As previously noted, my book, Keeping Your Own Counsel contains practical advice (including a list of suggestions for pre-law summer reading) that I searched for, mostly in vain, before I began law school.
Starting next week, some of the material added to this blog will highlight, provide context for and short excerpts from, and briefly discuss books that could offer particularly thought-provoking and rewarding overviews, insights, or other perspectives to students in or preparing for law school, and also to practitioners.
Not all of the books will be specifically (or even tangentially) about law, and I (and the American University Washington College of Law) don’t necessarily endorse all of their authors’ positions, approaches, or analyses.
A few will be traditional selections of, and for, the law-bound. Others will be vintage works not usually suggested specially to law or pre-law students. Recent books will also be featured.
In general, the selections will be easily available, relatively inexpensive, and of manageable length.
One or more of these books might even become a regularly-reread resource throughout your career.
As Daitsu Tom Wright, a translator of Roshi Kosho Uchiyama’s commentaries on a classic Zen text, recalled:
“One day I went in to see Roshi to ask him a question about something I had read in [the text]. Coincidentally, Roshi had a copy of the book open on his desk. He showed it to me, and I couldn’t help but sense how old the copy was, because it was all beaten up and every page was filled with notes in the margins. I kidded him that it must be about time to buy a new copy. Silently, he lifted his hand and pointed his finger at the bookshelf behind me. When I found the shelf he was pointing to, he said to take a look at the books there. In all, I counted fourteen copies of [the book] and every one of them was as raggedy as the next. And all of them had many lines underlined with notes in all the margins. I asked Roshi what changes when you read the same book so many times. His reply was quite interesting. He said, that ‘the lines you underline change.'”
And, as another Zen-inspired author wrote,
“The authors are no more
“People of long ago
“But your friends
“Now, here, before you.”