What Convicts Read

10.28.10 Marina Galperina

The Diary of Anne Frank, Robert Greene’s rapper-approved Machiavellian manual The 48 Laws of Power and anything by Sylvia Plath – those are some con-popular books, a Boston prison librarian’s memoir reveals.

So, despite a 60% illiteracy rate, cons are relating to Holocaust victims and depressed privileged damsels, meanwhile reading up on power tips like “conceal your intentions” and “discover each man’s thumbscrew.”

The inmates’ critique of author photos is also insightful. Gabriel García Márquez: “That man is a liar.” Flannery O’Connor:

She looks kind of busted up, y’know? She ain’t too pretty. I trust her.

Crime stuff is most popular though, especially novels about incarceration, which doesn’t seem very escapist as a distraction from boredom and the threat of rape.