Posted Aug 01, 2011 09:00 am CDT
The great Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once confessed that his greatest thoughts were the result of wrestling with those of others. “Life-transforming ideas,” he wrote, “have always come to me through books.”
Each summer for the last three years we’ve wrestled in these pages with the role lawyers play in the broadest range of our culture of literature—from the pages of pulp fiction to the grittiest portrayals on the silver screen.
This year, however, we thought we’d turn our view 180 degrees and observe the effects of literature on some of the lawyers we know.
We asked 30 lawyers to pick a book they’d recommend to other lawyers—a book they might not have already read or may have overlooked or might not know. The lawyers who’ve not read To Kill A Mockingbird at some point in their life probably could be seated in a small, uncomfortable room until they do so. In fact, they probably should.
But the books we treasure are often not the most obvious. They bring us what we need in a moment when we seem to need it—whether that moment is sweet or desperate or curious or lost. They bring us hope or verification or insight. They teach us, or warn us, or inspire us, or incite us. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, they help us define who and what we are—or what we are a part of, or what we have and can yet endure.
So here we present the books these 30 lawyers care about enough to recommend to you. They are not necessarily the “greatest” or most popular. We’ve not ranked them or reviewed them. They are simply special to the lawyers we asked.
But read their choices, consider them and, if you care to, make your own recommendation in the comments below. Above all, have fun. —The Editors