Summer Reading List: Summer After High School

I spent Saturday making summer reading lists for several of my children, and even for Engineer Husband. Here’s the list I made for Dancer Daughter, age 17, who’s planning a “gap year” between high school and college for this next year so that she can earn some money, take a few dual credit classes, and enjoy learning on her own schedule before she tries to fit into a college framework. She’s technically completed all the credits she needs for high school graduation, but we’ve postponed the celebration until May, 2008.

1984 by George Orwell.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken. This one is a true love story that not only tells the story of the human love of a man and a woman who were determined to have the ideal romantic relationship, but it also tells what happened when God unexpectedly entered the relationship and changed the lives and the marriage of Mr. van Auken and of his wife, Davey, forever.

Christy by Catherine Marshall. Christy is an eighteen year old innocent idealist when she goes to the mountains of Appalachia to teach school in a one-room schoolhouse. By the end of the story she’s a grown-up woman who’s experienced friendship, grief, and love.

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare. We’ll be seeing Eldest Daughter in a production of this play at Winedale this summer. So I thought it might be appropriate to read it before we see it.

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. I love this book about sin and forgiveness and racial reconciliation in South Africa during the apartheid era. I’m looking forward to discussing it with Dancer Daughter.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. I haven’t read this book, but DD requested some fantasy and this one sounded like the kind of thing she might enjoy.

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie.

Exodus by Leon Uris. Semicolon thoughts on the novels of Leon Uris.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. More fantasy/fairy tale. Shannon Hale and THe Goose Girl. I’m reading the sequel to this book, Enna Burning now.

Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson. This one is a little known classic romance set in the Amazon jungles about Rima, the bird girl, and Abel the European explorer who falls in love with her.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri.

Homecoming and Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt.

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I thought Wharton’s story of Lily Bart would serve as a nice cautionary tale for a seventeen year old about misplaced priorities. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:4.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. An excellent story about the lives of women within a closed community of nuns. Not only does the reader get to satisfy his curiosity about how nuns live in a convent, but there’s also a a great plot related to contemporary issues such as abortion, the efficacy of prayer, and the morality of absolute obedience.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. “Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it’s Lord of the Flies time, now.” —-Sawyer on LOST, the TV show.

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. Another Shakespeare at Winedale play, a rather disturbing one in my opinion.

Richard II by William Shakespeare. Yet another Shakespeare at Windale production.

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. Semicolon review here.

Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy.

Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Something by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, or Cordelia Funke. I haven’t read these authors yet, but they come highly recommended in the fantasy genre.

I tried for a balance of fun and educational. I feel honored that Dancer Daughter asked me for the list to jump start her summer reading.

5 thoughts on “Summer Reading List: Summer After High School

  1. Ooo! I LOVED Inkheart. I’m reading Inkspell right now (don’t care for it as much) but love Funke in general!+

  2. Ooo! I LOVED Inkheart. I’m reading Inkspell right now (don’t care for it as much) but love Funke in general!+

  3. “I feel honored that Dancer Daughter asked me for a list…” Oh my, yes! What a blessing. That’s a great list. You always prime my pump and add authors and books to my list. Edith Wharton is one author I’ve never read; I’ve noted The House of Mirth.

    In the House of Brede seems right up my currently-reading alley!

  4. What a great list. Enchantment and Goose Girl are both great fantasy novels. I loved Exodus and am currently reading Trinity by Uris.

  5. Since your daughter asked for fantasy, might I suggest Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin? It’s set on a college campus with a freshman protagonist, so she will immediately identify with the age and thoughts of the heroine. It’s all based on the ballad of Tam Lin, so there’s some fun history and fantasy elements involving Faerie (especially at the end) but also a ton of Shakespeare thrown in.

    For Gaiman, I would say check out his new short story collection. With so many big novels on the list, it might be nice to break it up with some short stories.

    (I’ve never made it through Jane Eyre even though I have tried and tried – she might want to grab Jasper Fforde’s very fun fantasy take on that, The Eyre Affair to read as a companion.)

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