Gift ideas for the attorney in your life

Do you have an attorney on your holiday gift giving list this year? Wondering what to buy them? Sometimes finding the right gifts for people in the legal field can be a task. Male attorneys probably have enough ties. We all have our favorite coffee mugs already. Those of us who have been in the field awhile more than likely don’t need anything for our desks. So, what’s left? Here are some unique gift ideas for the lawyers in your life.

Walk the walk briefcase
 Fun and games 
Pop Culture atticus finch
  • Better Call Saul print.
  • T-shirts: Atticus Finch, Olivia Pope, Patty Hewes, Ally McBeal, Alan Shore, Charles Kingsfield, Perry Mason etc.
Read and Watch
Office or home decor
Health
Subscription Services

 

I hope that gives you some ideas. Do you have any to add? If you’re an attorney, what was one of the best gifts you ever received?

 

 

Be thankful and donate

thanksgiving-1060123_960_720Thanksgiving is upon us, as is Black Friday, the launch of the holiday shopping season. If you’re able, don’t forget those less fortunate than yourselves. Sometimes it’s hard to choose the right charity in which to donate your hard earned money; some of them may be less worthy than others, if legit at all. Luckily there are organizations out there that will do the legwork for you to find just the right organization to suit your needs.

Guidestar 

Guidestar is a public charity that collects, organizes, and presents information about non-profits in an easy to understand format, so that you may make an informed decision before you donate. They provide information regarding each nonprofit’s mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and among other things. They don’t give an opinion, just facts. Their service is free of charge.

They operate from membership programs, grants and they do take contributions. They also offer subscriptions and licensing fees which allows users a little more depth to their services such as benchmarking multiple organizations, verifying charitable statuses, accessing compensation information and interpreting financial data.

Philanthropedia

Philanthropedia is a division of Guidestar. Their mission is to improve nonprofit effectiveness by directing money to and facilitating discussion about expert recommended high-impact nonprofits, to inspire giving and improving non-profit effectiveness.

Philanthropedia surveys experts such as foundation professionals, researchers, and nonprofit senior staff,
who then recommends nonprofits based on their impact and other money-652560_960_720organizational strengths. Their website is loaded with non-profits from many sectors including cancer, wildlife, arts and culture, emergency response, LGBT equality and support and more.

Great Nonprofits

Great Nonprofits is a review site where people can find, review and share information about nonprofits and charities. So these will be real stories by real people who will have people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services.

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator is a charity and nonprofit evaluator. Their professional analyze organizations and use their findings to develop  an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess America’s charities, both the best known and the lesser known.

The rating system specifically examines two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. The ratings show those who donate how efficiently they believe a charity will use their support, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time and their level of commitment to good governance, best practices and openness with information.  They do this so that those who make donations can make intelligent giving decisions, and so that the nonprofit sector can improve its performance.

If you don’t want to do research, Consumer Reports posted an article showing the best and worst charities for your donation. From animal welfare to veterans, the article lays out which organizations are worthy of your philanthropy, and the ones from which you should stay away.

These are just a few of the organizations that want to help you make an informed decision before you donate. There are many more.  Volunteerism and philanthropy are important to my family and me. If you want to give locally, feel free to peruse my “Community” page where I have a listing of organizations to which I donate and volunteer.

From my family to yours, have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends. If you’re going  shopping on Black Friday, be safe and remain sane. Don’t forget those things you were thankful for the day before, and the people who go without every day of the year.

19 films to watch during Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the strong, the brave, and the talented women in our history. What better way to do this than to watch movies with strong female leads – movies about women discovering themselves, making their marks and changing the world? Below is a list of films, both historical to fictional, to help us celebrate women by witnessing their struggles and successes, tragedies and triumphs.

