Go Further


Summer Reading for Rising Juniors

COMMUNITY BOOK. You must read the following community book. The community book is one which is read by every member of the class. Parents are also invited to read the community book. During the first week of school, your English teachers will review, conduct, or oversee projects, presentations, and group seminars -- all in an effort to generate a sharing of ideas as a community.



John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck's moving novel tells the story of the Joad family and their hardships during the Great Depression. At times lyrical and at times documentary, this novel will transport you to one of the  most important and difficult periods of American history. Ma, Tom, and Rose of Sharon are characters who will stay with you long after you finish reading the book. Powerful ideas paired with an accessible style make this one of the classics of American literature


INDEPENDENT CHOICE: Read one book from one of the lists of literary prize-winners. Be sure to choose a book which you have not already read for another school assignment, and be sure that this book is written by an American author.



ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHOICE: You must also read one book from the following list.



Maya Angelou

All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes. The author, her son, and several friends travel through Ghana discovering the real country and the author’s dreamed-of ancestral “homeland” – touching anecdotes and great description.

James Baldwin

Go Tell It On The Mountain. One day in the life of a fourteen-year-old – as well as the past, dreams, and desires of his family – reveals the development and search for identity of an African-American boy.

 Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. This work of nonfiction, by celebrated Atlantic Monthly columnist Coates, is written as a long letter to his son and explores race in contemporary America. Lyrical, brutal, and more than relevant

Kate Chopin

The Awakening. This is a daring novel which shows the transformation of Edna Pontellier from a young wife and mother to a woman who declares her freedom and spiritual rebirth.

E.L. Doctorow

 Ragtime. Doctorow's work is a captivating and uniquely American story. Set at the turn of the 20th century in New York, this novel features historical figures like J.P. Morgan and Harry Houdini rubbing shoulders with Doctorow's fictional characters. A truly mesmerizing look at American history through the lens of fiction.

Pat Frank

Alas, Babylon. Published at the height of the Cold War, this is the chilling story of the members of a north Florida community suffering – and surviving – a nuclear war.

John Gardner

Grendel. The monster Grendel from the classic English epic Beowulf retells, from his point of view, the story of his life prior to his battle with the Great Prince, as well as the battle itself.

William Gibson

Pattern Recognition.From the author who created the term ‘cyberspace,’ a mystery set just a few years into the future. Narrated by Cayce Pollard, this novel questions the true nature of faith, art, and community.

Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms. A tragic love affair set during World War I realistically discusses the disillusionment felt by some individuals in the modern world.

Barbara Kingsolver

Animal Dreams. Set in the American Southwest, this novel’s blend of realism, memory, and dreams begins the search for identity in a young woman who unwillingly comes home to live in a town full of traditions and mystery.

Annie Proulx

The Shipping News. Can one find happiness, security, and identity in remote Nova Scotia? The unlikely hero of this novel overcomes physical and emotional obstacles to try to do this.

Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar. This is an autobiographical novel about an ambitious and brilliant young woman’s search for values and her eventual breakdown.

Chaim Potok

The Chosen. A baseball game brings together two boys from different backgrounds. As they become friends, they learn how different Jewish beliefs and traditions influence their lives and their futures.

Mark Twain

The Innocents Abroad. Humorous letters Twain wrote to a San Francisco newspaper while traveling in Europe with a group of naive fellow Americans compiled into a funny travel narrative.

Margaret Walker

Jubilee. This Civil War novel chronicles the life of Walker"s great-grandmother, and through her, a white plantation owner and his beloved black mistress. Through her narration of events, the author captures the spirit of freedom over bondage.