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One of things I like least about the practice of law is its tendency to be all-consuming. There is never enough time. There is always something else to do. I guess that’s why the profession is sometimes called a jealous mistress. I find it hard to remain faithful to my true love: reading. But I do. In the dead of night when sleep flees, I have many friends. Here are a few I share with you in the hope that you may visit with them this summer. Call this my summer beach reading column. Jedediah Purdy, “For Common Things” (Vintage Books, 2000). OK, OK, I am the wrong guy to hawk a book about the virtue of sincerity. Even so, this is a book worth reading. Purdy, a Yale law student, has written a slender little attack on irony that leaves me wondering why we often find it so hard to say what we mean. This book should bear a subtitle: “An Antidote to Postmodern Cynicism.” James Welch, “Heartsong of Charging Elk” (Doubleday, 2000). Every now and then I stumble on a book that is so good that the characters within them become friends every bit as real as the corporeal ones with whom we spend our days. This is one of those books. Set in the 19th century, it pits the sensibilities of a Sioux warrior against the culture of 19th century France. A subtle, nuanced read that will bring you joy and sorrow. Peter Brooks, “Troubling Confessions” (University of Chicago, 2000). I have a dream. This summer each member of the Connecticut Supreme Court will, under the tutelage of Taco — I don’t buy the revisionist “Tocco” — Sullivan, decide to read several books together. This is one of them. Once they have read this book, they will decide that it’s time to scrap Connecticut’s antiquated consciousness of guilt charge, just as the court previously chipped away at another Victorian artifact — the constancy-of-accusation charge. Which the bigger dream? Intellectual challenge on the court, or a bold step into the 21st century? Mark Curriden, et al., “Contempt of Court” (Anchor, 2001). Well, all right, it was the title that first caught my eye. Lynching, southern intransigence, and contempt of the Supreme Court. The writing is flat, but the tale is told reasonably well. This pre-qualified immunity saga reflects the anger of a court in the face of official misconduct. A state actor tried for contempt by the Supreme Court for permitting the lynching of Ed Johnson. Makes me long for a time when the Court was not so desperate to serve as an apologist for the government. I wonder if Antonin Scalia has read this. Alan Lightman, “Einstein’s Dreams” (Warner Books, 1994). Imagine. You are at a short calendar in some godforsaken location, call it Enfield. The lawyers ahead of you go on and on and on — each more enchanted by the sound of their own voice than the lawyer before them. How will you make use of the time? Or, how will the time make use of you? What is time, anyhow? This fascinating little book should be tucked in your briefcase. Each chapter a different perspective on time. Bobby Delaughter, “Never Too Late” (Scribner, 2001). Bringing the killer of Medgar Evers to justice took more than 30 years. Here’s a prosecutor’s gritty tale of determination to see Byron De La Beckwith pay for gunning down a pioneer of the modern civil rights movement. One of those rare books that actually made me root for the prosecution. A depressing note: Delaughter went on to become a judge. Such a waste of a good trial lawyer. Reading ennobles and offers vistas removed from the workaday world. These books brought me pleasure, wisdom and a renewed commitment to life this spring. May they do likewise for you. Now, off to the beach to make some new friends.

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