Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
  1. $9.07 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Crime- Prisons and Prisoners

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

by

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian Cover

ISBN13: 9780385529099
ISBN10: 0385529090
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $16.50!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the tradition of A. J. Jacobs’s The Year of Living Biblically, a hilarious immersion memoir of one lapsed Orthodox Jew’s stint as a prison librarian.

A few years after graduating from Harvard, Avi Steinberg is stumped. While his friends are getting married and get­ting promoted, Steinberg has grown dissatisfied with the insu­larities of his upbringing, from the Orthodox Jewish sense of “chosenness” to his Ivy League education, its secular counter­part. Anxious to shed the ideologies of his background, and seeking direction, Steinberg takes a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison. He’s about as far from his comfort zone as he can get.

Steinberg’s new quarters attract a crowd of quirky regulars seeking connection with the outside world, among them an amiable pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing his memoir, an industrious gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle, a tyrannical officer who insti­gates a major altercation over a Post-it note, and an ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son when he unexpectedly shows up behind bars. Over time, Steinberg creates a unique community for these outcasts and forms unlikely personal relationships, which he recounts with heartbreak and humor. His experience leads him to a deeper sense of purpose and turns him into the person that a yeshiva never could.

Running the Books is a trenchant exploration of prison culture and a refreshingly entertaining tale of one young man’s earnest attempt to find his place in the world.

Review:

"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 that's an irrepressibly literary place. True, his patrons turn books into weapons (and one robs him while out on parole), but he's beguiled by the rough poetry of inmate essays and 'kites'--contraband notes secreted in library books--and entranced by the 'skywriting' with which they semaphore messages letter-by-letter across the courtyard. And there's always an informal colloquium of prostitutes, thieves, and drug dealers convened at the checkout desk, discussing everything from Steinberg's love life to the 'gangsta' subculture of Hasidic Jews. Gradually, the prison pulls him in and undermines his bemused neutrality. He helps a forlorn female prisoner communicate with her inmate son, develops a dangerous beef with a guard, and finds himself collaborating on the memoir of a charismatic pimp whose seductive rap disguises a nasty rap sheet; he has to choose sides, make queasy compromises, and decide between rules and loyalty. Steinberg writes a stylish prose that blends deadpan wit with an acute moral seriousness. The result is a fine portrait of prison life and the thwarted humanity that courses through it. (Oct. 26)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

Seeking direction--and dental insurance--Steinberg takes a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves--a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor.

Synopsis:

Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to Harvard, he has only a senior thesis essay on Bugs Bunny to show for his effort. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, he remains stuck at a crossroads, unable to meet the lofty expectations of his Orthodox Jewish upbringing. And his romantic existence as a freelance obituary writer just isn’t cutting it. Seeking direction—and dental insurance—Steinberg takes a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison.

 

The prison library counter, his new post, attracts con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. There’s an anxious pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing a memoir. A passionate gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle. A disgruntled officer who instigates a major feud over a Post-it note. A doomed ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son, himself an inmate. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves — a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor. But when the struggles of the prison library — between life and death, love and loyalty — become personal, Steinberg is forced to take sides.

Running the Books is a trenchant exploration of prison culture and an entertaining tale of one young man’s earnest attempt to find his place in the world while trying not to get fired in the process. 

