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rwhbyu
12-06-2006, 12:17 AM
Not sure if this is a Cafe thread or a IMHO thread so if it needs moved so be it...


My brother is in prison for a little while and he wants some books to read. He asked for a bunch of fantasy books (Forgotten Realms to be specific) and some other family members have sent some to him already. I want to send him some books that might be a little more... "enlightening". So I figured I would get some opinions from a pretty enlightened group.

So if you had a friend/family member in prison what "enlightened" books would you send? I would kind of preclude overly religious stuff.

Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

twickster
12-06-2006, 05:50 AM
We can probably help better if you say a little more about what you mean by "enlightened." Stuff on a more-or-less spiritual theme that isn't directly advocating a particular religion? Books that raise philosophical issues? Or novels that have some underlying message that operates more subliminally?

Also -- how open do you think he might be to meditating on "enlightened" issues? As they say, never try to teach a pig to sing -- it wastes your time and annoys the pig. Better to give him a book he wants to read than one he doesn't.

Finally -- and I'm sorry if this comes across as crass, but... how well educated is he? There are some books I think you'd need some familiarity with the world of ideas to get anything out of, and there are others I'd recommend to someone with a high school education, or who's still in high school.

I'll give some thought to this while awaiting your answers.

Lissa
12-06-2006, 09:48 AM
You've also got to consider the space limitations he may have. Most prisons have rules as to how much stuff an inmate can have and books can take up a lot of space.

DeadlyAccurate
12-06-2006, 11:29 AM
I want to send him some books that might be a little more... "enlightening".

Why? While there's nothing wrong with expanding one's literary horizons, if you're simply trying to get him to read something you consider more "adult," you're saying your tastes are "better" than his instead of merely different. If there's another reason you want something "enlightened" (whatever that means), keep in mind that he may simply want to read books that are pure entertainment, to fight what must be quite a boring life at the moment.

It's been a few years since I've read any Forgotten Realms novels, so I don't have any of those to suggest. He might be interested in the Eberron series, however (same section of the bookstore.)

Cemetery Savior
12-06-2006, 12:27 PM
If it has to be Fantasy, I'll recommend:


Tolkein Stuff (I'm assuming he's read it, but I'll mention them)
The Jordan books (Wheel of Time). I don't like them, but they'd be perfect, as they're "OK", and there's a lot of them.
Anything by Gene Wolfe (a little more literary...tough to figure out on one read).

Anything by Thomas Pynchon
Anything by David Foster Wallace
Salman Rushdie
Michael Moorcock (OK, I should have put him on my prior list)


I'm sure I'm missing a million of my favorites.

Oh....Haruki Murakami!

-Cem

glee
12-06-2006, 12:31 PM
I understand that prison is a pretty depressing place.

So I would send books he was sure to enjoy, i.e. the ones he chose.
I'm sure you mean well, but this probably isn't the right time to 'educate' him.

rwhbyu
12-06-2006, 03:22 PM
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I am not really trying to "teach him a lesson" or anything like that. I have also read some of the Forgotten Realms books. Family has sent him some books along those lines already. Speaking just from my own experience I at some point picked up some books that broadened my horizons so to speak. Having written letters back and forth I think he is in a good position to broaden his own horizons. The reason I say that religious stuff is not the best idea is because he grew up in a fairly religious lifestyle and at some point decided it was not for him. So I would try to avoid being preachy. Not to say that books advocating other philosophies would be bad. As for education, he was not a stellar student in HS but he is really intelligent. HS just wasn't for him. That of course was 5 or 6 years ago for him.

Of course I may just send him some Forgotten Realms books or something similar(suggestions would be appreciated of course) if thats what I get as the general consensus.

shamrock227
12-06-2006, 03:30 PM
I understand that prison is a pretty depressing place.

So I would send books he was sure to enjoy, i.e. the ones he chose.
I'm sure you mean well, but this probably isn't the right time to 'educate' him.

I've got to agree with this. If you want to try to enlighten and educate him, maybe wait until he gets out?

I know they are for the younger set but I sometimes still enjoy Piers Anthony's Xanth series, at least the earlier books.

madmonk28
12-06-2006, 04:06 PM
Maybe you could send him a mix? Some Forgotten Realms and then one or two other books, that way if he doesn't like them he can pass them on, but he may get bored and pick one up and get into the book. You know him, so maybe you could give him a book on a subject he's interested in. Well written history is always a good bet, maybe there's a period or culture he's been into and you could send him a one volume history on it.

Lissa
12-06-2006, 04:09 PM
[T]hat way if he doesn't like them he can pass them on . . .

That's forbidden by the rules of may prisons. Inmates are not supposed to trade items amongst themselves.

ryobserver
12-06-2006, 06:48 PM
You might consider a fantasy anthology, of new stuff or classics, especially if he hasn't read a wide range of fantasy. (I'd suggest specific titles but I'm not a big-time fantasy reader.) If he finds something he likes, he can ask for more by that author.