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kathleen
08-06-2009, 08:15 PM
:hi:,

My highschooler (daughter) will be studying American Lit. and American History this school year and I am looking for some reading suggestions for Amercian Lit.

Any must reads? Favorites?

TIA:kiss:

Paige P
08-06-2009, 08:25 PM
One that I LOVED and loved teaching is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (African Am. Lit).

I think some of the "classics" are a must: The Scarlet Letter,
The Crucible, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (if she hasn't read them yet), ...... it's been ages since I've "done" Am. Lit.; my mind is drawing a blank.

Lots of great authors out there:
* make sure she gets the Am. Romantic Poets (Thoreau, etc.)
* Poe
* Kate Chopin
* August Wilson (might want to preview)
* Thornton Wilder

.... too much commotion here right now to finish thinking clearly :lol: I bet some others have some comments.....

Heather W
08-06-2009, 09:39 PM
The Great Gatsby

The Scarlett Letter

The Crucible

The Pearl

Ok...those are only a handful of the ones I had to read in my Survey of American Literature class in high school.

Kendall in GA
08-06-2009, 11:17 PM
To Kill A Mocking Bird

(Btw, I like August Wilson's work and Their Eyes Were Watching God, too...Great choices!)

carriejoy
08-07-2009, 02:26 AM
toni morrison, zora neale hurston... Alice Walker - you may want to preview as they hit on some pretty real stuff at times, but OH THE BEAUTIFUL WAY THEY WRITE!!

Edith Wharton has FABULOUS short stories
Walt Whitman (he's American, right?) love, love LOVE his poetry
James Baldwin - Harlem Renaissance (and there are others from this period that are FABULOUS!)
Willa Cather
Flannery O'Conner
Sylvia Plath (I confess to a bit of a melancholy streak but LOVE her poetry too)
John Steinbeck

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (we just listened to this on audio book and some of it was intense-ish for my kids but worth it imo)

Here's a list (http://als.lib.wi.us/Collegebound.html) that may be helpful too.
And another one (http://www.sulross.edu/pages/3124.asp)

I'd hazard to guess many of us have read most of these and could offer opinions for you too. I love Am Lit. I think the Harlem Renaissance is probably my favorite and I like the New England regional writers too.

Paige P
08-07-2009, 09:10 AM
Here's a great site for you to reference -- it categorizes novels that are on the AP Literature exam by American, British, and World. That should be a great starting place :)

http://www.k12.hi.us/~konawahs/ap_suggested_reading_list.htm

If you want more specific recommendations from this list, ask, and I'll try to weed it down for you :) AND/OR maybe someone else could chime in with their "musts" from this list ;)

ETA: Don't forget that this DOES NOT include any poetry or other writings (there are lots of journal entries, etc., that are significant in early Am. history) -- I'll see if I can find you a list of poets......

Shannon F.
08-07-2009, 09:11 AM
Don't forget the plays!

The Glass Menagerie is a classic. I always liked Thunder on Sycamore Street (I think that is the name of it), but I can't remember who wrote it. It was in our literature book once.

Night by Elie Weisel (a book EVERYONE should read) and then a look at interment - Farewell to Manzanar. Something by Carson McCullers, I can't remember my favorite. Oooo, don't forget Ray Bradbury - I used to teach The Martian Chronicles - science fiction, but a WONDERFUL character sketch. Some of these will be easy reads for her, but well worth the time spent with them.

Shannon F.
08-07-2009, 09:19 AM
Yeah, all the plays on the link that Paige sent are a pretty good start. I forgot about Trifiles by Susan Glaspell, excellent short play.

Rebe
08-07-2009, 10:06 AM
In addition to what everyone has listed, I'd seriously consider:

Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea or A Farewell to Arms. Or at the very least some short stories.

John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men

Langston Hughes: poems

Hawthorne and Melville: short stories

Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (essay)

Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451

Flannery O'Connor or Carson McCullers: short stories

William Faulkner (I personally don't care for him but he's often taught in AP courses)

You've gotten some great suggestions here! Don't forget that you can't possibly do all of them! You'll have to pick and choose. ;) That's my problem in designing a lit curriculum -- I want to have them read every good book ever written! Not possible or desirable. Don't overwhelm your dd and leave her some great stuff to discover later, as an adult. :)

Sasha
08-07-2009, 10:50 AM
I really liked The Virginian, I think is was fairly long but it was a fast read for me.

Adrianne in IL
08-07-2009, 11:26 AM
Recently I ordered some older, now out of print high school literature textbooks after looking at the ones a friend of mine has. The texts were published by Scott, Foresman and were part of a literature series called "America Reads". One of the books is "The United States in Literature" and has many excellent short stories and poems by American authors, as well as excerpts from famous American authors. The volume I have also includes the entire script "The Glass Menagerie" and The full novel "The Red Badge of Courage". I plan to use this and the other volumes in this series as part of High School literature. Literary concepts are taught in the text, which is one of the reasons I decided to purchase these books, which are now pretty inexpensive. I ordered them from Amazon.

I still plan to have Evelyn read several full length works, but I also plan to use the textbook to cover literary analysis and as fillers in between the other books she read. Just in case you are interested, the ISBN on the "United States in Literature" is 0-673-29382-3

Kendall in GA
08-07-2009, 12:42 PM
Rebe,

Glad you chimed in...I was waiting to hear from you...Great recommendations. :)

Susan Seaman
08-07-2009, 02:02 PM
Here are the ones I remember reading in high school during one semester of Am. Lit:

Moby Dick
The Scarlet Letter
To Kill a Mockingbird
Huckleberry Finn
A Separate Peace
The Grapes of Wrath

I liked The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn - but not the others. I've already told my daughter she can just read the Spark's Notes for Moby Dick. I want her to be familiar with the story without having to suffer through the whole book (which just seemed unbelievably tedious to me, but I always felt compelled to read every page assigned - I was pretty legalistic in those days).

