Summer Reading List 2021


  1. During the summer holiday, all students will read one book from the reading list for their grade level.
  2. Students may read only the book(s) listed for their particular grade level/course. They may not substitute another book from another grade level or course. The only exception to this is if a student changes her schedule during the drop/add period at the start of fall semester and moves from an Honors/AP English class to a non-AP/Honors English class (or vice versa).
  3. All books must be read in the English language.
  4. Students must have finished reading their summer reading book by the start of fall semester and bring their book to class at the start of the semester.
  5. Ideally, students will purchase a physical copy of their assigned (or selected) book. This physical copy does not need to be new. Used copies that have not been written in can be purchased relatively cheaply. A physical copy of the book gives students a break from their screen as well as the ability to annotate, which aids reading comprehension. To annotate, students should underline key moments and jot down their reactions and analyses of the book in the page margins.
  6. All students will complete an assignment about their book during the first few weeks of the fall semesters. The teacher may ask students to write an essay, complete a project, deliver a presentation, conduct research, or complete another assignment regarding their book.
  7. No outside sources of any type are permitted for summer reading. This includes, but is not limited to, book reviews, critical essays, and online literary supplements, such as Cliff’s Notes, Spark Notes, Shmoop, and so forth. These materials are not permitted for any summer 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.


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, particularly works written by female writers. To celebrate the course’s focus on World Literature written by women, as well as Salem Academy’s goal to educate young women, this summer’s reading selection focuses on the importance of education for girls and young women.

I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Reader’s Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick (ISBN: 978-0316327916)


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


Students in both Honors English III and AP English Language learn about and write their first research paper about a topic of their choosing. In the process, students learn key research skills as well as about rhetoric, which is the art of effective arguing. To prepare for this experience, students study a variety of rhetoric written by American authors, especially female American authors, over the course of the year. In accordance with this, juniors in Honors English III and AP English Language will read the following nonfiction book for their summer reading.

Radium Girls (The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women) by Kate Moore (ISBN: 978- 1492650959)


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.


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.