EN 101/102 Readings

This past term, several of us brainstormed a list of readings that were cheap or came in low-cost paperback editions that we’ve found useful in our first-year writing courses. This is just a list without context. If you’d like to see that email strand wherein our colleagues write, often at length, about how they uses these texts in their classrooms, please drop me a line at jtalbird@qcc.cuny.edu and I’ll forward it to you. Here is that list (in progress) which I invite you to add to in the comments below.


EN101 & 102:


Addonizio, Kim. “What Do Women Want?”


Aeschylus. The Oresteia.

Alexie, Sherman. Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven.

Atwan, Robert, Ed. Best American Essays.

Babel, Isaac. “My First Goose.”

Baldwin, James. “Sonny’s Blues.”

Beaven, Colin. No Impact Man.

Borges, Jorge Luis. A Universal History of Iniquity.

Brown, Larry. Big Bad Love.

Calvino, Italo. Cosmicomics.

Camus, Albert. The Guest.

Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber.

Chekhov, Anton. “Lady with Lapdog.”

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture.”

Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Doshi, Tishani. “River of Girls.”


Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed.

Euripides. The Bacchae.

Fugard, Athol. Master Harold and the Boys.

Gaiman, Neil. The Sandman: Fables and Reflections.

Guare, John. Six Degrees of Separation.

Hamid, Moshin. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

Hansberry, Lorraine. Raisin in the Sun.

Harjo, Joy. How We Became Human.

Hayes, Terrance. Muscular Music.

Herrick, Lee. “What is Sacred.”


Hughes, Langston. “Song for a Dark Girl” & “The Weary Blues.”

Jin, Ha. Waiting.

Jones, LeRoi (Amiri Baraka). Dutchman.

Joyce, James. Eveline.

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman Warrior.

Lahiri, Jhumpa, story collections.

Lopate, Philip, Ed. The Art of the Personal Essay.

Malcolm X. The Autobiography.

Marber, Patrick. Closer.

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road.

Miller, E. Ethelbert. “Why Is It Greek Omelet and Not Puerto Rican?”


Moore, Alan and David Gibbons. Watchmen.

Moore, Alan and David Lloyd. V for Vendetta.

Moore, Westley. The Other Wes Moore.

New York Times “Neighborhood Joints” columns:

Singh’s Roti Shop & Bar in Richmond Hill:


Modern Art Foundrey in Astoria:


A jazz club in Harlem:


A toy store on the Upper East Side:


About a gas station in Rockaway Park:


Egyptian Coffee Shop in Astoria:


Acme Smoked Fish Factory/Brooklyn:


O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.

Prejean, Sister Helen. Dead Man Walking.

Saenz, Jacob. “ Blue Line Incident.”


Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation.

Sexton, Anne. Transformations.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet.

—. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Smith, Tracy K. “Sci-Fi.”


Sophocles. Antigone.

Thompson-Cannino, Jennifer and Ronald Cotton. Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Rendemption.

Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilych.

Walker, Alice. “The Flowers.”

Wells, H.G. The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Whitman, Walt. “Drum-taps.”

Wiesel, Elie. The Watch.

Winterson, Jeanette. “Why I Adore the Night.” http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/journalism/why-i-adore-the-night/

Xavier, Emanuel. “Step Father.”


and also American Literature: Civil War to Present Day a self-generated text by the students of Melissa Dennihy’s EN412 class, Fall 2014.


About the Author