Monday, November 22, 2010

Running the Books / Avi Steinberg

Running the books: the adventures of an accidental prison librarian by Avi Steinberg. 404 p.

There's some really fascinating stuff about prison culture in this book, and we meet some interesting individual prisoners. Learning about the rules involving prisoner-staff interactions, and the consequences and rewards of ignoring or following them, was equally engrossing. However, I really didn't like our narrator, although he's an acute observer and a good writer. I assume Steinberg intentionally played up every marginally stupid thing he thought or did, but much of the time it made me dislike him rather than sympathize with him. Also, I found the structure of the book somewhat problematic. Steinberg doesn't stick to a linear timeline, but in many instances I'm not sure why he chose to discuss things in the order he did; I couldn't see the thematic reason for some of it and just found it confusing. I do recommend the book, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment