Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge discussion

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2019 Read Harder Challenge > Task #20: A book written in prison

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message 1: by Book Riot (new)

Book Riot Community (book_riot) | 430 comments Mod
Use this space to discuss books you're reading or that might fit the 20th Read Harder task.


message 2: by Kimberley (new)

Kimberley (kimirons) | 30 comments This is so interesting. By far my favourite task to think about. No idea what I am going to read can’t wait to see what people suggest


message 3: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Morrison | 64 comments I’m going to read Cherry by Nico Walker. I stumbled upon it while I was looking for Cleveland based authors this year and luckily didn’t get around to it and will be able to use it here.


message 4: by Brandon (last edited Dec 31, 2018 07:36AM) (new)


message 6: by Bonnie G. (last edited Dec 26, 2018 04:31PM) (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1369 comments I am reading De Profundis. I recently read Cherry and recommend it for those who like edgy writing. Very reminiscent of Bukowski and Burroughs, maybe a touch of Raymond Carver. Also a shout out for The Autobiography of Gucci Mane which I really enjoyed.


message 7: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Seluxes wrote: "I'll be reading Prison Noir, edited by JCO, but the stories are all written by prisoners of various penal institutions while serving their sentences."

Great choice, thanks for pointing this one out.


message 8: by Tracy (last edited Dec 18, 2018 09:01AM) (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) Im going to go with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I am tempted to stretch this though and use The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's Prison. I also have Out of Orange which is the flip side of Orange is the New Black. But it wasn't written in prison.

Shantaram works for this prompt. I have it sitting on my shelf but its long so I'm not sure I feel like trying to tackle it, its almost 1000 pages :/


message 9: by Christina (new)


message 10: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 6 comments There is this list, as a reference: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...

Nelson Mandela wrote quite a lot during his time in prison, and those documents have been included in a number of books and collections.


message 11: by Karen (new)

Karen Witzler (kewitzler) | 133 comments Vanessa wrote: "There is this list, as a reference: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...

Nelson Mandela wrote quite a lot during his time in prison, and those documents hav..."


Great list! So many ideas


message 12: by Karen (new)

Karen Witzler (kewitzler) | 133 comments I think I choose: Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin or De Profundis, The Ballad of Reading Gaol & Other Writings by Oscar Wilde.

Patti Smith wrote the Foreword to the latest New Directions edition of Astragal.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 30 comments


message 14: by Susanne (new)

Susanne | 49 comments I'll probably read We Are Arrested: A Journalist's Notes from a Turkish Prison by Can Dündar. It also fits for task #5 (journalist) and #9 (<100 reviews).


message 15: by Renee (new)

Renee (reneeww) | 122 comments I cannot remember the title, but there was a book by a medical doctor about his experiences with inmates. It was quite good and I think meets the challenge. I’ll keep searching for the title.

Also one called Shakespeare saved me about maximum security prisoners and their unique perspective on the Bard.


message 16: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha D (windmillstilt) | 49 comments Going to read Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons for this task. It was on that GR list shared above.


message 17: by Patty (new)

Patty Marvel (rubberbandgirl) | 28 comments Would "Rosewater"/ "Then They Came for Me" by Maziar Bahari "count" in this category? I'm on the fence because I gather at least part of the book needs to have been written in prison, and I'm not sure he was even allowed pen and paper while jailed in Iran. Thoughts?

https://www.amazon.com/Rosewater-Movi...


The2CarolinesAndBooks | 11 comments I'm planning on reading The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela for this task.


message 19: by Mandi (new)

Mandi Thomas (themandithomas) | 23 comments I remembered hearing semi-recently about a man who wrote a book while in prison where the prison/state are now seeking to take the money he makes off it and I was trying to recall who it was. I am thinking it must be The Graybar Hotel: Stories which sounds pretty good.

But after reading through this thread, I also want to read Cherry as well.


message 20: by Tina (new)

Tina Mendenhall | 13 comments Brittany wrote: "I’m going to read Cherry by Nico Walker. I stumbled upon it while I was looking for Cleveland based authors this year and luckily didn’t get around to it and will ..."

I had wanted to read that, I didn't realize it was written in prison.



message 21: by Stephanie (last edited Dec 21, 2018 06:26PM) (new)


message 22: by Molly (last edited Dec 21, 2018 07:29PM) (new)


message 23: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1369 comments Stephanie wrote: "I am going to read The Autobiography of Gucci Mane or Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution both books look interesting."

