5 Books Lawyers Should Add to Their Summer Reading List

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on July 13, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The June solstice has passed, the days are getting shorter, and you're starting to wonder if you'll ever get the tan you've been dreaming of since last November. But more is slipping away than just the chance at sun and beaches. As the season winds down, so are your chances of finding the perfect summer read.

July and August remain the last months to get through your summer reading. Here are five books we think all lawyers should add to their summer reading lists before the good weather fades away:

1. "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee

Have you heard? Harper Lee has emerged from years of seclusion to destroy all your childhood dreams. In this sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird" (actually written before that Pulitzer Prize winner), everyone's favorite lawyer-dad, Atticus Finch, is revealed to be a racist bigot and his daughters tormentor. It will definitely add new dimension to your childhood favorite.

2. "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkings

The New York Times says it "hits a new high in unreliability" -- narrative unreliability, that is. The novel, focused on overlapping lives and stories, is narrated by three women, one such a drunk that she downs a succession of canned gin and tonics on the eponymous train. Readers who enjoyed "Gone Girl," whether in film or print, will probably like this best seller.

3. "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer for this tale of a blind French girl and young German boy. French girl? German boy? You guessed it, "All the Light We Cannot See" focuses on post-war devastation, guilt and human connection, if not redemption. For lawyers concerned with questions of guilt, innocence and empathy, it's a worthwhile read.

4. "John the Pupil" by David Flusfeder

For those who like their historical novels set a bit farther back, there's "John the Pupil." This novel takes place in the Middle Ages, where an aspiring monk must carry a philosophical manuscript to Pope Clement IV in Rome. What better way to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta than by traveling through the grime, grunge and outright violence of the era.

5. "Night at the Fiestas" by Kristin Valdez Quade

The short stories in Quade's collection mostly focus on families struggling to stay together or get by. Quick to read, but powerful, the stories show the difficulty of coming of age and the strength of childhood experiences. Quade's look at an estranged father returning to introduce his children to his new boa constrictor, in one story, offers lawyers plenty to think about on family law, torts, and the general weirdness of growing up.

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