CrimeDime’s Non-Fiction Summer Beach Reads

Posted on June 6, 2012 by


It’s time to pull yourself away from the desk, the screens, the calls for service. Summer’s here, and it’s time grab the sunscreen and hit the beach because baby’s in Reno with the vitamin D.

Books we

Image: Amazon

Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman is an inside look at incarceration in a female correctional facility. Kerman is a middle class white woman who was convicted for her role in a drug smuggling operation in her youth. The book is the story of her experience inside, how she negotiated her role within the prison social system and navigated her changing identity throughout the criminal justice system process. A few passages here and there don’t ring entirely true for those of us who have spent any time working in corrections, but, on the whole, it’s a quick read offering an unusual look at a woman’s life behind bars. Plus, rumor has it that the book is being developed as a television series by Jenji Kohan.

Image: Amazon

The Custom of the Sea by Neil Hanson, is clearly not for the squeamish. Mariners might be able to identify the subject from the book’s title, but, for the uninitiated, the custom of the sea refers to the practice of cannibalism among shipwreck survivors. Yep, you totally read that right. Why is this a crime book? Because it offers a fascinating exploration of how social norms change over time and how that process plays out in the criminal justice system. Central to the book is the legal case in England that ultimately banned the custom of the sea. You’ll know more than you ever imagined about how eating other people at sea became illegal.

Image: Amazon

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi is one of those books where we all think we know the story, and therefore don’t need to read the book. Not true! Not true! Bugliosi is not your ordinary true crime writer; he was actually the prosecutor on the Charles Manson case. If some of his observations about the functioning of the criminal justice system seem a bit dated, consider it, instead, a historical look at how the criminal justice system used to handle a super high-profile case. Bugliosi, clearly brilliant, offers sharp insights into the interconnected roles of various criminal justice system actors. It’s a book that everyone should read at least once a decade, so why not this summer?

I’m outtie. I got a parking violation and a maggot on my sleeve to deal with. Drop a dime in the comments and tell us what you’re reading this summer.

One last thing? I’ll super you forever if you got the references. Yo, cut it.

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Posted in: Books