AP English Language & Composition Summer Reading Assignment Congratulations on accepting the challenge of taking AP English Language & Composition. This course is designed to engage students in becoming skilled readers of complex and insightful rhetoric and prose written across a variety of contexts. It is focused on more non-literary works and works of nonfiction rather than long form novels, poetry, or dramatic literature. We will focus our time in class on personal essays, biographies (and autobiographies), scientific writing, political rhetoric, and many other types of nonfiction writing. We will also spend a considerable amount of time reacting to and writing about these works through several essays, including a semester-long research paper that will be due in several parts over the Spring Semester. You must remember that AP English Language is considered a college-level course, and the work load meets that expectation. As such, it is important that you take this summer reading and writing assignment seriously. Below is a list of nonfiction works that are acceptable reading for this summer reading assignment. You are to choose two (2) of these books to read over the course of the summer. You must have a legal copy of these books in order to complete the assignment. A legal copy is defined one that you’ve purchased as either a physical book or an authorized electronic copy on a Kindle or Nook. It does not mean a pdf/Adobe Acrobat copy of the book you’ve downloaded from some website. Into the Wild by John Krakaur Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan Stiff by Mary Roach A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick Silent Spring by Rachel Carson The Hot Zone by Richard Preston The World Without Us by Alan Weisman And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson Art and Physics by Leonard Shlain The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking & Leonard Moldinow Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris Krakatoa by Simon Winchester Rats by Robert Sullivan How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer Twinkie Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich Columbine by Dave Cullen Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr. Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by Dave vonDrehle Chicago Death Trap by Nat Brandt Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Joff Hobbs A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel Uncertain Justice by Laurence Tribe & Joshua Matz Tyrannosaurus Sue by Steve Fiffer Blood Secrets by Rod Englert Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt One L by Scott Turow The Day We Met the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak
Analytical Essays Your summer assignment is more than just reading. You are asked to write two (2) analytical essays after reading your choices of books to illustrate your understanding of the complexities of what these authors have to say and how they say it. Works of nonfiction—including the books on this list—present an argument to the reader. Some of these arguments are more obvious while others take a bit more analysis to understand. The authors then support this argument with different types of evidence and rhetorical techniques. Once you have read these books, briefly identify the author’s central argument. Then, analyze the evidence and techniques the author uses to support his or her argument. You should also consider the strength of the argument and how effectively the author has accomplished it. It is important that you avoid summarizing the book in your essay. This is not a book report—this is a thorough analysis of the author’s intent for writing this and understanding how successful the author was at accomplishing that intent. Here are some further items to consider: What is the author’s purpose in writing about this particular topic? What might have prompted him to take up this subject and expand it into a full-length book? What voice does the author use to present this material? Is it friendly in tone? Is it more academic? How does the author make this clear to the reader? Does the writer become personally involved in the topic or is she more of a reporter? Does the author use specific words that make his tone obvious? What is the author’s attitude towards this particular topic? How is that attitude conveyed in the text of this book? Sometimes a book is written with a particular audience in mind. Is there any indication in this book that it is being written for a specific audience? If so, what words and phrases in particular point to this? If not, does that it is meant to be read and understood by a more general audience? What specific examples in the text allude to this intent? Does the author have a particular bias in his writing style? How does that impact your perception of the book and its subject? Does it have any impact at all? Does that mean that the author has an “agenda” in presenting this material in this way? Remember, this is not a summary essay or a simple book report. If you bring back an essay that is more summary than analysis, your grade will reflect that. Similarly, if you simply answer the questions posted above without any thought to how your essays are organized, your grade will reflect that. Your essays must adhere to the following standards: Double-spaced 1” margins (top, bottom and sides) 12-point font (Times New Roman or Cambria only) Properly formatted quotes (minimum of three per essay)
Properly formatted references and quotes Separate essays for each book (not one large essay) No less than 4-5 pages in length for each essay Must follow proper MLA format
If you have any questions about this assignment or the books, you are welcome to email me at any time ([email protected]). You must bring a printed copy of both essays with you to class the first day we meet. This will be a graded assignment—failure to bring a printed copy will result in significantly reduced grade. Final Exam (Fall 2015) Please note that the final exam for this class will take place outside of the scheduled final exam period. It will be a full-length practice AP English Language and Composition exam held on Friday, December 18 from 12noon to 3pm. It is a required exam to be taken at that time only; no make-up exam or individually-scheduled exam will be held. Make sure any plans your family will be making for the Christmas Break account for this as it is a required exam.