Summer Reading Lists

Supplementary Reading List

St. Anselm's faculty have assembled an extensive list of suggested titles that students may wish to consider reading in their free time this summer.  While these readings are not required, they will be helpful in preparing for the year ahead and have been identified by our teachers as worthwhile texts. 

Click here to download the supplementary list as a .pdf.

Required Summer Reading Assignments

The assignments listed below are for students entering the grade level indicated in Fall 2017.  If you have any questions, please contact the instructor directly or email  Have a great summer!

Form A

  • English (Mr. DeLuca): Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Gary Schmidt (Comprehension test to be given shortly after the beginning of school.)

  • Geography (Mr. Harwood): The White Zone, Carolyn Mardsen

    (There will be a test on the plot of the novel within the first few days of school. A good way to order a copy is online through Amazon or Barns and Noble.)

Form I

  • English (Mr. Leathers): Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (Comprehension test to be given shortly after beginning of school.)

  • Latin (Mr. Fries): Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. Robert Fitzgerald.  Please use 1990 Vintage Classics Edition, ISBN 0-679-72952-6. (Comprehension test to be given during the first trimester.)

Form II

  • English (Ms. Dunne): Lord of the Flies, William Golding (Essay due shortly after returning to school.)

  • History (Mr. Achilles): A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists and Other Adventurers in Early America,  Tony Horwitz

Form III

  • English (Mr. Vaile): The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (Comprehension test to be given when school resumes.)

  • World History I (Dr. Manglitz): Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond. Please read the Prologue and Chapters 1-6.  (A brief essay will be assigned shortly after school begins.)

    Form IV
  • English (Mr. Morse): Ask a friend or family member who is at least twenty years older than you are to recommend a full-length novel that he or she remembers enjoying in high school or college. Before you read the novel, ask what made it memorable and worthwhile for this person. (Try to get them to talk about it as much as you can without spoiling any surprises in the book.) After we return from summer break, you will write a short, 250-word response in which you compare your reaction to the book with that of the person who recommended it. What might account for the differences or similarities in your responses? The only novels I would discourage you from reading are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald because we will be studying these together during the year.

  • World History II (Mr. Otterson): A History of the World in Six Glasses, Tom Standage. (Short paper will be assigned at the beginning of the school year.)

  • Humanities (Dr. Downey): Dante's Inferno. Students may read any English translation of Dante, if one is already in your possession. If you are purchasing one, the translation by Robert Hollander is the best one (available in paperback from Amazon). Students may also read the Hollander translation online for free at the excellent Web site of the Princeton Dante Project: (
    At the official celebration of Dante’s 750th birthday, Pope Francis recommended the poet’s Divine Comedy as essential reading for the Year of Mercy, adding that the journey of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso is crucial for all those “who wish to follow the route of true knowledge and authentic discovery of the self, the world and the profound and transcendent meaning of existence.” (Only Inferno is required as summer reading: quizzes on the reading will be given in the first two weeks of the fall semester.)
  • Physics (Mr. Taylor): The Form IV Physics students have a choice. They may either read a biography of Isaac Newton of their choosing, or read For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin. (A short paper on the book students choose will be due shortly after the school year begins.)

Forms V & VI

NB: Please remember to do the readings for only the courses and teachers for which you are registered!


  • Form V AP Language and Composition (Ms. Dunne and Ms. Cholis):  Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. This is a collection of short stories. Read each story with the goal of discerning themes, symbolism, imagery and tone.  Notice the arrangement of the stories. Annotate the text. You should underline significant phrases and literary devices, and you should jot down notes in the margins to help you make connections as you read. A paper on this text will be due shortly after school begins. NOTE: Juniors who will take AP Language in the Spring will be expected to do this assignment over winter break or before.

  • AP Literature & Composition: Literature of the 1960's (Mr. McCarthy): Please read Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. A reading comprehension test will occur shortly after school begins.

  • AP Literature & Composition: Urban Perspectives in Literature (Ms. Dunne): 

    Please read and annotate Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard. A paper will be assigned on this book shortly after school begins.

  • AP Literature and Composition: Logic and Morality in Literature (Dr. Manglitz):  Please read Tracy K. Smith's book of poems, Life on Mars. To appreciate some of its main allusions, please also watch the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey and listen to the David Bowie songs from which some of the poems get their titles (see the notes in the back of the book). A brief paper will be assigned shortly after school begins.

  • AP Literature and Composition: Heroes Rebels, and Exiles in Literature (Ms. Cholis):  Please read The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. Please purchase the Barnes and Noble Edition, ISBN 978-1-59308-309-0. Shortly after school begins, class discussion on this work will initiate the exploration of the course's theme.

  • AP Literature and Composition: Exploring Poetry (Mr. Vaile): Please read E.E. Cummings: Selected Poems, edited by Richard S. Kennedy. ISBN 978-0-87140-154-0. Please purchase this specific edition and not some other Cummings collection as Kennedy's notes will be frequently consulted in class. A paper on this book will be due shortly after school begins.

Other Courses

  • AP U.S. History (Mr. Achilles):
    1. Read American Colonies: The Settling of North America by Alan Taylor.  (A test will be given upon students' return to school.)
    2. Do you see yourself as a “conservative” or as a “liberal”? Either way, it is important to see how the other side thinks.
      • Those students who consider themselves to be politically conservative, read: A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present, Howard Zinn.
      • Those students who consider themselves to be politically liberal, read:  A History of the American People, Paul Johnson.
      • Those students who consider themselves to be moderate may read either (or both, if they prefer).

  • AP Psychology (Mr. Vaile): Required reading is Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater (ISBN 0-393-32655-1). A reaction essay on the book will be due shortly after school begins.
  • AP Music Theory (Dr. Downey): 

    Before the first class of the fall semester, go to the following Web site:
    Learn (or review) the following concepts under the “Lessons” tab:
    Staff, Clefs, and Ledger Lines
    Note Duration
    Measures and Time Signatures
    Rest Duration
    Dots and Ties
    Simple and Compound Meter
    Odd Meter
    Steps and Accidentals
    Major Scale
    Minor Scale
    Scale Degrees
    Key Signatures
    Key Signature Calculation
    Generic Intervals
    Specific Intervals
    Writing Intervals
    Interval Inversion

    As you review the corresponding concept, give yourself the following quizzes under the “Trainers” tab:
    Note Trainer (for reading notes in treble and bass clef)
    Key Trainer (for identifying key signatures)
    Interval Trainer (for identifying intervals by sight)
    Keyboard Trainer (you need to be very familiar with the location of all the keys of the piano, to know where half-steps and whole steps occur)

    Use the settings button in the trainer to set the level of difficulty for each quiz. You should be able to score between 90% and 100% on all of these quizzes, within a fairly short amount of time (that is, being able to recognize all of these quickly should be part of the goal).

    ****** There will be a substantial quiz on these basic concepts of music theory on the first day of class. It will be timed, so that your fluency with each of the concepts will also be part of the grade you earn. ******

    Finally, to get ahead of the game, do some work on basic ear training by using the “Interval Ear Trainer” and “Scale Ear Trainer” – they will quiz you on identifying intervals and scale types by sound only. Questions on these concepts will be on the first-day examination as extra credit.