In Which I Let Other People Make my Decisions For Me

This popped up when I googled AP English, for some reason, and I decided to use it.

So you know how you guys are always saying to me, “Matt, you’re so smart and good looking. Why must you let your talents go to waste?” Well, have no fear, for I just recently signed up for an AP class.

An English AP class. No biggie. It’s not like I’m instantly smarter than all of you just because I’ll be taking an advanced class two months from now—OH WAIT I AM. Deal with it.

(Kidding about that last part.)

You’d think I’d learn from past experience that when I sign up for multiple advanced classes, it does not end well. Not for me, nor the teachers, nor my hair. But next year the only two classes available are AP English and English Regulars, and because I don’t find reading long, boring books nearly as painful as other students do, I decided to go with AP. And besides, I can’t go into a regular English class, because y’know, germs.

Anywho, for summer reading, there are at least three books I have to read, and since I have to pay for them myself, I want to pick the best ones. Of the mandatory books, there’s the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and The Crucible, (no author is stated for some reason). Then we could choose between ten* nonfiction books, including:

  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg.
  • The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win Word War II, by Denise Kiernan.
  • Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer.
  • Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, by Peter Godwin.
  • Dreams of My Father, by Barack Obama
  • Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson.
  • The Color of Water, James McBride
  • If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, by Tim O’Brien.
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.
  • The Liar’s Club, by Mary Karr.

There’s also a list of fiction titles, that you could read for extra credit:

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns,  by Khaled Hosseini
  • The 13th Tale, by Diana Setterfield
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
  • The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Forever, by Pete Hamill
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon.
  • Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett.

If anyone reading this has read any of the above listed books, please comment with your thoughts, because I’m cheap, and I don’t want to spend money for a book I might not even like.

Of these books, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is the only one I’m somewhat familiar with. I haven’t read it, but my mom’s been reading it for at least ten years now. I’m not kidding, I remember her reading this back when I was around six years old, and she still hasn’t finished it. So judging by the length of time it’s taking her, I assume it’s not very interesting.

Also, I’m disappointed with you all for the lack of comments guilting me into posting. (See this post if you’re new.) I’ve decided to fire all of you but one. You must fight amongst yourselves (to the death!) for the position. Good luck.

*After intense reexamination, I have come to the conclusion that there are exactly eleven books in the nonfiction list. It’s a good thing I’m not in any AP math classes, eh?


56 thoughts on “In Which I Let Other People Make my Decisions For Me

  1. OH EM GEE. THE NARRATIVE XD! LOL ALL THE ANALYZING I HAD TO DO WITH THAT BOOK FOR JUNIOR YEAR. (I wanted to shoot myself afterwards.) I think I still have that annotated version somewhere….

    No worries though, AP classes are easy peasy. You’ll do fine. You won’t even need to be awake for most of them 😀 I managed to pass with an A for the year and scored a 4 for AP Comparitive Gov test and I had basically slep straight the whole year. And since it’s English, it’s basically how well you can read and write (convincingly). You can literally make up any thesis for anything as long as you can smartly use the enough evidence for it. Aka you should have no problem 😀

    1. P.S. my English teacher showed us that picture so I’m assuming it does have something to do with English…however as I probably wasn’t paying full attention, I have no idea why..

      1. Yes. School attempts to ruin everything. I can no longer watch a movie without analyzing it through and through. I also can no longer read a book for fun without writing all over it.

      2. I’m the same way. 😦

        I think schools should start banning books more often. It’s the most effective way to get students reading.

    2. Quick! Send that annotated version to me! Although the teacher mentioned a site that would be able to tell if you plagiarized or something, or maybe you shouldn’t.

      1. But that’s a website! How is it going to check a book XD? And anyways you can claim it was a used book… if you really want it, I don’t mind. I have hundreds of english books that I won’t be needing much anymore.

      2. Oops, I misread your comment. For some reason I thought you wrote “annotated bibliography.” In my defense, someone has a gun to my head and it’s tough for me to concentrate on anything else.

      3. Don’t worry, I’ve just asked pinkdoughnuts15 for help. To be honest, now that the initial shock has passed, it’s really just very awkward right now. I keep trying to make small talk, but he’s not having any of it.

      4. Perhaps it might be wise not to chat with him? I have no experience in the matter, being always the one holding the gun and all, but I figure that aggrivating the guy might cause him to have a loose trigger finger…

        However if he does shoot you, take comfort in that I shall avenge you.

  2. Uh… out of ALL those books, I’ve only read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. That’s odd for me, because I read so much. Anyway… a lot of these books are on my to-read list but I’m afraid I can’t help you very much – other than by saying that Incident was a very good book!

    1. Noted. It seems like Incident is the most popular book on this list, which isn’t saying much. Of all the people I’ve asked so far, this was the only book any of them have read.

  3. ….I haven’t read ANY of these….dang, it, now i’m not sure I should’ve signed up for AP English. DANG IT MATT, I was all excited til you started talking about it D:
    Wait, so I have to fight people? To the death? For the position?
    ….*shoots everybody that has or ever will comment on this post (not literally, of course, but for metaphorical business reasons)* So I win now, right? :3

    1. *claps* By coldly murdering all your competition, you have proven that you have what it takes for the job. You’re hired. Again.

