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.







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!


For the Lawyer Who Has Everything: A Gift List for Book-Loving Lawyers

Photo of Christmas tree made of library booksFor Christmas this year, all three of my nephews are getting books. Lots of books. (It’s okay, they are all under 2 years old and won’t be reading this.) This is what happens when your aunt is a librarian– you get books. My nephews are getting those age-appropriate, big, fat cardboard books with cute pictures, but perhaps you have a book-loving lawyer on your holiday gift list. The following is a by-no-means-exhaustive list of lawyer-appropriate suggestions.


Foodie Lawyers

The Little Book of Foodie LawThumbnail image of The Little Book of Foodie Law. Consider pairing this one with the Little Book of BBQ Law or the Little Book of Coffee Law.



  • LegalEats: A Lawyer’s Lite Cookbook. Contains recipes such as Legal Lasagna, Libelously Light Strawberry Cheesecake and Prosecutor’s Pizza. Also contains lawyer cartoons and amusing quotations.

Supreme Court Bios

There is no shortage of biographies of United States Supreme Court Justices. Here are a few recent bestsellers.

Thumbnail image of Notorious RGBNotorious RGB: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Pair this book with a Notorious RGB tshirt, cell-phone case, or coffee mug.



Coffee Table Books

Thumbnail image of The Law BookThe Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law. “Offering authoritative context to ancient documents as well as today’s hot-button issues, The Law Book presents a comprehensive look at the rules by which we live our lives. It covers such diverse topics as the Code of Hammurabi, the Ten Commandments, the Trial of Socrates, the Bill of Rights, women’s suffrage, the insanity defense, and more.”

  • Magna Carta: Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, one of the most important historical legal documents. In celebration of the anniversary, this book contains the reflections of British and American legal scholars, all illustrated with photos and historical illustrations.
  • Courthouses of America. This book spotlights some of America’s most beautiful courthouses. Along with photographs, it contains local lore about the courthouses, stories of famous trials, and architectural history. Also available: fine art prints, calendars, and planners.

Book Collections

ABA Little Book Series.Thumbnail image of Little Book of Cowboy Law All 19 books in the ABA’s “Little Book” series sold together. Includes the Little Book of Foodie Law, Little Book of BBQ Law, and the Little Book of Coffee Law suggested above as well as the Little Book of Cowboy Law, the Little Book of Basketball Law, and the Little Book of Elvis Law.


Consider also some banned book accessories such as a banned books tote bag to go with the collection. (To learn more about banned books, see our blog post about Banned Books Week 2013).

Just for Fun

thumbnail of cover of New Yorker Book of Lawyer CartoonsThe New Yorker Book of Lawyer Cartoons. For lawyers and lovers of New Yorker cartoons alike. By the way, if I’m the lawyer on your gift-list, I see they also have The New Yorker Book of Dog Cartoons. I want that.


  • US Lawyer Presidents Coloring & Activity Book. Adult coloring books are all the rage. And truthfully, what lawyer couldn’t use a little stress relief. The book is really meant for kids, but the ABA suggests that “law firms will want to purchase to book in bulk for their employees.”
  • Stump Your Lawyer! A Quiz to Challenge the Legal Mind. Comic relief with a twist. “Short case histories, definitions, multiple-choice quizzes, and other formats mock the bar exam approach and probe the reader’s knowledge of obscure statutes, baffling decisions, bizarre legal concepts, and antiquated jargon.”
  • Law of Superheroes. We like this one so much, we’ve reviewed it twice!
  • Harry Potter & the Law. This one was first recommended to me by a student and is featured on our Great Summer Reads 2015 book list. This book is a scholarly discussion of law and legal institutions as portrayed in the Harry Potter series but it is appropriate for lawyers, students, and anyone interested in both Harry Potter and the law.

The Jameson Law Library Blog will be on break until classes start again at the end of January.

Happy Holidays!

Great Summer Reads 2015

“No more pencils, no more books…” No wait, not “no more books!” Summer is a wonderful time for books. Lazy days at the lake, long evenings when it’s light until 10:00pm, road trips and plane trips. Paperbacks, e-books, audio editions (paperbacks for the lake, e- books for the plane, audio for the car).

