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09/04/2019

Summer Reading List: Which books should I choose? (opinions needed)?

QUESTION
Summer Reading List: Which books should I choose? (opinions needed)?
For AP Language and Composition next year, I’m required to read 2 out of 14 non-fiction books from the list below. I have no idea which two books to choose to read this summer, which is why I would love all the opinions I can get on each of these books if you’ve read them. I understand that everyone’s opinion is different, but this will give me a little insight on what I might enjoy.
1. Freedom Riders by Raymond Arsenault
2. No Impact Man by Colin Beavan
3. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
5. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
6. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
7. Into the Wild by Jon Krakuer
8. Freakonomics by Steve D. Levitt
9. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
10. My Point…And I Do Have One by Ellen Degeneres
11. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
12. Three Case Histories by Sigmund Freud
13. The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard
14. America (The Book) by Jon Stewart

ANSWER
I’ve read a sampling and some are more interesting–to me–than others.

America is funny, but it’s fairly light, and is going to be hard to use in essays or analysis, so I’d skip it even though it may tempt you. I haven’t read My Point… And I Do Have One, but I suspect it’s going to have the same weakness.

I found Freakonomics utterly fascinating. I’d recommend that one highly. It seems dry at first, and then you get into it and think, wow, this viewpoint is outrageous–could this guy be right?

In Cold Blood was interesting, too, but I thought Capote would have benefitted from some serious editing for length. It was, however, the first fiction-style nonfiction, a truly groundbreaking work.

I simply could not get into Seabiscuit. That could just be me.

I’ve never read that particular Freud, but that’s not going to be entertaining reading, I bet.

A Moveable Feast is a work of lasting value, one you can reference in college coursework without embarrassing yourself, since it’s not a book widely read in high schools.

I would guess The Meaning of Matthew might be touching, with insight into being gay, but I haven’t read it.