Texts for summer reading

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This book is available through the school, but I highly recommend you buy your own copy for a more authentic annotation experience.


Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. NY: Three Rivers Press, 2007. ISBN: 0307341445

Description from Amazon: Thank You for Arguing is your master class in the art of persuasion, taught by professors ranging from Bart Simpson to Winston Churchill. The time-tested secrets the book discloses include Cicero’s three-step strategy for moving an audience to action as well as Honest Abe’s Shameless Trick of lowering an audience’s expectations by pretending to be unpolished. But it’s also replete with contemporary techniques such as politicians’ use of “code” language to appeal to specific groups and an eye-opening assortment of popular-culture dodges, including:

The Eddie Haskell Ploy
Eminem’s Rules of Decorum
The Belushi Paradigm
Stalin’s Timing Secret
The Yoda Technique 

Whether you’re an inveterate lover of language books or just want to win a lot more anger-free arguments on the page, at the podium, or over a beer, Thank You for Arguing is for you. Written by one of today’s most popular online language mavens, it’s warm, witty, erudite, and truly enlightening. It not only teaches you how to recognize paralipsis and chiasmus when you hear them, but also how to wield such handy and persuasive weapons the next time you really, really want to get your own way.http://sachachua.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/20120321-book-thank-you-for-arguing.png

You will be responsible for obtaining your own copy of whatever book you choose. I recommend you buy your book, but many titles may be available through your local library. We do have copies of a few of these titles at school (marked with an asterisk*); if you are selecting one of those, you may check one out from Mrs. Miller.
You may see detailed descriptions of these books on our public Amazon wish list. I have also added my comments and recommendations there. Feel free to email me and ask for suggestions if you’re having trouble deciding.

Online book list address: http://amzn.com/w/AKW9HH3PG4ZW


The following books are all works of non-fiction that caught my attention and sounded interesting to me. I have tried to include a wide variety of topics; however, if you have a work of non-fiction that you are interested in reading (not something you have already read) that is not on this list, feel free to contact me for approval. Any work not on this list must be approved prior to completing your work with it.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

by Michael Pollan
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

by Philip G. Zimbardo
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

by Carol Tavris
Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (Perennial Classics)

by Stanley Milgram
Black Skin, White Masks

By Franz Fannon
Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century

by Lauren Slater
Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir

by Lauren Slater
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

by Jon Krakauer
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.)

by Simon Winchester
Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Other Don't

by Paul Sullivan
Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 (Historical Studies of Urban America)

by Arnold R. Hirsch
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

by Barbara Ehrenreich


This is not a comprehensive list of all works appropriate to read for your British/World selection, but it’s a good start. Many of the authors on this list have written other novels that would also be appropriate. If you have a question about whether or not your selection is a work of “literary merit,” just ask. If you choose a work not on this list or not by one of these authors, you must get it approved by Ms. Miller.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

by Daniel H. Pink
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

by Alexandra Robbins
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)

by Steven D. Levitt
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

by Nicholas Carr

*The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

by Erik Larson
*Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran

by Roxana Saberi
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

by Jean Sasson
We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (American Empire Project)

by Peter Van Buren
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

by Amy Chua
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

by Barbara Demick
The Devil's Highway: A True Story

by Luis Alberto Urrea
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders

by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

by Mary Roach


This is not a comprehensive list of all works appropriate to read for your British/World lit selection, but it’s a good start. Many of the authors on this list have written other novels that would also be appropriate. If you have a question about whether or not your selection is a work of “literary merit,” just ask.

*Mrs. Miller has read this and can give you her review #There are copies available to check out here at school

Call Number (Author)

Title and Summary


Piano Lesson, The


Eumenides, The

Edward Albee

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Edward Albee

Zoo Story, The
One-act play by Edward Albee about an isolated young man desperate to interact with other people. As the play opens, Peter (a publishing executive who is reading in New York City's Central Park) is approached by a stranger named Jerry. Announcing "I've been to the zoo!" Jerry proceeds to probe deep into Peter's life. He relates details from his own life--his stay in a rooming house with a bizarre landlady and her repulsive dog and his unsuccessful attempt to poison the dog. Peter grows increasingly agitated by this encounter. Jerry becomes abusive, tosses Peter a knife, provokes him into a fight, and....