As it is snowing and raining and sunny in Montana and students are taking exams and looking forward to graduation, it’s time for the fourth installment of the annual Great Summer Reads. Once again, the list is a compilation of books that are fiction and nonfiction, law-related and not, new and old. In addition to recommendations gathered from law school faculty and staff, this year we have included titles suggested by students.

There is a little bit of everything on this list. I’m not sure where I’m going to start, but as I was receiving recommendations and adding them to the list, it became clear that I am going to have to take the summer off just to read the ones that have captured my attention.



And when you’ve made your way through this list, you can turn to the Jameson Law Library’s New and Recommended Books research guide which we update throughout the year as we receive new books.

Have a good summer!

Disaster Relief in Nepal

One of my favorite books is Pico Iyer’s Video Night in Kathmandu. I have thought of that book often over the past week, as the world has watched as Nepal tries to recover from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country just before Noon on April 25. A week later, the death toll in NMap of Nepal showing Apr 25 earthquake zoneepal has reached over 6,000 and there are additional fatalities in India, China and Bangladesh. Over 14,000 people have been injured and an estimated 2.8 million people have been displaced. The destruction is unimaginable. It is estimated that 8 million people have been effected.

As with other disasters of this scale, the the world is not only watching but is contributing the massive relief efforts. Within the first couple days, India, China, Pakistan, Australia and the UK had all announced humanitarian relief efforts. Many other countries have now joined the effort. To date, foreign governments have donated over $65 million. On April 29, the UN launched a $415 million flash funding appeal; $7.5 million has been raised to date.

Largely through USAID, the US government has donated $12.5 million to relief efforts and has sent disaster relief teams Los Angeles and Fairfax County, Virginia. Congress established USAID in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Pub. L. No. 87-195, 75 Stat. 424.  to bring US disaster relief and foreign development efforts under one umbrella. The current statutes regarding international disaster relief are found at 22 U.S.C. §§ 2292-2292b.

§2292. General provisions

(a) Congressional policy

The Congress, recognizing that prompt United States assistance to alleviate human suffering caused by natural and manmade disasters is an important expression of the humanitarian concern and tradition of the people of the United States, affirms the willingness of the United States to provide assistance for the relief and rehabilitation of people and countries affected by such disasters.

(b) General authority

Subject to limitations in section 2292a of this title, and notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any other Act, the President is authorized to furnish assistance to any foreign country, international organization, or private voluntary organization, on such terms and conditions as he may determine, for international disaster relief and rehabilitation, including assistance relating to disaster preparedness, and to the prediction of, and contingency planning for, natural disasters abroad.

(c) Specific direction

In carrying out the provisions of this section the President shall insure that the assistance provided by the United States shall, to the greatest extent possible, reach those most in need of relief and rehabilitation as a result of natural and manmade disasters.

The current Congress can, of course, pass additional relief. On April 27, HR 2033, To designate Nepal under section 244 if the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit nationals of Nepal to be eligible for temporary protected status, was introduced and referred to the Judiciary Committee.  The bill will grant 18-month temporary protected status (TPS) to Nepalese citizens who have been continuously and lawfully present in the US since April 25. In situations where conditions such as war and natural disaster prevent people from safely returning to their home countries, TPS allows them to temporarily stay in the US, and obtain employment and travel authorization during that time.

When he introduced the bill, Rep. Al Green (TX) said:

“The people of Nepal have suffered a calamitous tragedy, and I think providing TPS is necessary to help them attain a sense of stability in the United States while their country recovers. A great nation does not force people to return to conditions that are unsafe and detrimental to their well-being. A great nation extends the hand of friendship to all during times of challenge and crisis.”

