Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Literary-ism

This afternoon I finally read _No Country for Old Men_ by Cormac McCarthy. It’s not really about law, but it is about lawlessness, and law enforcement. It’s also about evil. Like most of his novels, it’s a sort of souped-up twentieth-century Western, set in the American Southwest.

In my opinion, McCarthy is one of the greatest fiction writers in English. In terms of his use of language, I would place him in a class with Faulkner and James and Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. My next read is going to be his newest one. I think it’s called _The Road_. For someone new to his work, I would recommend _All The Pretty Horses_, which was also made into a movie.

Any other suggestions for summer reading?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 3L's - When do our CalMail accounts expire? Can someone please post an email or link that says when our accounts expire? Thanks!

5/21/2007 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Any other suggestions for summer reading?"

bar/bri outlines?


5/21/2007 7:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Books I've been enjoying on and off for a few months.

The Tyrannicide Brief
Framing Contract Law
The Antitrust Paradox

5/21/2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm Ok, You're Ok"

5/21/2007 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Caliboy said...

3Ls should have gotten an email from Michael Levy on May 2.

Here's what it said:

"Your calmail/berkeley/@boalthall email accounts are administered by the campus. Your email account will remain active for a full semester after you are no longer in campus registration records. The Law School does not have any control over campus email policies so if you are no longer an enrolled student your email will eventually be discontinued by the campus. See:

5/21/2007 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my calmail account is still active a year post-graduation and counting...

5/21/2007 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've never read "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons it's good, entertaining alternative summer reading and comes with sequals. It's smart, addictive science fiction, but people who don't try science fiction can just think of it as a good novel with obscure references to the classics. Try it. You'll like it. That and "He, She, and It" by Marge Piercy are my favorite recs. for summer reading because a lot of people never hear of them but they are such good contributors to any home library collection. Oh and "The Dispossessed" by Ursula K. LeQuin will also round out your "sci-fi for political theorists with a literary bent" collection.

If you haven't already read the Lincoln biography "Team of Rivals" its a good one. Also in the non-fiction genre are the Bob Woodward books--particuarly State of Denial, though to be honest I gave it up to read Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking (for something completely different).

But for bar study reading, I recommend short stories. Too often overlooked. Right now I'm reading "Lost in the City"by Edward P. Jones and it is an Excellent collection. Highly recommended.

Books, books, books... really, can you go wrong?

5/21/2007 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the previous poster thought of it, but I am currently reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and it is brilliant. I cannot properly describe how rich, deep and emotional the work is, but I recommend that everyone read it.

5/21/2007 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:53 here. Yeah, I love it. It's the combination of Joan Didion's typically excellent, artful writing and sharp intellect juxtaposed against the most real and surreal moments of life: death. I don't know that everyone would dig it, but I find it cathartic.

5/21/2007 10:52 PM  
Blogger Callagy said...

“Never say die, while there’s a shot in the locker.”

This comes from Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. It’s a bit of history, a bit of adventure, a bit of maritime lore, and an autobiographical bildungsroman. It tells of a young Bostonian born into a good family who, after graduating from Harvard, signs onto a merchant brig for two years. He sails 'round the Horn to Mexican Alta California to work in the hide and tallow trade.

It gives us vignettes of California as it was then and is no longer: Los Angeles a dusty little town, Monterey the proud but dilapidated administrative seat, San Diego a whole bunch of nothing, and Yerba Buena (present-day SF), a little trading outpost full of no-good Yankee expats and Russians.

Dana describes evocatively, but does not reserve judgment of, the Californios or their society, and what he perceives as an arbitrary legal system with no concept of due process. The book is also great for comparing 'then and now': Dana notes the lack of industry in California, which relied entirely on the sale of hides for its economy. Another fun moment is where he notes the bounty of the land, but that California imports bad wine from Boston. I'm glad this strange fact of political economy is no more. We also see that globalization is nothing new, either in goods or in people--Dana's fellow sailors are a mix of Americans (North and South), Europeans, and "Sandwich Islanders" (Hawaiians).

Our library has a beautiful two-volume edition, which I returned this morning and can commend to anyone looking for a break from work, studying, or this blog. It gives you a new appreciation of the history of our state, and also makes you grateful to live a cushy law student life.

5/22/2007 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Two Years before the Mast," is a great read. For five more classics in that genre, visit here:

5/22/2007 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the Class of 2007 Campaign reached 100% participation. Congratulations, 300+ people just threw more of their loan money to a school that already took upwards of $90,000 of their money.

5/22/2007 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney recommends L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth.

Seriously. See

If it's good enough for Tommy Cruise and Mitty boy, its, um, well... maybe I can use it to stand on when trying to reach the high shelf in my closet.

5/22/2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger Isaac Zaur said...

Thanks, everyone, for these recommendations. Taking Tom's advice, I read _Gilead_ by Marilynne Robinson. It's really quite wonderful, an almost disorientingly acute story about the relations between fathers and sons. It's also about faith, in a way that's both deeply-felt and completely unpretentious. You don't have to be a believer to appreciate the book, but it does require you to be at least curious about faith and love and hope. Highly recommended. No chase scenes, though.

5/22/2007 11:08 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

I say congrats to 2007 - and I am actually serious. To have 100% participation sends a powerful message just as DE suggests. I think that the benefit was far greater than a few more loan dollars.

5/22/2007 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on! What is wrong with these "class campaign" people? Raising money from indebted law students is stupid. It's beyond stupid when they harrass the crap out of people going to work at public interest jobs trying to get them to donate while they are getting ready to sign off on an additional $10,000 bar loan.

5/22/2007 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Caliboy said...

I wonder what the average donation was? I doubt if it was more than $50 and wonder if people were donating in the $10 range to just get it over with.

Still, it is impressive. Edley is right that this will go a long way to guilt-tripping alumni to open up their checkbooks.

While the class campaign is something I probably would not have donated to without the pressure of the class campaign committee (who I would say, actually didn't really solicit me directly all the way through), with the 100% mark reached, I actually feel like my token amount might actually end up being part of something significant.

5/23/2007 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:57 PM - Even the most well-endowed, wealthy law schools and universities need more than proceeds from tuition to offer a top-notch education and execute cutting-edge research. One could argue that the tuition we pay Boalt is actually reasonably priced, considering all the money that lawyers from top-tier schools like ours can make in just a few years after law school or the loan assistance that is available. Of course, Boalt could and should get more support from the state and from alumni who received a bargain education rather than from recent graduates while they are still paying back loans, but as has been discussed, donations (including small ones) to the class campaign are one of the best ways to support this very goal.

caliboy- According to, the total donation was over $100,000.

5/23/2007 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boalt just posted a press release on its main page concerning the Class of 2007's 100% participation in the Class Gift. Nice story. But why hasn't Boalt posted a press release on the Class of 2007's most awesome graduation? Let the Boalt community know how awesome Stevenson and the Class of 2007 commencement was!

5/23/2007 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you liked McCarthy's southwesterns and Gilead, you might like The Road - which I thought felt like something of a combination of the two, even though they have not subject matter in common - something about the style and tone.

Also: Assassination Vacation, if you want a book that can make the Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley assassinations strangely compelling and funny at the same time.

5/26/2007 6:07 PM  

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