  1. North Country: A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the
    north countryUnited States — Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines. A female mine worker, enduring a range of abuse at work, filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit. Released in 2005, starring the talented Charlize Theron. Theron was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc: A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d’Arc on charges of heresy, and t
    he efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. Though the 1928 silent, French movie starring Maria Falconetti was critically acclaimed, it was snubbed by the Academy.
  3. Norma Rae: A young single mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved. Sally Field won the Best Actress Oscar for her 1979 of the title character. I’m sure, those of us old enough to recall, will remember her, “You really like me,” speech.800px-Gary_Plant_Tubular_Steel_Corporation
  4. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter: Documentary about women working in factories during WWII and resultant loss of jobs after the war. Five women tell their stories. Fascinating clips of racist, sexist propaganda of the era. The film, directed by Connie Field 1980, received awards from The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), National Film Preservation Board, the CINE Competition and Worldfest Houston .
  5. A League of their own: The story of women that played in the short lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was created when men were overseas fighting during World War II. The 1992 movie starred Geena Davis and many other famous names as the Rockford Peaches baseball team.
  6. Boys Don’t Cry: Based on the true and tragic story of transgender man Brandon Teena and his attempts to find love in Nebraska. The unknown at the time, Hilary Swank, won the Best Actress Oscar for her pivotal role in the 1999 film.
  7. Erin Brokovich: Another based on a true story…an unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. Julia Roberts won an Academy Award for her portrayal of hard hitting Ms. BrokovAnne_Bancroft_Patty_Duke_Miracle_Worker_1_1960ich in 2000.
  8. The Miracle Worker: This 1962 movie tells the story of Helen Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, and her struggle to teach the blind and deaf child how to communicate. Anne Bancroft won the Best Actress Oscar for this role.
  9. Zero Dark Thirty: The 2012 movie, based on real events, chronicles of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6. Jessica Chastain was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as ‘Maya,’ a CIA intelligence analyst.
  10. The Color Purple: A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering years of abuse from her father and husband for over 40 years. Whoopi Goldberg was nominated for an Academy Award in this 1985 masterpiece.
  11. Frida: A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work. Salma Hayak was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the artist in 2002.
  12. Not for Ourselves Alone: The story of Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: This 1999 Ken Burns documentary explores the movement for women’s suffrage in the United States in the 19th century, focusing on leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. It won the Peabody award in the year of its airing.
  13. Funny Girl: Funny Girl follows the career of early 1900s stage comedienne Fanny Brice.funny girl The film depicts
    her rise to fame as a Ziegfield girl, subsequent career and her relationship with Nick gambler. Barbra Streisand tied for the Academy Award Best Actress in 1968 for this film. (Co-winner was Katherine Hepburn)
  14. Evita: This musical was based on the life of Evita Duarte, a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina. The 1996 film starred Madonna in the title roll.
  15. Silkwood: This is the shocking true story about Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant in which she worked. Meryl Streep was nominated for Best Actress for her depiction of Karen Silkwood in the 1983 film.
  16. Iron Jawed Angels: Defiant young activists take the women’s suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk to help American women win the right to vote. Based on the lives of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, starring Hilary Swank in 2004.
  17. The Invisible War: An investigative, eye-opening documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military. This film, directed by Kirby Dick in 2012, was nominated for a ndorothyumber of awards in 2012-2013 including the Academy Award for Best Documentary. It’s wins include the Independent Spirit Award and Sundance Film Festival for Best Documentary.
  18. Introducing Dorothy Dandridge: An acclaimed stage performer, Dorothy struggled with the challenge
    of her color in Hollywood. She beat out many more famous rivals for the role of ‘ ‘Carmen Jones’, and became the first black woman ever nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Halle Berry starred in this 1999 made for TV movie.
  19. The Iron Lady: An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene. Though the film received mediocre reviews, Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Thatcher in the 2011 movie.

Of course, there are many more movies and documentaries out there about extraordinary women, these are just a few. After all, there have been and still are amazing women achieving greatness in the arts, sciences, politics, and many more arenas. Do you have a favorite strong female character or historical figure? Share it in the comments below.

The Importance of Black History Month

Today is February 1st and the commencement of Black History Month. This month of honor began with the formationcarter g. woodson of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting the accomplishments achieved by black Americans and others of African descent.  This brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland, was established in 1915.

In 1926, the ASNLH sponsored Negro History Week, which coincided with the birthdays of civil rights activist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. Inspired communities organized celebrations, performances, lectures and established history clubs.

