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SHS Summer Reading

June 2018

Dear Parents and Students:

In North Colonie, we believe that reading during the vacation months contributes significantly to a student’s academic growth and lifelong reading pleasure. As a result, we require that all students complete the following assignments:

  • Students enrolled in 9R , 9B , 10R , 10B , 11R , 11B, and senior electives must read two books – both from the appropriate grade level list.
  • Students enrolled in 9H , 10H , 11H, and Reading Literature (University in the High School) must read two books — one required book and one of their choosing from the appropriate grade level list.
  • Students in Advanced Placement Language and Composition must read two required nonfiction works.
  • Students in Advanced Placement Literature and Composition must read two novels – one required and one work of literary merit (fiction).

The suggested reading list is designed to provide a wide range of selections for various reading levels and interests. Certainly, not every book will appeal to every reader. As such, we advise parents and students to select books judiciously. In order for summer reading to be an enjoyable experience, the books chosen should be appropriate for the student both in terms of content and level of difficulty.

Please note that while there is no written assignment to be completed during the summer, students will be given a graded assignment when they return to school in the fall. Summer reading should be done carefully. Students should note key ideas either directly in their copies of the books or on post-it notes.

Reading packets will also be available in the Guidance Office, Media Center, and Main Office at Shaker High School. Any student experiencing difficulty with this assignment or having questions should contact me in the Department Supervisors’ Office at Shaker High School, 785-5511, ext. 3368.


Pamela Burns
English Department Supervisor

Click here for the PDF version of the SHS Summer Reading list.

Required Reading

Students in the following courses must read two books of their choice from the appropriate grade level list. In the fall, students will be given an assignment by their classroom teachers.

Grade 9

  • English 9 Basic
  • English 9 Regents

Grade 10 

  • Grade 10 Basic
  • Grade 10 Regents

Grade 11

  • English 11 Basic
  • English 11 Regents

Grade 12

  • Any senior elective not specified below

Students in the following courses must read the required book(s) listed. In addition, students in these courses must choose one additional book to read from the appropriate grade level list. In the fall, students will discuss extensively the required reading and will write a paper in response.

Grade 9 Honors:
Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie

Grade 10 Honors:
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

Grade 11 Honors:
The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger

Grade 12 Reading Literature (University in the High School):
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Grade 12 Introduction to Philosophical Problems (University in the High School):
What Does It All Mean?, by Thomas Nagel

Students in either of the following Advanced Placement classes must read two books over the summer. The requirements for each course are listed below:

Advanced Placement Language and Composition:
The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition:

  1. Select and read a novel or play of literary merit. You are not limited to the suggested reading list.
  2. Choose and read one of the following titles.  Essays from the New York Times Book Review are linked to each title so that you can get a sense of each author’s goals in terms of character, theme, and language use.  Some of these books include adult subjects and language; be sure to read the reviews​, which provide contexts for the authors’ choices, before you decide upon a book.  Each book offers a unique perspective on individual identity within society, which is a topic we will discuss in the fall.

Suggested reading list ​— Grades 9 and 10


Austen, Jane: Sense and Sensibility
Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights
Doyle, Arthur Conan: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Remarque, Erich Maria: All Quiet on the Western Front
Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Verne, Jules: 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
Wells, H. G.: The Invisible Man
White, T. H.: The Once and Future King


Alexander, Kwame: Solo
Alvarez, Julia: How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent
Anderson, Laurie Halse: Fever 1792
Anderson, Laurie Halse: Wintergirls
Andrews, Jesse: Me Earl and the Dying Girl
Bradbury, Jennifer: Shift
Collins, Suzanne: The Hunger Games
Demas, Corinne: Everything I Was
Dessen, Sarah: The Truth about Forever
Dessen, Sarah: Just Listen
Donnelly, Jennifer: A Northern Light
Donnelly, Jennifer: Revolution
Flinn, Alex: Breathing Underwater
Forman, Gayle: If I Stay
Gantos, Jack: Dead End in Norvelt
Green, John: The Fault in Our Stars
Green, John: Turtles All the Way Down
Griffin, Adele: Amandine
Griffin, Adele: My Almost Epic Summer
Grisham, John: Playing for Pizza
Halpin, Brendan: How Ya Like Me Now
Hartinger, Brent: Project Sweet Life
Horowitz, Anthony: Point Blank – Alex Rider Series
Johnson, Maureen: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Leviathan, David: Every Day
McCormick, Patricia: Never Fall Down
Ness, Patrick: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Oates, Joyce Carol: Big Mouth, Ugly Girl
Parker, Robert: The Boxer and the Spy
Reynolds, Jason: The Boy in the Black Suit
Scott, Michael: The Alchemist
Sparks, Nicholas: A Walk to Remember
Sturman, Jennifer: And Then Everything Unraveled
Thomas, Angie: The Hate U Give
Wein, Elizabeth: Code Name Verity
Valentine, Jenny: Broken Soup
Zoboi, Ibi: American Street
Zusak, Markus: The Book Thief


Ambrose, Stephen: The Wild Blue
Beah, Ishmael: A Long Way Gone
Blumenthal, Karen: Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
Halberstam, David: Firehouse
Heiligman, Deborah: Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith
Mah, Adeline Yen: Chinese Cinderella
Myers, Walter Dean: The Greatest
Nelson, Pete: Left for Dead
Roy, Travis: Eleven Seconds
Ruhlman, Michael: The Making of a Chef
Sides, Hampton: Ghost Soldiers
Skloot, Rebecca: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Smithson, Ryan: Ghosts of War
Walls, Jeannette: The Glass Castle
Worsley, Frank Arthur: Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Adams, Douglas: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Card, Orson Scott: Enders Game
Dickinson, Peter: The Ropemaker
Jordan, Robert: Eye of the World
King, Stephen: Eye of the Dragon
Odom, Mel: The Rover
Paolini, Christopher: Eragon
Wooding, Chris: Storm Thief

