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    To: West Seattle High School Senior, Class of 2019


    Ms. Hopkins 



    Incoming AP Literature students are required to read several books over the summer in preparation for the course and subsequent AP exam. One portion of the AP exam, the Free Response essay, demands that students have a wide range of challenging literary works on which they can draw when writing that essay. The goal of this summer’s reading, however, is not to prepare you for the exam but to initiate you into the conversation about ideas through books by reading classic and contemporary books. 


    AP Literature is college; it not a preparation for college. If you are looking for ways around this reading assignment, you should not enroll in this class. All reading is due by the start of school: September 2018.


    If you have any questions, write to me at



    Each student must do the following:  

      Choose one pair of books from the following list of books. 

      Read the chosen books, taking notes or annotating as needed to help you do well on the in-class essay on these books. These notes are for you: I will not collect or evaluate them. 

      Purchase, read/skim/scan and annotate How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. (Note: There are many used copies of this book online for only a couple dollars.) 

      Write an in-class essay on the books in which you use the ideas from Foster’s book as a guide to analyze the literature you read. 


    The following pairs of books comprise a conversation that should take place between you, the authors, and their characters. The books share a common idea that should be clear enough by the time you finish reading them. While there is no required order, you might consider reading Foster’s book first as a way of preparing to read the two novels. 


      Option 1:

      The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak

    The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (visited our school for an author talk)


    Option 2:

      Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

      Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (the author is the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature)