One of my professors once compared reading to eating. He reflected on his own diet and said that if he keeps eating only fast food, he knows what will happen to him. He talked about the way it’s challenging for him to eat healthy, but he knows it’s beneficial when he does. My professor then said the same thing about reading: sometimes he only wants to ingest easy reading material that won’t prompt him to think or grow. But he recognized that reading material that challenges him to reflect (on new concepts, on whether he agrees or disagrees, on his own life, etc.) is healthy for his intellectual and spiritual growth.
All of us, incarcerated or not, need to read regularly. Reading can inspire creativity, challenge our own assumptions, expand our worldview, grow our vocabulary, and grow spiritually.
The Purpose of Prison Book Review
The purpose of this website is to provide book recommendations for people to consider sending to their loved ones or friends who are in prison. Reading is a crucial experience for people in prison or jail. Whether they’re reading letters, news, magazines, or books, what people in prison read impacts their prison experience. I hope the books on this website will help the prison or jail sentence of your loved one become more productive time. I also hope that if you read the books too they will spark healthy discussion between you and your loved one.
Types of Books
Most of the books I review on this website will be Christian non-fiction. I won’t recommend books that weaponize scripture, use fear-based appeal, promote racial prejudice, teach exclusion based on sexual orientation, or promote the concept of a prosperity gospel. I will tend to recommend books that present multiple perspectives on a given topic, are grace-oriented, are personable in style, and are written from a posture and tone of humility. The books will vary in terms of reading level and assumed knowledge of the reader by the author. I will also try to review mostly books available in paperback since many jails and prisons will not allow hardcover.
In addition to book reviews, I will occasionally post interviews with people who, because of their areas of expertise, will have helpful insight and advice for people in prison and their families. Feel free to print those or any post to mail to a friend or loved one in prison.
I am a full-time minister to young adults at a church in the Kansas City area. My wife, Rachel, and I have three children. I enjoy writing and reading. I understand the pain of having a loved one who is in prison, which is what drove me to write my first book. I was arrested twice as a teen because of drug abuse problems and appreciate a human’s capacity to change behavior through the transformative power of the Spirit.