I loved Autobiography of Gucci Mane. I saw many things through new eyes as I read. Highly recommend it.


message 24: by Henriette (new)

Henriette Terkelsen (henrietteterkelsen) | 0 comments I will b reading The Thief's Journal for this task. It has just been re-translated in to danish and I'm very eager to read it.


message 25: by Teresa (last edited Dec 22, 2018 01:11AM) (new)

Teresa | 357 comments This Earth of Mankind has been in my TBR for years after I enjoyed another book he wrote. Indonesian, he was jailed for criticizing the government.
A Rage in Harlem noir. I have to check this some more, one source says he wrote it in prison, another says after he served his sentence.


message 26: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Potter | 19 comments I believe ee Cummings wrote The Enormous Room while imprisoned.


message 27: by Sarah Ruth (new)

Sarah Ruth (smurf_bunny) Molly wrote: "I imagine American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment misses the point of this prompt, but I still want to read it....

I will also read [book:T..."


American Prison works for #5 as well, A book by a journalist or about journalism. If you really want to read it and haven't filled that slot yet. That's where I have it. :)


message 28: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta | 44 comments According to his Wikipedia article, O. Henry published 14 stories while in prison - anyone know exactly which of his stories those were?


message 30: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (madelinewagner) | 29 comments I plan to read Guantánamo Diary for this. There is an audio version on Hoopla.


message 31: by Amy (new)

Amy Kett | 14 comments Molly wrote: "I imagine American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment misses the point of this prompt, but I still want to read it....

I will also read [book:T..."


It would work for a book written by a journalist and/or a business book though, I think.


message 32: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Mcintosh | 7 comments Wanting to read No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison for this one, but it is written by someone in a refugee detention centre and not sure if that counts. What do you think?


message 33: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Harbeke I found out from the introduction that although Machiavelli was in prison that year, he was not in prison when he wrote The Prince, so I have struck that one out in my previous post. I guess it's Ivan Denisovich for me.


message 34: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Schobeiri (emjscho) | 6 comments There seem to be two threads for this task, but I wanted to reply on both because Guantánamo Diary: Restored Edition is so good. Highly highly recommend if you haven't read it yet.


message 36: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabethlk) | 210 comments in 2018 I read Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? which I definitely recommend.

I haven't decided what I want to do for this challenge yet.


message 37: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1369 comments Audra wrote: "I'm going with Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian."

Though it is about a prison by someone who worked in a prison, this was not written in a prison.


message 38: by Chickadee (new)


message 39: by Lillian (new)

Lillian (lilliannedeau) | 17 comments I want to read Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room. Fiction about a woman in prison. Is this a good choice?


message 40: by Megan (new)

Megan | 131 comments Lillian wrote: "I want to read Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room. Fiction about a woman in prison. Is this a good choice?"

Was it written *in* prison? If not, then no, it's not appropriate for this task.


message 42: by ProfBen10 (new)

ProfBen10 | 50 comments For this task, I'll be reading "The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela."


message 43: by Luella (new)


message 44: by Lillian (new)

Lillian (lilliannedeau) | 17 comments Ok, I crossed off Rachel Kushner’s Mars. It takes place in prison but was not written in prison. I think I will read Cherry. I am very careful about books I choose to read. I love this challenge but I am not a fan of the crime genre.


message 45: by Mandie (new)

Mandie (mystickah) | 146 comments I'm thinking about Letter from Birmingham Jail.


message 46: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1369 comments Lillian wrote: "Ok, I crossed off Rachel Kushner’s Mars. It takes place in prison but was not written in prison. I think I will read Cherry. I am very careful about books I choose to read. I love this challenge bu..."

Most books written in prison are not about crime. Cherry is, in part, but mostly its about being an addict. I absolutely loved it, but its not for everyone. If you want to avoid crime writing maybe O Henry's short stories, Our Lady of the Flowers, Mallory's Tales of King Arthur, or St. Paul's Prison Epistles. Not focus on crime but all were written behind bars


message 47: by Lauredhel (new)

Lauredhel | 10 comments Sonia wrote: "Wanting to read No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison for this one, but it is written by someone in a refugee detention centre and not sure if that counts. What do ..."

Manus is most definitely a prison. Only with fewer human rights and no criminal conviction involved.


message 48: by Lillian (new)

Lillian (lilliannedeau) | 17 comments Bonnie, I am going to read Cherry but I have De Profundis on hold to...Thanks for your input.


message 49: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1369 comments Lillian wrote: "Bonnie, I am going to read Cherry but I have De Profundis on hold to...Thanks for your input."

I liked Cherry a lot. It reminded me a lot of Bukowski. Hope you enjoy!


message 50: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1 comments I'm going to read, "I'll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison." It's a collection of essays, edited by Wally Lamb, and written by his students at the York Correctional Institute. I read the first collection, "Couldn't Keep It To Myself," and found it really compelling.


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