everyone especially since this depicts the flaw of the tragic hero quite well. Hamlet is great in regards to the fact how you can slowly see how his inward conflict turns out to be the cause of his demise. Frankenstein would be an important book to read as well.
I would recommend
Ethan Frome- This book should definitely be firs ton your list you can learn so much from this book. Not only does this book require you really analyze the story and look at every detail in-depth.
Kite Runner- I truly loved this book. You learn things about morality and it is an all around inspiring book to read.
AP Language for juniors as the juniors are working towards the synthesis which has a fact based text. The novels listed below are fact based and great readings.
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas
The Crucible, Arthur Miller
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
The Things they Carried by Tim O'Brien
AP Literature for seniors as the seniors will be attending to literary anaylsis:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (great frame story)
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (great memory play)
Followed by A Street Car Named Desire also by Tennessee Williams
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
To Kill a Mockingbird is a great read. Pygmalion and the Importance of Being Earnest are two plays students tend to enjoy -- and Pygmalion allows you to show them the movie version or the adapted musical My Fair Lady for further understanding.
For AP 11 language and comp
Fathering Words by Miller
All Over But the Shoutin by Rick Bragg
Henrik Ibsen- A Doll's House
Any Mark Twain
I listed these books for student favorites. None of them are too difficult to read or understand. I also believe they are all really good reads.
I am a 21 year old college student, and I took two AP English classes in high school (now I am an English major).
Also, my class read Heart of Darkness in high school, and we hated my teacher for a month.
Hope this helps!