Advanced English Summer Resources:
AP Literature, AP Language, and Dual Enrollment Classes
Summer is a great time to read texts you find interesting, explore some podcasts or television series that cause you to think deeply, and find meaningful and enjoyable ways to keep your skills fresh and your mind active. Along those lines, we have created this document to help you find some great resources. Please note, many of these resources were created for adult audiences, and, therefore, may contain adult themes and language.
The shows listed below all have literary elements to them, but you may get so engrossed in watching them that you don’t even notice using your analysis skills!
Avatar: The Last Airbender–In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mythic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar and bring peace to the world.
Breaking Bad–A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family’s future.
Downton Abbey–A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.
Game of Thrones–Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for millennia.
Stranger Things–When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.
The Walking Dead–Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins, and he must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.
Ask Me Another is like an amusement park for your brain, packed with trivia, comedy, and celebrity guests.
Criminal is an award winning podcast about true crime: stories of people who have done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.
Invisibilia explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior–things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions, and emotions.
Lore is an award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast about true life scary stories. Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.
Serial tells one story–a true story–over the course of a season.
This American Life is a weekly public radio program and podcast. Each week, they choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme.
Travel with Rick Steves is a weekly one hour conversation with guest experts and callers about travel, cultures, people, and the things we find around the world that give life its extra sparkle.
Learning to take notes is a valuable skill in a college level class. Even if you have a system that works for you, watch a few of the videos below to be exposed to some ideas which could be incorporated into your own note-taking.
Cornell notes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtW9IyE04OQ&t=17s
Mind mapping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brTMbPyhZY0
One student’s many videos on her system: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc1QflC90Nkf_SDBZwJScDQ
Sketch notes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY9KdRfNN9w
Interesting videos about cool ideas
You should be aware of what is going on in the world. Staying abreast of current events through various news outlets is important, but thinking deeply about those events, discoveries, works of art, etc. is also important. Here are three sites with videos on various topics that you may find interesting and that will model this type of thinking.
The Nerdwriter is a weekly video essay series that puts ideas to work: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJkMlOu7faDgqh4PfzbpLdg
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less): www.TED.com
Adam Skelter Interview with Film Courage includes multiple videos on storytelling with ideas that apply to movies and other texts https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLez8jOvskc-OKLpbfgmwhgf8ApX4o4M7I
READ! Read as much as you can, especially works of merit, such as the award-winners and finalists from the lists below. AP Literature students should focus on fiction (novels, poetry and drama); AP Language students should focus on non-fiction. DE students should read a mix. Below, you will find, first, links to sites with various book lists. Then, we have a list of great contemporary novels and non-fiction books.
Books commonly assigned to incoming college freshmen: http://commonreads.com/first-year-reading-categories/
Free audiobook downloads (each week, a new pairing of an “adult” title with an “teen” title is released): https://www.audiobooksync.com/
National Book Award winners (This link will take you to the list of years the awards have been given. Click on the year, then click on the appropriate category to see the winner and finalists): https://www.nationalbook.org/national-book-awards/years/
Pulitzer Prize winners (AP Lit look in the “Letters, Drama, & Music” section at “Fiction,” “Drama,” and “Poetry.” AP Lang look at the “Journalism” section and at “History,” “Biography,” and “General Non-fiction” in the “Letters, Drama, & Music” section.): https://www.pulitzer.org/prize-winners-categories
Fiction Recommendations: (links take you to reviews for each book)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Kindred by Octavia Butler
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Pachinko by Lee Min-jin
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Southernmost by Silas House
There,There by Tommy Orange
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Non-fiction Recommendations: (links take you to reviews for each book)
Becoming by Michelle Obama (highly recommend audio version that M Obama reads)
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (highly recommend audio version that Noah reads)
Educated by Tara Westover
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
They Can’t Kill Us Til They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton
21 Lessons for the 21st Century - Yuval Noah Harari
- Patrick Bowens
- Cynthia Christopherson
- Aubrey Frabutt
- Katrina "Tina" Garrison
- Jessica Ingram
- Sarah Lewis-Hunt
- Arianne Martinez
- Lyric McVoy
- Kelly O'Connor
- Ashley Ranalli
- Jennifer Robinson-O'Brien
- Jillian Shank
- Cassity Stroud
- Laura Swenson
- Sarah Taylor
- Amy Verhaalen