St. Anselm’s Abbey School

A Catholic, Benedictine School for Boys Grades 6 - 12

Mind, Body, Spirit

75 years of brotherhood

Summer Reading

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.

Required Summer Reading Assignments

The assignments listed below are for students entering the grade level indicated in Fall 2018. 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.

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): Please read 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: ( Quizzes on the reading will be given in the first two weeks of the fall semester.

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: African-American Literature (Dr. Manglitz): Please read The Sellout by Paul Beatty. A brief paper on the novel will be assigned shortly after school begins. Also, please watch at least one of the movies that have made the last two years very notable ones for black film (besides the blockbusters Black Panther and Get Out): 13th, Fences, I Am Not Your Negro, Moonlight, and/or O.J.: Made in America. Or, if you like, you could even watch one of the upcoming movies anticipated as buzzworthy: BlacKkKlansman, Blindspotting, or Sorry to Bother You.
  • AP Literature & Composition: Representations of Women in Literature (Ms. Dunne): Please read and annotate the following selection from Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose, a Norton Critical Edition: "From an old House in America," "North American Time," "Ghost of a Chance," and "Diving into the Wreck." Please also read the essay "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision." Annotate the poems, making note of literary devices and rhetorical effects thereof and be prepared to share and discuss your annotations with me and the class. A paper will be due shortly after school begins.
  • AP Literature and Composition: Moby Dick and the American Renaissance (Mr. Vaile): Please read a nice collection of poems and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. No specific edition required, but the older and creepier the edition, the better. No need to read essays; just read a nice sampling of short stories and poems. Poe paper due shortly after school begins.
  • AP Literature and Composition: Shakespear's History Plays (Mr. McCarthy): Please read 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro. A reading comprehension test will occur shortly after school begins.
  • AP Literature and Composition: Inner Conflicts in Literature (Mrs. Cholis): Students should read the Barnes and Noble edition of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Please make sure to purchase the Barnes and Noble edition of this novel so referring to pages will be timely when we analyze the work. Read carefully and engage with the narrative. One way to achieve this is to annotate the book. Also you can underline, highlight, or circle passages that impress you as being important. You might make notes in the margins as to why certain parts strike you as significant. Don't just underline. Include your thoughts. Make connections.

Other Courses

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

  • French IV (Dr. Downey):
    Read Guy de Maupassant’s short story Clair de lune, in French, at the following link: (note that Clair de lune is only the first story at the top of this file; students are not required to read any of the other stories). Use a French-English dictionary to look up words you do not recognize, and review the different tenses used (imperfect, passé simple, and so on). Students should also practice French listening comprehension by watching or listening to at least 30 minutes of newscasts at the following link: (note that if the speaking speed is too fast, you can slow down most of these videos using the little clock on the bottom of the player).
  • 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. A reaction essay on the book will be due shortly after school begins.
  • AP Art History (Dr. Downey):
    Because the AP exam focuses on a specified list of required works, students should use the summer to read one of the standard art history surveys. Parents may already have one of them on hand: Marilyn Stokstad, Art History; H.W. Janson, History of Art; and Helen Gardner, Art through the Ages are the best examples. Students may read any of these, in any edition, with Stokstad being the text usually preferred in university art history surveys now. No need to begin studying or memorizing works over the summer, but the experience will provide a solid foundation for our more detailed work during the school year. In addition, at any point over the summer when it is convenient for students and their families, students should visit at least three of the following places around the city: Washington National Cathedral (best local example of a Gothic cathedral), National Gallery of Art (East and West Buildings), the Hirshhorn Museum, the Phillips Collection, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of African Art, and Dumbarton Oaks. Other museums, including those in other cities if students are traveling, may be substituted. Students are encouraged to take photographs if possible to share with the class.