Eileen Reynolds looks at the case of a minor sentenced to read the favorite books of the woman he killed in a hit and run:

The sentencing of minors is a particularly contentious issue, and there are those who will argue that a fatal hit-and-run crash warrants more than an invitation to the library at the juvenile detention center. But if one takes the view that a sentenceespecially for someone so youngshould include rehabilitation, assigning books might be a good idea. If we believe that literature really can transform lives and soothe troubled hearts, it can't hurt to encourage prisoners to read. ...

As far as the case in Michigan, it's particularly interesting that the judge has ordered the boy to read literature that the victim once enjoyed. Reading the books that someone loved strikes me as a meaningfuland surprisingly intimateform of tribute. The books on our shelves tell the stories of our lives, in one way or another. Thinking about which ones we'd like young people to read after we're gone is a slightly morbidthough perhaps valuableexercise. A reading list in place of an obituary: isn't that a lovely thought?

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