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!

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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

rshaffer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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!

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here were my four major units from AP Lit and Lang from this year:

AP Lit:

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.

AP Lang:

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:

AP Lit:

The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Michael Meyer, 2007

AP Lang:

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.

charcunning eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For AP Language and Composition:

Malcolm X, Into the Wild (good debates out of this one!) and Angela's Ashes (my students LOVE IT!).

When I was in high school I was in AP Lit and we read Farenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, Job by Archibald Macleish, Huck Finn, Gatsby...the usual classics.

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!!)

writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candide by Voltaire has been enjoyed by my AP class. Also, Lord of the Flies was a good one, as well as A Tale of Two Cities. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a play that they enjoy, if they can get the satire. And Of Mice and Men.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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."

zumba96 | Student

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. 

thewanderlust878 | Student

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!

zumba96 | Student

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.  

udonbutterfly | Student

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.

lilywreck | Student

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


bookjunkie44 | Student

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.

bama13 | Student

For AP 12 Language and Composition:

In Cold Blood - Capote, Black Boy - Wright, Hunger of Memory - Rodriguez, Angela's Ashes - McCourt, All Over But the Shoutin - Bragg, Malcolm X Into the Wild, and How to Read Literature like a Professor - Foster

cspellman | Student

For AP 11 language and comp

Fathering Words by Miller

All Over But the Shoutin by Rick Bragg

lander5 | Student

Henrik Ibsen- A Doll's House


King Lear

Oedipus Rex

Jane Eyre

House on Mango Street

Grapes of Wrath


Gullivers Travels

Any Mark Twain

A Passage to India

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!