AP Books

AP Language and Composition Summer Reading

  • Welcome to AP Lang! We will certainly read imaginative literature, but this course emphasizes nonfiction and argumentation. To prepare for the year ahead, I would like you to read two nonfiction books of your choice this summer, or to choose one book and one complete season of a podcast series. There are suggestions below, but, really, it’s your choice.

    Read or listen, actively. Engage each book or podcast. Enter into conversation with the authors; argue with them. I highly recommend that you purchase your own books so you can annotate and mark interesting passages. Contrary to what you may have been told, it’s a good habit to write in the books you study. It makes them yours. Alternatively, take notes, keep a journal, do something to register your observations and questions as you read or listen. 

    I also encourage you to share good books and good podcasts with others—parents, siblings, friends. Talk about what you read or hear. I look forward to engaging in the conversation with you, so come prepared to intelligently discuss and write about your books when we meet in September—supporting your thoughts with specific passages, details, and evidence.

    During the year we will also read many essays, scholarly articles, and try to keep abreast of current events, thinking critically about the news and our culture. A great way to begin, and to practice your writing, would be participate in the New York Times Summer Reading Contest. It begins June 10 and you can participate anytime during the summer. This is not required, but try it. I would love to see what you write.  Reading high quality publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, or The Atlantic, and there are others, will make you a better reader, a better writer, a better student, and a better citizen.

    Best wishes for a great summer. I look forward to seeing you in person in September.

    Mr. Davidson

    There are many great possibilities out there, including those in the book cover collage above. Here are a few more recommendations and a link to a folder with more ideas:

    • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • AP Lang Reading Suggestions folder

    If you like to browse, get out to your library or your bookstore. If you must stay on your device, here are a few links for you, too:

    And, here is a list of podcast ideas:


    Podcast Title


    1619 Project

    Revisionist History

    Stuff You Missed In History Class

    The History Chicks



    Ear Hustle


    The Grift


    50 Things That Made The Modern Economy


    How I Built This

    Planet Money



    LBGT Stories

    Other: Mixed Race in America

    What Would a Feminist Do?



    Fresh Air

    Pop Culture Happy Hour

    Song Exploder


    Intelligence Squared

    Pod Save America

    The Run Up

    What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law


    Flash Forward


    The Hidden Brain

    The Sustainable Futures Report


    Getting In

    Talks With Teachers


    History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps

    Philosophize This!



    The Dinner Party Download