One possible suggestion - my daughter just read "Last of the Mohicans" and loved it!

Paige P
08-07-2009, 02:58 PM
I liked The Scarlet Letter, To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn - but not the others. I've already told my daughter she can just read the Spark's Notes for Moby Dick. I want her to be familiar with the story without having to suffer through the whole book (which just seemed unbelievably tedious to me, but I always felt compelled to read every page assigned - I was pretty legalistic in those days).



Susan, true confessions here ..... As an English Major with a couple of graduate level degrees, the Cliff Notes version of Moby Dick was the only version I could ever tolerate, either :blush: :lol: I wouldn't inflict that punishment on anyone :D

Rebe, I agree with you, too, on Faulkner. He's definitely a "classic," but his works are not easy to understand....... I honestly don't know if I'd try them with a teenager or not..... I never taught him in high school, but I had a friend who did.

I 2nd some others specifically mentioned:
Trifles (the play) -- a great story with a good "twist"!!!
Carson McCuller's -- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
O'Conner's short stories
Farenheit 451 (if she hasnt' read it -- that's typically a 9th or 10th grade reading list book)
The Glass Menagerie

Another "new" classic that's on the AP list is Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Oh my -- you lit lovers out there who haven't read this would enjoy it :) It has a good "moral" to the story.

Rebe
08-07-2009, 04:29 PM
Oh, The Glass Menagerie! I do love Tennessee Williams!

I have never heard of Trifles or A Lesson Before Dying. I'm going to request them both. :)

I never read Moby Dick until college. I don't think it has to be read by a high schooler at all (a summary and some famous lines to be familiar with would be good, though). I actually love that book, but I was about 21 when I read it. Melville has a strange and excellent short story, "Bartleby," which would be a better choice if you wanted to include Melville.

Paige, I agree that Faulkner is just dense. One page and I was in over my head and gasping for breath. :p

I love American Lit. I miss teaching it!

kathleen
08-07-2009, 04:32 PM
wow . . . you ladies are awesome!

thank you so much for all your help. i can't wait to start looking through all your suggestions.

thanks again!:kiss:

Linda
08-07-2009, 06:05 PM
Along w/ quite a few of those already listed, take a look at William Carlos Williams as well.

Kendall in GA
08-07-2009, 06:13 PM
Carson McCuller's -- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Another "new" classic that's on the AP list is Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Oh my -- you lit lovers out there who haven't read this would enjoy it :) It has a good "moral" to the story.

I haven't read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; but, I did see the stage play. I checked it out of the library afterward; but, I never got around to reading it...Thanks for the reminder. I'll have to add it to my list.


Thanks for bringing up A Lesson Before Dying, too...I have it on my shelf and can't remember why I didn't finish it :eyes:...I'll have to dust it off and start over.

kathleen
08-07-2009, 06:48 PM
Hello again,

My daughter has read and enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye. Wondering if any of the books you gals mentioned might be of a similar writing/reading style to those. My daughter is not a huge reader and I will certainly want to make the most of this opportunity.;)

edit:It's been awhile since I read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and if I remembering correctly it's kind of similar to the books mentioned above, right? (in style not topic)

thanks again:)

Paige P
08-07-2009, 08:33 PM
Hello again,

My daughter has read and enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye. Wondering if any of the books you gals mentioned might be of a similar writing/reading style to those. My daughter is not a huge reader and I will certainly want to make the most of this opportunity.;)

edit:It's been awhile since I read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and if I remembering correctly it's kind of similar to the books mentioned above, right? (in style not topic)

thanks again:)


If she likes those, she'd probably like the more "modern" stories best (of course, most do :D ).

Yes, The Heart..... is more modern and is like those (as are McCuller's other books). She'd probably also really enjoy Their Eyes Were Watching God (it's written in dialect, though, so that may be cumbersome -- that's a FABULOUS book about search-for-self and not living someone else's dream).

The other more "modern" ones would probably be good for her, too:
The Glass Menagerie (a play)
A Lesson Before Dying
Fences (play)
Farenheit 451 (another very good one)
The Color Purple
Trifles
A Separate Peace
A Raisin in the Sun (play)
Woman Warrior
Toni Morrison's books

Some "older" ones she may like:
The Great Gatsby
The Scarlet Letter

Personally, I wouldn't let her "escape" the "historical" books. I think you do need to read some of those for a well-rounded education (plus, their place in history is meaningful) -- Twain, Hawthorne, etc......

Plus, little poetry has been mentioned here, but it's BIG in Am. Lit.

Kelly K
09-04-2012, 01:56 PM
Paige, Your link didn't work. Can you try again?

Thanks!

Becky in CA
09-04-2012, 02:25 PM
A few years ago when I went through American Lit with my dd, we used the LLATL Gold book. www.christianbook.com/learning-language-through-literature-american-book/greg-strayer/9781880892893/pd/72898?product_redirect=1&Ntt=72898&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP It includes short stories, poems, and novel studies of The Old Man & the Sea, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Pearl. For my son, I will also add in movie as lit studies on other classics.

Paige P
09-04-2012, 04:10 PM
Paige, Your link didn't work. Can you try again?

Thanks!


Kelly, it didn't work for me, either, BUT I did find a list of works mentioned on the AP free response question (they give you a topic and list 20ish books/plays that would be appropriate to use when writing the essay). It's NOT divided by Am. or British, but maybe it'll help....

http://dothgrinenglish10.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/ap-reading-list-2012.pdf

Maybe someone else has a list that divides it into Am. or British/World?????