Sponsored by Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
But while New York’s inmates were spared this program for now, prisoners across the country still contend with policies that ban or restrict access to books and other reading materials, for reasons ranging from reasonable to arbitrary to downright bizarre.
Prisoners in Alabama are banned from being in book clubs. In Michigan and Ohio, prisoners are barred from reading books that teach computer skills. In Michigan, the computer programming manual C++ For Dummies was kept out of a prison in 2012 because it posed a “threat to the order/security of institution.” The same reasoning applied to a book about Egyptian hieroglyphics.
In 2017, I read more than 35 children’s book manuscripts for editors and authors about or featuring black American characters. The industry calls these reads “sensitivity reads,” a poor term that mischaracterizes the nature and scope of what we sensitivity readers do. The buzzword has been distorted, weaponized by many to dismiss the need for responsible representation.
Flying in the face of Norman Mailer’s infamous comment that “a good novelist can do without everything but the remnant of his balls”, Haruki Murakami was the sole male writer to make the Top 10 bestselling literary authors of 2017 in the UK.