News & Events
Posted Dec. 9, 2013

What's on Your Holiday Reading List? UVA Law Faculty, Administrators Share Book Picks

Twitter

 
Holiday Reading

As part of an annual tradition, University of Virginia School of Law faculty and administrators shared a few of the books they will be reading over winter break, as well as their favorite books they read in 2013.

Contact: Mary Wood

The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind — and Changed the History of Free Speech in AmericaKerry Abrams
Albert Clark Tate, Jr., Professor of Law

I'll be reading "The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind — and Changed the History of Free Speech in America," by Thomas Healy. Brandon Garrett and I have assigned it to our Ethical Values seminar.

I'm also planning to read Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom," and A.S. Byatt's "The Children's Book."


Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis and Julia Dent GrantBrenda Baddley
Program Assistant/Administrator, Graduate Studies Program

Best book I read this year:  "Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis and Julia Dent Grant," by Carol Berkin

(Second choice for best book: "Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution," by Nathaniel Philbrick)

On my list to read over the holidays: "Van Gogh Repetitions," by Eliza Rathbone and William H. Robinson (this is the companion book to the Phillips Collection exhibition in Washington, D.C., which runs through January 2014) and "Van Gogh: The Life," by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith


Drawing the LineDarryl Brown
O. M. Vicars Professor of Law
E. James Kelly, Jr.-Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law

Best books I read this year: "The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets Since the Depression," by Angus Burgin, and Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies"

On my list to read over the holidays: "At Night We Walk in Circles," by Daniel Alarcón and "Drawing the Line: Public and Private in America," by Andrew Stark

When London Was Capital of AmericaEmily Cockrell
Associate Registrar

Best book I read this year: "When London Was Capital of America," by Julie Flavell. I read it in preparation for a seminar on the American Revolution told from the British point of view that I attended at Oxford University back in August. It's a great book about the relationship between the colonists and London's culture. 

On my list to read over the holidays: "The Men Who Lost America," by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy. He was one of our professors for the Oxford seminar and is the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.


CohenGeorge Cohen
Brokaw Professor of Corporate Law

Best book I read this year: My favorite book I read this year was "The Kite Runner." I also enjoyed in particular two books from my Ethical Values seminar: Jonathan Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis" and Joseph Ellis' "Founding Brothers." 

Right now, I'm reading a fun little book I received as a gift: Moshe Rosenberg's "Morality for Muggles: Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter," which is a rabbi's take on ethical values in the Harry Potter books and relating them to Jewish ethics. After that, I will be reading a book my Contracts class got for me: Hyman Minsky's "Can 'It' Happen Again? Essays on Instability and Finance."

 

RavelsteinKevin Donovan
Senior Assistant Dean for Career Services

Best book I read this year: "The Seven Storey Mountain," by Thomas Merton (re-read)

On my list to read over the holidays: "The River Why," by David James Duncan;
"Forgotten Ally," by Rana Mitter; "Ravelstein," by Saul Bellow

 

Sarah EsterhayMidnight's Children
Director of Career Services

Best books I read this year: "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking," by Susan Cain; "The Lowland," by Jhumpa Lahiri; "Bossypants," by Tina Fey

On my list to read over the holidays: "Midnight's Children," by Salman Rushdie; "Juris Types: Learning Law Through Self-Understanding," by Don C. Peters and Martha M. Peters


Double DownCordel Faulk
Director of Admissions

My favorite book this year is one that will be recognized by few: "Something Like Winter." It's the second novel in a four-part series by Jay Bell. He writes rich, interesting characters and puts them in believable/relatable situations.
  
On my list to read over the holidays:  "David and Goliath," by Malcolm Gladwell and "Double Down," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

It's my season of pseudo-intellectual reading — but dinner party conversations happen, so I feel a need to be ready. Right after I finish "Something Like Autumn," by Jay Bell.

 

George GeisThe Billionaire's Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund
Vice Dean
William S. Potter Professor of Law


Here is what I am reading now; I've worked with some of these people in the past: "The Billionaire's Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund," by Anita Raghavan

 

The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American RomanticismDeborah Hellman
F. D. G. Ribble Professor of Law


One of my all-time favorite nonfiction books is "The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism" by Megan Marshall.

This summer, in fiction, I really enjoyed Willa Cather's "The Professor's House." I read it when I was out in the Southwest corner of Colorado near Mesa Verde National Park, so it was especially poignant as part of the story relates to the discovery of cliff dwellings in New Mexico.

