Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

by

Author: Avi Steinberg

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

Genre: Autobiographies, Biographies, Memoirs, True Crime

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 399

Geographical Setting: Boston

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  After experiencing a crisis of faith, Avi Steinberg abandons his Orthodox Jewish ubringing to attend Harvard. Now graduated, Steinberg is wandering aimlessly though life, barely getting by as a freelance obituary writer. Anxious for a change, he takes a job as a librarian in a Boston prison. In his new job Steinberg encounters an assortment of quirky regulars, some of them searching for the perfect book, some for a shoulder to cry on, and others for a connection to the outside world. Over time, Steinberg is accepted into this community of outcasts. He tells their stories with a unique combination of humor, wit and compassion. Running the Books is an exploration of library and prison culture and an entertaining tale of a young man’s attempt to find his place in the world.

Subject Headings: Communication, Interperonal Relations, Jewish Men, Prison Librarians, Prisoners, Prisons, Writing.

Appeal: Moving, Off-Beat, Reflective, Thought-Provoking, Candid, Witty, Relaxed Pace, Atmospheric, Character-Driven, Issue-Oriented, Funny, Darkly Humorous.

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Off-Beat, Witty, Thought-Provoking.

Relevant Works and Authors

Non-Fiction

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

A memoir exploring the prison world from a female inmate’s perspective. May appeal to readers who enjoy prison memoirs or memoirs written by a female author.

This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson

A discussion of the importance of librarians by a true library enthusiast. May appeal to readers who enjoy reading about libraries and library-related issues.

You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish by Jimmy A. Lerner

A prison memoir from the perspective of a “prison fish,” a newcomer to prison life. May appeal to readers who enjoy prison memoirs.

Fiction

The Borrower: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai

The story of a young librarian and her favorite young patron as they take a road trip together. May appeal to readers who enjoy novels with librarian protaginists.

Everything is Illuminated: A Novel by Jonathan Safram Foer

The story of a young man searching for answers about his past and his family’s history. May appeal to readers who enjoy stories about Jewish heritage.

The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel by Brady Udall

The story of a Mormon man struggling with life and having a crisis of faith. May appeal to readers who enjoy stories about unique lifestyles or issues involving faith and religion.

Created by: Brigitte Bell

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