Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Capacity Almost Full

The past few months, something really wonderful has happened. Every once in a while a student (Nathanial Kummerfeld, Aaron Mutnick, Sean Crandall, and some others) will bring a book to me and suggest I read it. They have all been right, too—they have been great books. It’s funny—from what I can remember of being a student, I can’t imagine stopping Stephen Carter or Guido Calebresi or Catherine McKinnon in the hall and lending them a book, but maybe that is something unfortunate about my law school experience. I think it’s great that students would lend me a book, that they trust me with that. To my mind (because I love books so much), it is a very generous act—you are giving someone not only a thing, but something more personal, the sharing of ideas. This new development makes me feel like I must be doing something right as a teacher. It also makes me think that maybe I need to start showing the same trust and lend out some books.

On the plane back to Texas, I read Leaper, which is a novel by Geoffrey Wood, who apparently is a barista in Memphis. I’ve really loved it, too. It is, in a way, a story about faith, but most of the words in the story are really about a bad relationship, being a barista, awkward conversations, feeling bad about being rude to someone, and suddenly appearing somewhere different by looking at your watch funny. But for the last of these, Wood is describing things that we all kind of know about, and the faith lies in the structure, in the pores, in the beams behind the walls. I suppose it might be Christian fiction, but importantly, crucially, it is a very good story.

Now, the bad thing about Leaper is that I can’t remember how I got it. One thing about me is that if my head is totally involved in something, it won’t accept any new inputs. If I’m working hard on a syllabus, for example, trying to get an idea to work, and someone comes in for career advice and suggests that they are thinking of becoming an Eastern European dictator, I probably nod vacantly and say, “Huh, yeah, interesting; good, good.” All I can remember about “Leaper” is that I was walking out of the building with someone else and my mind was deep in some complexity (Guideline 2D1.1(c), travel time to DFW, etc.), and this book was kindly pressed into my hand by a student. But, I can’t remember who it was, sadly.

And I feel bad about that.

Hey Osler Why don't you do a post about what are people's favorite books of all time? Like maybe top three?

I do not know what mine would be.
the student was probably jason hartman...

thanks for the kind coments,

geoffrey wood
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