Sunday, March 11, 2007

Books to Women in Prison

A friend told me about a program called Chicago Books to Women in Prison, they, well, provide books to women in prison. I recently cleaned out my bookshelves so I dropped off some books to them. They accept only paperbacks (?) and especially books "pertaining to parenting, recovery from addiction, self-help, lesbian/queer fiction and non-fiction, Spanish language materials, dictionaries, and fiction by people of color."

The books I donated don't necessarily meet those criteria although I guess one or two are about or by people of color. I sent two books by Amanda Craig, Love in Idleness and In a Dark Wood. Love in Idleness was a modern re-telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, interesting, but not fabulous. I also sent Anne Ursu's Spilling Clarence, which was lovely. Cervantes Don Quixote, incredible, of course, but I don't see myself revisiting it soon. Monica Ali's Brick Lane, which was big a few years ago and quite good. I read it because it's about a Bangladeshi family living in England. Also, a trashy novel my grandma gave me a few years ago. It's primarily for reading on a beach vacation, but, alas, I don't have one of those in my future. Hmmm... now that I think of it, what if some poor woman in prison isn't interested in reading it for that reason either...

I had some friends in SF that worked for a similar non-profit - they jokingly called their organization Books for Crooks, which I found shocking and hilarious. Don't get me started on the US prison system, but I was happy to make this small donation toward literacy for women.

2 comments:

kbmulder said...

That sounds like a good cause. I didn't realize when I joined the library field that there are actually prison libraries and librarians. I wonder if there are any jobs available around here. . . I'm sure the books will be much appreciated.

If I were donating to the women's prison, I might think of sending Rebecca Walker's Black, White and Jewish or Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (even though it is for young adults, it's a great read as an adult).

Kathy said...

That does sound like a great program. We donate our books to adorable cousins, neices/nephews and the others go to a "bring one/take one" operation in our HIV clinic or the Clinical Center Library at NIH. All great causes...and if you've ever had a loved one hospitalized for long periods of time, you will quickly see the value of such donations...

I loved Brick Lane! I found the sister story riveting...my read of it was just following my sister's death so it was very poignant. I'm actually getting ready to send a copy to my 17-year old neice. Yeah. That was a really good read.