Amanda Knox had almost nothing but time on her hands while spending four years in an Italian prison for murder.
And she tells the New York Times that she spent a lot of that time reading.
"Reading started out for me as a means of passing the time and learning the language," Knox says in an interview that will be printed in the paper's Sunday Book Review. "Reading became a means of escape, and then a means of identifying and affirming who I was in the face of the prison's oppressive environment. I looked to books to stimulate my mind and create a daily sense of purpose."
And it turns out her first means of escape was pretty similar to millions of other people's.
After reading and very much enjoying an Italian version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the brief time she was able to just be a college girl studying abroad in Italy (she was arrested for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, after just a month of school), she tried to keep her education going behind bars.
"I was trying to teach myself Italian outside of the classroom by referring to the familiar," Knox, whose own memoir, Waiting to Be Heard, came out last week. "That's exactly what I ended up doing when I first entered prison, this time with an Italian version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that I got from the tiny prison library."
Other books she credits with helping her get through what she has called a simply "horrible situation" include Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize winner Housekeeping and the cult-classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
The self-proclaimed fantasy fan—Xena: Warrior Princess was a childhood TV favorite—also counts Vladimir Nabokov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Safran Foer among her favorite authors.
And the first book she read when she got home after being released from prison in 2011, after her conviction was overturned? John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces.
Knox told CNN's Chris Cuomo in an interview airing tonight that she's "shocked" that the Italian Supreme Court thinks she should be retried despite "an absolute lack of evidence."