882 ARI (Aristophanes)


Aristophanes' great anti-war drama, with comedic overtones, glorifies the power of fertility in the face of destruction.  It deals with an effective women's peace organization.  In the 21st year of the Peloponesian War, Lysistrata persuades the wives of Athens and Sparta to shut themselves up away from their husbands until peace can be achieved.  She has the satisfaction of dictating the terms.

Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace
In 1843, a 16-year-old Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and his mistress. The sensationalistic trial made headlines throughout the world, and the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Yet opinion remained fiercely divided about Marks--was she a spurned woman who had taken out her rage on two innocent victims, or was she an unwilling victim herself, caught up in a crime she was too young to understand? Such doubts persuaded the judges to commute her sentence to life imprisonment, and Marks spent the next 30 years in an assortment of jails and asylums, where she was often exhibited as a star attraction. In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood reconstructs Marks's story in fictional form. Her portraits of 19th-century prison and asylum life are chilling in their detail. The author also introduces Dr. Simon Jordan, who listens to the prisoner's tale with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief. In his effort to uncover the truth, Jordan uses the tools of the then rudimentary science of psychology. But the last word belongs to the book's narrator--Grace herself.

Margaret Atwood

Blind Assassin, The
Atwood does not mess around in her riveting new tale: by the end of the first sentence, we know that the narrator's sister is dead, and after just 18 pages we learn that the narrator's husband died on a boat, that her daughter died in a fall, and that her dead husband's sister raised her granddaughter. Dying octogenarian Iris Chasen's narration of the past carefully unravels a haunting story of tragedy, corruption, and cruel manipulation. Iris and her younger sister, Laura, are born into the privileged Canadian world in the early part of the 20th century. At 18, Iris is the marital pawn in a business deal between her financially desperate father and the ruthless, much-older industrialist Richard Griffen. When the father dies, the rebellious Laura is forced to move into Richard's controlling household, accelerating the tangled mess of relentless tragedy. At this point, Atwood brilliantly overlays a second story, a novel-within-a-novel, credited to Laura Chasen, that features nameless lovers trysting in squalor.

Margaret Atwood

Handmaid's Tale, The
Set in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order whose function is to breed. MS. MILLER’S 2nd FAVORITE BOOK

Jane Austen

A classic novel about a self-assured young lady whose capricious behavior is dictated by romantic fancy. Emma, a clever and self-satisfied young lady, is the daughter and mistress of the house. Her former governess and companion, Miss Anne Taylor, beloved of both father and daughter, has just left them to marry a neighbor.

Jane Austen


Mansfield Park
Miss Fanny Price, the poor relation of a wealthy family, possesses only natural goodness to aid her against a witty and lovely rival as they compete for the man they both love.

Jane Austen


Anne Elliot sent Frederick Wentworth away seven years ago when she was an unhappy girl beset by troubles. Now she regrets it. When he returns, it takes a fortuitous series of accidents before the knots can be untied.

Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice
The romantic clash of two opinionated young people provides the theme. Vivacious Elizabeth Bennet is fascinated and repelled by the arrogant Mr. Darcy, whose condescending airs and acrid tongue have alienated her entire family. Their spirited courtship is conducted against a background of ballroom flirtations and drawing-room intrigues.


Pere Goriot
Pere Goriot's passion is his devotion to his two ungrateful daughters.  He deprives himself of everything for them, including his self-respect.  Married to wealthy men, the two sisters are ashamed of their father's manners, but they expect him to save them from financial difficulties. 

Samuel Beckett

*# (read in AP Lit)

Waiting for Godot

The story line evolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone--or something--named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind's search for meaning.


Mother Courage and Her Children
Mother Courage and Her Children
 is a classic in the repertory of Western theater. Written in response to the outbreak of World War II, this “chronicle play” of the Thirty Years War follows one of Brecht’s most enduring characters, Courage, as she trails the armies across Europe, selling provisions from her canteen wagon. However, Courage pays the highest price of all. One by one, her children are devoured by violence, but she will not give up her livelihood—the wagon and the war.

