Saturday, May 28, 2011

Questions, Questions, Questions

I will be unavailable for an upcoming Q&A event with parents at a local eatery (much to my chagrin) but I let Dr. Scherler know that I would post a specific "FAQ" entry for parents and students alike.

Please feel free to log in or post questions anonymously. I moderate the comments, but I will post and answer any and all appropriate questions. So, if you want to know something about the curriculum or the books or whatever, I'll see you in the comments.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Planned Novel Selections for IB Lit

The following is the planned novel selection set for IB English diploma programme at Woodrow.

11th Grade Year:

Part 1: Works in Translation (3 works from PLT)

  • The Inferno by Dante Alighieri ISBN 9780451531391
  • Candide by Voltaire (Norton Critical Edition) ISBN 9780393960587
  • Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (Norton Edition) ISBN 9780393956238

Part 2: Detailed Study (3 works from different genres from PLA)

  • Macbeth by Wm. Shakespeare (Folger Library Ed.) ISBN 0743477103
  • The Poetry of William Blake (Blake’s Poetry & Designs—Norton Critical Ed.) 9780393924985
  • Walden by Thoreau (Modern Library Classics Ed.) ISBN 0679783342

12th Grade Year:

Part 4: Options (3 works freely chosen)
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (Bantam Classics Ed.) ISBN 9780553212785
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu ISBN 9780195014761
  • The Complete Short Stories by Flannery O’Connor ISBN 9780374515362

Part 3: Literary Genres (4 works from any genre from PLA)

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ISBN 9780307264602
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Norton Critical Ed.) ISBN 9780393926361
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien ISBN 9780318706419
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Penguin Classics Ed) ISBN 9780143105039

Summer Reading, 2011

My personal and professional opinion of assigned summer reading is that it should be a lot like summer romance: short and sweet, and maybe just a little bit torrid. The selected texts were chosen specifically because they meet these criteria, and because I like them.

Please note that students (ie, incoming IB and AP English juniors at Woodrow Wilson) should have both novels read by the start of the fall semester 2011-2012; students should further anticipate that there will be a diagnostic exam based on the material for the purpose of figuring out approximately your skill level and potential needs.

The following books are the "official" summer reading books for both IB and AP Language:

The Great Gatsby is the classic "Lost Generation" novel of post-WWI disillusionment with the American Dream and all its wretched excess. Yes, there is a movie for this one, but no, I would not bother watching it in spite of its cinematic heritage. This book has gangsters, rum-runners, war-heroes, flappers, golfers, debutantes, Old and New Money... You can only aspire to be as cool as the people in this novel.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
is the second novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, and it is not the story you anticipate. I will fully admit that I was skeptical upon opening the book, but I was quickly disabused of any concerns--in fact, I couldn't put it down. A political thriller, this novella is a classic story of post-9/11 disillusionment with the American Dream and all its wretched excess. Part-spy-thriller, part-romance, this story will make you think.

The books are available at most of the area bookstores, both retail and resale. Enjoy!