For decades after that initial creation and cultivation, cities nationwide began recognizing Negro History Week. The Civil Rights Movement, its activists and rising consciousness of black identity in the 1960s assisted in transforming that one week into Black History Month. The month first started on college campuses, but in 1976, President Gerald Ford made it an official national month of honor.  He said the public should, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Many accomplishments by African Americans have helped mold, nurture and advance our country. Here a
re a few you may not know about:

  1. Daniel Hale Williams: Williams, or as he was called, Dr. Dan, was a surgeon in Chicago. ThoughSurgeon Daniel Hale Williams he himself found success, he realized the lack of medical training for black doctors and nurses and deficiency in medical care for blacks. At the time, blacks were barred from being admitted to hospitals and black doctors were refused staff positions. In 1891, Dr. Dan founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the first interracial hospital and medical training facility. In 1893, Williams also performed one of the first successful open heart surgeries.
  2. Regina Anderson: Anderson was a librarian in New York City with a Masters of Library Science from Columbia University. She was one of the catalysts of the Harlem Renaissance and backed and promoted many artists and projects during the movement. She held events at her home and the library. She published digests promoting books by black authors. Along with W. E. B. Du Bois, Anderson foun
    ded the Krigwa Players, an experimental theater group. She also wrote several plays under her pseudonym Ursula or Ursala Trelling.
  3. W.E.B. Dubois: Dubois is known for a number of things, historian, sociologist, civil rights activist, author, and editor among them. He fought for equal rights for and political representation for blacks. Dubois fervently protested against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. He was not only an advocate for African Americans, but for Asians as well. In 1909 Du Bois helped found the NAACP and from 1910 to 1934 served as its director of publicity and research, sat on its board of directors, and was editor of the Crisis, the NAACP monthly magazine.
  4. Claudette Colvin: At the age of 15, Colvin refused to move to the back of the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same. The young activist studied the Jim Crow Laws and black leaders such as Harriet Tubman in school, which prompted her actions. The bus incident landed the teenager in jail. Colvin, along with Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith, three other women discriminated against as a result of the segregation policy of the Montgomery bus system, went to court to challenge the law. That case, Browder v. Gayle, eventually ended up in the United States Supreme Court which ordered the state of Alabama (and Montgomery) to desegregate its buses.pilot bessie coleman
  5. Bessie Coleman: Coleman, one of 13 children born to a Native American father and African American mother, grew up picking cotton and living in poverty. Wanting a better life, she educated herself and received a high school diploma. Inspired by stories of the aeronautical adventures of WWI soldiers, decided she wanted to become a pilot, but because she was black and a woman, no U.S flight schools would accept her. Upon hearing women could become pilots in France, she studied French and saved her money to achieve her dream. In 1920, with the help of one of the first black millionaires, Robert Abbott, she was able to go to France. The first African American female to earn a pilot’s license, Coleman was celebrated upon her return to the states. She performed stunts at airshows, encouraged other African Americans to pursue flying, and refused to perform where blacks were not allowed.
  6. Edward Bouchet: Bouchet was the son of a freed slave who moved to New Haven, Connecticut. Bouchet’s educational prospects were limited, as only three schools in the area accepted black students. Regardless, he was admitted to Yale and was the first African American to earn a PhD, graduating 6th in his class. Additionally, he was the 6th American of any race to earn a PhD in physics. Segregation laws at the time thwarted him from gaining the type of position deserved. He ended up teaching at the Institute for Colored Youth for 26 years. His story has offered encouragement to young African Americans for generations.

black history monthWhat I’ve given you here is a microscopic fragment of the achievements of African Americans. Numerous volumes could be written about their contributions to the arts, science, politics, sports, and many more aspects of American culture. Do yourself a favor, do some research of your own. Learn about the African Americans who contributed to inoculations, discovering the North Pole, and inventing potato chips. Find out who coined the phrase, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” where the expression, the “Real McCoy” came from, and find out the inspirations behind the Lone Ranger and Betty Boop.

Many people don’t understand why we must celebrate African Americans – why they need a month. African Americans were long absent from “American” history. We have always been taught the accomplishments of a white America. Not only African Americans, but all of us, should not only be learning about their history, but we should care about it. It is a history rich with stories about following dreams, being triumphant, and overcoming insurmountable obstacles and adversity.  It’s a shame that just as they were segregated in the past, their history must be segregated too for it to be visible, for us to stand up and pay attention, and to honor the many African American people who helped build this great nation.

