Orange is the New Black is not only a great show, but it’s perfect for book-lovers too as every single episode of every single season is crammed full with literary references and scenes of characters reading books. Here are twelve of the best books seen throughout the first four seasons and why they fitted perfectly with what the characters were up to at the time.
1. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List by Patricia Schultz
This book is filled to the brim with weird and wonderful places to visit – as long as you’re not in prison of course! There is a real irony when this book is seen within the prison walls in Season 1.
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
3. The End of Men and the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin
A book about how men are no longer the dominant sex is perfect for Counselor Healy. When he’s seen reading it in Season 2, it really sums up his fear and hatred of women.
4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Whilst the novel sees Theo Decker do all he can to survive and reinvent himself, the book is about loss and revival. No wonder it’s perfect reading for Piper as she goes on her journey of transformation into becoming a prison gangster in Season 3.
5. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
As Piper turns into business woman, Boo teaches Pennsatucky all about supply and demand, using this groundbreaking economic bible as a reference.
6. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
This American classic is all about the struggle of an old fisherman as he battles against a giant fish. It’s referenced in Nicky’s drug-fueled flashback in Season 3 and works well as a parallel to her own struggles.
7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Referenced in Season 3 as Big Boo plots revenge against Donuts (CO Coates), this book is an enticing and intriguing tale of vengeance and redress.
8. My Beautiful Ballooning Heart by Janice Silverman Rebibo
As she reads this book of acclaimed poetry about love and trauma, it’s easy to sympathize with the pain Red feels about the distance between her and her family – both her biological one and her prison one.
9. Bad Kid by David Crabb
Poussey is seen reading this heartwarming and humorous memoir in Season 4 just as she and girlfriend So-So come to terms with their relationship and what So-So wrongfully believes is Poussey’s past.
10. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Season 4 sees the race-tension rise even further, making Americanah a very apt read for Black Cindy.
11. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
As Litchfield gets fuller and the risks of trouble get higher, it’s no wonder Hapakuka searches for some peace of mind in this famous self-help book.
12. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The second in Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles is the perfect book for CO Bayley in Season 4. Bayler fears what will become of him if he continues to work in the prison, and with hindsight, perhaps he would have been wise to listen to that fear.
Of course, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the books referenced on Orange is the New Black, but it’ll certainly keep you reading until Season 5 is finally released.
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Featured image via Good Housekeeping