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Concord Academy

Summer Reading Lists

Summer reading for incoming ninth graders

Welcome to CA! We here in the English department encourage you to READ during summer vacation.  It has genuinely been our experience that regular recreational reading improves our reading and writing skills (in addition to being fun). 

We hope that you will read as much as possible this summer.  And in that spirit, we offer both a list of books that students have enjoyed in recent years and some direction about readings that will help you with your work in English throughout the coming year.

Recommended summer reading:

1.      All new students should arrive at CA with some background in Greek mythology.  

In particular, we're interested in you arriving with a basic sense for the universe of Greek mythology: its major figures, their relationships to one another, and how that universe operates.

Whether you've already studied mythology or you're encountering it for the first time, we've found the following three books to be useful points of reference and review.  Given your background and interest in mythology, please read the one(s) that will best help you to prepare for the major text of the fall semester, Homer’s The Odyssey.

Black Ships Before Troy | Rosemary Sutcliff

Sutcliff offers an accessible prose retelling of The Iliad – a prequel of sorts to The Odyssey.  Her text provides a useful context for the relationships between gods and mortals, the Trojan War, and the events leading up to The Odyssey.

Mythology | Edith Hamilton

In particular, we recommend PARTS ONE and FOUR of this classic reference work.

In PART ONE you'll find a helpful overview of the Greek gods, creation story, and heroes.  In the first two portions of PART FOUR you'll find some useful background on the Trojan War.

Book of Greek Myths | Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaires

Here you'll find an illustrated version of the central players and plot lines in Greek mythology that appeals to readers of all ages.  Each chapter is devoted to a particular figure in the Greek pantheon.  This edition might be especially helpful for orienting visual learners and first-time readers of Greek myths.

2.    Please read a play by William Shakespeare.  

This should help you to familiarize yourself with his language and style. We recommend Folger Shakespeare Editions, for they supply good, clear glossaries and notes. Our suggestion is that you read either Romeo and Juliet (timeless, thwarted teenage love) or A Midsummer Night’s Dream (lots of mixed-up couples, magic, a night in the forest). If you are familiar with both of those texts, please pick another play you are interested in reading!

3.    Finally, please read widely from the list below – or anything else that intrigues you.

We expect you to read at least five books this summer (counting the Shakespeare play), but we want you to have fun and free choice in your selections.

Suggestions for summer reading:

Fiction:              

Many – though not all – of these suggestions are coming of age stories:

Adichie, Chimamanda – Purple Hibiscus

Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women

Alexie, Sherman – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alvarez, Julia – How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice; Emma

Cather, Willa –  Death Comes for the Archbishop

Chbosky, Stephen – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Christie, Agatha – Murder on the Orient Express

Cisneros, Sandra – The House on Mango Street

Courtenay, Bryce – The Power of One

Crane, Stephen – The Red Badge of Courage

Danticat, Edwidge –  Breath, Eyes, Memory

Dickens, Charles – David Copperfield

Doyle, Arthur Conan – The Hound of the Baskervilles

Dumas, Alexander – The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo

Haddon, Mark – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Hemingway, Ernest – A Farewell to Arms 

hooks, bell –  Bone Black 

Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World

Irving, John –  A Prayer for Owen Meany; The Cider House Rules

Jen, Gish – Typical American

Keyes, Daniel – Flowers for Algernon

Kincaid, Jamaica – Annie John

Kingsolver, Barbara – The Bean Trees

Kingston, Maxine Hong – The Woman Warrior

Lee, Harper –  To Kill a Mockingbird

LeGuin, Ursula – The Left Hand of Darkness

Maclean, Norman – A River Runs Through It

Martel, Yann – Life of Pi

Mitchell, David – Black Swan Green

Orwell, George – 1984; Animal Farm

Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye

Smith, Betty – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Tan, Amy – The Joy Luck Club

Vonnegut, Kurt – Slaughterhouse Five

White, T.H. – The Once and Future King

 

Nonfiction:

Angelou,  Maya –  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Angell, Roger – The Summer Game 

Durrell, Gerard – My Family and Other Animals 

Kaling, Mindy – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Krakauer, Jon – Into the Wild; Into Thin Air

