Welcome to AP English Summer Blog!

You're here because you've signed up for an AP English course. I'm Mrs. Sheely and I'll be teaching AP English LIT ENG510 at COVA. During the summer, we'll read some essays and novels and discuss them here. This will keep your critical reading skills sharp and prepared for our fall course. We'll get to know each other better and that will also help us learn together better.
1.Read a couple of essays together with us.
Our first suggested reading is a short compare/contrast analysis of two essayists who write about gender roles. Please read the essays provided in links, and view the bio spot about S. R. Sanders, then post your responses and questions in this blog. Notice the speakers in these essays, their use of voice, organization, rhetoric and style. Please tell your thoughts and respond to the ideas expressed by others here in the blog.
"The Men We Carry in Our Minds" (Scott Russell Sanders)
"I Want a Wife" (Judy Brady)
2. Rigorously Read Novels
In order to increase your reading and interpretive skills, you should read at least two novels during the summer. As you read, think critically about the writer and his/her work. Post your “Why…?” questions to our blog. Share your insights and respond to others’ questions and continue this dialogue to enrich your (and our) understanding of literature.
To get started: Make a list of about 5 important interpretive discussion questions or discussion topics about the book and answer each question in a paragraph of 1/3 to ½ page each (single-spaced, typed).
Examples: Why does the character . . . ?
How does this event (or character, setting, etc) change the course of the book or change the author’s life, etc.?
Explain the quotation: “…”
Caution: Do not include any literal questions. Literal questions generally begin with “Who, what, when, where.” The questions you select or the topics you address will most likely begin with the words “Why, how, explain, describe, compare and contrast, analyze,” etc.
Please note that the questions which you ask are just as important as how you respond to the question of topic. Questions should reflect your active reading and understanding of the entire literary work as well as the overall them of the book.
Also, because you are asking and answering interpretative questions, there might be several possible correct answers or no specific answer. Your interpretations are fine so long as you support your answers with specific examples from the book.
Lastly, write your review.
Write a one-paragraph critique of the book. What did you like and why? What did you dislike and why? Did the book change you or change your way of thinking? Explain. Critique the author’s writing style. When possible, give specific examples to support your statements.
3. Check this blog site at least once a week and respond to your new AP classmates.

Happy summer reading!
Mrs. Sheely

Suggested Titles for Summer Reading

Reading List: Books That Change Lives
Note: This reading list represents a compilation of your AP English teachers’ suggestions and Coady’s Books That Changed My Life.

Read any of these titles and analyze what makes them great enough to make this list.

Albom. Tuesdays with Morrie

Angelou. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Baldwin. Go Tell It on the Mountain

Beckett. Waiting for Godot

Bloom. Are You There? God, It’s Me, Margaret

Bradbury. The Illustrated Man

Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451

Brown. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Burgess. A Clockwork Orange

Carson. Silent Spring

Chopin. The Awakening

Clancy. The Hunt for Red October

Covey. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Curie. Madame Curie: A Biography

De St. Exupery. The Little Prince

Dickens. David Copperfield

Dostoevsky. Notes from the Underground

Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo

Ellison. Invisible Man

Griffin. Black Like Me

Grisham. The Testament

Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter

Heller. Catch-22

Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls

Holy Bible

Irving. A Prayer for Owen Meany

Junger. The Perfect Storm

Keller. The Story of My Life

Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible

Lewis. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Marquez. Love in the Time of Cholera

McCourt. Angela’s Ashes

Miller. The Death of a Salesman

Mitchell. Gone with the Wind

Morrison. Beloved

Nabakov. Lolita

O’Brien. The Things They Carried

Orwell. 1984

Pelzer. A Child Called It

Plath. The Bell Jar

Rand. Atlas Shrugged

Rawlings. The Yearling

Salinger. Catcher in the Rye

Shakespeare. Hamlet

Sinclair. The Jungle

Spyri. Heidi

Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath

Stoppard. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Stowe. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Tolkien. The Hobbit

Undset. Kristin Lavransdatter

Walker. The Color Purple

Woolf. A Room of One’s Own

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughts/Questions on “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, by John Irving

Faith and Doubt are big themes in this novel. Pastor Merrill has true faith, yet his life is flawed. John seems to live a charmed life, yet is filled with doubt. What is the message in this juxtaposition?

Why is John’s mother’s dressmaker’s dummy an important symbol? What does that have to say about the Vietnam War?

Why doesn’t the book show us more about Hester? Does this character connect to Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne?

Why doesn’t John’s mother pay attention to the foul ball? What’s the narrator trying to tell us with this important event?

Why does the book describe certain places in such detail (the attic closet, the restroom at the end of the book)? Does the description warn the readers, or just bore them, like it did for me?

What’s up with the armadillo? Why is that object comforting to the boys? What could it symbolize?

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