You guys. Get your Netflix all nice and warmed up and buy it something caffeinated, because before you know it, the second season of Orange Is The New Black will be back, and that poor media platform will be up all night streaming all that goodness. Oh Piper, how will this season shake out for you? And also, #CrazyEyes4Lyfe. If you can’t wait until the June 6 drop date (BECAUSE THAT IS SO FAR AWAY), do as I do, and drown your sorrows in a whole mess of books. Here are 7 books fans of the series (and the original text, naturally) might enjoy.
1. Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women In The U.S. Prison System, by Silja Talvi
This Reviving Ophelia-esque tome is written by a journalist who, through an examination of case studies, seeks to address the reasons behind the dramatic rise of the number of women in jail. I’m making it sound so much dryer than it actually is.
2. A Woman Doing Life: Note From a Women’s Prison, by Erin George
Another book about life in prison as a woman, but given that George is a lifer, the perspective is a different one. But through storytelling, instruction, analysis, and the killer skills of editor Robert Johnson, it’s an account you’ll tear through.
3. Fish: A Memoir of a Boy In a Man’s Prison, by TJ Parsell
This is not exactly a romp in the park. No sir, not by any stretch of the imagination. But if you’re got an iron stomach, then you’re in for a heck of a ride: this true account of a boy in a men’s prison will haunt you.
4. Different Seasons, by Stephen King
A collection of King’s short stories that deserves a place on every shelf, it also happens to feature the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. That’s right: Shawshank. The ultimate prison tale. Just pretend Morgan Freeman is reading it to you.
5. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
You know it, you love it, and you immediately picture Jack Nicholson when thinking about it. I don’t fault you for that. This might seem like a stretch, but one of the most fascinating things about OITNB is watching Piper go from outsider to institutionalized insider. Sound familiar? Bring on Nurse Ratched!
6. Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
Hands down one of my favorite books. I reread it annually. I’d argue it’s Atwood’s strongest work of fiction, and I’d recommend it to folks unwilling to start with the “feminist” The Handmaid’s Tale. So basically I’m talking about my dad, I guess? Based on a famous murder in Canada, it traces the life of young immigrant Grace, from her point of trauma to the terrifying act it makes possible.
7. A Prison Diary, by Jeffrey Archer
In this book that reads like a movi, novelist Jeffrey Archer documents his times behind bars. He may be a celebrity, but prison is the great equalizer. Fast-paced and gripping, it’s a great read. If you’e into reading. And, like, clearly you are.
Will you, like us, be binge-watching season 2 of OITNB?