McBride, James – The Color of Water

Moeringer, J.R. – The Tender Bar

Pollan, Michael – The Botany of Desire

Redniss, Lauren – Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout

 

Poetry:

Alexander, Elizabeth – American Sublime

Bradstreet, Anne – The Works of Anne Bradstreet

Brooks, Gwendolyn – Bean Eaters; Selected Poems

Clifton, Lucille – The Book of Light

Collins, Billy – Sailing Alone Around the Room; The Trouble with Poetry  

Dickinson, Emily –  The Complete Poems

Frost, Robert – North of Boston

Hayes, Terrance – Wind in a Box

Hopkins, Gerard Manley – Poems and Prose

Hughes, Langston – Selected Poems

Keats, John – Selected Poems

Komunyakaa, Yusef – Neon Vernacular

Limon, Ada – Sharks in the Rivers

Oliver, Mary – American Primitive

Poe, Edgar Allen – Complete Stories and Poems

Ryan, Kay – The Best of It

Smith, Clint – Counting Descent

Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass

Wordsworth, William – The Major Works

 

Summer reading for incoming tenth graders

New students:

During their ninth grade English class at Concord Academy, students read The Odyssey (Homer), Macbeth or As You Like It (William Shakespeare), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), and Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston). Because your subsequent work in English at CA will depart from and make frequent reference to these texts, please spend some time this summer reading anything you have not yet studied.

For a background in Greek mythology: please see the ninth grade summer reading list for a few suggestions about texts you might examine to review.

All students, including new students:

We here in the English Department at CA encourage you to keep reading over summer vacation. 

Please read at least five books from the list below and/or anything else that intrigues you.  

While we expect you to read at least five books this summer, we want you to have fun – and some free choice – in your selections.  You may also select works of comparable literary value by authors not listed here.

 

Suggestions for summer reading:

Fiction:

Many – though not all – of these suggestions are coming of age stories:

Adichie, Chimamanda – Purple Hibiscus

Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women

Alexie, Sherman – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alvarez, Julia – How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice; Emma

Cather, Willa –  Death Comes for the Archbishop

Chbosky, Stephen – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Christie, Agatha – Murder on the Orient Express

Cisneros, Sandra – The House on Mango Street

Courtenay, Bryce – The Power of One

Crane, Stephen – The Red Badge of Courage

Danticat, Edwidge –  Breath, Eyes, Memory

Dickens, Charles – David Copperfield

Doyle, Arthur Conan – The Hound of the Baskervilles

Dumas, Alexander – The Three Musketeers; The Count of Monte Cristo

Haddon, Mark – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Hemingway, Ernest – A Farewell to Arms 

hooks, bell –  Bone Black

Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World

Irving, John –  A Prayer for Owen Meany; The Cider House Rules

Jen, Gish – Typical American

Keyes, Daniel – Flowers for Algernon

Kincaid, Jamaica – Annie John

Kingsolver, Barbara – The Bean Trees

Kingston, Maxine Hong – The Woman Warrior

Lee, Harper –  To Kill a Mockingbird

LeGuin, Ursula – The Left Hand of Darkness

Maclean, Norman – A River Runs Through It

Martel, Yann – Life of Pi

Mitchell, David – Black Swan Green

Orwell, George – 1984; Animal Farm

Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye

Smith, Betty – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Tan, Amy – The Joy Luck Club

Vonnegut, Kurt – Slaughterhouse Five

White, T.H. – The Once and Future King

 

Nonfiction:

Angelou,  Maya –  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Angell, Roger – The Summer Game 

Durrell, Gerard – My Family and Other Animals

Kaling, Mindy – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Krakauer, Jon – Into the Wild; Into Thin Air

McBride, James – The Color of Water

Moeringer, J.R. – The Tender Bar

Pollan, Michael – The Botany of Desire

Redniss, Lauren – Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout

 

Poetry:

