The Maximum Security Book Club

Reading Literature in a Men's Prison
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (7.12 hours)
Product Number: Z100115486
Released: Jun 07, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780062566041
Narrator/s: Beverley A. Crick
Publisher: HarperAudio
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Description

A riveting account of the two years literary scholar Mikita Brottman spent reading literature with criminals in a maximum-security men's prison outside Baltimore, and what she learned from them-Orange Is the New Black meets Reading Lolita in Tehran. On sabbatical from teaching literature to undergraduates, and wanting to educate a different kind of student, Mikita Brottman starts a book club with a group of convicts from the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland. She assigns them ten dark, challenging classics-including Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Poe's story "The Black Cat," and Nabokov's Lolita-books that don't flinch from evoking the isolation of the human struggle, the pain of conflict, and the cost of transgression. Although Brottman is already familiar with these works, the convicts open them up in completely new ways. Their discussions may "only" be about literature, but for the prisoners, everything is at stake. Gradually, the inmates open up about their lives and families, their disastrous choices, their guilt and loss. Brottman also discovers that life in prison, while monotonous, is never without incident. The book club members struggle with their assigned reading through solitary confinement; on lockdown; in between factory shifts; in the hospital; and in the middle of the chaos of blasting televisions, incessant chatter, and the constant banging of metal doors. Though The Maximum Security Book Club never loses sight of the moral issues raised in the selected reading, it refuses to back away from the unexpected insights offered by the company of these complex, difficult men. It is a compelling, thoughtful analysis of literature-and prison life-like nothing you've ever read before.

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Author(s): Mikita Brottman
Original Publish Date: Jun 07, 2016

All formats/editions

CD
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Author(s): Mikita Brottman
Narrator(s): Beverley Crick
Product Number DD26324
Released: Jun 07, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781504765992
eBook
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Author(s): Mikita Brottman
Product Number EB00623786
Released: Jun 07, 2016
Business Term: 26 Circ
Publisher: Harper
ISBN: #9780062384355

Professional reviews

"Just a few years ago, English literature professor Brottman led a book discussion group at Baltimore's Jessup Correctional Institution. Narrator Beverley Crick recounts Brottman's observations of prison life, the reading group's members, correctional officers, and, especially, the discussions of nearly a dozen works taken up by the group. She clearly differentiates Brottman, who is British, as well as black and white men of various ages and personalities, and a few female guards. Brottman confronts her own blinkered assumptions about prisons, race, and the role of literature in life, adding another layer of insightful veracity. As a bonus, the book group's responses to such widely varying titles as MACBETH, Burroughs's JUNKIE, and Malcolm Braly's classic American prison novel, ON THE YARD, may inspire further exploration by the listener. F.M.R.G. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"

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