On tap for April Reading

Wow.  Hard to believe another month has already come and gone – and with me ’failing’ to meet many of my goals I brazenly posted about previously (you’ll get used to this from me… 🙂 )
I am, however, a little ahead of schedule in regards to the total number of books I hope to read this year (goal: 50 – I have 33 to go) and in my “Project: Civil War” in which I hope to read 1 book related to the Civil War per month for a total of 12 (progess: 5 down, 7 to go).

What do I plan to read this month?  Well, next up in P:CW is a history book by Paul I. Wellman titled The House Divides, which covers United States history from the time of Andrew Jackson to the start of the Civil War.  I’m about 40 pages in and have found it interesting so far and am learning a lot already.  Completion of this book will get me to the halfway point in P:CW.

I also think it’s time to finally read Shakespeare’s MacBeth. (in 2008, my project was “Project: Shakespeare”, where I hoped to read all of his plays throughout the year. – I only got about 2/3 of the way through this project, but have continued to read the remaining plays occasionally ever since.  I posted some information on this project within my  book club’s website.
I should also mention that I have since discovered another blogger who had a much more macho project:  “38 plays, 38 days”  wherein he is reading through the entire catalog at a rate of one play per day.  Now THAT is hardcore reading…

This WILL be the month I finish reading Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering.  If I fail, I invite all readers (“both of them”) of my blog to publicly chastise and ridicule the weakness of my resolve on May 1st…

One more book would make it a good month… hmm… Maybe it will be Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Gods of Mars, or Albert Camus’ The Plague, which I started once long ago but never got back to.  Wish me luck!

P.S. And, of course, once again I will pledge to try to post more often to this blog and to improve its appearance…

Just Finished: Conviction by Richard North Patterson

This book is the April selection of my book club click here for a list of the collected readings of my book club, “The Indy Reading Coalition” . Oddly, it is the third book my club has read that has dealt with the death penalty and someone on death row.  The other two were John Grisham’s The Innocent Man and Stephen King’s The Green Mile, both of which were well-received by my club.

This selection was heavier on the ‘legal’ side of things – indeed, this is where the book made its greatest impression on this reader.  Almost all of the major characters are lawyers and judges, and it has really made me think about how wildly different the work life of people in the legal profession is from other professional people.

The book includes a fictional Supreme Court, and an ‘inside view’ into its workings and machinations.  It also was one of those books that I’m not sure I liked, but am glad I read it nonetheless.  I know that lawyers are, on the whole, pretty smart people (I’ve always assumed they have to be to pass the bar and survive law school, etc.), and I like to think I’m a fairly smart person myself, relatively speaking.  But… I don’t think I could use my ‘smarts’ as effectively as those who have made the law their profession.  The only parts of the book that made me think otherwise were those in which both sides of the case would prepare their arguments while anticipating the other side’s response, and how they would meet that response, and so on, and so on.  I guess I could confess here that, in a ‘former life’ I was a pretty serious ‘amateur’ tournament chess player, and these deliberations and calculations were not unlike those I remember while contemplating a move or tactical sequence in a game of chess.  Where I would fail on the legal side, however, is in what I would call my lack of preciseness in language and its nuances.  This is probably why many of us ‘other professionals’ find reading legal documents so tedious.

The author of this book did a good job in writing for the non-legal profession readers, but I still would have no desire to ever partake in legal proceedings of any kind…  🙂