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Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisonsby Megan Sweeney
Synopses & Reviews
"An interesting and provocative read. . . . Serves as a call to action."
-Feminist Review "Break[s] significant new ground. . . . A most original scholarly work. . . . [Sweeney's] research method and analysis are meticulous; the book is enlivened by the frank and often surprising remarks of her subjects."
-Women's Review of Books "Putting bias aside, Sweeney listens carefully while women explain what the books . . . mean to them."
-The Christian Century "Sweeney amplifies voices that are rarely heard and contributes understanding and thought from which ideas for the future can be drawn."
-Make/Shift "Riveting. . . . Reading is My Window is not just a stellar example of the history and ethnography of reading--though it is that. It is also a point of entry into a world with which many Americans have no direct contact. . . . This book represents terrifically important scholarship and compelling, passionate activism, and it deserves a wide readership among people who care about books, and people who care about racism, political economy, justice, social change, and citizenship in the United States."
-Books & Culture "This important book represents a significant contribution to interdisciplinary research focused on women prisoners' reading habits and attempts at self-education and improvement."
-Library Journal "In Sweeney's narrative, the autonomy and strength of prison women compel attention and respect. . . . Recommended."
Drawing on extensive interviews with ninety-four women prisoners, Megan Sweeney examines how incarcerated women use available reading materials to come to terms with their pasts, negotiate their present experiences, and reach toward different futures.
Sweeney examines how incarcerated women read three popular genres of books-- narratives of victimization, urban crime fiction, and self-help books--to come to terms with their pasts, negotiate their present experiences, and reach toward different futures. She outlines the history of reading and education in U.S. prisons, highlighting how the increasing dehumanization of prisoners has resulted in diminished prison libraries and restricted opportunities for reading.
About the Author
Megan Sweeney is assistant professor of English and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners