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!


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!

Great Summer Reads 2014

Courtesy of samarttiw and

Don’t let the snow in Montana today fool you– it’s almost summer! And that means it’s almost time for summer reading. Again this year, law school faculty and staff share some of their suggestions.

Green GovernanceEduardo Capulong
Wave: A Memoir of Life after the Tsunami by Sonali Deraniyagala
Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by Anthony Lukas
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons by Burns H. Weston & David Boiller
Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Younger Next YearGreg Munro
Younger Next Year  and Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge


GoldfinchCynthia Ford
The Goldfinch by Donna Tarrt
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Painter by Peter Heller


Banker to the PoorIrma Russell

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty by Mohammad Yunus


ZenPatience Woodill
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (due out in June)
The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Making a Living Doing What You Love by Mary Ellen Bates

UnsaidStacey Gordon

Unsaid by Neil Abramson
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Inferno by Dan Brown


Passion for NatureMichelle Bryan Mudd
A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster


Calling Me HomePeggy Tonon
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Any novel by Camilla Lackberg
Any novel by Jo Nesbo



Wild OnesMartha Williams
Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem
Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee
Encounter with the Archdruid by John McPhee


Want a few more suggestions? Check out the 2012 and 2013 Great Summer Reads.

Add your own suggestions by commenting on this post.

Great Summer Reads 2013

One of the great pleasures of summer is reading a good book on a lazy, sunny afternoon. Here are some recommendations, compiled from the law school faculty. They aren’t necessarily law related, though some are. All are great reads!

Prof. Stacey Gordon

Prof. Andrew King-Ries

Prof. Hillary Wandler

If you want your summer reading to be more law-focused, here are three good reading lists to start with:

Great Summer Reads

Here are a few suggestions for great summer reads gathered from the UM Law School faculty and staff…   

Sam Alberty

Bucking the Sun by Ivan Doig

Eduardo Capulong

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Malcolm X: Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution by Mary Gabriel
The People’s Lawyer: The Center for Constitutional Rights and the Fight for Social Justice, From Civil  Rights to Guantanamo by Albert Rubin
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Stacey Gordon

Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-so-Far-East by Pico Iyer
Ahab’s Wife, Or: The Stargazer, A Novel by Sena Jeter Naslund
Dancing at the Rascal Fair by Ivan Doig

Andrew King-Ries

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Becky Krantz

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Michelle Byran Mudd

Grassland:The History, Biology, Politics and Promise of the American Prairie by Richard Manning
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

Sam Panarella

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Irma Russell

Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls by Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis

Fritz Snyder

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Kelsi Steele

You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt

Patience Woodhill

The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Getting To Yes: Negotiationg Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury & Bruce Patton
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

Images courtesy of