Faculty Reveal Their Holiday Reading Lists and 2017 Faves

Favorites, New Reads Range From History to Food to Photography
Holiday reading
December 5, 2017

A geobiologist's musings, a memoir of eating in China and a celebration of pioneering photographers — faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law shared a few of the books they will be reading over winter break, as well as their favorite reads this year. 

Check out these recommendations, along with books by faculty and alumni, on our GoodReads page.

  • Darryl Brown

    Darryl K. Brown

    O. M. Vicars Professor of Law


    On my holiday reading list: “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann and “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia” by Marsha Gessen.

  • Brandon Garrett

    Brandon L. Garrett

    White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs

    Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law


    Best book read in 2017: “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China” by Fuchsia Dunlop.


    “Most disturbing” book: “The Woman in the Dunes” by Kobo Abe.


    On my holiday reading list: “The Book of Dust” by Philip Pullman.

  • Risa Goluboff

    Risa L. Goluboff


    Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law

    Professor of History


    Best book read in 2017: “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara.


    On my holiday reading list: “Forest Dark” by Nicole Krauss.

  • Deborah Hellman

    Deborah Hellman

    David Lurton Massee, Jr., Professor of Law

    Roy L. and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law


    Best book read in 2017: “I recently read ‘The Purchase,’ by Linda Spalding. The book is the winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for fiction. I found it haunting and beautifully written. It’s a difficult story to read at times because of the brutality of slavery but, at the same time, affecting and engrossing.”

  • A. E. Dick Howard

    A. E. Dick Howard

    Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law


    On my holiday reading list: “At the top of my list is Jack Rakove’s ‘A Politician Thinking: The Creative Mind of James Madison.’ Professor Rakove’s mastery of the founding period in general and of the life and accomplishments of Madison in particular places Rakove in the first rank of scholars. I expect to be richly enlightened by his latest book, as I was by earlier works such as his magisterial ‘Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution.’


    "Also on my list is Richard Haass’ ‘A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.’ The years immediately after the collapse of communism brought widespread optimism about the prospects for the world order. Today, however, we witness heightened tension among major powers, the rollback of democratic institutions in places like Poland and Hungary, and the rise of populism, nationalism and xenophobia even in mature democracies. None of this is necessarily cause for despair, but Haass assesses the sobering world scene with the reasoned air of a seasoned observer.


    "Finally, for a change of pace, I have a copy of Philip Pullman’s ‘La Belle Sauvage,’ volume one in his trilogy ‘The Book of Dust.’ I met Pullman by chance in Oxford when he had just brought out ‘The Golden Compass,’ the first book in his Dark Materials trilogy. Ever since, I have admired his skills as a writer and storyteller, and I look forward to another literary voyage with this remarkable author.”

  • Ruth Mason

    Ruth Mason

    Class of 1957 Research Professor of Law


    On my holiday reading list: “The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash” by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

  • John Norton Moore

    John Norton Moore

    Walter L. Brown Professor of Law

    Director, Center for National Security Law

    Director, Center for Oceans Law and Policy


    On my holiday reading list: “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.

  • George Rutherglen

    George Rutherglen

    John Barbee Minor Distinguished Professor of Law

    Barron F. Black Research Professor of Law


    On my holiday reading list: “Pompeii: The History, Life and Art of the Buried City” by Marisa Ranieri Panetta and Araldo De Luca: “The pictures alone will convince you that the past is another country and ancient Rome is another world. The Roman civilization we thought we knew is quite different from anything we could have imagined.”

  • Frederick Schauer

    Frederick Schauer

    David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law


    Best book read in 2017: “Group F.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography” by Mary Street Alinder. “At one level a niche book about Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and a small group of other 1930s photographic pioneers. But more broadly it is a book about genuine cooperation, collaboration and friendship among people who recognized that forming a group and helping and appreciating each other was more fruitful than competitiveness and excess individuality.”


    On my holiday reading list: “The newest Commissario Brunetti book or books by Donna Leon. As well-constructed detective mysteries the Commissario Brunetti books leave much to be desired, but the characters are deep and interesting, the dialogue sharp, incisive and often funny, and the picture of modern Venice simply magical.”

  • Barbara A. Spellman

    Barbara A. Spellman

    Professor of Law

    Professor of Psychology


    Best book read in 2017: “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahrens.


    On my holiday reading list: For work, “Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter” by “my favorite behavioral economist and a friend,” Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler, and “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” by Richard Thaler; for fun, “Spellman Six: The Next Generation” by Lisa Lutz: “It’s the sixth book in a series about the Spellman family, who run a detective agency and are crazier than my own Spellman family.”

  • Paul B. Stephan

    Paul B. Stephan

    John C. Jeffries, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law

    John V. Ray Research Professor of Law


    On my holiday reading list: "Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928" and "Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941" by Stephen Kotkin, and "Gorbachev: His Life and Times" by William Taubman.

  • Andrew N. Vollmer

    Andrew N. Vollmer

    Professor of Law, General Faculty

    Director, John W. Glynn, Jr. Law & Business Program


    On my holiday reading list: “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty” by John Boles and “Emma” by Jane Austen.

  • George Yin

    George Yin

    Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation


    Best book read in 2017: “The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861” by David M. Potter. (Also "very good," the classic “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shirer.)


    On my holiday reading list: “Truman” by David McCullough.

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