The Hello Giggles School for Girls: Summer Reading List 2011, Part 1

Hello. I’m Julia Hart and I teach high school English in Los Angeles.

I spend most of my time with teenagers. While some might consider this a nightmare, it’s the perfect kind of heaven for me. Being in the classroom with them preserves my sense of wonder, plus they introduce me to cool new music. Sometimes I forget that I’m not still in high school myself, especially these days as I’m sporting braces (don’t ask).

This summer, go back to the days when the biggest problems in your life were the ones you read about in books. I invite you to enjoy the warmer months with a nostalgic trip down memory lane with some of my favorites books I teach, and a few that I’ll be reading myself. I present to you: the Hello Giggles School For Girls Summer Reading List, 2011 edition.

Oh, and there will be a test.

Part 1:

1. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

This book is so good that my teaching partner reads it every summer. This year, I’m gonna join her.

2. Mrs.Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

I teach this book in my senior lit class and I give my students this advice: read it outside. Preferably under a tree, or next to a body of water. And also your bathtub counts as outside.

3. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

I am really excited to be teaching this for the first time next year. So I’ll be reading it again this summer.

4. Raise High The Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction – J.D. Salinger

The less frequently studied text of Salinger’s is also maybe his best one.

5. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

You can’t call yourself a woman until you’ve read this book.

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  • Andrea Maramara

    lolita looks interesting :)

  • Wendy Norman

    Just bought The Bell Jar and Mrs. Dalloway…thanks for the recommendations!! Can’t wait to read them. :) I kind of miss getting summer reading lists, so thanks for giving us the Hello Giggles version! :)

  • Lauren Lua

    Fabulous recommendations, Julia! ALL of these books are absolutely perfect & rank highly on my ‘all time favourites’ list. I wish I had an English teacher with such killer taste when I was at High School, haha : )

  • Beth Curry

    Lolita and The Bell Jar are two of my favourite books! They’re written beautifully.
    For my English literature coursework we have to compare two novels (themes, characters, narrative techniques) and I think I’m going to compare The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted.

    We just finished reading The Yellow Wallpaper as part of our feminist literature topic.

  • Alison Heller

    I couldn’t stand Mrs. Dalloway, but I did just buy a beautiful edition of Wuthering Heights.

  • Rachael Berkey

    This is a great list. I’m definitely adding the two I haven’t read to my beach bag this summer.

  • Maria Jose Rojas

    Although I don’t live in the US (international students at The Hello Giggles School for Girls! 😉 ) I promise I will try my outmost to find these books and read them! I’ve never failed an English class and this will not be the first time!
    School’s in session!

  • Lauren M. Blanchard

    I have not read 2 of these, so I’m already winning 😀

  • Mariana Araújo

    Nice list. Please, make more posts like this one, it’s great to have indications of good things to read!

  • Virginia Blake

    Great recommendations. I am adding the two I haven’t read to my reading list.

  • Ashley Xue Grimm

    Salinger is my lover. I read all his books about twice a year. This summer, I’m adding the rest of those books to my list! 😀 ::performs super stoked dance::

  • Ruby Karp

    is there anything contemporary that would be considered inspiring/thought provoking/on par with this selection?

    • Christina Sebez

      if you’re looking for more contemporary authors who have strong female things, check out isabel allende. my favorite is “the house of the spirits.” also, margaret atwood. her most famous is “the handmaid’s tale” but i also enjoyed her shorter work like “moral disorder.” i also liked “the red tent” by anita diamant which i read for my images of women in the bible class. there are a LOT of good books regarding women and technology and the implications, too. non fiction like “feminism confronts technology” by judy wajcman. and to not leave the male writers out,”bless me, ultima” is a beautiful book.

    • Sarah Eaton

      I also must HIGHLY recommend Margaret Atwood if you are looking for something contemporary – she is an ALL TIME FAVORITE of mine. If you want to get really feminist go with Handmaid’s Tale or The Edible Woman. If you want something a little lighter/more fun start with Good Bones and Simple Murders which is a collection of short stories, poems, etc.

      I also recommend Zadie Smith’s White Teeth – she’s a Brit and her first novel is great. I have now read it 3+ times and would def go back to it again.

  • Cathy Sitzes

    Love love love Wuthering Heights. Favorite book. I read it every year when I was in High School. This list is a great reminder of things you’ve loved and stuff you might have missed!! :) Also, I just got braces, as well at the ripe old age of 35. So, High Five!

  • Kelsey Fort

    I loved Wuthering Heights and The Bell Jar, so i’ll definitely check out the other three!

  • Sophia Dominique Marko

    Aww man, no test please! Regardless, I’ll definitely be adding these to the list of ‘books to bring to the beach’. Thanks!

  • Julia Hart Horowitz

    Ruby – There are some contemporary complements in the coming posts! Stay tuned. Everyone – glad you like the books so far! xoxo Julia

  • Liz Haebe

    Wuthering Heights shows me something new everytime I read it. And, I’ve read it 4 times!

  • Nicole Jeanette Ford

    I very muchly agree with all of the selections! Also, I’m so glad you added Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction. It’s such an amazing book. I can’t decide if I like it better than Franny and Zooey. Also an awesome read by him. Catcher in the Rye is good too but I think I almost prefer his less read books.

  • Amy Danielle

    I read The Bell jar a few years ago, and in a moving out fight with my best friend, lost my copy (not saying it was stolen… but it totally was.)
    Anyway, whenever I go to the bookstore I contemplate buying it again, even though my book list is currently about 2 years long. And when I tell my friends about it, I HATE HATE HATE when they say “What? Never heard of it.”
    Thank you so much for teaching these books. If I’d had books like this to read in school I probably would have actually done the work.

    • Beth Curry

      My friend still has my copy too (it’s been over a year) so I bought it again. 😀

  • Lauren Nespoli

    I love reading. I’ve read a few of these, but not all of them so I’m gonna add the others to my list of books to read this summer! I miss my high school English classes and summer reading assignments now!

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