Stanford Law School shares what lawyers read over the summer

Law books
Faculty members at Stanford Law School reveal their summer reading lists, as well as a few suggestions for the rest of us.

Faculty members at Stanford Law School have shared their summer reading lists and make a few recommendations for the rest of us.

For instance, BARBARA BABCOCK, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita, recommends First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, A Life by Jane Sherron de Hart.

She explains, “Never before have major biographies of women U.S. Supreme Court Justices been published almost simultaneously. Nor have any two justices shared so many life features, e.g. extremely supportive spouses. No biographies of Supreme Court justices say as little as either of these does about the judicial philosophy of its subject. Neither book was written by a legal scholar, (one was by a well-known journalist, the other by a feminist historian).  In short, there is nothing like either. Without expecting it, I found both fascinating and recommend them highly to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.”

RABIA BELT, associate professor of law, suggests Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor.

“This year I taught a seminar on the History of Civil Rights Law for the first time,” Belt says.  “As I was preparing the syllabus, I marveled that so many of the themes of the class I encountered for the first time in Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and the sequel, Let the Circle Be Unbroken. Both books tell the saga of the Logan family as they struggle to hold onto their land and their dignity in southern Mississippi during the Great Depression and Jim Crow era. Although they are fictional, the stories are deeply true. Both are masterpieces. I have carried them with me for decades. If you have kids of middle school age, please give them these books. If you haven’t read them yourself, now is the time.”

HANK GREELY, the Deane F. and Kate Edelman John Profess of Law, suggests the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin, American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald White and Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer.

“The science fiction trilogy is N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. I am not going out on a limb here,” says Greely. “Each of the three books won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel, back to back to back. No one had ever done that before. For me, good science fiction or fantasy (and most other fiction as well) is a mix of four things: characters you care about (positively or negatively), an interesting story, a well thought out and surprising world and some deeper implications. The books of the Broken Earth trilogy – The Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky – meet all four criteria glowingly. I was particularly intrigued with the world Jemisin created. It took me several hundred pages to begin to figure it out but, as a true Californian, I was pleased by the importance to it of seismology and plate tectonics. It’s just a wonderful series.”

For more summer reading suggestions from the Stanford Law School faculty members, visit the website.