Wednesday Wanna-Read: Orange is the New Black

My Wednesday wanna-read this week leads me into a wanna-watch. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman is the basis for the hit Netflix series (which I have yet to watch.)

From Goodreads website

From Goodreads website

This pick is a difficult one for me to make. Typically, I would be opposed to giving money to someone who is profiting off a crime–which is what Kerman is doing. However, I think there are benefits to reading Kerman’s account. If she is able to opine on the nature of the penal system, as she does in speaking engagements across the country, then her work is about making a social commentary and less about profiting on her experience.

But, if I read this book and there’s not as much focus on the social commentary, I will be disappointed. I do not want to be seen as helping someone to profit from their crimes. Son of Sam laws make it clear that gaining profits from crime is not exactly legal.

Reading accounts of people convicted of crimes would be intriguing and those books would be good sellers. Look at society’s fascination with trial coverage. Nancy Grace wouldn’t be a household name without it.

Trials like that of Jodi Arias draw massive crowds online and the sordid details are watercooler fodder across the country.

It doesn’t mean those people should be able to profit off their “celebrity” status as criminals. I’m as guilty of anyone of following trials online that are fascinating. I’ve read my fair share of true crime books, written by authors using case files and interviews with key players.

But, to my knowledge, I’ve never read a book written by a person who has been convicted of the crime which they are writing about. Kerman’s will be the first. She’s likely made many thousands, maybe even millions, of dollars from her book and royalties from the Netflix series.

Which brings me too…. OITNB.

The concept is intriguing to me. I’m not sure if the series is about the book or just uses the book’s concept to delve into a fictionalized version of what life is like in women’s prison. Maybe that’s a question we should ask that New Jersey housewife in a couple years?

I’m curious about the series because of the critical acclaim it has gotten. Other Netflix series have also gotten praise from critics and during awards season (I’m looking at you, House of Cards) so there has to at least be a little bit of good stuff there.

But, I’m the type of person who likes to read the book before I watch the TV show/movie if I can. So, the book will come first. After all, binge watching is what Netflix was created for, right?


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