Looking for something to read beyond your casebook? For National Book Week at the Muse Law Library, the librarians collected book recommendations from Faculty and Staff at the T.C. Williams School of Law.
Recommended by Tara Casey (along with Pride and Prejudice): "Both books display the indomitable attraction of independent thought and action - the former interplays it with humor and social convention, the latter with professional passion."
Recommended by Joyce Manna Janto: "It's a coming of age story set in the first decade of the 1900's in NYC. It has strong female characters and shows the transformative power of having someone believe in you."
Recommended by Kimberly Wolfe: "As expected, Tina Fey’s autobiographical Bossypants is a hilarious read -- sarcasm with an added splash of valuable life lessons. This book is chock full of wit and wisdom, flops and failures, awkward teen years, feminism, parenthood, and of course: humor."
Recommended by Shari Motro: "Covering articulates what I see in the next step in our work towards making our institutions more inclusive to people from diverse backgrounds and orientations writ large. Even when minorities are not required to "pass" in order to get along, sometimes they feel pressured to "cover"-- to tone down aspects of their identity that do not conform to the norms of the dominant culture. Sometimes this is both necessary and healthy, but when it becomes the norm it hurts everybody--the person doing the covering, the community, and the integrationist project more broadly. Yonisho sees this type of covering as "the civil rights issue of our time" and he explains his theory by masterfully weaving it with his personal journey as a Japanese-American gay law student and later professor."
Recommended by Doron Samuel-Siegel: "Etty Hillesum, a Jewish woman who lived in Nazi-occupied Holland when she wrote these diaries, later died at Auschwitz at age twenty-nine. Her very personal writings shed light on what it means to live an examined life, to demand of one’s self compassion, to reject vanity, to acknowledge the role of doubt, to see the world’s beauty. This book was a gift to me from one of my most important teachers just when I first needed it; each time I reread it, it offers gifts that are new, and always perfectly timed."
Recommended by Ann Hodges: "A fictionalized account of climate change that makes some valuable but often overlooked points about the issue, including (my personal favorite) that poor people are environmentalists of necessity."
Recommended by Amy O'Connor: "The characters and the storytelling creates this whimsical connection with the reader to where you are so very curious to know what the characters and story is all about. There is a lot of humor, heart ache and actual facts involved in this book that makes it a fast read. Highly recommended if you are going on vacation and need a book to read!"
Recommended by Kat Klepfer: "Fantasy novels can explore moral and philosophical questions by stepping outside of reality and juxtaposing it with the mundane. This book is among my favorites because it takes that premise somewhat literally; the protagonist is a magician who does tech support and the occasional doomsday mission for the Night Watch, a frustratingly bureaucratic mystical law enforcement agency tasked with watching over the bad guys to make sure they don't kill people...without filling out the proper forms. Against the backdrop of corrupt Russian politics, "good" and "evil" acts are just line items in a negotiated truce. The story wrestles with balancing our own instincts and morals against authority and tradition. It's a little punk rock, a little Harry Potter-meets-Terry Gilliam's Brazil, with a dash of Harry Dresden-esque twist ending. It's a fun, fast-paced read and a thoroughly adult entry into the genre against the endless stream of young adult literature clogging the shelves."
Recommended by Tim Coggins: "Gail Godwin is an extraordinarily good writer first. I've read every novel that she's ever written and continue to be amazed at her writing, as well as the exceptional stories that she tells. The Odd Woman, written in 1974, is a great story about an English professor who struggles to find out and embrace who she really is ("the many selves that make solitary living such a crowded occupation," writes Godwin)."
Recommended by Mary Heen: "This book has been compared to the novelistic equivalent of a Turner watercolor. For a busy law student, it is a quick, elegant read-- just over 50,000 words, shorter than some Supreme Court case opinions! It's a Booker Prize winner by an author I've long overlooked, but now I'm looking forward to reading another, maybe the Blue Flower next!"
Recommended by Natalie Shaw: "Kingsolver's writing is just beautiful, and the story of a missionary family in Africa during a violent and radical shift in leadership will challenge the way you think of the world."
Recommended by Alexis Fetzer: "Because any book that begins with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" must be hilarious."
Recommended by Valerie L'Herrou: "For 1Ls struggling to understand property law, this book about the consequences of the fee tail system of transferring property could be instructive. However, the joys of the book are in the close study of human interactions, the dry humor with which they are observed, and the language used to portray them."
Recommended by Ashley McCarty: "I love it because Austen is clever and often sarcastic, but gently so. She is never shy about showing the levels of vanity, ignorance, and general ridiculousness of which people are capable, and she makes me laugh. At the same time, this book teaches important lessons about self-control, duty to loved ones, and basic good sense that make me want to emulate Elinor Dashwood myself."
Recommended by Jack Pries: "This is not a book about getting stoned. It's a book about a midwestern man--with the last name of "Stoner"--who takes a job teaching literature at a state university. His life is, according to most measures of success, pathetic. And yet we come to see Stoner as a hero--a person who gives himself fully over a cause that is far larger than himself. He is unrelenting in his quiet efforts to do what is right and good, and unfazed by persistent pain and loss. Moreover, and perhaps most incredibly, Stoner's heroism is almost entirely private. No one ever learns the incredible depths of Stoner's character because Stoner lacks the political skill to persuade others of his talents. This is Stoner's tragic flaw, but it is also a welcome reminder that political skill, while valuable, is a different--and lesser--talent than the unshakable dedication to do that which is right and good."