On September 1, 2023, we launched our newest book club at SCI Greene, a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania. Ten incarcerated members and three outside members will gather every other week this semester to talk about literature. Members decide together on what to read and take turns facilitating discussion.
Our Reading List, So Far
So far, the new group has read the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography by Maya Angelou. After the discussion of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Ann Pancake, one of the outside members, said, “We had an incredible conversation, by far the best I’ve ever had about this story, which I’ve taught at least a half dozen times in traditional university settings.”
The group also plans to read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
The book club will rotate each semester to different blocks at the prison, extending this educational opportunity throughout the compound. APBP’s education coordinator and founder, Katy Ryan, said, “We are so excited to be launching this new book club, our first since the pandemic began. It’s been in the planning stage for over a year. This is one of our favorite practices at APBP—gathering to talk about books and learn from one another.”
In addition to Ann Pancake, Tim Sweet and Dakota Swiger will be outside members. It will be their first time participating in an APBP book club.
Support the Prison Book Club
APBP pays for the books we read together, and we also hope to be able to provide notebooks. If you would like to support the book club, please donate today.