Intro to Lit Reading List


I’m teaching a section of Introduction to Literature this semester, and a few friends asked about my syllabus. While I’m not going to bore anyone with such a dry document, I am willing to post the class reading list here, in (more or less) the order we’re discussing the work.

  • Matthew Dickman, “Slow Dance”
  • Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
  • Marie Howe, “What the Living Do”
  • Ernest Hemingway, “The Killers”
  • Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
  • ZZ Packer, “Brownies”
  • Kathy Fish, “Shoebox”
  • Anton Chekhov, “Oysters”
  • Gray Jacobik, “Skirts”
  • Denis Johnson, “Emergency”
  • Edward P. Jones, “The Night Rhonda Ferguson Was Killed”
  • Elizabeth Alexander, “Tina Green”
  • Mary Ruefle, “The Hand”
  • Abby Frucht, “The Empiricist”
  • Cynthia Ozick, “A Drugstore In Winter”
  • Raymond Carver, “Fever”
  • Robert Coover, “The Babysitter”
  • Richard Ford, “Rock Springs”
  • Haruki Murakami, “The Second Bakery Attack”
  • Jamaal May, “The Gun Joke”
  • James Salter, “Ahknilo”
  • Edgar Allan Poe, “Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Shirley Jackson, “Pillar of Salt”
  • James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”
  • Lydia Davis, “Jury Duty,” “For Sixty Cents,” & “Traveling with Mother”
  • Richard Brautigan, “1/3, 1/3, 1/3″
  • Michael Oppenheimer, “Paring Knife”
  • William Shakespeare, “Macbeth”
  • Gary Gildner, “Fingers”
  • Randall Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”
  • Anton Chekhov, “Misery”
  • Douglas Glover, “The Poet Fishbein”
  • Ron Carlson, “Bigfoot Stole My Wife”
  • Zadie Smith, “You Are In Paradise”
  • Dick Allen, “To a Woman Half a World Away”
  • Donald Hall, “White Apples”
  • Emily Dickinson, “There’s a certain slant of light”
  • Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”
  • William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”
  • Quim Monzo, “Praise”
  • George Saunders, “My Flamboyant Grandson”
  • Annie Dillard, “This Is the Life”
  • Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener”
  • Katherine Anne Porter, “Flowering Judas”
  • David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”
  • Brian Doyle, “Joyas Voladoras”
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown”
  • Julio Cortazar, “Axolotl”
  • Aimee Bender, “The Rememberer”
  • Carlos Fuentes, “Chac-Mool”

There are a few other pieces, but they’re part of midterms/finals, and I don’t want anyone snooping around to receive an unfair advantage, so I’m not including them here.

Interviewing Ondjaki


I talked with Angolan author Ondjaki for this month’s issue of Numéro Cinq. You may remember that I reviewed Ondjaki’s novel, Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret, this past summer, and we got to communicating shortly thereafter. We chatted via email for several months to construct the piece, with messages exchanged every week or two. The wonders of technology! Read everything we had to say here.