The other book I read on that same summer vacation that I liked was "The Burgess Boys," by Elizabeth Strout.

All three would make excellent holiday gifts.

 

A. E. Dick HowardThe Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters
White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs

An undergraduate friend, Charlie Tyson, has given me a copy of Anthony Pagden's new book, "The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters." People who know much more than I do about the 18th century have debated endlessly just what we mean when we talk about "the Enlightenment." I take it to be a core of Enlightenment thought that it pointed toward a common standard of civility, drawing from an appreciation of the human condition. That assumption would make Pagden's account especially relevant for our own time.

In my student days at Oxford, I attended lectures by two extraordinary scholars — Isaiah Berlin and High Trevor Roper. Each was at the top of his game, and their lectures were riveting. Berlin was the epitome of a public intellectual, and Trevor-Roper was both a respected historian and a master of prose. I look forward, therefore, to dipping into "Building: Letters 1960-1975" (the third in a projected series of four volumes of Berlin's correspondence) and Trevor-Ropers' "Wartime Journals."

Turning to a completely different sort of book, I have just finished reading Wilton Barnhardt's novel, "Lookaway, Lookaway." Barnhardt, a native southerner, has a remarkable ear for the ways of the region. I have always been drawn to authors attuned to the peculiar habits of the American South — think William Faulkner and Eudora Welty — and I found Barnhardt's novel to be a good read, at times sobering, at times hilarious.

 

Jeeves and the Wedding BellsLeslie Kendrick
Professor of Law

On my list to read over the holidays:  I want to read "Jeeves and the Wedding Bells" by Sebastian Faulks. Yes, someone else is attempting Jeeves and Wooster. Chances are it will be terrible, but if it's actually good, I'll love it, and if it's bad, I'll love hating it. And then I'll reread about four [P.G.] Wodehouses, which as a course of action is always sound.


Jessica LoweRiver of Dark Dreams
Associate Professor of Law

On my list to read over the holidays: Walter Johnson's "River of Dark Dreams"

 

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your BehaviorGreg Mitchell
Joseph Weintraub–Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Law

On my list to read over the holidays:  "Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior," by Leonard Mlodinow and "The Exorcist," by William Peter Blatty




Ruth Mason
Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein — Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
Hunton and Williams Professor of Law


Right now I'm reading "Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein — Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe" by Mario Livio.

 

Where'd You Go BernadetteDiddy Morris
Special Assistant to the Dean

My two favorite reads this year were "Where'd You Go Bernadette," by Marie Semple and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot. My Goodreads "to read" list is long, but I hope to get to "And the Mountains Echoed," by Khaled Hosseini as well as "There But For The," by Ali Smith over the holidays.

 

George PayneCitizens of London
Computer Systems Engineer

I just got "Citizens of London" by Lynne Olson to supplement my current WWII obsession as I polish off "Foyle's War" on Netflix.

Best book last year: Did I actually read anything good last year? "The Areas of My Expertise" was pretty enlightening in spots, though I'm still getting through the 700 hobo names. I read David McCulloch's "Brave Companions" because I was sadly finished with his other books, and it was good, but not as fabulously great as most of his other books, and the title kept reminding me of those guys in the George R.R. Martin books.

 

A Storm of SwordsSaikrishna Prakash
James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law
Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor

I'm reading "A Storm of Swords," by George R. R. Martin. Nothing highbrow!

 


Lois Shepherd
The Orphan Master's Son
Peter A. Wallenborn, Jr. and Dolly F. Wallenborn Professor of Biomedical Ethics; Professor of Public Health Sciences; Professor of Law

Best book you read this year: "The Orphan Master's Son," by Adam Johnson (it won the Pulitzer Prize this year)

 

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter SpendingBarbara Spellman
Professor of Law

On my list to read over the holidays:  "Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending," by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton




George Yin
What It Takes
Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation

I am presently reading "Great Expectations," a book I last read in ninth grade. I vaguely recall enjoying the book back then, but it is of course much more meaningful to me now. Earlier this year, I read "What It Takes," by Richard Ben Cramer, a lengthy but fascinating set of profiles about the principal presidential candidates in 1988. During the holidays, I hope to read more Dickens, including some of his work I have never read before, and I also have my eye on Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest volume on Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.