15 of the Best Legal Movies Ever Made

As an attorney, Atticus_and_Tom_Robinson_in_courtit’s hard for me not to enjoy watching films about lawyers, the law and legal cases. There is certainly a large variety:  dramas,  thrillers, comedies. Picking the best was a difficult task. That’s why I chose to pick merely some of the best for this blog.  My list consists of award winners, modern and classics, even a musical. I know there are many more out there that fit the bill, but here are some that I think are top notch.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  2. Erin Brockovich (2000)
  3. The Verdict (1982)
  4. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  5. Chicago (2002)
  6. Judgement at Nuremburg (1961)800px-Anatomy_of_a_Murder_2
  7. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  8. Philadelphia (1993)
  9. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
  10. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
  11. Presumed Innocent (1990)
  12. A Few Good Men (1992)
  13. And Justice for All (1979)
  14. In the Name of the Father (1993)
  15. Amistad (1997)

Do you have any favorite legal movies? What are they.

14 Great Books About Law, Lawyers and Justice

14 Great Books About Law, Lawyers and Justice

The life of an attorney can be greatly intriguing. We experience satisfaction, frustration, victory and loss. At times we need to contend with competition, politics and drama. Interaction with varying personalities is done on the daily between clients, staff, judges, insurance adjusters, big business and other attorneys. There is never a dull moment. If you’re interested in the law and lawyers and love to read, here are, in no particular order, some great stories with which to start, along with publisher’s descriptions.

  1. Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville:M.S. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere. He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggert to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd, is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to both his messmates as well as the ship’s officers. However, his charismatic naivete seems to bother Claggert, whose perverse depravity makes him resent Billy’s good-natured purity, especially after the teenager’s promotion to fore-top captain. The mean-spirited Claggert unfairly plots to put him on report and ultimately perjures himself when he accuses Billy of conspiring to mutiny.
  1. Snow Falling On Cedars by David Gutersonn : San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so Snow Falling On Cedarsisolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries–memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo’s wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense– one that leaves us shaken and changed.

“Haunting…. A whodunit complete with courtroom maneuvering and surprising turns of evidence and at the same time a mystery, something altogether richer and deeper.” – Los Angeles Times

 “Compelling…heartstopping. Finely wrought, flawlessly written.” – The New York Times Book Review

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

“Marvelous . . . Miss Lee’s original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel.” – The New York Times”

 “A novel of great sweetness, humor, compassion, and of mystery carefully sustained.” – Harper’s Magazine”

  1. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver: A gripping legal thriller, Anatomy of a Murder is based on a Anatomy of a Murdertrue the story of the sensational trial of a young soldier accused of murdering a town’s well-known tavern owner. In the novel, fictional defense attorney Paul Biegler agrees to defend Frederick Manion—a seemingly impossible task: Manion admits to the killing and there is no shortage of eye-witnesses willing to testify against him.

The story becomes Biegler’s as underdog in a tough contest against a high-powered prosecutorial team. Biegler must find a way to legally justify the act in such a way as to overcome the natural sympathies and consciences of the jury. It seems an insurmountable challenge—until Biegler begins to dig beneath the surface and uncovers startling facts have not yet come to light. The truth is far more complex than anyone imagined.

“…it held me as few books have, I couldn’t put it down. The style is simple, colloquial English, beautifully adapted to its task, and often pungently effective.” – New York Times

  1. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow: Rusty Sabich, Kindle County’s longtime chief deputy prosecutor, has been asked to investigate the rape and murder of one of his colleagues. Carolyn Polhernus was strong, sensuous, and magnetic; she was also clearly ambitious and quite possibly unscrupulous. Her murder has been an embarrassment to Rusty’s boss, Raymond Horgan, who is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming election and who looks to Rusty for a fast solution to the case that will help save him politically. What Horgan doesn’t know is that, only a few months before she was murdered, Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich were lovers.

Rusty is a passionate, brooding, fundamentally lonely man. As he nears forty, both his marriage and his career seem to be stagnating. His feelings are focused on his love for his son, Nat, and his desperate, enduring fantasies about Carolyn, who had abruptly ended their affair six months ago. Rusty’s investigation allows him to indulge relentlessly in his obsession, but he apparently makes little progress in finding the killer. Then, when Horgan loses the election, Rusty suddenly, incredibly, finds himself accused of Carolyn’s murder.

