Walker Readings and Documentary Films for ap english Language and Composition

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Readings and Documentary Films for AP English Language and Composition

As part of your coursework for AP Language, you will be required to read full-length works of non-fiction, documentaries, longform articles, newspaper articles, weekly news magazine articles, opinion/editorials, online news and commentary, and readings and videos from other sources.

You will write rhetorical analysis, open argument, and synthesis essays that are based on and inspired by your reading. With my guidance, you will expand and create your own reading and viewing lists, write your own prompts for your essays, and design your own One to the World projects.

These titles are suggested not required. Also, these titles are not necessarily paired. Think of these as places to get started in your research and learning.

Extreme Sports

Extreme Sports Documentaries

All This Mayhem - skateboarding

Touching the Void - ice climbing

Riding Giants - big wave surfing

Where the Trail Ends - mountain biking

Storm over Everest - mountain climbing

K2: Siren of the Himalaya - mountain climbing

Meru - mountain climbing
Extreme Sports Longform
“Lost on Everest” - Outside Magazine, mountain climbing

“The Wave-Maker” - Vanity Fair, big wave surfing

“The Deadliest Wave” - SB Nation, big wave surfing

“Skateboarding as Religion” - Buzzfeed, skateboarding

Extreme Sports Full-Length Non-fiction
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

The Wave by by Susan Casey


Food Documentaries
Food, Inc.

Super Size Me

King Corn


Super-Size Me

Forks Over Knives

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Chef's Table

Pressure Cooker

Kings of Pastry

Food Longform
Google "longform food" and choose the first link. Happy searching.
Sample titles include:
"Consider the Lobster" by David Foster Wallace

"How the Sausage is Made" by Tamar Adler

"Life in Chains: On Loving Taco Bell, as a Half-Mexican" by John Devore
Food Full-Length Non-Fiction
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, all titles by Michael Pollan

Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress by Debra Ginsberg

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch

Back of the House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant by Scott Haas


Documentaries about Healthcare
Being Mortal

Facing Death

The Waiting Room

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

Healthcare Longform
Articles by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker

"A Life Worth Ending" by Michael Wolff

"Mommy Wars: The Prequel" by Samantha Shapiro

"Faith Healers" by Cienna Madrid

Healthcare Full-Length Non-Fiction
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman


Business and Economics
Business and Economics Documentaries
Inside Job

Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

A Tale of Two Cities: The Circuit City Story
Business and Economics Longform
Google "business longform" and dig through 54 pages of articles and essays from the past 5 years.
Business and Economics Full-Length Non-Fiction
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

The Divide : American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History by Matt Taibbi

Various titles by Freakonomics authors, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Various titles by Malcolm Gladwell
Various titles by Jack Welch


War Documentaries


The Tillman Story

The Hornet's Nest

The Fog of War

Dirty Wars

Taxi to the Dark Side

Why We Fight

No End in Sight

PBS Frontline: The Rise of ISIS
Many more from which to choose
War Longform
“The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret” by Michael Hastings

“My Long War” by Dexter Filkins

“The War Ends Here” by Luke Mogelson

“In the Crosshairs” by Nicholas Schmidle

“Waiting for a Kill Shot 7,000 Miles Away” by Elisabeth Bumiller
Google "war longform" and dig through 55 pages of articles and essays from the past few years.
War Full-Length Non-Fiction
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks

The Gamble: General Petraeus and the Military Adventure in Iraq

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer

See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism


Documentaries about Animals
The Elephant in the Living Room


The Cove

Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson

The Whale

The End of the Line
Animals Longform
"When is a Rescuer a Hoarder?" by Carol Mithers

"The Piscivore's Dilemma" by Tim Zimmerman

"Zoo Animals and Their Discontents" by Alex Halberstadt
Animals Full-Length Non-Fiction
Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish

Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment

Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry


The Environment
Documentaries about the Environment
Chasing Ice

An Inconvenient Truth


If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Crude Independence

Environment Longform
"The Wreck of the Kulluk" by McKenzie Funk

"Dry" by Mark Arax

Killing the Colorado - a series of articles in ProPublica by Abrahm Lustgarten and Naveena Sadisivam

"Power Steer" by Michael Pollan

Environment Full-Length Non-Fiction
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Korbert

