Pleasure Reading?

by Meghan Starr

image by flickr user pedrosimoes

image by flickr user pedrosimoes

If you’re thinking about what to do over the break, have you considered reading?

No, seriously.  Think about finding and reading a book FOR FUN!

In this month’s ABA Journal, Bryan A. Garner talks about a common problem for lawyers (and law students) – losing the ability to enjoy a good book.  The volume of reading in law school coupled with what is often poor legal writing make it easy to get in the habit of skimming for the main idea or relevant facts. Do you really read the citation strings that come in the middle of a paragraph?

If you feel guilty about picking up the latest Janet Evanovich or James Patterson, rest assured that many law professors think it is important for your professional, as well as personal, development.  Reading books targeted to a general audience can help you develop a more natural writing and storytelling style that can come in handy when trying to persuade a judge or jury.  The classics can help show you the power of language.

If you have already fallen victim to the syndrome and treat Gray Mountain as if it were written by Judge John Grisham, then try these tips:

  • Listen to audio books to force you to hear every word.
  • Try short stories: you may feel less need to rush through.
  • Read aloud: Not only will you absorb the content, but you will also be aware of the rhythms of the language.

I am fortunate enough to have a son that still loves to sit and read with me.  We have been reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen out loud together over the last month.  We get to sit and snuggle, talk about the plot, and discuss the words Paulsen uses.  My personal tip – find a reading partner.

To read the article in its entirety, you can find it in the November issue.

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