Alexander, Elizabeth – American Sublime

Bradstreet, Anne – The Works of Anne Bradstreet

Brooks, Gwendolyn – Bean Eaters; Selected Poems

Clifton, Lucille – The Book of Light

Collins, Billy – Sailing Alone Around the Room; The Trouble with Poetry  

Dickinson, Emily –  The Complete Poems

Frost, Robert – North of Boston

Hayes, Terrance – Wind in a Box

Hopkins, Gerard Manley – Poems and Prose

Hughes, Langston – Selected Poems

Keats, John – Selected Poems

Komunyakaa, Yusef – Neon Vernacular

Limon, Ada – Sharks in the Rivers

Oliver, Mary – American Primitive

Poe, Edgar Allen – Complete Stories and Poems

Ryan, Kay – The Best of It

Smith, Clint – Counting Descent

Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass

Wordsworth, William – The Major Works

 

Summer reading for incoming juniors and seniors

We here in the English department encourage you to keep reading during the summer vacation. All juniors and seniors should read five books – either selected from the list offered below or from other works by the same authors; students may also select works of comparable literary value by authors not listed here.

Prose:

Achebe, Chinua – Things Fall Apart

Adichie, Chimamanda – Half a Yellow Sun; Americanah

Adiga, Aravind – White Tiger 

Allende, Isabel – House of Spirits 

Atwood, Margaret – Cat’s Eye

Austen, Jane – Mansfield Park; Sense and Sensiblity

Baldwin, James – Go Tell it on the Mountain; Giovanni’s Room 

Calvino, Italo – If on a Winter’s Night A Traveler; Invisible Cities 

Camus, Albert – The Stranger

Eliot, George – The Mill on the Floss

Elison, Ralph – Invisible Man

Erdrich, Louise – The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Eugenides, Jeffrey – Middlesex

Fadiman, Ann – The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Faulkner, William – Light in August

Fitzgerald, F. Scott – Tender is the Night; This Side of Paradise

Hawthorne, Nathaniel – The House of Seven Gables 

Hamid, Mohsin – The Reluctant Fundamentalist 

Hemingway, Ernest – The Sun Also Rises 

Highsmith, Patricia – The Talented Mr. Ripley

Ishiguro, Kazuo – Remains of the Day; Never Let Me Go

Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer – The Nature of Passion

Kafka, Franz – The Trial

Kalman, Maira – The Principles of Uncertainty

Kincaid, Jamaica – A Small Place

Lahiri, Jhumpa – Unaccustomed Earth; The Lowland

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia – One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera

McCann, Colum – Let the Great World Spin 

McCarthy, Cormac – All the Pretty Horses 

McEwan, Ian – Atonement; Saturday 

Mitchell, David – Cloud Atlas

Moore, Lorrie – Anagrams

Naipaul, V.S. – A House for Mr. Biswas

O’Connor, Flannery – Everything That Rises Must Converge

Ondaatje, Michael – The English Patient

Oyeyemi, Helen – Boy, Snow, Bird

Reichl, Ruth – Tender at the Bone; Garlic and Sapphires

Roy, Arundhati – The God of Small Things

Saramago, Jose – Blindness

Saunders, George – Civilwarland in Bad Decline; Tenth of December

Sedaris, David – Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim; Me Talk Pretty One Day

Silko, Leslie Marmon – Ceremony

Smily, Jane – A Thousand Acres; Ordinary Love and Good Will

Smith, Zadie – White Teeth

Steinbeck, John – The Grapes of Wrath; East of Eden

Walker, Alice – The Color Purple

Welty, Eudora – Delta Wedding

Wharton, Edith – House of Mirth; The Age of Innocence

 

Poetry:

Alexander, Elizabeth – American Sublime 

Bradstreet, Anne – The Works of Anne Bradstreet 

Brooks, Gwendolyn – Bean Eaters; Selected Poems 

Clifton, Lucille – The Book of Light

Collins, Billy – Sailing Alone Around the Room; The Trouble with Poetry

Dickinson, Emily –  The Complete Poems

Frost, Robert – North of Boston

Hayes, Terrance – Wind in a Box

Hopkins, Gerard Manley – Poems and Prose

Hughes, Langston – Selected Poems 

Keats, John – Selected Poems 

Komunyakaa, Yusef – Neon Vernacular 

Limon, Ada – Sharks in the Rivers 

Oliver, Mary – American Primitive

Poe, Edgar Allen – Complete Stories and Poems

Ryan, Kay – The Best of It

Smith, Clint – Counting Descent 

Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass 

Wordsworth, William – The Major Works