• Books,  Literature

    13 Books Every White-Collar Lawyer Should Read

    Of the making of lists of books, there shall be no end. Nevertheless, herewith is one more. Set out below are 13 works that every white-collar lawyer – defense counsel, prosecutor or judge – should read. Why take on such a presumptuous project? Three good reasons. First, lists start conversations. Although law is (or was) a “learned profession,” relatively few lawyers in my experience have read broadly or deeply since college.  The press of work does not allow otherwise.  Our professional learning is utilitarian, narrow, cramped and quickly (or gratefully) forgotten. Second, the proponent of such a list (that is, me) must review, reconsider or even reread works first encountered…

  • Cocktails,  Literature,  Theology

    Christmas: Cocktails and Crime, Choirs and Cool

    A few notes, as Christmas is upon us. First, what to drink? I don’t care for Bloody Marys; they’re too acid.  The best Christmas drinks for morning or lunch are milk punch and the French 75. Here is a Garden & Gun article about (and recipe for) milk punch: And, just this past Thanksgiving, I shared notes about the French 75: Second, what to read? This blog dwells on crime fiction, so consider these “best of 2017” lists from the New York Times — — and from The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, and The Rap Sheet. Third, what to listen to? I first read about jazz pianist David Ian…

  • Literature,  Theology

    Why We Should Ban Any New “Christmas Carol” and Re-Tune Victorian Hymns

    The BBC’s classical music site published this article about the Victorians and Christmas stories.  The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is among them, but so too some more obscure (at least, obscure to me) work by George Eliot and others. As novelist John Irving  noted in an introduction to A Christmas Carol, the work is essentially a Christian ghost story about human transformation: Scrooge is such a pillar of skepticism, he at first resists believing in Marley’s Ghost. “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you…