Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisons

Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women's Prisons

by Megan Sweeney
     
 

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Overview

Reading Is My Window: Books and the Art of Reading in Women’s Prisons

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This important book represents a significant contribution to interdisciplinary research focused on women prisoners' reading habits and attempts at self-education and improvement. Sweeney (English and Afroamerican and African Studies, Univ. of Michigan) interviewed 94 women prisoners and collected data on their experiences reading behind bars. Along the way, she provides insight into the history of reading and education in the U.S. penal system, attitudes toward African American urban fiction, and the gender and race politics of corrections. She details how reading and library service can be used as instruments of control by prison authorities and how prisoners still manage to use reading as a tool for self-improvement. In-depth portraits of two women prisoners show the positive impact reading can have despite a lack of educational programs. VERDICT This book will be of interest to a broad range of academics and students, including those in sociology, criminal justice, education, women's studies, African American studies, and literature. There will also be a strong secondary audience among those interested in adult literacy, prisoner advocacy, or social justice issues.—Alison M. Lewis, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia
From the Publisher
Sweeny's material is accessible because of her writing style and her ability to give voice to women prisoners…—Magill's Literary Annual

The reader will have encountered the intense humanity, the human-ness, of the women in Sweeny's humane study and know how much we all need books and reading in our lives.—SHARP News

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

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

An interesting and provocative read. . . . Serves as a call to action.—Feminist Review

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807871003
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
02/15/2010
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
What Sweeney does best is to show how various kinds of stories enable women to tell more powerful stories about themselves. As women cherry-pick, rejecting one story line or plot for another, they construct identities with a wider scope, imagining themselves as actors and agents, rather than only guilty victimizers and victims. This book makes a significant contribution.—Rena Fraden, author of Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women

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