On April 30, the Senate passed S. Res. 163, which

(1) expresses profound sympathy to, and unwavering support for, the people of Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, who have always shown resilience and now face catastrophic conditions in the aftermath of the April 25, 2015, earthquake, and sympathy for the families of the citizens of the United States who perished in the disaster;

(2) applauds the rapid and concerted mobilization by President Barack Obama to provide immediate emergency humanitarian assistance to Nepal, and the hard work and dedication of the people at the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense in quickly marshaling United States Government resources to address both the short- and long-term needs in Nepal;

(3) urges that all appropriate efforts be made to secure the safety of orphans in Nepal;

(4) urges that all appropriate efforts be made to sustain recovery assistance to Nepal beyond the immediate humanitarian crisis to support the people of Nepal with appropriate humanitarian, developmental, and infrastructure assistance needed to overcome the effects of the earthquake;

(5) expresses appreciation for the ongoing and renewed commitment of the international community to the recovery and development of Nepal;

(6) urges all countries to commit to assisting the people of Nepal with their long-term needs;

(7) calls on the Government of Nepal to take all necessary actions to enable a faster and more sustainable recovery; and

(8) expresses support for the United States Embassy team in Kathmandu, DART members, other Federal agencies, and the non governmental organization community in the United States, who are valiantly working to assist thousands of people in Nepal under extremely adverse conditions.

The House of Representatives is considering a similar resolution, H. Res. 235.

Kopan Monastary monks delivering supplies after Nepal earthquake
Kopan Monastery monks delivering relief supplies in Kathmandu.

In addition to the official US government response, individuals in the US continue to donate to relief efforts. USAID has provided a list of organizations that are helping in Nepal. No doubt this is not a complete list. USAID does not endorse any specific charity and encourages donors to learn about the organizations they donate to. The Federal Trade Commission has good advice for vetting charities. Their page includes links to the main charity evaluators, Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and GuideStar. The IRS offers Exempt Organization Select Check that allows donors to search for and find some information about exempt organizations.

Just one week after the earthquake, the situation in Nepal is desperate. Relief efforts will continue for many years into the future, though much of the world’s attention will focus somewhere else in a little while. If you stumble upon this blog several months, or even years, from now, please check on Nepal

The 25 Greatest Legal Movies

Popcorn and movie ticket
Courtesy of digitalart and

It’s the weekend– time to take a hike, go shopping, study, curl up with a bowl of popcorn and watch a good movie. Taking time away from law school is a good thing, but if you fear taking too much time away, why not select a good legal movie? ABA Journal has a list of the 25 best legal movies (or at least the best made before 2008).

ABA Journal selected the films by asking prominent lawyers who also taught film or had a connection to the film industry to nominate their favorite movies ever made about movies or the law. The 25 films selected collectively won 31 Oscars and gathered an additional 85 nominations. It’s a pretty impressive list. My favorites from the list include 12 Angry Men, Philadelphia, A Few Good Men, Paper Chase, and A Civil Action but I have some movie watching to do– there are more on the list that I haven’t seen than there are that I have seen. Lucky for me– and for you– the Jameson Law Library has just purchased the entire collection. Videos circulate for 3 days– perfect for the weekend.

In addition to the top 25, ABA Journal also published its list of honorable mentions. My favorites from that list include JFK, Legally Blonde, Music Box, and North Country. The library does not have all the films on this list, but we do have several and Mansfield Library also has some– check the catalog.

What are your favorite movies on the list? The list is getting a bit old now– what would you add? Comment to this post to nominate your favorites. I would nominate one that didn’t make the list– Snow Falling on Cedars– and one that is newer than the list– The Judge.

Oh Christmas Tree

I don’t know if it’s holiday magic, the spirit of the season, the creativity of librarians, or all of the above, but this is the time of year when ordinary stacks of books turn in to book trees in libraries everywhere. Librarians ponder which sets are the right shade of green, which title should be featured at the top, how many books you need so it’s tall enough. Just as every tree in the forest is unique, so is every library book tree. They can be elegant or fun, statuesque or miniature, colorful or the more traditional green. They can be library fundraisers or a sustainable option to more traditional Christmas trees. The trees can be freestanding or built on shelves. They can be stacks of books or intricately folded pages.

Here is a wonderful collection of some of the book trees gracing law libraries this holiday season.

Tall, colorful Christmas tree build of law books.
Dee J Kelly Law Library, Texas A&M University School of Law. Photo courtesy of Joan Stringfellow.
Tall green Christmas tree build of law books.
Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC, Jackson, MS. Photo courtesy of Lee Ann Robertson.Constructed using CJS and the Mississippi Code Annotated.
Tall green book tree.
Supreme Court of Ohio. Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.Constructed from volumes of the National Union Catalog. Decorated with old library cards and a microfiche garland. Topper made of pages from the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Official Reports.
The Supreme Court of Ohio Library also constructed a fireplace using Page's Ohio Revised Codes. Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.
The Supreme Court of Ohio Library also constructed a fireplace using Page’s Ohio Revised Codes. Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.


