John Updike came to Baltimore in 1967 at the invitation of Hopkins alum and professor John Barth. Updike, the author of dozens of books, including "Rabbit Run," had sworn off public readings, according to the literary website The Millions (for which I have previously written), but an offer from Barth changed his mind and got him hooked on his own voice. So when Barth, the era's arch experimentalist, invited Updike in 1974, the nation's premier realist, to Baltimore, the two had become friends and Updike confessed, in accepting the offer, that he seemed "to be undergoing that American, or is it menopausal, experience called separation. Hence the urban address below. I work, eat, sleep, and read all on the same head of a pin-sized apartment, and seem happy in a way, or at least less asthmatic."