AP English Literature & Composition Reading List

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Reading is a critical component of an AP English Literature and Composition class. Learn about the types of fiction and nonfiction recommended for students taking this course, and find resources you can use to supplement classroom instruction and help students prepare for their AP test.

Suggested Reading for AP English Literature and Composition

While no official reading list exists for AP English Literature and Composition courses, the College Board - which oversees the AP program - does advise that students read a range of historical and contemporary American and British literature. Familiarity with the Bible and classical mythology is also recommended. Teachers of AP English Literature and Composition are free to devise their own reading lists based on a list of authors compiled by the College Board.

Examples of Suggested Authors

Poetry William Blake, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Alexander Pope, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman
Drama Aeschylus, Amiri Baraka, Caryl Churchill, David Henry Hwang, Arthur Miller, Molière, Suzan-Lori Parks, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Sophocles, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams
Fiction Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, D. H. Lawrence, Gabriel García Márquez, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf
Expository Prose Gloria Anzaldúa, Jesús Colón, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Johnson, Charles Lamb, Mary McCarthy, George Orwell, Michael Pollan, Henry David Thoreau, E. B. White

The full list of recommended authors can be found on the AP website (

Supplementary Resources for AP English Literature and Composition

The same close reading skills students use to examine works of poetry and prose in class will be put to the test on the AP English Literature and Composition exam.

If you're looking for a resource to help students develop their abilities in this area, or would like to provide some background info on the genres and historical periods being covered in class, consider using's AP English Literature course. Each of the following chapters contains short video lessons and self-checking quizzes to track students' progress. Topics of study include:

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