Outside Reading 20-21

Salem Academy Department of English -
Outside Reading Requirements

  1. During the summer holiday, all students will read one book from the reading list for their grade level. Additionally, during winter break and Jan Term, all students will read one additional book.
  2. Students may read only the book(s) listed for their particular grade level/course. They may not substitute other books from another grade level or course. The only exception to this is if a senior changes her schedule during the drop/add period at the start of fall semester and moves from Honors English IV to English IV (or vice versa).
  3. All books must be read in the English language.
  4. Students must have finished reading their outside reading book by the start of each semester.
  5. Students should bring their summer reading book to class at the start of the fall semester and should bring their winter reading book to class at the start of the spring semester.
  6. All students should annotate their summer and winter reading novels. Underline key moments and jot down your ideas about the characters, plot, conflicts, settings, theme, etc. in the margins of your book.
  7. All students will be evaluated on their book during the first two weeks of the fall and spring semesters. 
  8. No outside sources of any type are permitted for outside reading. This includes, but is not limited to, book reviews, critical essays, and online literary supplements, such as Cliff’s Notes, Spark NotesShmoop, and so forth. These materials are not permitted for any outside reading texts or for classroom texts read during the year in any English class, and the use of these materials is a violation of the Salem Academy Honor Code.

Honors English I

Students in Honors English I study literature from around the world, including Africa, Asia, Mexico and the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Students read both fiction and nonfiction over the course of the year. This summer’s Outside Reading for Honors English I focuses on memoirs and autobiographies from individuals who live (or lived) in one of the previously identified geographic regions. You may select one of the memoirs or autobiographies listed below, or you may select a different one (of at least 100 pages) from an individual from one of the previously identified regions. Be sure to research your chosen memoir or autobiography before selecting it as some of these works deal with traumatic events, such as violence, war, and terrorism, or concern other mature themes.

Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution by Alma Guillermoprieto (Cuba)
The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande (Mexico)
First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (Cambodia)
The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (Liberia)
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Afghanistan)
Memoirs of a Child Soldier by Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang (China)

Honors English II

Sophomore year will progress through the literature of antiquity, into the European middle ages, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Victorian period, and the modern era. Our investigations will explore issues of identity, gender, class, culture, race, and justice. As a primer for that study, I’ve selected a number of novels from the 19th and 20th century that explore many of these potential sites of investigation. Each are masterful examples of their genre, and each will captivate and thrill. I encourage you to take your time selecting your summer text, and be sure to pick something that sounds appealing. Remember: books are meant to be written in; that’s why they have margins. Underline important moments, and jot downs your ideas in the margins of the page.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dubliners by James Joyce
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Pere Goriot by Honore Balzac
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


LONG, but amazing:

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Honors English III

Students in Honors English III study American literature. As the saying goes, “America is a melting pot.” From the earliest days of its history, the country has been defined by immigrants walking, sailing, and flying to “the new world,” and by the culture clash that often resulted from the melting of so many different people from so many different parts of the world. This summer’s Outside Reading focuses on the culture clash caused by the American immigrant experience. You may select one of the novels listed below, or you may select a different one (of at least 100 pages) that focuses on the American immigrant experience. The country stated after the novels identifies the country from which the characters immigrated. Be sure to research your chosen novel before selecting it as some of the works deal with serious and mature themes, such as racism, sexism, love and sex, slavery, war, and violence, among others.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Czech Republic)
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Haiti)
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (Ireland)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Ghana)
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (Mexico)
Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen (China)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (India)
The Refugees by Viet Than Nguyen (Vietnam)

English IV

Senior-year English will divide its time between the early modern period (sometimes called the Renaissance or Elizabethan period) and Modernist literature of the 20th century.  Within these periods, we will dig deep into new notions of identity (what it means to be an individual, a citizen, a man or woman, a mortal being, etc. etc.) and consider literature’s role in exploring those questions. As a means of starting this process, we’ll read a central early modern play on the question of fate, pride, justice, and divinity: Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. You may choose any edition you prefer, but make sure that it is the A-text from 1604 and not the longer B-text from 1616. Remember, you must have a paper copy, and books are meant to be written in; that’s why they have margins. Underline important moments, and jot downs your ideas in the margins of the page.

Honors English IV/Salem College 221

This college-level English course will explore culture as a system of constraints and improvisations. That is, the ways that the world around us provides both a network of approved and discouraged actions, ways of being, ways of knowing, ways of thinking and speaking, AND the spaces within which individuals can push back against those limiting constraints. Art, and literature in particular, has traditionally been a fruitful space for both the enforcement of a culture’s norms and the testing of its limits.  Our class will explore the role of literature in both respects, and we will begin with an early modern tragedy that sets transgression as its central motif: John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi. You may choose any edition you prefer, but make sure it’s a paper copy.  Remember, books are meant to be written in; that’s why they have margins. Underline important moments, and jot downs your ideas in the margins of the page.