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Cultured Convicts: survey reveals Russian prisoners prefer to read Tolstoy, Dumas & other high brow literature while doing time

Cultured Convicts: survey reveals Russian prisoners prefer to read Tolstoy, Dumas & other high brow literature while doing time
What would you do to pass the time if you were behind bars? In Russia, they read. On Thursday, the country’s prison service released a list of the most-read books, and Mikhail Bulgakov's ‘Master and Margarita’ came in first.

The top-10 list was released in conjunction with a national campaign called ‘Books Are Your Friends.’

Bulgakov’s novel, once-censored in the Soviet-era, was followed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas - the highest-ranking foreign title.

The top 10 also included three books by Leo Tolstoy - ‘War and Peace,’ ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Resurrection’ - as well as Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov,’ Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables,’ alongside Mikhail Sholokhov's ‘And Quiet Flows the Don.’

Notably, the list includes no titles originally written in the English language.

Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, a Federal Penitentiary Service spokesperson explained that male convicts “prefer historical books, adventures, detective stories, and science fiction,” whereas women prefer romance.

Also on rt.com Number of prisoners in Russia hits record low

In total, Russia’s correctional facilities have 1,137 libraries with more than 5 million printed publications, and over 38,000 prisoners are members of reading clubs.

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