Great Summer Reads 2018

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

Happy Summer, ABIII! Below is the wonderfully eclectic list of books you compiled. The books on this list are a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, law books, non-law books, new books, old books, books we’ve read, and books we want to read.

Summer ReadinFiction


For even more suggestions, see the previous Great Summer Reads posts.







Holiday Cheer

Christmas tree constructed from green law books.


Happy Holidays from the Jameson Law Library staff! The blog will be taking a break for a few weeks, but will return in January.

Happy Thanksgiving


Presidential Proclamations remind us of things that are important to us as a nation. They celebrate events and people. . . . Proclamations also remind us of things we should be mindful of. . . . National monuments are established by presidential proclamation and trade agreements are implemented by presidential proclamation.  Public policy may be set through presidential proclamation.

Every President since George Washington has proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday. (And although the history is uncertain, the traditional Presidential pardoning of a turkey may go back to Abraham Lincoln.) Today, President Obama proclaimed that tomorrow, November 24, is a National Day of Thanksgiving.

On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans — and their families — who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers, and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. . . . For generations, our Nation’s progress has been carried forward by those who act on the obligations we have to one another. Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities . . . let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

For more information about Thanksgiving proclamations, Presidential proclamations in general, and researching Presidential Proclamations see our 2013 blog post Proclamations of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Day to Be Dedicated to the Cause of World Peace: A Brief Documentary History of Veterans Day

c28a5-armisticeday“My fellow countrymen–the armistice was signed this morning.  EverythingNewspaper for which America fought has been accomplished.  It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by example, by sober, friendly counsel and by material aid in the establishment of just democracy throughout the world.”  President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming the end of World War I.

Modern Veterans Day began with the end of  “the war to end all wars.”  The armistice went into effect at 11:00am on the 11th day of the 11th month.  A year later, President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1938, Congress designated Armistice Day, November 11 as a legal holiday, “dedicated to the cause of world peace.”


The hope in 1938 was that there would be no more wars.  In 1954, after World War II, Congress officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars.


Officially proclaiming Veterans Day, 1954, President Eisenhower said:

WHEREAS it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by redirecting ourselves to the cause of peace; and … WHEREAS, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation may pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an Act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.  NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day.  On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores to preserve our heritage of freedom…

This Monday, November 11, 2013 we will again honor our veterans:



On Veterans Day, America pauses to honor every service member who has ever worn one of our Nation’s uniforms.  Each time our country has come under attack, they have risen in her defense.  Each time our freedoms have come under assault, they have responded with resolve.  Through the generations, their courage and sacrifice have allowed our Republic to flourish.  And today, a Nation acknowledges its profound debt of gratitude to the patriots who have kept it whole…

For more information on the history of Veterans Day, see these sources:

This blog was originally posted to celebrate Veterans’ Day in 2013.

Easier Access to West Academic Study Aids

It’s that time of the semester– mid-terms are here, exams are around the corner. You might be looking for a little extra help with a couple of your classes. Don’t forget the West Academic study aid e-books. With titles like Civil Procedure in a Nutshell and Acing Constitutional Law, the West Academic study aids can be valuable tools to help you prepare for class and exams. And access to the entire West Academic study aids library is easier than ever– you can now go directly to the streamlined e-book platform or click on the link on the law library’s Databases page (either way, if you are off campus, you will be prompted to enter your UM NetID). Once you are on the platform, you can login and will have access to features like highlighting and notetaking. Unlike the print copies owned by the library, there is no limit to the number of students who can use the e-books simultaneously.

Here are some of the most popular series and titles available through the West Academic Study Aids platform.

Selected Series

Acing Series

The Acing Series are exam prep books designed to teach students how to analyze exam problems using a unique checklist approach. They contain numerous problems, with answers. Titles include Acing Civil Procedure, Acing Constitutional Law, and Acing Federal Income Tax. Most 1L and 2L courses are covered in this series.

Concise Hornbooks

The Concise Hornbooks are expert-written treatises designed to analyze for students the core concepts and fundamental issues of a subject. They provide comprehensive coverage of the most important issues of a subject. A Concise Hornbook is a good companion to your textbook when you need a bit of additional explanation. The 39 titles in the series include Business Organizations, Principles of Administrative Law, and Principles of Environmental Law. The series covers most required 1L and 2L courses and many elective courses.

Exam Pro

The Exam Pro series are exam prep books that provide insight into how to answer both essay and multiple choice questions. Each book contains comprehensive sample exams with detailed explanations of the answers. Some Exam Pro topics are divided into two books, e.g., Exam Pro on Evidence: Essay Questions and Exam Pro on Evidence: Objective. Other subjects covered include Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Property, and Federal Income Tax.


The 158 titles in the Nutshell series cover every law school subject. Nutshells provide concise coverage of all the important issues of law with easy to understand explanations and references to key cases and statutes.