Suggested reading list ​— Grades 11 and 12


Austen, Jane: Emma
Baldwin, James: If Beale Street Could Talk
Coetzee, J. M.: Slow Man
Eliot, George: Middlemarch
Forster, E. M.: A Room with a View
James, Henry: Daisy Miller
Kerouac, Jack: On the Road
McCullers, Carson: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Styron, William: Sophie’s Choice
Vonnegut, Kurt: Slaughterhouse Five
Walker, Alice: The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith: House of Mirth


Adichie, Chimamanda N.: Half of a Yellow Sun
Baldacci, David: The Simple Truth
Barrett, Andrea: Ship Fever and Other Stories
Bohjalian, Chris: Before You Know Kindness
Bray, Libba: Beauty Queens
Brookner, Anita: Hotel du Lac
Clancy, Tom: Patriot Games
Crichton, Michael: Airframe
Crichton, Michael: Prey
Cross, Donna: Pope Joan
DeRosnay, Tatiana: Sarah’s Key
Doerr, Anthony: All the Light We Cannot See
Eggers, Dave: The Circle
Eggers, Dave: What is the What
Esquivel, Laura: Like Water for Chocolate
Foer, Jonathan Safran: Everything Is Illuminated
Follet, Ken: Eye of the Needle
Franzen, Jonathan: The Corrections
Golden, Arthur: Memoirs of a Geisha
Gruen, Sara: Water for Elephants
Gutterson, David: Snow Falling on Cedars
Haddon, Mark: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Hamill, Pete: Snow in August
Haslett, Adam: You Are Not a Stranger Here
Harris, Robert: Pompeii: A Novel
Hoffman, Alice: Skylight Confessions
Hosseini, Khaled: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Huxley, Aldous: Island
Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go
Ivan, Doig: The Whistling Season
Jackson, Shirley: The Haunting of Hill House
Jin, Ha: The Crazed
Kimmel, Haven: The Solace of Leaving Early
Kincaid, Jamaica: The Autobiography of My Mother
King, Stephen: Misery
Lawson, Mary: Crow Lake
Lee, Harper: Go Set a Watchman
Lee, Min Jin: Pachinko
Livesey, Margot: Banishing Verona
McDermott, Alice: Charming Billy
McEwan, Ian: Atonement
McMillan, Terry: Waiting to Exhale
Mitchell, David: Black Swan Green
Munro, Alice: Runaway
Nemirovsky, Irene: Suite Francaise
Ng, Celeste: Little Fires Everywhere
O’Nan, Stewart: The Good Wife
Patchett, Ann: Patron Saint of Liars
Proulx, E. Annie: The Shipping News
Quindlen, Anna: Blessings
Raleigh, Michael: In the Castle of the Flynns
Rand, Ayn: The Fountainhead
Roth, Philip: The Plot Against America
Russo, Richard: Empire Falls
See, Lisa: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Shaara, Michael: Killer Angels
Smith, Zadie: White Teeth
Sittenfeld, Curtis: Eligible
Tan, Amy: The Kitchen God’s Wife
Tartt, Donna: The Secret History
Tartt, Donna: The Little Friend
Turow, Scott: Presumed Innocent
Tyler, Anne: Saint Maybe
Weber, Katharine: The Music Lesson
Werlin, Nancy: Double Helix


Buford, Bill: Heat
Conover, Ted: Rolling Nowhere
Didion, Joan: We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction
Durant, Michael: In the Company of Heroes
Eggers, Dave: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Ehrenreich, Barbara: Nickel and Dimed
Ehrlich, Gretel: The Solace of Open Spaces
Foer, Jonathan: Safran Eating Animals
Foer, Joshua: Moonwalking with Einstein
Frazier, Ian: Great Plains
Frazier, Ian: On the Rez
Friedman, Thomas: The World Is Flat
Fuller, Alexandra: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight
Gantos, Jack: A Hole in My Life
Goodwin, Doris Kearns: Team of Rivals
Halberstam, David: The Daily Lives of Heroes
Halberstam, David: The Best and the Brightest
Hall, Brian: I Should Be Extremely in Your Company
Ilibaggiza, Immaculee: Left to Tell
Kincaid, Jamaica: A Small Place
Krakauer, Jon: Into the Wild
McBride, James: The Color of Water
McCourt, Frank: Angela’s Ashes
Moehringer, J. R.: The Tender Bar
Nafisi, Azar: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Orlean, Susan: The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup
Patchett, Ann: Truth and Beauty
Schlosser, Eric: Fast Food Nation
Sedaris, David: Naked
Sedaris, David: Me Talk Pretty One Day
Sullivan, John Jeremiah: Pulphead
Vowell, Sarah: The Wordy Shipmates
Vowell, Sarah: The Partly Cloudy Patriot
Wallace, David Foster: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments
Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One’s Own
X, Malcolm: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Doyle, Arthur Conan: The Lost World
Gibson, William: Neuromancer
Goodkind, Terry: The Sword of Truth
Haggard, H. Rider: King Solomon’s Mines
Herbert, Frank: Dune
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
Jordan, Robert: Eye of the World
Rand, Ayn: The Fountainhead