“Spellbinding…The suspense is relentless…Surprise follows surprise…The work of a profoundly gifted writer” – The New York Times

“Turow’s ability to forge the reader’s identification with the protagonist, his insightful characterizations of Sabich’s legal colleagues and the overwhelming sense he conveys of being present in the courtroom are his most brilliant and satisfying contributions to what may become a literary crime classic.” – Publisher’s Weekly

  1. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice is an intriguing drama of love, greed, and revenge. At its heart, the play contrasts the characters of the maddened and vengeful Shylock, a Venetian moneylender, with the gracious, level-headed Portia, a wealthy young woman besieged by suitors. At the play’s climax, Shylock insists on the enforcement of a binding contract that will cost the life of the merchant Antonio — inciting Portia to mount a memorable defense.

In this richly plotted drama, Shylock, whom Shakespeare endowed with all of the depth and vitality of his greatest characters, is not alone in his villainy. In scene after scene, a large cast of ambitious and scheming characters demonstrates that honesty is a quality often strained where matters of love and money are concerned.

  1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras—the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel’s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris.A Civil Action
  1. A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr: In this true story of an epic courtroom showdown, two of the nation’s largest corporations stand accused of causing the deaths of children. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything, including his sanity.

“A page-turner. Rich and vivid. . . eventful and gripping.” – The New York Times

“Once you start A Civil Action, you probably will not be able to put it down.” – Washington Post Book

  1. Old Filth by Jane Gardam: Sir Edward Feathers has had a brilliant career, from his early days as a lawyer in Southeast Asia, where he earned the nickname Old Filth (FILTH being an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong) to his final working days as a respected judge at the English bar. Yet through it all he has carried with him the wounds of a difficult and emotionally hollow childhood. Now an eighty-year-old widower living in comfortable seclusion in Dorset, Feathers is finally free from the regimen of work and the sentimental scaffolding that has sustained him throughout his life. He slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, Feathers approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away.

“… [Old Filth] will bring immense pleasure to readers who treasure fiction that is intelligent, witty, sophisticated and — a quality encountered all too rarely in contemporary culture — adult.” – The Washington Post

 “Gardam’s novel is an anthology of such bittersweet scenes, rendered by a novelist at the very top of her form. She may have taken the name of her hero’s Hong Kong rival, Veneering, from an unattractive social climber in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, but a reading of her new novel seems convincing proof that the name Old Filth also belongs in the Dickensian pantheon of memorable characters.” — The New York Times

  1. The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe: Sherman McCoy, known to himself as a “Master of the Universe”, is a millionaire bond trader at Wall Street’s Pierce and Pierce, where the roar of the trading floor “resonate[s] with his very gizzard”. His mastery is punctured, however, when, with his mistress at the wheel, his Mercedes hits and fatally injures a young black man in the Bronx. The story of McCoy’s subsequent downfall is told alongside those of three other men, all characterised by their raging ambition and vanity: an alcoholic tabloid journalist desperate for a scoop; a power-hungry pastor; and a district attorney keen to impress one of his former jury members, the brown-lipsticked Miss Shelly Thomas.

“A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let you go.” – New York Times

“The Bonfire of the Vanities chronicles the collapse of a Wall Street bond trader, and examines a world in which fortunes are made and lost at the blink of a computer screen. . . . Wolfe’s subject couldn’t be more topical: New Yorkers’ relentless pursuit and flaunting of wealth, and the fury it evokes in the have-nots.” – USA Today

  1. The Fall by Albert Camus: Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a soul in turmoil. Over several drunken nights he regales a chance acquaintance with his story. From this successful former lawyer and seemingly model citizen a compelling, self-loathing catalogue of guilt, hypocrisy and alienation pours forth. “The Fall” (1956) is a brilliant portrayal of a man who has glimpsed the hollowness of his existence. But beyond depicting one man’s disillusionment, Camus’s novel exposes the universal human condition and its absurdities – and our innocence that, once lost, can never be recaptured.
  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders alone through the slums of St. Petersburg, deliriously imagining himself above society’s laws. But when he commits a random murder, only suffering ensues. Embarking on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
  1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four In Cold Bloodmembers of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

“A masterpiece . . . a spellbinding work.” – Life

“A remarkable, tensely exciting, superbly written ‘true account.” – The New York Times

  1. A Time to Kill by John Grisham: The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle — and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life…and then his own…

“Grisham’s pleasure in relating the Byzantine complexities of Clanton (Mississippi) politics is contagious and he tells a good story…An enjoyable book.” – Library Journal

I hope you enjoy these recommendations. If you’ve read any of these, tell me what you think.