The Count of Monte Cristo

From Rebecca Segers
author: Dumas, Alexandre
The Count of Monte Cristo
Edmond Dantes has it all: youth, love, and career mobility.  But a jealous rival for his job and another for his fiance falsely accuse him of Bonapartism and a judge looking out for his own interests seals the deal, sending Dantes to the prison Chateau d’If.  There he struggles in solitary for years, until he meets the Abbe Faria, who teaches him and opens his heart to the power of human friendship.  They plan their joint escape, but Faria dies before it is able to be effected, thus leaving Dantes alone again – but this time with the knowledge of the whereabouts of a great hidden treasure.  Dantes escapes, claims the fortune and remakes himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, with the sole purpose of avenging his false imprisonment by ruining the men who put him there.  He does manage his aim, but along the way, also discovers that revenge is not a suitable reason for living. He is redeemed by the love he had for his former fiance, the love he still has for the family who remained true, and the love he begins to have for a woman in his current life.  This novel, published in 1844, is still just as entertaining as it was the day it came out, a page-turner for anyone looking for an adventure that takes them into the devastation of prison life, the glamorous world of 19th century Paris or the unmapped territory of the human heart.

Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

From Andrea Payne
author: Kerman, Piper 
Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison
This is unlike any ‘prison’ story you’ve ever come across. Piper Kerman writes about and accepts responsibility for a drug trafficking crime she committed in her youth. Ten years later, the feds come knocking and the Smith College graduate is placed in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, CT. This book chronicles some of the experiences that led to Piper’s incarceration; the life she began to build with her fiance before being indicted and sent to prison; and the relationships she builds in prison, while still somehow maintaining her relationship with her fiance, family and friends on the ‘outside.’ Some moments are very funny, others are deeply moving and thought provoking. This was an enjoyable and very unique read.