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Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Discussion: What 3 Books Would You Take to Prison?

A few months ago, Tara from BPL Teen Services passed on this great question she saw somewhere else online and thought it would be fun to do as a Monday Discussion here.

What books would you take to prison with you?

Now this is a tricky question on 2 fronts.  First, I am going to assume that the vast majority of my readers will never face "doing time;" so on this front you will have to suspend disbelief.

But the second interesting thing about this questions is it puts a twist on the popular "desert island" discussion because unlike a list of books to have on a desert island where you will never have access to more books, in prison you can still get books through the library and interlibrary loan.

Rather, to prison you would be picking books that say something about you and that you could use to pass on to others for a variety of reasons [to curry favor, the placate, to befriend, etc...].  This is what makes the question infinitely more interesting to answer and decidedly more difficult than the desert island question. You might be picking these books NOT because you would read them over and over again; in fact, you might never read them at all while locked up but rather to help you get through your incarceration.

So, those are today's parameters.  What 3 books would you take to prison?

I'll go first with my titles and reasons:

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman because it is a book I could give out to my fellow inmates. It stars an ex-con and it is a compelling and complex story.  I feel like this is as close as I would get to having a sure bet title that I could pass out to others to introduce a love of reading in them. Because seriously, I would still be me in prison, and being me means matching readers with books. Click here for more from me on American Gods.
  • I feel like I would bring Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People, even though I have never read it, to show others that I was willing and trying to get along with everyone. It is an iconic book that signals I want to fit in, I am trying, give me the benefit of the doubt.
  • And finally, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury because to me, this is as close to a perfect book as I have ever encountered. I feel that the book would bring me comfort both because I love it and it is a reminder that things could always be worse for me (No Books...GACK!). Click here for more from me on Fahrenheit 451.
So those are my 3 and my reasons.  Your turn.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


John BPL RA said...

I take the first three books in the Wicked Years Series by Gregory Maguire. I still have not read them!

Jen said...

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. I've read it several times and find I still love to immerse myself in the characters and world.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Probably because I'm on my 3rd read-through right now and enjoying it immensely.

And, one Gaiman book --- it's a toss-up between Neverwhere (it's a bit flawed, as it's his first book, but it's just such a great story, with great characters) and American Gods.

Great question!

Tara BPLteen said...

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I would need some comfort reading.
Tao Te Ching. I might as well try to meditate and learn a bit about myself while there.
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. Let's face it: I'll have plenty of time on my hands.

Also, they all come in paperback, because I don't think you can have hardcover books in prison libraries, so I assume you can't bring them in either.