Faculty Turn Page on Fall Semester With Holiday Reading

Book covers
December 10, 2015

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 2015.

How to Cook a Wolf coverJon Ashley

Business and Empirical Research Librarian
On my reading list: M.F.K. Fisher's "How to Cook a Wolf" and Wallace Stegner's "Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West." The last I picked up after reading Marc Reiser's "Cadillac Desert," which was an unexpectedly engrossing look at water policy in the Western U.S.


Vagrant Nation coverAnne Coughlin

Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law
Co-Director, Program in Law and Public Service
On my holiday reading list: "S.," by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. And [page proofs for] "Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s," by Risa Goluboff.


Go Set A Watchman coverSerfdom coverKevin Donovan

Senior Assistant Dean for Career Services
I will be reading "The Road to Serfdom" by F. A. Hayek (a re-read), "New Seeds of Contemplation" by Thomas Merton, and some piece of fiction (Maybe this list will help with the choice!). This year I enjoyed "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis, "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson and "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee (I received the last with mixed feelings, but it was worth the read, if only for all the conversation it stimulated in my running group).


Destiny and Power coverSon of Virginia coverCordel Faulk

Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer
The books at the top of my holiday reading list are "Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush" by Jon Meacham and "Son of Virginia: A Life in America's Political Arena," the autobiography of L. Douglas Wilder.


Undaunted Courage coverJoe Fore

Assistant Professor of Law, General Faculty
Co-Director, Legal Research and Writing Program
Over the break, I'll be continuing Stephen Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West," which chronicles the planning and travels of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. While Virginia's connection with one of the title characters is obvious, some may not know that Meriwether Lewis was also a native of the Charlottesville area.


Vagrant Nation coverBrandon Garrett

Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law
I have been reading lots of Haruki Murakami — I just read "IQ84" and "Kafka on the Shore." I plan to read his short story collection, "The Elephant Vanishes," over the break.


The Story of the Lost Child coverDeborah Hellman

D. Lurton Massee Professor of Law
F. D. G. Ribble Professor of Law
Over winter break, I plan to read the fourth and final novel of Elena Ferrante's quartet of books known as "The Neapolitan Novels." The four books tell the story of two women friends from a poor neighborhood in Naples whose lives take them in different directions.

The books are powerful and intimate and the story wide-ranging. The characters aren't always likeable, so be prepared to feel unsettled at times. And the dynamics of the relationship between the two women moves in subtle and nuanced ways, so these are books for readers who like to dig deep into character. There is plenty of drama in the neighborhood, in politics and the trajectory of their lives, so these books also contain a great story, but its appeal, at least to me, is in the achingly honest way in which the author portrays her central characters and their relationship.

Molly Fischer of The New Yorker describes the books this way: "When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles — my job, or acquaintances on the subway — that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one — how?). I am propelled by a ravenous will to keep going." That is exactly how I feel. I have started the last book — "The Story of the Lost Child" — and can't put it down.

The entire set of the Neapolitan Novels includes:

  1. "My Brilliant Friend"
  2. "The Story of a New Name"
  3. "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay"
  4. "The Story of the Lost Child"


Fast Breaks coverBryan Kasik

Faculty Services Coordinator, Law Library
"Fast Breaks" by Phony McFakename. A funny, weird collection of short fiction with a nice mix of horror, satire, fantasy and bizarro. The cover says it all: "Silly Stories for Silly People."


Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker coverJessica Lowe

Associate Professor of Law
Mary Sarah Bilder's "Madison's Hand." And "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln" by Lynda Jones.


Cast of Characters coverRuth Mason

Hunton & Williams Professor of Law
I'm reading "Cast of Characters: Wolcott Gibbs, E. B. White, James Thurber, and the Golden Age of the New Yorker" by Thomas Vinciguerra over the holidays (I haven't read it yet, but the author is superb).


Age of Ambition coverThomas Nachbar

Joseph W. Dorn Research Professor of Law
I'm currently in the middle of Evan Osnos' "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China," which is a pretty good book for taking breaks from finals prep; it's eye-opening but also a pretty light read. For the winter break, I'm hoping to dig into Ben Macintyre's "A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal."


Madison's Hand coverCynthia Nicoletti

Associate Professor of Law
I'd like to read Mary Sarah Bilder's "Madison's Hand" and Caroline Janney's "Remembering the Civil War."


The Turner House coverCathy Palombi

Access Services Librarian
I just started "The Turner House" by Angela Fluornoy — the fictional saga of the Turner family, living in the same house in Detroit for over 50 years.


Power Wars coverSaikrishna Prakash

James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law
Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor
"Power Wars" by Charles Savage.


The Courage To Act coverGeorge Rutherglen

John Barbee Minor Distinguished Professor of Law
Barron F. Black Research Professor of Law
I'll be reading "The Courage to Act" by Ben Bernanke and "The Force of Law" by Fred Schauer. I'm hoping the two books intersect at important points in our recent history.


The Prize coverThe Making Of Asian America coverGeorge Yin

Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation

  • Erika Lee, "The Making of Asian America: A History"
  • Dale Russakoff, "The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?"
  • Roger Lowenstein, "America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve"

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