Earlier this week, Chicago magazine scored the first interview with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich since he began a 14-year prison sentence for more than a dozen federal crimes.
Turns out, one of Blago’s favorite ways to pass the time in the slammer is…reading books. “Most nights, Blagojevich reads until 2 or 3 o’clock, using a tiny book light he bought at the commissary,” David Berstein writes.
And here’s another surprise: he’s actually got pretty good taste.
Man’s Search for Meaning
By Viktor Frankl
Part memoir, part psychological treatise, Frankl’s first-person account of the Holocaust is actually one of my own favorite books. Blagojevich told Chicago magazine he’s read it three times: “Inspired by it, I began to develop ideas about what I could do in the difficult circumstances I found myself in that could help me direct my energies and efforts to use the time I had to pass in prison working toward a worthy goal. Something more than just marking time and getting through the years ahead. Viktor Frankl explained it by writing if you had a ‘why’ to live, you can find the ‘how.’ ”
Strength to Love
By Martin Luther King, Jr.
In her forward, Coretta Scott King says “this book best explains the central element of Martin Luther King, Jr.’ s philosophy of nonviolence: His belief in a divine, loving presence that binds all life. That insight, luminously conveyed in this classic text, here presented in a new and attractive edition, hints at the personal transformation at the root of social justice.”
By Stephen Ambrose
Yeah, I’m as surprised as you about this one. It’s a 500-page doorstopper about the Lewis and Clark expedition from the author of Band of Brothers. Maybe Blago identifies with Meriwether Lewis, who historians agree was a pretty poor governor.
By Lots of People
Not surprising, considering it’s one of the most popular — and most available — books in prison.