The Summer Reading I DID Do

By now, some of us are freaking out over the books we didn't read for law school. Or maybe that's just me. But anyways, I thought I'd write about some of the awesome books I actually did read and thoroughly enjoyed.

1. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1930)

The fog rolls into a black San Francisco night. You can hear the ships' bells clanging in the harbor. You trust no one, and no one trusts you. The Maltese Falcon, in addition to being the classic detective story and heavily influential on the genre, creates an incredible, dangerous, seductive ambience. Hammett keeps you on your toes and guessing whodunit as P.I. Sam Spade finds out 1. who killed his business partner 2. can he trust the alluring Brigid O' Shaughnessy and 3. where is the Maltese Falcon - just some of the answers to life's peristent questions.

Theme Song(s): "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" intro, "Poirot" intro

2. The Night Villa by Carol Goodman (2008)

If you love intrigue, travel, and the Classical Age, this might be the book for you. In The Night Villa, Dr. Sophie Chase joins an archaeological project in Herculaneum; she and her colleagues are restoring Villa della Notte (The Night Villa), which suffered damages from Mt. Vesuvius's explosion in 79 AD. More importantly, however, they are trying to recover ancient texts, which promise to discuss the cult of the Eleusian Mysteries. Goodman advances the plot and excitement by bouncing back and forth between the modern day action and the events described in the scrolls. As the texts get nearer and nearer to the day of the volcano explosion, you keep reading faster and faster in anticipation.

Theme Song: "African Tango"

3. King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard (1885)

Many people today might blast this book as being racist or at least condescending to Africans. Yet I, and Alexandra Fuller who wrote the Introduction, found that the main character Allan Quartermain was actually rather avant-garde for his time. Granted, H. Rider Haggard isn't going to have him marching in a Civil Rights parade or anything like that, but I do believe Quartermain does recognize Africans as his equals. Anywho, King Solomon's Mines is a fun adventure story, written vaguely around the same time as Stevenson's and Verne's. Frankly, it made me want to put on a pith helmet, toss back a G&T, and sing "Rule Britannia."

Theme Song(s): the "Indiana Jones" music, Theme from "The Mission"

4. Goodbye Mexico by Phillip Jennings

Pour yourself a shot of tequila and plunge into this book. Jack is working for the CIA in Mexico City during the Cold War, when his friend and colleague Gearhardt, presumed dead, shows up and throws Jack into the middle of an insane, top-secret, top-important mission to upset the Cuban government. Jack must fight intra-office intrigue, a nudist female teammate who is camping out in his living room, and of course, Gearhardt's insane plans, seemingly made off the top of his head, that threaten to kill all involved. I loved this book and it's consistent wit and fast-paced fun. Jack plays an awesome straight man to the nutty but loveable and compassionate Gearhardt.

Theme Song: "Sentimental Johnny"