About the Author

AVI STEINBERG is thirty years old. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Review of Books, the Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, Philadelphia Weekly, Salon, Nextbook, and the Forward. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Lindsay Waite, August 8, 2012 (view all comments by Lindsay Waite)
This book took me back to my days of teaching at the Maryland House of Correction (before I became a public defender). One learns the good and bad about folks in prison, and sees that "corrections" is the least concern of the facility. There are folks sincere about working on their cases, learning, being positive. There are folks plotting, scheming, hurting themselves and others. Light shines on the officers as well, some well-intentioned, others with a cruel streak. Steinberg has an interesting experience one night taking a shortcut through a park. He is robbed, and the assailant recognizes him as the "book guy." But, there's no Hollywood moment, no remorse, just a bit of a laugh as the robber leaves with the bit of cash he scored. For those who have never entered a prison, take a look at this story of the accidental librarian. You may be surprised at what you find in this land of books and prisoners.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Shannon Geiger, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by Shannon Geiger)
Avi Steinberg is a Harvard graduate and writer of Obituaries for the Boston Globe. He decides to apply to be a librarian at the county jail in Boston. He actually gets the job, despite having no library experience. During his time at the jail, he learns about desperate prisoners with big dreams, grudge-holding correction officers, and fellow staff. He is mugged by a former prisoner and mourns the deaths of others. This is not a story about books, but about freedom. I loved this book because it is the epitome of the saying "you get what you give". Avi gave attention and time to those who needed it and he gained more education and wisdom than he received at Harvard.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
s_thompson777, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by s_thompson777)
This book had me at the mention of pimps as librarians. A great non-fiction book about an educated college graduate whose real world experience lands him in prison as library staff. Steinberg's writing style is unassuming, actually surprisingly honest, and you will laugh and cry at his misfortune and sometimes naivety.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385529099
Subtitle:
The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
Author:
Steinberg, Avi
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Penology
Subject:
Biography - General
Publication Date:
20101019
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.62 x 5.98 x 1.36 in 1.3125 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Metropolitan Life Used Mass Market $2.95
  2. Social Studies Used Mass Market $5.50
  3. Autobiography of Mark Twain: The...
    Used Hardcover $12.95
  4. Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff... Used Trade Paper $3.95
  5. I Remember Nothing: And Other...
    Used Hardcover $6.50

Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385529099 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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 that's an irrepressibly literary place. True, his patrons turn books into weapons (and one robs him while out on parole), but he's beguiled by the rough poetry of inmate essays and 'kites'--contraband notes secreted in library books--and entranced by the 'skywriting' with which they semaphore messages letter-by-letter across the courtyard. And there's always an informal colloquium of prostitutes, thieves, and drug dealers convened at the checkout desk, discussing everything from Steinberg's love life to the 'gangsta' subculture of Hasidic Jews. Gradually, the prison pulls him in and undermines his bemused neutrality. He helps a forlorn female prisoner communicate with her inmate son, develops a dangerous beef with a guard, and finds himself collaborating on the memoir of a charismatic pimp whose seductive rap disguises a nasty rap sheet; he has to choose sides, make queasy compromises, and decide between rules and loyalty. Steinberg writes a stylish prose that blends deadpan wit with an acute moral seriousness. The result is a fine portrait of prison life and the thwarted humanity that courses through it. (Oct. 26)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , Seeking direction--and dental insurance--Steinberg takes a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves--a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor.
"Synopsis" by , Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to Harvard, he has only a senior thesis essay on Bugs Bunny to show for his effort. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, he remains stuck at a crossroads, unable to meet the lofty expectations of his Orthodox Jewish upbringing. And his romantic existence as a freelance obituary writer just isn’t cutting it. Seeking direction—and dental insurance—Steinberg takes a job as a librarian in a tough Boston prison.

 

The prison library counter, his new post, attracts con men, minor prophets, ghosts, and an assortment of quirky regulars searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. There’s an anxious pimp who solicits Steinberg’s help in writing a memoir. A passionate gangster who dreams of hosting a cooking show titled Thug Sizzle. A disgruntled officer who instigates a major feud over a Post-it note. A doomed ex-stripper who asks Steinberg to orchestrate a reunion with her estranged son, himself an inmate. Over time, Steinberg is drawn into the accidental community of outcasts that has formed among his bookshelves — a drama he recounts with heartbreak and humor. But when the struggles of the prison library — between life and death, love and loyalty — become personal, Steinberg is forced to take sides.

Running the Books is a trenchant exploration of prison culture and an entertaining tale of one young man’s earnest attempt to find his place in the world while trying not to get fired in the process. 

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.