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prison

Kushner Goes Inside Women’s Prison in “The Mars Room”

in Non-Fiction by

Two-time National Book Award finalist Rachel Kushner’s new book, “The Mars Room” tells the story of Romy Hall who was serving two consecutive life sentences plus six years at the Stanville Women’s Correction Facility in California’s Central Valley. Roxanne says that the book “informs our understanding of prison life in a woman’s correctional facility in thrilling and ironic detail” and “helps us ponder a society that gives rise to these inevitabilities, disappointments, and injustices.” Also in this episode, we welcome back Lissa Muscatine, the owner of Politics & Prose in Washington DC for our segment “What’s on The Front Table.” Books in this episode: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky To purchase any of the books recommended by…

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‘The Last Suppers’ by Mandy Mikulencak Weaves a Complicated Story about Food and Sacrifice

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Set in a 1950s Louisiana penitentiary, The Last Suppers is a captivating novel. Ginny, the young daughter of a murdered prison guard, is now all grown up and cooking for the inmates at the jail.  She meets with the prisoners on death row to find out what they want for their last meal and does her best to create the requested dishes. The drama began two decades prior, when Ginny’s father was killed and his supposed murderer was put to death while she and her mother were present.  Her dad’s best friend, Roscoe, promised to take care of Ginny and her mother; now Ginny and Roscoe, currently the jail warden, work together and are a couple, intimately involved.  Despite the age difference, their…

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Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, a Life-Changing Friendship

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Heartbreaking, inspiring and a tribute to dedication, Reading With Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship is the memoir of an Asian American ‘Teach For America‘ teacher and her friendship with a poor black student in Helena, Arkansas. Their special relationship is in the forefront of the story with race relations, education and the legal system the backdrop for setting. Michelle had always been encouraged by her traditional Taiwanese parents to get an education, settle down and get married. But Michelle found the job of teaching troublesome kids in the Delta extremely rewarding. She stuck with it for a couple of years during which her student, Patrick, attended on occasion. His home life was less than perfect and his family was not…

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Halloween in July: A Spooky Reading List for Summer Thrills and Chills

in Thrillers by

There’s a chill in the air… wait, no there isn’t. It’s the dog days of summer, but there’s more than one way to get a chilly thrill on the sweatiest of days! Instead of getting all hot and bothered reading summer romances or getting all sticky and sandy forcing yourself to read on the beach, cuddle up in the darkest corner of your abode and prepare to get freaked out. There’s a spooky book for every taste and occasion, and we’ve got the goods on what you should be reading to give yourself the nighttime shivers. If you’re into scary, but like not really scary: Fellside, M.R. Carey (Orbit, April 5, 2016) From the author of the much-loved The Girl…

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Secret lives and uncensored poems of maximum security inmates

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Poems written by people who usually have no voice in our society and spend a large part of their lives in behind bars are presented in the new book, How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart: Secret Lives and Uncensored Confessions of Maximum Security Prison Inmates, which publishes April 21 during National Poetry Month. The book is the result of a successful prison education program taught by bestselling fiction and nonfiction author John Wareham who prompts inmates to write about their emotional and intellectual journeys from the moment of their crime to the moment of their release. Here are two of the poems from Wareham’s program.   QUESTIONS By Sheldon Arnold Who am I? What have I done? I…

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