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Students Entering Grade 12: Recommended/Required Summer Reading List

Required Reading & Podcast Project:
Incoming Twelfth Grade Honors and Writing Fellows

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch 
    Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
    Students will apply lessons from The Last Lecture as inspiration for the college and scholarship essays they will create during the first weeks of each semester.
  • Click here to view the details of the required Podcast Project for incoming Twelfth Grade Honors students and Writing Fellows.

Required Reading:
Incoming Advanced Placement Students

Recommended Reading: All 12th Grade  

  • BossyPants by Tina Fey
    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.
  • For One More Day by Mitch Albom 
    This is the story of Charley, a child of divorce, who is always forced to choose between his mother and his father. He grows into a man and starts a family of his own. But one fateful weekend, he leaves his mother to secretly be with his father - and she dies while he is gone. This haunts him for years. It unravels his own young family.
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer 
    Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end.
  • Misery by Stephen King 
    Bestselling novelist Paul Sheldon thinks he's finally free of Misery Chastain. In a controversial career move, he just killed off the popular protagonist of his beloved romance series in favor of expanding his creative horizons. but such change doesn't come without consequences.
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass 
    This readable and authentic story documents the struggle of a young slave to gain an education, to escape from the bonds of slavery, and to eventually rise to the heights of international leadership and recognition.
  • Outliers by Malcom Gladwell 
    Malcom Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high achievers different?
  • The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexander Robbins 
    Robbins explores how our high stakes educational culture has spiraled out of control. Robbins tackles teen issues such as intense stress, the student and teacher cheating epidemic, sports rage, parental guilt, the black market for study drugs, and a college admissions process.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
    Earth is about to be destroyed in order to make room for an intergalactic "expressway". It's going to be "one of those days". And that's just the start of this science fiction farce.
  • The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose 
    As a sophomore at Brown University, Kevin Roose didn't have much contact with the Religious Right. Raised in a secular home by staunchly liberal parents, he fit right in with Brown's student body. So when he had a chance to encounter a group of students from Liberty University, a conservative Baptist university in Lynchburg, Virginia, he found himself staring across a massive culture gap.


If you are having difficulty finding and acquiring a text for summer reading, please click here to email Nancy Aiken in the Curriculum Department.