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Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (2010)

por Avi Steinberg

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8735024,829 (3.63)76
In this captivating memoir, Steinberg, a Harvard grad and struggling obituary writer, spends two years as a librarian and writing instructor at a Boston prison, attracting con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world.… (mais)
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» Ver também 76 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 49 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This was not at all what I expected, but was even more than I hoped for. I love reading about librarians, and what brings them to this special field, whether it was an intentional or unintentional path. ( )
  schoenbc70 | Sep 2, 2023 |
Running through this memoir by a greenhorn librarian/creative-writing teacher in a Boston prison
is a subliminal meditation on the power of words to liberate, isolate, connive, cajole, and dispute.

‘During a debate with a fellow hustler, C.C. Too Sweet scored major points when he said, “With all due, and undue, respect, the difference between me and you is the following: You are nonsensical while I, my brother, am ineffable. In case you ain’t mastered your diction, I’ll break that down for you—ineffable, meaning: I can not, and will not, be effed with.”’
  MusicalGlass | Aug 7, 2023 |
Adult nonfiction; prison librarianship. This wasn't badly written or anything, it just wasn't that interesting, and I've still got a TON of other stuff I'm trying to read through. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I enjoyed this book, it was good. Interesting look at the life of a prison librarian. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
How often is it that you get an insider perspective on a state prison? Hopefully, never. Steinberg has a fascinating story to tell about prison culture and he tells it well. [full review] ( )
  markflanagan | Jul 13, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 49 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Avi Steinberg’s memoir, “Running the Books,” about his job as a prison librarian at “the Bay” — the Suffolk County House of Correction in South Bay near Boston — gets off to an obnoxious start.

Mr. Steinberg is a self-described “asthmatic Jewish kid,” a young Harvard graduate and a stalled novelist. He applied for the prison library job when he saw it posted on Craigslist. He needed the health insurance. Probably he needed a book idea too.

The early bits of “Running the Books” are as hopped-up as a spaniel with a new rubber ball. The tone is, more or less, “Augusten Burroughs Goes to the Clink.” Here’s a not atypical passage: “It was official. I was now on the side of angels. The Po-Po. The Fuzz. The Heat. The Big Blue Machine.”

But a funny thing happens to “Running the Books” as it inches forward. Mr. Steinberg’s sentences start to pop out at you, at first because they’re funny and then because they’re acidly funny. The book slows down. It blossoms. Mr. Steinberg proves to be a keen observer, and a morally serious one. His memoir is wriggling and alive — as involving, and as layered, as a good coming-of-age novel.

The humor bubbles up organically. When a homophobic prisoner learns about a book called “Queer Theory: An Introduction,” he bellows in agony: “They got theories now?” Mr. Steinberg gets this advice from a prison staff member on how to comport himself: “Don’t smile. This isn’t the Gap.” He listens bemusedly to one inmate’s intricate disquisition on why pimping, he relates, is “the great male art form, the art form to which all others aspired.”

Explaining his relatively pampered Orthodox Jewish background, Mr. Steinberg reports: “My yeshiva high school’s basketball team was named not the Tigers or the Hawks, but the MCATS. As in, the Medical College Admission Test.” . . .
adicionada por PLReader | editarNY Times, Dwight Garner (Oct 19, 2010)
 

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Avi Steinbergautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Rubin, DustinNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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February 19. Hopes?February 20. Unnoticeable life. Noticeable failure.February 25. A letter.-FROM KAFKA'S DIARY, 1922
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Pimps make the best librarians. Psycho killers, the worst.
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"I dunno," she said. "She looks kind of busted up, y'know? She ain't too pretty. I trust her."
She also informed me, in praise of her friend, that "hoes make the best librarians." Why? "Because they know how to be sweet but they will bust yo' ass if you get out of line."
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In this captivating memoir, Steinberg, a Harvard grad and struggling obituary writer, spends two years as a librarian and writing instructor at a Boston prison, attracting con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world.

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