Faculty Summer Reading 2017


KEN AYOTTE, Professor of Law

“How I Built This” by NPR— Great 20 minute stories about how successful entrepreneurs got started and what they learned along the way. 


“Hardtalk” by BBC World Service — A series of interviews by Stephen Sackur with international political figures, and his questions live up to the podcast’s name.
“S-Town” from the creators of “Serial” and “This American Life” — A surprising, entertaining story that’s fascinating because you have no idea where it’s going to end up.

JORDAN BARRY, Visiting Professor of Law

So, Anyway…  by John Cleese — An autobiography, the novel tells the story of how a tall, shy youth from Weston-super-Mare went on to become a self-confessed legend. 

The Spider Network by David Enrich — The Wall Street Journal’s award-winning business reporter unveils the bizarre and sinister story of how a math genius named Tom Hayes, a handful of outrageous confederates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history.



ROBERT BARTLETT, Faculty Co-Director

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson — A fun, fascinating look at the history of innovation.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — A beautiful story of persistence and compassion set during the French Resistance. 


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond — A haunting book that tells the story of poverty and housing, focusing on the effects of eviction on poor families in Milwaukee. A rare combination of great story-telling and incisive policy analysis.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — The best novel that I have read in the last year. A gripping juxtaposition of two stories during World War II that ultimately intersect: a blind girl in France and a young German soldier. This novel was also recommended by BCLB Faculty Co-Director, Robert Bartlett.
The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci — As a lifelong Cubs fan, every spring since childhood I have predicted that it was the Cubs year.  Last year they finally did it! Verducci, the baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, has written a wonderful account of how this Cubs team was put together and won their first World Series since 1908.


Hard Landing:  The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos by Thomas Petzinger — A fun, fascinating look at the history of innovation.

JUSTN McCRARY, Professor of Law

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Tom Ricks — A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.  


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow — Because of my obsession with Hamilton, I decided to read this again (my first outing was ten years ago. I can’t remember if I finished it). It’s definitely better the second time around (and with the benefit of imagining the musical alongside the printed page). It’s a little drier than the musical (but what isn’t?), but really well-written and meticulously researched and detailed.
Longbourn by Jo Baker — For years, Pride and Prejudice has been my favorite book–so much so that I would re-read it every summer without fail. And then I read Longbourn. A re-telling of the classic Austen story from the perspective of the household servants, Longbourn offers a deeper, richer account of the Bennetts and their neighbors. It’s now in my annual rotation.

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (J.D. ’09) — I haven’t yet read this book, but the advance reviews are amazingly enthusiastic in their praise of this first novel, an epic saga about an African American family in New Orleans. I am not surprised by the advance praise (and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy). Sexton is my former student, and I have always known her to be a terrifically gifted writer and story-teller. Get in on the ground floor with this one!


Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout — An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss in this new work of fiction by #1 bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout.
The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis — How a Nobel Prize-winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

FRANK PARTNOY, Professor of Law

The Chickenshit Club by Jesse Eisinger — Jesse is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a friend/co-author. I read his book in draft and blurbed it, and I’m looking forward to seeing the real thing in print on July 11. It’s a deep dive into the Department of Justice and shows how and why so many federal prosecutors lost their mojo. Jim Comey is prominently featured.
Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters by Harold Evans — Evans has edited everyone and everywhere, and he’s a “Sir.” Plus, how many publishers write a book about writing at age 88?
The Unseen World by Liz Moore — My favorite book from the past year, a family-focused escape from the craziness of today’s reality which tracks the parallel journeys of a father-daughter relationship alongside the development of artificial intelligence.