Books About Books: The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman

The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's PrisonBy now I think all of you know I’m a huge sucker for prison memoirs. I don’t care if they’re by former inmates, guards or even prison librarians just pass them my way ’cause I’ll read ’em all. You also probably know by now I’m also a huge sucker for books about books. Over the years I’ve featured books about bookstores, book collectors and even book thieves. So, when I discovered my public library had a book called The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men’s Prison do you think I thought twice before grabbing it? Of course not.

Published in June of this year, Brottman’s memoir is a look back on the two years she spent leading a book club in a maximum-security men’s prison in Maryland. Her club consisted of 10 or so convicted felons, all of them from severely disadvantaged backgrounds and modestly educated at best. Assigned to read sophisticated works of literature like LolitaHeart of Darkness and Macbeth, the men in her group would share their thoughts of these great books and along the way, voice their opinions about life in prison, not to mention life in general. Like any good teacher, Brottman learned much from her experience, just as the men learned much from her. Perhaps most importantly, she learned in a prison those in power frequently exercise that power absolutely and arbitrarily.

I must have liked Brottman’s memoir because I whipped through it in what felt like no time. While I’m not sure if it will make my Best of List for 2016, it’s a strong honorable mention candidate. In no way did The Maximum Security Book Club leave me disappointed.

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4 Comments

Filed under Memoir

4 responses to “Books About Books: The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman

  1. Books about books are the best, and this seems like a really interesting take on them. I’ll have to check it out!

  2. They are the best! Give this book a shot! You’ll probably like it.
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  3. Maxwell Morgan

    MDC! I’m currently reading Tom Robin’s Tibetan Peach Pie…what a wonderfully whacky live…go figure, right..
    Anywho…he told a story how in the late sixties (with his help) maximum security prison invited inmates to write their memoir!? He was stunned by a few very incredible works… hell with prison book clubs… instead of pressing licence plates… print their books!

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