Editorial Board’s summer books

Introducing the Counsel Editorial Board, which shares some alternative reads

Alice Bacon, 3 Paper Buildings

Safe Area Goražde, Joe Sacco

If you want a superb introduction to journalistic graphic novels, this is the place to start. The book narrates the author’s fascinating time spent in war-torn Bosnia in 1994-95, whilst trapped within the enclave of Goražde.

The Arab of the Future: Volume 1: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-84: A Graphic MemoirRiad Sattouf

This graphic novel sheds light on the origins of the Arab Spring, through a beautiful and funny childhood memoir. A captivating and informing read, with winning visual style.

David Barnes, 39 Essex Street

Basque: Spanish Recipes from San Sebastian and Beyond, Jose Pizarro

If you are not taking your vacation in San Sebastian then this will be the next best thing. It has more Pintxos than you can shake a stick at!

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton

Want to escape your clerks? Tempted by a new travel book that celebrates 600 of the most curious places in the world? We will still track you down…

Georgina Blower, Farringdon Chambers

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

Hawkins skilfully explores the themes of alcoholism, memory loss and obsession using the device of the unreliable narrator in this engrossing, Hitchcockian psychological thriller. It’s Gone Girl meets Rear Window.

Shepherds & Butchers, Chris Marnewick

Inspired by his experiences as a lawyer, Marnewick’s insightful and uncompromising exposé of the brutalising impact of the death penalty set in 1980s Apartheid South Africa has integrity and authenticity.

Melissa Coutinho, Government Legal Department

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II, Ben MacIntyre

Because this is more of the real story behind the film most people remember about The Man that never was.Difficult to put down, even though you know the end of the story.Or do you?

The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson

More people are motivated by insanity than you know. Psychopathic traits are held by criminals and those who enjoy the most material success.A handy test to administer to friends and family…

Mary Cowe, Guildhall Chambers

The Face of Britain, Simon Schama

A scenic guide to how Britons have pictured themselves. Schama deals with the panoramas of art history and the anecdotes behind an individual miniature with a light touch.

Conspiracy, SJ Parris

Monk turned sleuth Giordano Bruno deals with sex, politics and religion in 16th Century France: all deadly topics. Historical psychodrama and irresistible murder-mystery combined.

Rawdon Crozier, KBG Chambers

Saki’s short stories, Saki (H.H. Munro)

By turns funny and unsettling, Saki’s stories are elegant, economical and, like a good summer aperitif, often come with a shard of ice at their heart.

The Unbearable Bassington, Saki (H.H. Munro)

2016 is the centenary of his death on the Somme, so I feel entitled to pick this Saki novel as well. Like a pocket Trollope with echoes of Wilde, Bassington’s end is pure Ibsen.

Aoife Drudy, Government Legal Department

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

This is a light-hearted summer read. It made me laugh out loud during a long train journey through France, much to the confusion of my fellow passengers.

The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg

An incredibly interesting analysis of our unconscious habits, how they help us and hinder us, and how we can change them if we really want to. Inspiring stuff!

Mark Hatcher, Bar Council

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars, Andrew Tinniswood

A rich, multi-layered account of life in English country houses between 1918-39 drawing on memoirs, diaries and letters. A luscious summery book offering insight into the gilt and gingerbread image of country house life.

Coalition, David Laws

Inside account of what happened during the 2010-2015 Tory/Lib Dem Coalition by one of the chief architects who concludes that a day in government is worth many hundreds in opposition.

Simon Hughes QC, Keating Chambers

Amsterdam, Ian McKewan

A great afternoon’s read; some quite dark themes treated with wit and style; and, almost 20 years after it was written, captures some aspects of late 90s London society which now seem long gone.

The Thirty Years War, C V Wedgwood

A famous treatment of one of Europe’s less ‘read about’ conflicts. If you fancy a break from fiction, but really can’t bear any more ‘current affairs’, this is perfect. History told in the author’s unique and powerful prose unburdened by endless footnotes. Fantastic.

Nigel Pascoe QC, Pump Court Chambers

Scoop, Evelyn Waugh

The all time classic English comic novel. Evelyn Waugh at his satirical best, it traces the adventures of a young foreign correspondent for the Daily Beast, reporting on a crisis in a fictional African state. Simply superb.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale

A treat for criminal lawyers. The Victorian detective investigates the murder of a 16-year-old girl. Evocative, riveting and a classic good read.

Haresh Sood, Derwent Chambers

Holy Cow, Sarah Macdonald

This is an excellent story about an Australian journalist who hated her time in India as a backpacker and vowed never to return. However, her partner is posted to India so she does return, only to fall in love with it. The journey of transition is hilarious, candid and very emotional.

The Present, Spencer Johnson

We spend so much time thinking of things that have happened in the past or ‘may’ happen in the future, and often miss enjoying the present. This is a book about realising, enjoying and appreciating what we have and enjoying the moment, as opposed to what we don’t have. A book from which many people can learn.

David Wurtzel, Bencher of Middle Temple

The Diaries of Victor Klemperer (2 vols) 1933-41 and 1942-5, Victor Klemperer

The daily account of a Dresden professor (Jewish but married to an ‘Aryan’) who managed to survive in the city throughout the Nazi regime. A triumph of the human spirit.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

The real thing, not the TV series:love story,battles, history on an epic scale.The length simply means there is so much of it to enjoy.

ALSO ON THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Michael Todd QC (Chair), Erskine Chambers

Desiree Artesi, Thomas More Chambers

Steve Rudani, Bar Council

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