Yesterday, I posed a question on Twitter: What book would you read if you were in prison?
Originally, my idea was to get personal reading suggestions, since I spend a lot of time locked in jails while inmates are filling out paperwork. Sometimes, I have hours to kill. My options for how to spend that time are limited. Following are a list of activities in which I have engaged:
1. Staring into space.
2. Writing haiku.
3. Writing responses to hypothetical questions people might ask me in the future.
4. Writing anything.
5. Drawing small squares on a piece of paper to see how many small squares I can draw on a piece of paper.
6. Drawing anything.
8. Planning how I would escape, just in case.
|I was not kidding about|
the small squares
It turns out, reading is the best way to spend one's time while locked in jail. I assume weight lifting is good, too, but I have never had access to the yard.
Luckily for me, my twitter followers had a lot of great book recommendations. Regardless of where you find yourself, a lot of these books are likely good reads. Many of them would be just as enjoyable on a beach as they would be in a prison cell.
In addition to soliciting the recommendations, I promised I would collate the list and put it on my blog today.
I am listing the books in alphabetical order, by author's last name. Word of warning: While I have read some of these books, I have not read all of them. Some books I have never even heard of. Frankly, some of them very likely do not actually exist. But, I wanted to present the list in its entirety. I am not censoring the list, but I am not necessarily endorsing these books, either.
Here they are:
Any book on how to break out of jail, by any author willing to write on that topic
How To Tunnel Out 101, by anonymous
Self Defense Against The Psychopath: Essential Reading For Everyone, by Rik Atherton
A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
Beautiful Losers, by Leonard Cohen
Tender Is The Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Man's Search For Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Garden of Eden, by Ernest Hemingway
Any book written by John Irving
Three Men In A Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome
Ulysses, by James Joyce
The Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis
Moby Dick, Or The White Whale, by Herman Melville
The Gormenghast Trilogy, by Mervyn Peake
Lullabies For Little Criminals, by Heather O'Neill
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry, by Jon Ronson
Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines, by Nic Sheff
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
So, that is the list. I would like to give a big thanks to everyone who submitted a book idea yesterday. The most popular submission was Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning. Dr. Frankl was a holocaust survivor who wrote about existential concerns in a powerful and moving way. It is hard to explain how rough your life has been to a man who survived a Nazi death camp.
Any surprises on the list? Any other books you would like to include on a summer/prison reading list?
reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.