Colorful book tree.
2012 book tree at Phelps Dunbar, LLP in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Dabbs. Ornaments are pictures of the firm’s attorney; the managing partner is the star at the top.















Tall colorful Christmas tree constructed from books.
University of South Dakota, McCusick law Library. Photo courtesy of Sarah Kammer. This year the library hosted the NALSA student group’s annual toy drive near the tree.
Tall colorful Christmas tree constructed of books.
James Hunter III Law Library, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Camden, NJ. Photo courtesy of Kristin Schroth
University of Nebraska College of Law Schmid Law Library. Photo courtesy of Marcia Dority Baker.  Constructed from books that were boxed on a loading dock, waiting to be recycled. "It takes more books than it looks." Brian Striman.
University of Nebraska College of Law Schmid Law Library. Photo courtesy of Marcia Dority Baker. Constructed from books that were boxed on a loading dock, waiting to be recycled. “It takes more books than it looks.” Brian Striman.
Tall green and red Christmas tree constructed from books.
Tulane University law School. Photo courtesy of Amanda Watson. Constructed of Tulane Law Journal and LC Subject Headings.
Small book tree on a table.
Franklin County Law Library, Columbus, OH. Photo courtesy of Angela Baldree
Alaska Court System, Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Susan Falk. Tree constructed by law clerks.
Alaska Court System, Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Susan Falk. Tree constructed by law clerks.
Tall green Christmas tree constructed of books.
Beeson Law Library, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University. Photo courtesy of Grace Simms.
Top view of tall green Christmas tree constructed from books.
San Diego County Public Law Library. Photo courtesy of Benita Ghura. Constructed from 672 superseded books.
Tall green Christmas tree constructed of books.
St. Louis University Vincent C. Immel Law Library. Photo courtesy of Corie Dugas.
Tall green Chritsmas tree constructed from books.
UNT Dallas College of Law. Photo courtesy of Edward Hart.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson. Tree constructed from about-to-be recycled New Mexico Reports and Federal Rules Digest.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson. Tree constructed from about-to-be recycled New Mexico Reports and Federal Rules Digest.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Wreath made from reporter pages. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Wreath made from reporter pages. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson.
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Holly Riccio.
O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Holly Riccio.
Elf on a Shelf and Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, research whether Santa is real at O'Melveny & Myers.
Elf on a Shelf and Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, research whether Santa is real at O’Melveny & Myers.













































































Baker, Manock and Jensen, PC in Fresno, CA. Photo courtesy of Lori Sanders. This tree is constructed mostly from USCCAN with US Tax Court Reports sprinkled around the top. The tree is 6 feet tall and contains 374 books.
Baker, Manock and Jensen, PC in Fresno, CA. Photo courtesy of Lori Sanders. This tree is constructed mostly from USCCAN with US Tax Court Reports sprinkled around the top. The tree is 6 feet tall and contains 374 books.












Supreme Court of Alabama Law Library. Photo courtesy of Tim Lewis.
Supreme Court of Alabama Law Library. Photo courtesy of Tim Lewis.











If you’re inspired to build your own book tree, there are a couple of resources to get you started. Kate Krause from the Texas Medical Center Library has written an illustrated article, How to Build a Library Bookmas Tree. There is also a youtube video, How to Make Your Very Own Christmas Tree Out of Books. Or if you’re inspired beyond Christmas, see Mari Cheney and Rob Truman’s article in WestPac News (beginning on p. 5) about the Boley Law Library’s “book art” endeavors encompassing Christmas and beyond.

Jameson Law Library Tree
Photo courtesy of Ed Wrzesien.

The staff of the William J. Jameson Law Library wishes you happy holidays. Our book tree this year was constructed from Halsbury’s Laws of England and the Revised Code of Washington. It is decorated with glittery snowflakes and battery-powered candles. The tree topper was handcrafted from a copy of Educating Lawyers.

The Jameson Law Library blog will be taking a break until January 30. Look for us in the new year.