Tom's River: A Story of Science and Salvation

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail by Jared Diamond

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman


Sports Documentaries
30 for 30 series by ESPN

Hoop Dreams

More Than a Game

The Heart of the Game



Ballplayer: Pellatero

Schooled: The Price of College Sports

The Short Game
Sports Longform
Google "sports longform" and start searching. Happy hunting.
Sports Full-Length Non-Fiction
The Best American Sports Writing series

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams

Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein

Friday Night Lights: a Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby


Education Documentaries
Waiting for Superman

Road to Nowhere

American Teacher

Dropout Nation

Separate and Unequal
Education Longform
“Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City” by Nikole-Hannah Jones

“Failure Factories” by Fitzpatrick, Gardner, and Laforgia

School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson” by Nikole-Hannah Jones

“How to Get Into an Ivy League College Guaranteed” by Peter Waldman

Education Full-Length Non-Fiction
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch

Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Education by John Owens

True Crime
True Crime Documentaries
The Thin Blue Line

The Central Park Five

Paradise Lost

The Jinx

Capturing the Friedmans

The Imposter
True Crime Longform
“96 Minutes” by Pamela Coloff

“The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob” by Skip Hollandsworth

“The Day Treva Thorneberry Disappeared” by Skip Hollandsworth

“Cheer Mom” by Jeff Maysh

“Busted” by Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders

“Trial by Fire” by David Grann

True Crime Full-Length Non-Fiction
Best American Crime Writing series

In Broad Daylight by Norman McLean

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss

A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides

Manhunt: The 12-Day Hunt to Catch Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson
Social Media and Technology
Social Media and Technology Documentary
Generation Like


Indie Game: The Movie

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
Social Media and Technology Longform
“Selfies, Dating, and the American 14-Year Old” by Nancy Jo Sales

“A Honeypot for Assholes” by Charlie Warzel

“Trial by Twitter” by Ariel Levy

“Twitter is Betting Everything on Jack Dorsey. Will it Work?” by Nick Bilton

“Small Change” by Malcolm Gladwell

“How the NYPD is Using Social Media to Put Harlem Teens Behind Bars” by Ben Popper

Social Media and Technology Full-Length Non-Fiction
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Future Crimes: Everything is Connected by Marc Goodman

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter (see also: War)

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Mitnick, Wozniak, and Simon


Exploration and Adventure
Exploration and Adventure Documentary
The Endurance

180 South: Conquerors of the Useless

Into the Cold: A Journey into the Soul

Grizzly Man

Step Into Liquid
Exploration and Adventure Longform
“A Sea Story” by William Langweische

“The Last American Man” by Elizabeth Gilbert

“In Deep” by Burkhard Bilger

“A Speck in the Sea” by Paul Tough

“19: The True Story of the Yarnell Fire” by Kyle Dickman

“Roughing It” by Dorothy Wickenden

Exploration and High Adventure Full-Length Non-Fiction
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea

The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
Espionage, Hacking, and International Intrigue
Espionage, Hacking, and International Intrigue Documentary
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks


The Oath

Hacker Wars

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Spying on the Homefront, a PBS Frontline Documentary
Espionage, Hacking, International Relations Longform
“Inside the Hack of the Century” by Peter Elkind

“The Geeks on the Front Lines” by David Kushner

“The Mystery of the Creepiest Television Hack” by Chris Knittel

“Weaponize the Media: An Anonymous Rapper’s War on Steubenville”

“The Journalist and the Spies” by Dexter Filkins
Espionage, Hacking, International Relations Full-Length Non-Fiction
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War Against Terrorism by Robert Baer

Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile

The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground by Kevin Paulsen

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick
Music Documentaries
It Might Get Loud

Muscle Shoals


Searching for Sugar Man

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck


Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

American Hardcore

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
Music Longform
“Blowhards” by Chris Sweeney

“Papa” by Sean Flynn

“Genius: The Nickelback Story” by Ben Paynter

“Down and Out in the Top 10” by Nitsuh Abebe

“Delta Dawn” by Chris Kjorness
Music Full-Length Non-Fiction
This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

Musicophilia by Olive Sacks

Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White

Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross

Life by Keith Richards
Go here to find more readings and films:
PBS Frontline

Pro Publica

The Marshall Project


30 for 30 series from ESPN

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

Vice News

The Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Investigative Reporting


American Experience

Al Jazeera

Open Secrets

Democracy Now!

National Review

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

New York Times



The Atavist

The Big Roundtable

Epic Magazine

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