Dystopian Visions, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Over the past ten years, the dystopian genre has exploded capturing a majority share of the contemporary science fiction market. Dystopian novels have become blockbuster movies with American audiences clamboring for more explorations of future worlds gone wrong. In this course, students will examine the roots of the dystopian novel and explore why the characters, settings, and themes of dystopia appeal to today’s readers.
Classic Choices
Modern Choices
The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
1984 by George Orwell
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Life as we knew if by Susan Beth Pfeffer


The Short Story/Contemporary Literature
Short stories explore rich and varied themes, settings, and characters. Successful works of short fiction often focus on conveying a mood, a moment, or a singular setting, rather than a complicated plot. Students in this course will examine the standard conventions of short fiction, read a variety of classic and modern works, and analyze the decisions an author makes to craft an engaging tale.
Twenty Great American Short Stories
List of the 50 Best Short Stories of All Time

Contemporary Literature
Reading contemporary literature allows students to consider how recent events impact the arts. Students in this course will read popular as well as critically-praised authors whose work dates from 1980 to the present day. Discussions will consider how each work emphasizes the social, emotional, and political elements of the period.
List of suggestions for the best contemporary literature of the past 30 years

BBC - Culture - The 12 Best Novels of the 21st century

The Mystery, Crime & Criminal
Throughout history, crime stories have fascinated readers as authors explore the evidence of true crimes and invent complicated plots in classic detective novels. In this course, students will examine the expansive mystery genre by reading of crimes and criminals to discover how a mystery is written and solved.
Classic choices
Modern choices
Agatha Christie
Dennis Lehane
Arthur Conan Doyle

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The Moonstone or The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett