English 10H 

English 11R 

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English 10 Honors Summer Reading

Welcome to English 10 Honors! During the summer of 2023, students in this course must READ AND ANNOTATE THEIR OWN COPIES of the following:

1)  The Introduction and Chapters 1-12 inclusive of Thomas C. Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Revised Edition (published by Harper Perennial in 2014)

This work will help you read more effectively and insightfully. Foster will help you to see the importance of cultivating your memory; he will also help you recognize and note certain literary patterns, symbolic language and symbolic situations in your Odyssey stories. The first eleven chapters touch on important symbolic patterns (motifs) and key sources that authors allude to or draw inspiration from, such as the Bible, fairy tales, and Greek culture.  When you return in September, I will expect you to be ready to discuss and write about what you learned from the Foster book and how you connected his ideas to The Odyssey and your modern odyssey. We will also be writing paragraphs throughout the first semester that focus on how the literature reflects the ideas Foster touches on. Reading Foster’s work is like having a college professor sit down and explain how to read well--but for a much cheaper price than the one you will pay in tuition! Read this text before you read the next two. 

2) Then, read ONLY Books 1-12  (don’t panic, these are “chapters”) of Homer’s epic The Odyssey. And, please note: READ ONLY the Robert Fagles translation!   

Do use the glossary of places and people in the back of the text, which will really help you to keep straight who’s who. You can skip the lengthy introduction of this text, but some of you may wish to read these wonderful notes by scholar Bernard Knox. As you read the “books” of the epic, I expect you to develop or further develop a system of annotation that will help you to actively read and remember the significant details of this text; for example, you may highlight first introductions of  key characters, write specific notes in the margins on the effects of a Homeric (extended) similes, write in the margins ? or idk for points that confuse, use S for a key symbol, or  IR/D for dramatic irony—and note an effect of this technique in the margin. The important thing is to make the marks on YOUR copy, NOT on post it notes or on a separate handwritten or typed page. To get good ideas about how to annotate efficiently, read Mortimer Adler’s essay “How to Mark A Book,” which you can access from my webpage. I also strongly recommend Alfred Drake’s Teacher Web study guide questions on The Odyssey, which you can also access at http://www.ajdrake.com/teachers/teaching/questions/homer_drake_03.htm  Consider annotating your copy of Books 1-12 of The Odyssey in response to these questions. 

3) And finally, carefully read and annotate ONE of the following modern odyssey novels:

J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (2003)

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees (2004)

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (1988)

As you read and annotate, you should consider all that you have learned about particular literary patterns and types of symbols from the Introduction and Chapters 1-12 of Thomas C. Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor AND what you have learned from the original Odyssey by Homer. Think about the ways in which the characters of the novel resemble the characters in Homer’s epic and how the plot structure of the quest in Homer’s epic resembles the quests of the novel you choose. If you don’t like a novel from the list that you have begun reading, pick up another!  

HOW TO GET HELP DURING THE SUMMER ON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE READINGS: You may email me with questions and concerns at denoyellesc@pearlriver.org. Be sure to put the words “10H Summer Reading 2023” in the subject box AND be sure to include your full name in the email itself.  I look forward to getting to know you and working with you this September!


Link to "How to Mark a Book" by Mortimer J. Adler: