The English Department welcomes you to high school and

Walt Whitman High School
Summer Reading List
9th Grade 2013 - 2014
The English Department welcomes you to high school and congratulates you on
reaching this milestone in your academic journey. These summer reading texts help
prepare you for the rigors of high school. This list also provides background to
upcoming texts. We encourage you to read with others and to discuss themes,
character development, and figurative language. Have fun and come prepared!
Summer Reading
One novel
One biography (or autobiography) of a famous
American of the 1920s or 1930s
one biography (or autobiography) of a famous
American of the 1920s or 1930s
“How to Mark a Book” by Mortimer Adler*
“How to Mark a Book” by Mortimer Adler*
and 1 additional essay about writing*
and 2 addition essays about writing*
“Why I Write”
George Orwell
“Why I Write”
George Orwell
“Why I Write”
Joan Didion
“My Father’s Suitcase”
Orhan Pamuk
“Why I Write”
Joan Didion
“My Father’s Suitcase”
Orhan Pamuk
“The Making of a Writer” Eudora Welty
“The Making of a Writer” Eudora Welty
*essays are available to print on Whitman English Department website at:
Keep reading logs for both the novel and the biography typed in 12 point font that addresses the
prompts below. You will submit the essay annotations and reading log, stapled in the upper left hand
corner, with your name, your teacher’s name, the period number, and the date clearly labeled, also in
the upper left corner of the first page during the first week of school. Mark up AND annotate
the essays with notes. Logs are your first submission to
Questions 1, 2, and 3 address your biography. Questions 4 through 8 are for the novel (fiction).
Question 9 is for either text. Cite your information.
1. Where and when did the subject live? (Biography)
2. What were or are his/her interests? (Biography)
3. Identify the motivating factor(s) of his/her life. (Biography)
4. What effect does the opening of the novel achieve? Consider tone, diction, and setting. (Novel)
5. What is the author trying to convey about life or human nature (theme)? (Novel)
6. What is the major conflict? (Novel)
7. Describe the climax. (Novel)
8. Who is your favorite character from the novel? Why? (Novel)
9. Who would you most like to meet in Starbucks? What would you like to tell him? (It need not be
your favorite character.) (Novel or Biography)
Famous Americans - Suggestions for the biography/autobiography (non-fiction):
Margaret Burke-White
Al Capone
Coco Chanel
Walt Disney
Albert Einstein
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ernest Hemingway
Langston Hughes
Dorothea Lange
Charles Lindbergh
Jesse Owens
Eleanor Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Orson Welles
Fiction Selections:
Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck. A beautiful memoir, both heartbreaking and absorbing, of a child’s loss, loneliness,
and her ability to survive and grow.
Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. This WWII novel of mutiny aboard the USS Caine explores ethical and legal
issues of mutiny law in a real-life situation when officers and sailors must face their captain’s debilitating
paranoia. (Great film starring Humphrey Boart and James Cagney)
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. An award-winning classic mystery involving a hard-nosed PI, a
dangerous dame, and a mysterious bird. This novel became a standard for mystery novels and film noir. (Oscar
winning film starring the incomparable Humphrey Bogart)
Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. Survival after a nuclear attack brings out heroes and the cowards as residents of a
small Florida town reestablish law and order, find food, and ponder the future. Writing is simple,
straightforward, and practical.
Emma by Jane Austen. A witty and amusing look at Regency England’s manners and social mores embodied by
a delightful mis-matcher. (Best movie version stars Gwyneth Paltrow. Clueless is a fun update starring Alicia
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Where Emma is light, this tale is dark. A suspenseful gothic tale of a penniless
orphan who becomes a governess and then the mistress of a house haunted by madness, terrible secrets, and
desire. (Great movie versions available among which are the early one with the incomparable Orson Welles and
Joan Fontaine, and the newer version with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsborough and Mia Wasikowska and
Michael Fassbinder.)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. A modern companion to Jane Eyre where a delicate heroine saves both the day
and the hero as she rises from rags to riches. (Best film version with Sir Lawrence Olivier and a type-cast Joan
Fontaine – she plays a great victim)
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. A gothic tale of a Victorian era girls’ boarding school with a deadly
secret which focuses on one character, Gemma, who is intrigued and confused by a circle of girls who seem to
hold strange powers.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This classic looks at the difficult lives of immigrants and inside the horrors of the
Chicago meat-packing industry in the 1920s and 1930s.
Why I Write Essays
Read these essays; underline, annotate, and highlight important information. We must see evidence of how your mind worked
as you read; in other words CONVERSE with your sources – show your thinking! Use highlighters, write notes in the margin,
underline, circle, connect, draw arrows, etc. Find strategies that work best for you!
These websites also offer additional
responses on writing from television
producers, professionals, and other
individuals. No annotations necessary
for these readings.