Books provide es­capes


A book club is pro­vid­ing an es­cape for in­mates at Aro­hata Prison.

The club meets monthly and, not sur­pris­ingly, has an ev­er­chang­ing mix of mem­bers.

The women who meet around the ta­ble are there vol­un­tar­ily, tak­ing time out from their jobs in the laun­dry or kitchen.

One in­mate said the club was a way to es­cape.

‘I can read a book and be trans­ported any­where in the world,’’ she said.

‘‘Some­times I can feel the sun or the rain when I’m read­ing about it.’’

The book club mem­bers read a book a month and meet to dis­cuss it. Kathryn Stock­ett’s novel, The Help, re­ceived unan­i­mous praise from mem­bers, but other books haven’t been so lucky.

Blue Asy­lum, by Hepin­stall, was panned.

One pris­oner said the book club would love to re­ceive dona­tions of all gen­res, but par­tic­u­larly wanted more chal­leng­ing reads.

‘‘Gen­eral fic­tion is al­ways pop­u­lar, but there are some vi­car­i­ous read­ers in here who would love a chal­lenge.’’

The women are on lock­down be­tween 15 and 17 hours a day.

‘‘There’s noth­ing else to do but read.’’

An­other woman said she joined the club for its dis­cus­sions as well as the chance to read new books. Kathy

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