stacks of books donated via the OBB library project
A stamp on a book indicating its donation by Odyssey Beyond Bars

Odyssey Beyond Bars Library Donation

“Freedom begins with a book.”

— Reginald Dwayne Betts, a formerly incarcerated Yale-educated lawyer, poet, and founder of Freedom Reads

In August 2022, Odyssey Beyond Bars created the first-ever OBB Library at five prisons across Wisconsin: Columbia Correctional, Dodge Correctional, Green Bay Correctional, Racine Correctional, and Oakhill Correctional. Each collection contains 100 titles — plus another 25 editions in Spanish — and combines Nobel-prize-winning literature, groundbreaking research, heartrending poetry and other gems suggested by some of the brightest minds at UW–Madison. This effort was inspired by the Freedom Reads prison library project, which “empowers people through literature to confront what prison does to the spirit.”

If you want to contribute to this project, you can donate to the Friends of Odyssey Fund or write to the OBB team to suggest a book title at


The full list of titles:

  1. Long Bright River, Liz Moore
  2. Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi
  3. The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  5. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller
  6. Educated, Tara Westover
  7. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
  8. The Catcher in the Rye, D. Salinger
  9. Lot, Bryan Washington
  10. The Fifth Season, K. Jemisin
  11. The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon
  12. A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines
  13. You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir, Wole Soyinka
  14. I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika Sanchez
  15. Crooked Hallelujah, Kelli Jo Ford
  16. How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley
  17. The Trespasser, Tana French
  18. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, David Eagleman
  19. The Far Field, Madhuri Vijay
  20. The Fateful Triangle, Stuart Hall
  21. The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, David Epstein
  22. Dispatches, Michael Kerr
  23. Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  24. My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass
  25. A Lucky Man, James Brinkley
  26. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  27. Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Annie Proulx
  28. Bring Out the Dog: Stories, Will Mackin
  29. The Wake of the Wind, California Cooper
  30. Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
  31. Native Son, Richard Wright
  32. Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin
  33. The Changeling, Victor Lavalle
  34. Death in Venice and Other Tales, Thomas Mann
  35. Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
  36. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, Michael Lewis
  37. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Michael Lewis
  38. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  39. The Testaments, Margaret Atwood
  40. The Black Poets, Dudley Randall
  41. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  42. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South, Michael W. Twitty
  43. Sacred Hunger, Barry Unsworth
  44. Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit
  45. The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet, John Green
  46. Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
  47. Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
  48. Never Caught, Erica Armstrong Dunbar
  49. The Plague of Doves, Louise Erdrich
  50. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
  51. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, James Foreman
  52. The Last Shot: Mystery at the Final Four, John Feinstein
  53. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert
  54. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  55. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
  56. The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, Audre Lorde
  57. All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks
  58. The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg, Nicholas Dawidoff
  59. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  60. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  61. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky
  62. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
  63. Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000, Lucille Clifton
  64. Insurrections: Stories, Rio Amilcar Scott
  65. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  66. The Old Drift, Namwali Serpell
  67. Postcolonial Love Poem, Natalie Diaz
  68. These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore
  69. The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  70. The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus
  71. The Other Americans, Laila Lalami
  72. Narrative of the Life of an Outlaw Slave, Frederick Douglass
  73. The Odyssey, Homer (trans. Emily Wilson)
  74. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi
  75. There There, Tommy Orange
  76. Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster, Adam Higginbotham
  77. Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
  78. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
  79. Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, Ross King
  80. Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman
  81. Homeland Elegies, Ayad Akhtar
  82. The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance, Erik Larson
  83. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  84. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell
  85. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell
  86. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah
  87. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  88. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  89. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, Patty Loe
  90. Tomboyland: Essays, Melissa Faliveno
  91. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  92. Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep: An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans since 1945, ed. Michael Harper and Anthony Walton
  93. My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
  94. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  95. 1984, George Orwell
  96. Redeployment, Phil Klay
  97. Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff
  98. Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, Charles Wheelan
  99. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
  100. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway


Spanish editions:

  1. Mas alla de me reino, Yaa Gyasi
  2. Beloved, Toni Morrison
  3. Una educacion, Tara Westover
  4. La cenizas de Angela, Frank McCourt
  5. Yo no soy tu perfect hija Mexicana, Erika Sanchez
  6. Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel
  7. El cuento de la criada, Margaret Atwood
  8. Los testamentos, Margaret Atwood
  9. Tu mundo y elm io. Postales del Antropoceno, John Green
  10. Grande esperanzas, Charles Dickens
  11. El maestro y Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  12. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  13. Cien años de soledad, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  14. El mito de Sisifo, Albert Camus
  15. Llamame port u nombre, André Aciman
  16. Cometas en el cielo, Khaled Hosseini
  17. El punto clave, Malcolm Gladwell
  18. Prohibido nacer: memorias de racism, rabia y risa, Trevor Noah
  19. El ferrocarril subterráneo, Colson Whitehead
  20. Las uvas de la ira, John Steinbeck
  21. La amiga estupenda, Elena Ferrante
  22. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  23. 1984, George Orwell
  24. Un caballero en Moscu, Amor Towles
  25. Adios a las armas, Ernest Hemingway

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