Reading Nearby: Literary Ethnography in a Postsocialist City

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© 2019 by the American Anthropological Association. All rights reserved The solitary reader, sitting quietly surrounded by her thoughts, is a powerful image. But reading is also a deeply social practice. From learning to read to deciding what to read next, a significant amount of literate activity takes place within specific social relationships. Drawing from ethnographic research I conducted between 2015 and 2018, this essay shows how the act of co-reading has contributed to the emergence of a new literary community based in Tirana, Albania. The broader intention of the essay is to demonstrate the application of the general approach to literary anthropology I call reading nearby.