Charlotte Bronte


Jane Eyre
Here is the complete and unabridged haunting tale of young love and deadly secrets. Jane, a poor, orphaned governess, meets and falls in love with a brooding, melancholy man given to rough outbursts of temper. Why is Edward Rochester so troubled and moody yet funny, brilliant and sensitive? Life at Thornfield should be perfect. What is the murderous secret that can devour Jane's dreams and hopes? MS. MILLER’S FAVORITE

FIC BRO (Bronte, E.)


Wuthering Heights  
A savage, tormented classic love story set in the English moors. The central character is Heathcliff, an orphan, picked up in the streets of Liverpool and brought home by Mr. Earnshaw and raised as one of his own children. Bullied and humiliated after Earnshaw's death by his son, Heathcliff falls passionately in love with Catherine.

843.914 CAM (Camus)

Fall, The
Mordant, brilliant, elegantly style, “The Fall” is a novel of the conscience of modern man in the face of evil. In a seedy bar in Amsterdam, Clamence, an expatriate Frenchman, indulges in calculated confession. He recalls his past life as a respected Parisian lawyer, a champion of noble causes, and, privately, a libertine—yet one apparently immune to judgment. As his narrative unfolds, ambiguities amass; every triumph reveals a failure, every motive a hidden treachery. The irony of his recital anticipates his downfall—and implicates us all.

840.914 CAM (Camus)

Plague, The
A coastal city in Algeria is struck by bubonic plague and shut off from the world for months.

Angela Carter


The Magic Toyshop

One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother's wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave the comfortable home of her childhood, she is sent to London to live with relatives she has never met: Aunt Margaret, beautiful and speechless, and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn, who kisses Melanie in the ruins of the pleasure gardens. And brooding Uncle Philip loves only the life-sized wooden puppets he creates in his toyshop. This classic gothic novel established Angela Carter as one of our most imaginative writers and augurs the themes of her later creative work. MS. MILLER LOVES THIS BOOK.


Monkey Bridge

863.3 CER (Cervantes)


Don Quixote
This comic satire against chivalric romances describes an elderly knight who, his head bemused by reading romances, sets out on his old horse Rosinante, with his practical squire Sancho Panza, to seek adventure. In the process, he also finds love in the person of the peasant Dulcinea.

891.72 CHE (Chekov)

Cherry Orchard, The  
Ranevskaya has returned to her beloved estate several years after her young son drowned there, only to watch it slip from the family's hands. An unique adaptation of one of the great masterpieces of the theater.

FIC CON (Conrad)

*# (read in AP Lit)

Heart of Darkness  
In this searing tale, Seaman Marlow recounts his journey to the dark heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the elusive Mr. Kurtz. Far from civilization as he knows it, he comes to reassess not only his own values, but also those of nature and society. For in this heart of darkness, it is the fearsome face of human savagery that becomes most visible.

FIC CON (Conrad)

Lord Jim
Haunted sailor, driven from port to port, from island to island, Lord Jim is a man trying to hide from his past. This is a novel of the outcast from civilization finding refuge in the tropics. The natives of Patusan in the Far East worship the bold young Englishman by the name of "Lord Jim," but he despises himself. Tortured by an art of cowardice and desertion that wrecked his career in the Merchant Service years before and tormented by his ideal of what an officer should be, he has fled from scandal farther and farther East. This is a story of dramatic and psychological action.

FIC CON (Conrad)

Axel Heyst, a man who has deliberately avoided all ties and commitments, lives the life of an exiled wanderer in the South Seas.  Although he distrusts the world, he is a man of integrity and generosity who can be moved by pity, not love, to help those in trouble.  One such is the unhappy young woman Lena.  However, when the manager of a hotel where Lena worked desires her, he spreads rumors that Heyst has hidden treasure on his island.  A band of ruthless men invade and....

FIC DAV (Davies, R.)

Fifth Business
Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross, and destined to be caught in a no-man’s land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tell his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps, pernicious influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in such innocuous events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy proves, in the end, neither innocent nor innocuous.

