Pot-Smoking Parents


Johns Hopkins Woos Prospective Students


Reading, The Solitary Vice

0 Written by: | Sunday, May 01, 2011 12:00am

Introducing “On Culture,” a new column by super-thinker Mikita Brottman, chronicling the weird and wonderful world of Baltimore, with special focus on fascinating small things oft overlooked.

This is an extract from my book about reading, The Solitary Vice (Counterpoint). I wrote the book partly in response to my work teaching literature to art students at MICA. My students read all the time, though they often do so in ways I found difficult to recognize (for example, they read online, on their laptops or phone screens, or via e-books). This led me to re-think some of my assumptions about reading, and literacy in general.

It’s about as difficult not to judge someone by the books (or lack of them) on their shelves as it is not to judge a book by its cover. But I keep trying, and I think I’m getting better at not jumping to conclusions. After all, books can be all kinds of things to all kinds of people—they can be tools, guides, investments, manuals, home décor, work, produce, or just a messy pile of clutter. I try to remember, too, that not all readers accumulate books. Some see no point in keeping books after they’ve read them, and will sell them, or give them away. More and more people are getting into the habit of reading e-books on their laptops or BlackBerrys, and more and more libraries are being converted to electronic form. Though it may well turn out that the portable, private form of the book—the kind we can hold in our hands, and cradle in our lap—continues to provide, for most people, the ideal fulfillment of immersion in another world, this doesn’t mean it’s the only way this need can be satisfied. Deep immersion is a style of reading which, in itself, is a by-product of the growth of the novel—traditionally considered to be a grand, fictional creation to be read at a leisurely pace, and in a private setting. Novel reading is certainly well suited to the lap or the bed, but other kinds of reading require different postures.

Mikita teaches literature and film studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply


    Pot-Smoking Parents


    Johns Hopkins Woos Prospective Students

    Most Comments This Week


    On the Tenure Clock: A Cautionary Tale

    Written by Kathy Flann

    Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 1:32pm


    Charm City Cook: Channeling Julia Child

    Written by Amy Langrehr

    Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 12:49pm

    Recent Comments

    The Truth Is Out About Baltimore Musicians’ Judge Judy Appearance

    "Now I feel cheated and will never trust what I see on television again.

    Lenore Walsh
    On the Tenure Clock: A Cautionary Tale

    "Congratulations, Kathy! Well earned. Interesting path you experienced; all new to me.

    Julie Evans
    Baltimore’s Awkward Relationship with Our Sister Cities

    "Back in the 1980's and 90's Baltimore's Sister City program was very active with a small...

    Maryland Transit Authority Can’t Seem to Outsmart This Osprey

    "Or, they could simply move the camera once, instead of trying to remove the nest several...

    Hopkins Campaigns to Curb Pedestrian Deaths in Baltimore

    "Pedestrians always have the right of way IF they have the walk signal. They do not have...





    Find Doctors on ZocDoc