Legal/Morality book suggestions please?(33 Posts)
Two of my favourite novels are Gulliver's Travels & Bleak House.
I'll be starting a law master's in September and going on a solo break in August so would love any suggestions on novels I could take with me that will get me in the mood to come back and get started
in advance, thank you!
A Case of Conscience by James Blish - Jesuit scientist on an alien world finds his beliefs challenged by the aliens and believes his soul may be in danger.
Oooooo what an interesting suggestion! I don't tend to read much sci-fi but definitely happy to give it a go. The aliens sound very much like my favourites in Gulliver's Travels, the Houyhnhnms, so will be giving this one a try Thanks cdtaylor.
I have not personally read this book but looked it up. The case was very famous.
The Dreyfus Affair
This was another famous case - The Winslow Boy
I heard of this book when reading about the rape of Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. You might find it interesting to read both and think about what the law now would be.
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
shows the patriarch of the family destroyed by a court case.
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
is definitely about morality
The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare -justice vs, the spirit of the law,
I don't know which edition would be best for you though.
Wow, thank you for such a detailed reply!
I read An Officer and a Spy, which is based on The Dreyfus Affair, and I thoroughly enjoyed that but somehow missed reading the novel on the actual case and just looked it up. So that is definitely added to my wish list!
Loved Tess of the D's, so will give The Winslow Boy a try too. Hardy and the Law could come in very handy for my dissertation
The joys of being an English Lit grad included both Crime & Punishment and The Merchant of Venice. I tried so hard to get into Crime and Punishment but just couldn't I appreciate it but definitely don't fancy taking it on a holiday The Merchant of Venice on the other hand, I could happily read again. Despite my first degree, I'd never actually heard of The Mill on the Floss sounds like just the kind of novel I would enjoy though.
Thank you so much for that, lots for me to be getting on with there I appreciate you taking the time to share those recommendations, they're exactly what I was looking for.
Morality - what about the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis if you've not read them, I find them really interesting even though I'm not remotely religious.
The Dispossessed by Ursula le Guin is an interesting attempt to describe an anarchist society with no laws or government (within the frame of a sci-fi story), so might be interesting as a basis for thinking about if/why we need laws.
It is a very interesting idea of yours Pippity.
In The Mill on the Floss the legal part is not the most important - however, as you haven't read it yet...it's only one of the greatest novels ever written!
Thank you for those suggestions, sadik. I did study the Screwtape Letters at uni but only sections so that could be a good one to return to under a different perspective. I found myself constantly scribbling down quotes I loved whilst reading it, such a beautiful piece of work.
The Dispossessed looks very interesting, I've never really ventured into sci-fi (after being left a jumpy mess from reading The Road). So will maybe try that from the comforts of my own bed in case I end up spooked.
My book order is now placed I have:
A Case of Conscience
The Dreyfus Affair
The Mill on the Floss (excited!)
Tess of the D's (for old times' sake)
And I'll be trying the Screwtape Letters (in full) and The Dispossessed when I return from hols. I feel like a kid at Christmas putting in a book order, it's so bloody exciting!
Thank you for your help, wonderful ppl
If you want to try some more specific non-fiction then Causing Death and Saving Lives by Jonathan Glover is a very readable run through some issues in moral philosophy, from a utilitarian standpoint.
Not a novel, but The Rule of Law by the late great Tom Bingham is an excellent read.
Thanks, Kittens. That looks like a really interesting read. Most reviews seem to describe it as an intro so I may well use it as just that and pop it on my reading list for just before I start the course in September.
Thank you, Lily. For some reason we were advised to avoid Bingham by the current students at our open day I'm not sure if that's because we will come across a lot of his work during the course or if he's for some reason not favoured by the lecturers (which I think they were hinting at). A few of my undergrad English Lit lecturers had a similar, and unexplained, abhorrence to Henry Fielding which I never really understood. Suppose it shouldn't stop me having a little peek though
Did you see the book Hardy and the Law? That might put the legal perspective for what happened to Tess.
If you haven't read it I was just thinking Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe might be interesting for you. It shows how a person of the early 18th century could fall into crime and get deported, and it is a wonderful, exciting book with an enchanting heroine. I think Defoe would have been very well informed about the facts about crime then.
The Dispossessed is definitely not like The Road! Utopian in tone rather than dystopian (although the subtitle is 'an ambiguous utopia'), so don't worry about being spooked
Definitely a suggestion rather than a recommendation: The Children Act by Ian McEwan fits your legal and morality criteria.
I did indeed, Kind. That's the one I meant as being perfect for my planned dissertation. I used it briefly for an English essay (although not alongside Tess) and vowed to return to it, your post reminded me to do so. I read Moll in my final year and loved it. In fact, I think you've mentioned most works from my final year and I'm now wondering if you were my lecturer
Thank you, fascicle. I just read the Guardian's review of The Children Act and I'm gripped definitely adding that one to the list! Yippeeee!
An interesting read for a bit of a moral/legal angle might be:
The New Woman by Charity Norman
The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach
Pippity What a coincidence.
Anyway it is such a good idea of yours to follow a theme like this. I hope you get through them all and have a lovely summer.
"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult (have I spelled that right?) is interesting ethically iyswim.
She wrote one about a high school shooting, and one about two teens who make a suicide pact but one of them survives too, but I can't remember the titles.
She has a knack of making one look at things from a new angle.
"The Wicked Girls" (can't remember the author - I got it on Kindle a while back as a cheapie download) is good too - it's about two women who were accused and convicted of murdering a smaller child when they were pretty young, and again, it is full of food for thought about how they were dealt with and the legal and ethical considerations of such a crime. It sounds very heavy going but was actually really good and has a "present day" plot too which keeps the storyline moving along - it's a crime thriller too, and well worth a read.
Ian McEwen's The Children Act
The cases in the book are based on real life cases and this blog links to the judgments on BAILII
Came on to suggest The Children Act but see someone got in first. It's good though, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Just read two brilliant non-fiction books. This House of Grief, by Helen Garner... an account of an Australian case when a man is accused of murdering his three sons - gripping and humane. She writes beautifully.
Also amazing... and certainly strong on morals... is a new book by human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, called East West Street. It is a phenomenal book about the legal after-effects of the Holocaust, and the personalities that sought to bring justice to bear on the worst crimes. How do you really apply law to unprecedented crimes? This tells you and it is not at all dry - it is almost a thriller. It is also a personal journey (as a great tranche Sands' family perished) as well as an historical quest. I found it evoked great hope, from the cast of characters now and gone. Sands discovers small and huge acts of heroism in a world of horror and he comes across some fabulous characters and remarkable coincidences as he continues his research. He brings all the strands together towards the end, culminating in the Nuremberg trials. It is very moving and very necessary. I am urging everyone I know to read it.
Almost too obvious to mention (and I bet you've read it): To Kill a Mockingbird.
What is your masters on OP? I also came on to recommend The Childrens Act.
PomBear - the book you mention sounds like a real life NZ case that was turned into a film with a very young Kate Winslet - something Creatures?
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist (Robert Tressel) isn't about law per se but is an argument as to why employees' rights are important.
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