FIC DEF (Defoe)


Moll Flanders
This story relates Moll's life from her birth in Newgate Prison to her final prosperous respectability--gained through a life where all human relationships could be measured in value by gold.

Desai, Anita

Fasting, Feasting

FIC DIC (Dickens)

Bleak House
This may well be the finest literary work to come out of 19th century England. It is the story of several generations of the Jarndyce family who wait in vain to inherit money from a disputed fortune in the settlement of a lawsuit. It is pointedly critical of England's Court of Chancery in which cases could drag on through decades of convoluted legal maneuvering.

FIC DIC (Dickens)

David Copperfield
David Copperfield is the story of a young man's adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature's great comic creations. In David Copperfield--the novel he described as his "favorite child"--Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

FIC DIC (Dickens)

Great Expectations
Here is the classic written at a time when Dickens' view of Victorian England had grown dark. The orphan Pip, the convict Magwitch, the beautiful Estrella and her bitter guardian the vengeful Miss Havisham--all play their part in a story whose title reflects the deep irony that shapes this story of the Victorian middle class. Great Expectations is a memoir, a mystery and a romance but it never loses sight of the social problems of the time.

FIC DIC (Dickens)

Hard Times
Classic novel which depicts the callous nature of Victorian education, the ills of industrial society. Thomas Gradgrind, a fanatic, has raised his children, Tom and Louisa, in an atmosphere of the grimmest practicality. Louisa marries the banker Josiah Bounderby partly to protect her brother who is his employee and partly because her education has caused her to be unconcerned about her future. Tom, shallow and unscrupulous, robs Bounderby's bank and tries to frame someone else. Find out what happens when Louisa falls for another man, when Tom's guilt is discovered, and when their father realizes how his principles have affected his children's lives.

FIC DIC (Dickens)


A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens' novel of the French Revolution. They fled to London seeking safety, and found each other--Dr. Manette, falsely imprisoned for decades; his daughter, Lucie, whose stunning beauty was matched by her loyalty and grace; and Charles Darnay, who abandoned a royal title to risk being called a traitor in France, a spy in England.

 967.62 DIN (Dinesen)

Out of Africa
From 1914 to 1931, Danish aristocrat Baroness Karen Blixen owned and operated a coffee plantation in Kenya. After the plantation failed, she returned to Europe and began to write under the pen name Isak Dinesen.  In this book, she gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya and tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.

FIC DOC (Doctorow)

An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters disappears.

891.7 DOS (Dostoyevski)

*# (read in AP Lit)

Crime and Punishment
This novel stands supreme for its insight, its compassion and its psychological fidelity. The story of the murder committed by Raskolnikov, his punishment and atonement, is the most gripping and illuminating study ever written of a crime of repugnance and despair, and the consequences that arise from it.

891.7 DOS (Dostoyevski)

Notes from Underground
This work represents a turning point in Dostoyevsky's writing towards the more political side. In it we follow the unnamed narrator of the story, who disillusioned by the oppression and corruption of the society in which he lives, withdraws from that society into the underground. A dark and politically charged novel, it shows Dostoyevsky at his best. An impassioned, powerful, disturbing classic about one man's self-torment and alienation.

FIC ELI (Eliot, G.)

Adam Bede
In Adam Bede (1859), George Eliot took the well- worn tale of a lovely dairy-maid seduced by a careless squire, and out of it created a wonderfully innovative and sympathetic portrait of the lives of ordinary Midlands working people--their labors and loves, their beliefs, their talk. This edition reprints the original broadsheet reports of the murder case that was a starting point for the book, and detailed notes illuminate Eliot's many literary and biblical illusions.

FIC ELI (Eliot, G.)

Portrays the shape and texture of a rising provincial town of the 1830s through the remarkable story of determined heroine Dorothea Brooke--an idealist and a woman of conviction trapped in an agonizing marriage to the egotistical Mr. Cassaubon.

FIC ELI (Eliot, G.)

Mill on the Floss, The
As Maggie Tulliver approaches adulthood, her spirited temperament brings her into conflict with her family, her community, and her much-loved brother Tom. Still more painfully, she finds her own nature divided between the claims of moral responsibility and her passionate hunger for self-fulfillment.
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