Photo by Joyce McCown
Whether you are heading back to law school this fall, or are just on your summer grind, it is as good a time as any to step away from the screen and pick up a good book. Beyond the obvious entertainment or educational value, reading also helps improve brain function, reduce stress levels, and even makes us better writers.
Below we gathered our own "list of lists," pulling out a few of our favorites from law school summer reading lists this year.
Gimme Shelter: A List of Recommended Books, Audiobooks, and Podcasts from the Berkeley Law Community
The Berkeley Law Library actually now links to a living Google document where members of the Berkeley Law community post what they are reading and listening to these days. A few popular titles on the list are the award-winning novel, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (really great on audiobook), and the Levar Burton Reads podcast, in which, as you may have guessed, Lavar Burton reads his favorite short stories to listeners like you.
The faculty and SLS do a great job of pulling together a diverse list of recommended titles for both reading and listening. The 2020 list has a little something for everyone--even a few podcasts. We also like that the professors share a little bit about why they enjoy each title. Here are a few that we are especially excited about this year:
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe, examines the political and social landscape of The Troubles in 1907s Northern Ireland, through the lens of a notorious true crime story. It comes highly recommended by the New York Times and other major book review publications, but is also appears on this years list twice, recommended by two separate Stanford Law professors: Curtis J. Milhaupt, William F. Baxter-Visa International Professor of Law, and Hank Greely, Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law.
Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Associate Professor of Law and Justin M. Roach, Jr. Faculty Scholar, recommends The Warmth of Other Suns by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson. This book takes an in-depth look at the experiences that made up the decades-long Great Migration, through the stories of three Black Americans leaving the South in 1900s America.
Richard T. Ford, Professor of Law, shares TV and podcast picks as well: the shows Richard T. Ford, Professor of Law, Watchmen, His Dark Materials, Star Trek: Picard,The Mandalorian, The Good Place, and Black Mirror, as the well as the podcasts The Hidden Brain, Revisionist History, and Invisibilia.
See the full list here.
The University of Montana Law Library recommendation list includes more than one book from our own resource list to inform antiracist action, including Ibram X. Kendi's NYT Bestseller, How to be an Antiracist. Their law library also recommends the memoir, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, which was also the winner of the 2016 Pultizer Prize for Autobiography and was featured on Obama's 2016 Summer Reading List.
Speaking of which, although President Barack Obama hasn't released a summer reading list for 2020 yet, Quartz has compiled his previous lists here.
Though it looks like they may haven't publicly shared a list this year, there are still some great picks on last years picks.
Aziz Z. Huq, Frank and Bernice J. Greenberg Professor of Law, Mark Claster Mamolen Teaching Scholar, calls the Katharina Pistor's The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Inequality, "a brilliant analysis of the ways in which law shapes both the generative and (mal)distributive effects of wealth. A sobering read that manages to bridge successfully academic discussions among legal specialists and popular discourses on inequality."
Albert Alschuler, Julius Kreeger Professor Emeritus of Law and Criminology and Amy M. Hermalik, Lecturer in Law, Associate Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship both recommend The Overstory, a recent Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Richard Powers. "One of my favorite books from the last few years. In this epic, lengthy novel that slowly weaves together the lives of several people, Richard Powers writes a poetic, moving, and flowery love letter to trees. Yes, a love letter to trees—a particularly compelling one at that—I cannot think of a more apt way to describe this book. It is a work of art, to be read slowly and savored," says Hermalik.
The full list can be found here.
UVA Law '99 Alumni and Assistant Dean for Public Service Director, Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center, Annie Kim, recommends a very interesting pick: the English translation of Miguel de Unamuno’s The Tragic Sense of Life. "Written in 1913 — a brilliant, personal, uneven, passionate, philosophical “treatise” about the difficulty of being human. The contradictions of faith, the hunger for immortality, inevitable conflicts between the heart and reason."
Darryl K. Brown ’90, O. M. Vicars Professor of Law and Barron F. Black Research Professor of Law, recommended the novel Bearskin. In addition to the book being a Edgar Prize-winning novel, Brown points out that it is set in Virginia by UVA alumnus, Jim McLaughlin.
You can also follow UVA Laws Reading Picks on their Goodreads page.