Via The New Yorker: A Prisoner's Reading List

Image via Books of Orange is the New Black

“Reading in prison allowed me to follow my interests,” Genis said; some were essentially anthropological tangents inspired by friendships. After he began making pesto (“It involved a microwave”) with a former Franciscan monk who was a convicted child molester, Genis embarked on “The Little Flowers of St. Francis” and “Lolita.” A former member of the Black Liberation Army inspired him to pick up “Soul on Ice,” titles by Donald Goines and Frantz Fanon, and a history of the Rastafari movement. Conversations with the rabbi led to Martin Buber, Josephus, Spinoza, a book by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, countless pamphlets from Chabad, and even “A Guide for the Perplexed,” a twelfth-century epistolary work by Maimonides (Genis: “Completely interminable”). Somewhat improbably, a gay friend insisted that he update his reading on homosexuality (“Basically, it had been Chesterton and ‘Brideshead Revisited’”) with memoirs by David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs as well as James Hamilton-Paterson’s “Cooking with Fernet Branca.” “People around me could see what I was reading, and I got a lot of questions about that one,” Genis said.

Excerpt from The New Yorker


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