My posts during April form part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I will be writing to a theme: book genres, largely taken from the comprehensive Goodreads list.
I did ponder about including this category, as I very specifically don't mean law as in police procedural or good old-fashioned detective stories. Rather, I wanted to reflect the keen interest we appear to have from the abundant seam of television series about lawyers and their work.
LA Law was all gloss and sharp suits, sexy young lawyers and ambition. But behind the gloss, there were clients, their cases and due process. The gloss was entertaining, but I found the law aspect the most stimulating, especially when making comparison with UK law. In some cases I felt frustration that the UK were lagging behind, in others I was horrified (it won't come as a great surprise to most to realise what horrifed me was gun law). But, I digress, this is supposed to be about books!
In my early thirties (late 1980s/early 1990s), there was a great buzz about a book called "Presumed Innocent" by Scott Turow. Everywhere you went, people seemed to have a copy. It was passed from hand-to-hand, those reading it discussed it avidly on nights out with friends. It had quite an impact on me and I remember the story to this day.
I've read other Turows and I've read a vast number of offerings from John Grisham. Metally, I classify both as thriller writers. There's action, there's trying to work "stuff" out and there's people, their lives, their loves, their woes, all set against a background of law. With hindsight, it's the people I like most. How finding themselves in difficult circumstances can impact on their behaviour. To be honest, I happily read books which are about nothing except human behaviour and interaction, but it does help to break things up, or boredom sets in.
At this point, a hat tip should go to "To Kill A Mockingbird" and its first draft "Go Set A Watchman" as being an early tale weaved around a lawyer and his client. It is certainly true that such a tale enables us to examine the principles and morals of the central characters. Both provided clear depictions of society at the time and how the laws - and the changes being struggled with - reflected that. In fact, the transition between the first draft and the final book make clear the emotional journey upon which Harper Lee travelled.
Why am I drawn to law as a genre? I gave consideration to the fact law provides a broad range of circumstances in which to talk about people. Or could there more to my interest? My book club recently selected "The Rule of Law" by Tom Bingham as their monthly read. One review I read described it as "so, so dry", yet I found it rivetting. With hindsight, I'd enjoyed Lord Denning's autobiography many years before. With further thought, what stayed with me was Denning's view that laws being passed were simply the beginning. The result of too much bartering amongst politicians left laws as messy things. Senior judges must interpret them and set prescedent, so that they turn into practical and just laws.
All in all, it appears I don't find law dry or dusty. What about you? Is there another subject others find challenging that you are rivetted by?