Open the books to summer reading


Maura Jenceleski

Pictured above are the books for the summer readings.

GNA CAMPUS – What was I supposed to read over the summer? That is the age-old question heard from the mouths of many students. It’s almost like clockwork the way it rolls around every fall. If this has ever been you, don’t fret. Here is the complete list of novels needed for every honors/ap English class throughout the years, along with a synopsis. At the end of each summary will be a link to the paperback version of each novel on Amazon. 

Freshman Year, Honors ELA 9 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

“They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.” (Summary from Amazon Prime


Sophomore Year, Honors ELA 10

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.” (Summary from Amazon Prime


Junior Year, Honors ELA 11

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom 

“For Mitch Albom, that person was his college professor Morrie Schwartz.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live. ‘The truth is, Mitch,’ he said, ‘once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.'” (Summary from Amazon Prime


Senior Year, Honors ELA 12

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

“At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything. But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued.” (Summary from Amazon Prime


Senior Year, AP Literature and Composition 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 

“The story is narrated by Charles Marlow, recalling his obsessive quest to locate the ivory trader Kurtz, who has become ensconced deep in the jungle managing a remote outpost. As he ventures further and further down the Congo, Marlow finds himself and his surroundings become increasingly untethered.” (Summary from Amazon Prime


How To Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

“…Thomas C. Foster’s classic guide—a lively and entertaining introduction to literature and literary basics, including symbols, themes and contexts, that shows you how to make your everyday reading experience more rewarding and enjoyable.

While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes-of the ultimate professional reader, the college professor.

What does it mean when a literary hero is traveling along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he’s drenched in a sudden rain shower?

Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower-and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.” (Summary from Amazon Prime)


Make sure to be prepared for the next school year. If you’re not able to purchase the novel, ask a teacher or visit your local library in order to have a copy of your own for the summer!