Short and Happy Guides

Short and Happy Guides are designed to make even complex legal subjects accessible through the use of clear explanations, metaphors, acronyms, and imagery. In addition to titles covering most 1L subjects, the Short and Happy series also includes A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student, A Short and Happy Guide to Effective Client Interviewing, and A Short and Happy Guide to the MPRE.

Selected Academic Success & Career Success Titles

  • Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams
  • Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as a New Lawyer
  • How to Write Law Exams: IRAC Perfected
  • Mastering the Law School Exam
  • Law School Secrets: Outlining for Exam Success
  • 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School

Happy studying!

We the People: A Constitutional Day Miscellany

Constitution Day September 17th

September 17, 1787. 229 years ago tomorrow the drafters of the U.S. Constitution gathered to sign the document they created. Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 and since then, schools and universities in the U.S. have celebrated Constitution Day on September 17.


Each educational institution that receives Federal funds
for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United
States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students
served by the educational institution. (Pub. L. No. 108-447, § 111, 118 Stat. 2809, 3344 (2004)).

Trivia question: Pub. L. No. 108-447 also designated the National Tree.
What is the National Tree of the United States?


This year Constitution Day is being celebrated at the University of Montana on September 20 with a public lecture by Orin S. Kerr titled The Digital Fourth Amendment. The lecture will be held at 7:00 pm in Room 101 of the Law School.


Barry Faulkner's Constitutional Mural depicing signers of the U.S. Constitution
How many of the Signers can you name? (Answers)







The National Archives has some fun resources for observing Constitution Day, including an interesting of set of constitutional “trivia” questions. How many of these can you get right? (Answers)

  • How many lawyers were members of the Constitutional Convention?
  • Who was called the “Sage of the Constitutional Convention”?
  • Who was called the “Father of the Constitution”?
  • What did Thomas Jefferson have to do with framing the Constitution?
  • Who presided over the Constitutional Convention?
  • How long did it take to frame the Constitution?
  • Did George Washington sign the Declaration of Independence?
  • In ratifying the Constitution, did the people vote directly?
  • In what order did the States ratify the Constitution?
  • Is it possible to impeach a justice of the Supreme Court?
  • Who administers the oath of office to the Speaker of the House of Representatives?
  • Which is the longest term of office in the government, aside from judges?
  • How many methods of electing the President of the United States were considered by the Constitutional Convention?
  • What constitutes the Bill of Rights?
  • How many amendments to the Constitution have been repealed?

A couple other pages of interest from the National Archives:


The National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution allows users to explore the meanings of the Constitution through the discussions of expert Constitutional scholars representing a variety of viewpoints.


Great Summer Reads 2016

In 1879, the Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) published this advice about reading good novels (thank you to Bari Burke for unearthing this gem):

Dr. James Freeman Clarke commends highly the reading of good novels, and lays down a few rules for general use:

  1. Do not read many novels, but read the best ones often.
  2. Read slowly and reflect on what you read.
  3. The good novel is one which leaves your mind in a healthy state, fit for any work, and for daily duty.  It is a refreshment, not a dissipation.  It does not dissipate the strength, but recreates it.
  4. The good novel takes a cheerful view of life, and a kindly view of [wo]men.
  5.  A novel is immoral which assumes that men will go wrong, that society is corrupt, and that it is useless to try to resist evil.  A moral novel is one which makes us feel, that though temptations are around us and within us, we are able, if we will, to battle with and overcome them.

I echo Dr. Clarke’s recommendation of reading good novels and would add my recommendation to read interesting nonfiction as well. I don’t agree with his first “rule” though. Instead, I would amend Rule #1 to read: Read as many good books as you can. And I would add the reminder that summer is a great time to do that. To facilitate that, we are again presenting our annual Great Summer Reads blog.

The books on this list are gathered from faculty, staff, and students. They are a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, law books, non-law books, new books, and old books.


thumbnail of cover of Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

thumbnail of cover of swamplandiaSwamplandia! by Karen Russell

The Museum of Extraordinary Things thumbnail of book cover museum of extraordinary thingsby Alice Hoffman


thumbnail of cover of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals AreAre We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

thumbnail of cover of lost in shangri laLost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of WWII by Mitchell Zuckoff

thumbnail of cover of abolition democracyAbolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons and Torture by Angela Davis

thumbnail of cover of Black Holes and Other Songs from Outer SpaceBlack Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin

Montana Connections (a new category this year)

thumbnail of cover of The Flood GirlsThe Flood Girls by Richard Fifield

thumbnail of coer of last chain on billieLast Chain on Billie: How One Extraordinary Elephant Escaped the Big Top by Carol Bradley

And with that, this blog is also going on vacation for the summer. Leave a comment to let us know how you liked the books you selected from the list. Have a great summer– see you in August!