The Prison Book Club by Ann WalmsleyThe Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley

The Prison Book Club

byAnn Walmsley

Paperback | November 1, 2016

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about

A daring journalist goes behind bars to explore the redemptive power of books with bikers, bank robbers, and gunmen.


An attack in London left Ann Walmsley unable to walk alone down the street, and shook her belief in the fundamental goodness of people. A few years later, when a friend asked her to participate in a bold new venture in a men's medium security prison, Ann had to weigh her curiosity and desire to be of service against her anxiety and fear.
     But she signed on, and for eighteen months went to a remote building at Collins Bay, meeting a group of heavily tattooed book club members without the presence of guards or security cameras. There was no wine and cheese, no plush furnishings. But a book club on the inside proved to be a place to share ideas and regain a sense of humanity.
     From The Grapes of Wrath to The Cellist of Sarajevo, Outliers to Infidel, the book discussions became a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, and loneliness. The books changed the men and the men changed Walmsley.
     Written with compassion and humour, The Prison Book Club is an eye-opening look at inmates and the penal system, and the possibilities of redemption.
ANN WALMSLEY is a magazine journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail and Maclean's. She is the recipient of four National Magazine Awards, a Canadian Business Journalism Award and two International Regional Magazine Awards. She founded her first book club at age nine. She lives in Toronto with her family.From the Hardcov...
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Title:The Prison Book ClubFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.16 × 0.8 inPublished:November 1, 2016Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014319416X

ISBN - 13:9780143194163

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Very interesting, made me want to read every book that they reviewed. It's amazing how Books can change a person's outlook and open up dialogue about taboo issues between groups of people who normally wouldn't have any thing in common. Also maybe want to either join or create a book club of my own, but at the same time I wonder if the conversations and the amount of benefit I would receive would be anywhere close to what the inmates received who were interviewed for this book. I had only read one of the books they spoke about, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I love the book, and recently took part in an online book club reviewing it. Comments in my online book club and even my own impressions of Alias Grace, the book, felt feeble and amateur compared to the depth of the inmates impressions of the character of the story and the author. I listened to the audio book, the author did not read the book but the person who did doesn't excellent job. This would make an interesting book for a book club to read, as I believe it would allow the group to question their reviews and perhaps even the books they choose to read and why. I also got the desire to help the charity out, I immediately found them on the Internet wanting to look up how to get involved, and to know more about the books that they reviewed.
Date published: 2018-08-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Easy, interesting enough read. While the book was fascinating and intriguing to read and learn about prison life and how a book club can bring out the best in some prisoners, I found myself waiting for something exciting to happen - a jail break or incident perhaps? This may be because I'm used to reading fiction books with a plot line but also partially because I wondered what made the author decide to write a book about her experiences and how it become so popular. Overall a good, easy read and I would recommend to anyone with an interest in putting yourself into someone else's life and experiencing a new situation.
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It missed the mark. I honestly didn't love this book so I purposely waited a few weeks after reading it to see if I'd change my mind. Sadly, I didn't. Technically this is a well written book, but I just found that the story dragged, as if too much effort was made to fill pages with words rather than with content (story). When I picked this novel up I was hoping for deeper insight into the life of prisoners in Ontario and how reading transformed them, and, hopefully, how the book clubs affected the prisoners AND the volunteers who led them. Instead, I found myself reading long tedious reviews about various books, along with a backstory on why the author loved them. I guess that would be great if that were the books intent, but then why call it The Prison Book Club? All that being said, I cannot fault the book for writing style. It's well done, but in my opinion it missed its mark.
Date published: 2015-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Prison Book Club As a recently retired correctional academic educator, I enjoyed the book a great deal. The author really captured the essence of the inmates. One detail that I found amusing was where it was noted that one inmate had excessively long fingernails on two fingers. I was told that was a give-away that the inmate was using them to mark lines for using certain drugs. I also liked how the author overcame her fear and gave the inmates a chance. Generally, they will practically roll out the red carpet for visitors. They want to be seen as normal and capable of interacting appropriately. Volunteers are so important to the inmate population and bring so much to their otherwise mundane, everyday lives. Great job......I will be looking for a sequel!
Date published: 2015-10-18

Editorial Reviews

“Empathetic and insightful. . . . A strong case for the humanizing power of literature.” —Quill & Quire “A lively and warm account of her eighteen months in two prison book clubs. . . . This book is a testament to what reading together can do in prison. . . . Walmsley shows how reading and rehabilitation can go hand-in-hand.” —The Times Literary Supplement “Quietly captures the transformative power of literature in a tough place.” —The Globe and Mail “A story of redemption and transcending the victim mentality.” —New York Post  “Enough to make you want to start your own little book club.” —Kobo.com