Running the Books

Running the Books : The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian

3.5 (3,368 ratings by Goodreads)
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Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to attend Harvard, he has nothing but a senior thesis on Bugs Bunny to show for himself. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, Steinberg remains stuck at a crossroads, his romantic existence as a freelance obituary writer no longer cutting it. Seeking direction (and dental insurance) Steinberg takes a job running the library counter at a Boston prison. He is quickly drawn into the community of outcasts that forms among his bookshelves an assortment of quirky regulars, including con men, pimps, minor prophets, even ghosts all searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. Steinberg recounts their daily dramas with heartbreak and humor in this one-of-a-kind memoir a piercing exploration of prison culture and an entertaining tale of one young man s earnest attempt to find his place in the world. "show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 399 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 25.4mm | 317.51g
  • Anchor Books
  • United States
  • English
  • 0767931319
  • 9780767931311
  • 484,064

Review quote

"I haven't laughed this hard since David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day."" --"Los Angeles Times " "Acidly funny. . . . Mr. Steinberg proves to be a keen observer, and a morally serious one. His memoir is wriggling and alive -- as involving, and as layered, as a good coming-of-age novel." --"The New York Times ""An impressive account of a world that few readers of this newspaper will recognize [written] in wry, captivating prose." --"The Economist ""Hilarious enough to make you want to read its lines to anyone who happens to be around, and profound enough to have you care deeply about many of the men and women whose crimes have brought them to Boston's Suffolk County House of Correction. . . . There's plenty of humor here, for sure, but Steinberg, in tender, understated prose, also brings out the inmates' irrepressible humanity." --"San Francisco Chronicle ""Steinberg's writing is funny, poignant and accessible. He's the guy you want in front oshow more

About Avi Steinberg

Avi Steinberg was born in Jerusalem and raised in Cleveland and Boston. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times Magazine, Salon, and other more

Rating details

3,368 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 16% (541)
4 35% (1,192)
3 35% (1,168)
2 10% (344)
1 4% (123)
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