      Also, if it’s not rude to ask, I’d be willing to pay you for sorting out a certain… uh… hostage situation I’m currently stuck in. (See my conversation above with LegendaryMiko for more information.)

      1. YESSSSS!!!
        I mean, uh, thank you. I appreciate it. Sir.
        Weeeell you’d have to talk to my agent, but I think we could work something out.

  4. From your entire list, (which got me quite upset since I thought I was well read but apparently not so much) I’ve read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Since it was 5 years ago, I cant recall exactly what I loved, but just that I did, and it made me cry a river at times and be extraordinarily furious at others. But I do like this writer quite a lot for the depth he gives his characters.

    1. Thanks, I’ll check it out. And I feel the same way whenever I see articles like “Top Ten Books of the Decade” and I haven’t even heard of half of them.

  5. I did my AS coursework (us Brits have this two year thang in between high school and college, called college or 6th form…) on A Thousand Splendid Suns, it’s truly a beautiful book. Even the most emotionally disconnected people of my English class managed to shed a tear. Also got an A with that coursework. :3
    The Crucible (Arthur Miller, I believe?) is an awesome story as well- healthy doses of social commentary and the like. I reckon you’ll really enjoy it.

  6. I suggest the book “Let’s Kill Uncle” by Rohan O’Grady. It is a really fun read.

  7. ‘Devil in the White City’ is amazing! I listened to the audio which is a good option if you have long summer car trips coming up. I read ‘Dreams of my Father’ in college and it was better than I expected for a ‘celebrity’ biography. It’s not very political so don’t let that sway you.
    ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ is good, but can be rough to get through because (I felt) the middle drags a bit. Proceed at your own risk.
    Happy Reading!

  8. I haven’t read any of these books, though The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is on my to-read shelf, but I’ve heard great things about The Glass Castle and The 13th Tale. 🙂

    1. It seems like a lot of people I’ve asked have The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime on their to-read list, but no one actually seems to have read it. It’s weird.

  9. This has made me a little miserable. The only one I’ve read is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I feel less cool now. And I passed out of school a good while ago. Mehhh
    Anyhow, A Thousand Splendid Suns is such a beautiful read, you have to buy it! Immediately! The writing really is lovely. I should add that it’s also quite horrifically sad though. Still recommend it. Highly!

    1. I feel the same way, whenever I come across a list of books and haven’t even heard of any of them. It’s a big blow to my self esteem, reading wise. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. I haven’t even heard of most of these. You’re lucky, though- you get to choose from a list what books you have to read. I have to read 3 books that are chosen for me (although, 1984 by George Orwell is a really good one (plus I’ve already read it!)).

    Have any of you read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations? Or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley? I mean, I’ve heard of them, and I’m familiar with them, but I’ve never actually read them. Are they good?

    1. No, I haven’t read either of those books, although I do plan to. The two books I’ve read by Dickens were A Tale of Two Cites and A Christmas Carol, and I like them both.

      Oh, and I loved 1984, despite it being really depressing.

  11. A lot of those books are on my to read list too, I just have to finish The Cuckoo’s Calling first…

  12. What happens to your hair when you sign up for multiple advanced classes?? Now you have me curious…

  13. Ok, yes! I think I can help.
    AVOID: Lean In (corporate feminism, bleargh!)
    CONSIDER: Dreams of my Father (actually quite beautifully written); Into the Wild (I haven’t read this, but I have read Into Thin Air, which is also by Krakauer, and I like his conversationalist tone); The Glass Castle (good as far as memoirs go)

    AVOID: A Thousand Splendid Suns (unless you like reading about abused women, seriously, argh, Kite Runner was so much better); Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (I’ve heard nothing but terrible things about this book); The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (my mom “read” this on audiotape; it’s corny and again a giant BLEARGH)
    CONSIDER: The Poisonwood Bible (absolutely amazing!!!); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (super interesting, quirky, and unusual, plus a quick read and kind of sad, I bet you would like it based on other stuff you’ve written about)

    1. Thank you! This was the most helpful comment so far. Based on what you and a few others said, I’ll probably pick The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Dreams of my Father for nonfiction. (Only two people so far, including you, have read any of the nonfiction books listed.)

  14. AP English scores came out for me today! I find it quite fitting how I read this post today (just realized I’m 10 days late…). The Crucible is by Arthur Miller–it’s a fast read, but confusing and sometimes boring, unless you find Salem Witch Trials a true joy! I haven’t heard of the nonfiction ones, but since I’m taking AP Literature next year, one of the books I chose to read (from a list of 6 fiction stories) is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’m still reading another one of my chosen books, but my friend (she hates reading…yet is enrolled for lit…) started this one, claimed she was hooked, and she finished it within a day. Many other alumni suggested it to me as well, though the topic is a little dark and saddening.

    1. (Sorry for the late reply 😦 )

      Thanks, this was really helpful. I’ll probably read ATSS (it seems to be the most popular book on this list).

    1. They may have them, but I won’t be able to get them until school starts. I’m afraid of the librarians at the local library because two or three years ago, I borrowed two books, lost them both, and never came back. I’m afraid they’ll kill me if I come back (or at the very least, give me a judgemental look). True story.

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