Reading Behind Bars by Jill Grunenwald

Reading Behind Bars

In December 2008, twentysomething Jill Grunenwald graduated with her master’s degree in library science, ready to start living her dream of becoming a librarian. But the economy had a different idea. As the Great Recession reared its ugly head, jobs were scarce. After some searching, however, Jill was lucky enough to snag one of the few librarian gigs left in her home state of Ohio. The catch? The job was behind bars as the prison librarian at ...

Details Reading Behind Bars

TitleReading Behind Bars
Release DateJul 2nd, 2019
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Writing, Books About Books, Biography Memoir

Reviews Reading Behind Bars

  • Kate ☀️ Olson
    ➕➗ Review math:.5 ⭐ for the prison library topic3 ⭐ for the actual writing2 ⭐ for the voice.Overall = 3.3333 ⭐ and worth reading if you are a MAJOR library nerd like me and want any library memoir you can get your hands on. If you only ever want to read ONE book about libraries, try THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean..I just didn’t love the super casual, irreverent and often profane tone and I think there could have been several more ...
  • Jenna
    I found this to be an incredibly enthralling read. I read almost all of it over the course of a weekend. I simply couldn’t put it down.I'm a big library nerd. I've always been pretty active in my own libraries. One of the first steps I take when moving to a new town is getting my library card. I just love being in libraries. But prison libraries are something that I never really gave much thought to. Neither did Jill prior to landing a job at o...
  • Allison Carmola
    Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this advance copy.I enjoyed this book. Full disclosure, I am a librarian so I like reading about librarians, but I do think this book has a wider appeal. It starts a little slow, and especially near the beginning there were things about the writing style that annoyed me. But the characters and situations are interesting, and I was fully engaged by the end.
  • Alexandra Robbins
    There is not enough literature representing librarians – the guardians of books – or the incarcerated, who are under constant guard. Grunenwald amiably gives voice to both in an important, interesting memoir that celebrates the liberating power of literature and the right to the freedom to read.
  • Cari
    Absolutely loved this book. Review to come in Booklist.
  • Melinda
    The author describes the ins and outs of life in prison from an unlikely place- the prison library. For these inmates, the library is more than a place with books, it’s a haven. This book is an easy read that’s both enjoyable and thought provoking, and one fact is very clear throughout- Ms. G is definitely a gangster. I received an advance copy from the publisher and Edelweiss. This is my honest review.
  • Emmy
    What a fascinating book! When I first picked this up, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I've read books about prison experiences before, including Behind the Gates of Gomorrah and The Maximum Security Book Club, but I think this was my favorite. Perhaps it was because the story takes place in a library. Or maybe it was just Grunenwald's writing voice. Regardless of the reason, I found this a very hard book to put down.The beginning was a bit...
  • Megan Palasik
    I read this book in 3 days, which is quite the feat for me! It was hard to put down. Jill writes an easy to read narrative of her adventures as a newly minted librarian working in a prison. Her style is conversational, as if you are sitting over coffee and updating a friend on your life (with humorous Harry Potter references and asides). This style will make you laugh out loud at times and gasp at others. At the beginning of each chapter, the rea...
  • Julianne2girls
    I wasn't sure what to think going into this book, but it intrigued me. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Other than one or two small typos and one grammar error, this book was a very quick read and hard to put down. I started Wednesday morning before work and was done by Sunday night. "Reading Behind Bars" is a fantastic memoir that shows how Jill (the author) grew with her first librarian position after college be one in a Correctional F...
  • L G
    I enjoyed this book very much. There are sentences and passages which faintly convey restraint, of the author holding herself to a familiar script. I wanted to hear more about what happened to the dog which was curled up asleep at her feet. Of the man who discouraged his friends from getting into the elevator with her. Other parts of the book give me an invitation to think about a subject I certainly never otherwise even considered. This is great...
  • Evelyn Cronin
    Another homerun book!I have waited to get my hands on this book because I love Ms. Grunenwald's perspective on her life and the world around her. I'm not sure I was aware that prisons had libraries until reading Ms. G's bio and I love that this memoir gives those on the outside an honest look into prison life and what is required to work in one - the ability to let go of bias and assumptions and too see people for who they are and not what they'v...
  • Lesley
    Hard to finish, to be honest. The content was fine, but the writing style was irritating in that it definitely felt written from the perspective of someone who hadn't had a friend/loved one incarcerated or done enough anti-oppression self-work to effectively build a class/race narrative for solidarity with patrons. Prison libraries have a pretty incredible, revolutionary history and I just wasn't feeling that reflected in this.
  • Danielle
    When Jill Grunenwald graduated from library school in 2008 library jobs were in scarce supply, so she wound up working in a minimum security men's prison. She shares her stories of working the prison for just under 2 years. There were some interesting stories, but the book definitely felt like an amateur memoir and over-familiarly written.
  • Lynn
    A compelling look inside a prison library, with a nod to Avi Steinberg's *Running the Books*, this time narrated by a young woman, which gives a whole new perspective to a whole new set of situations.I read this EARC courtesy of Skyhorse Publications and Edelweiss. pub date 07/02/19
  • Kelly Mannion
    This is a fun and interesting read about the library process in jail. It is a unique take on life in prison.
  • Deborah
    It was a bit repetitive. And there were numerous errors missed by proofreaders. But it was an interesting subject that held my interest.
  • Emily
    An interesting read. It gave me some new insight on prison libraries.
  • Mary Drayer
    A one day read... great insights into prison readings-a quick read with good info