National Library Week Read Posters Go Digital (April 2013)


The highlight of the National Library Week festivities is the Library’s annual display of celebrity “Read” posters featuring law school faculty and books that hold special significance to them. This year, the entire exhibit is available online.

New and Notable: Rock ‘N’ Roll Mole

Rudy the Redhawk's READ posterRock ‘N’ Roll Mole

By Carolyn Crimi; pictures by Lynn Munsinger
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c2011
PZ7.C86928 Roc 2011

From Seattle University’s mascot Rudy the Redhawk:

As a mascot, I definitely understand Mole’s dilemma. It’s never easy stepping out in front of a crowd to perform, even if there is an entire team behind you! When I became the Seattle University mascot in 2000, I was nervous. The university had had a long tradition of excellence in sports before me, and I wasn’t sure I could live up to the hype. But sometimes that first step is the hardest, and I quickly found the support and friendship I needed to represent SU and help cheer our teams to victory.

I chose “Rock ‘N’ Roll Mole” because not only is it a message I can relate to, but I think it’s an important lesson to us all: if we don’t take chances and step out of our shells, we’ll never experience all the fun and excitement that life has the offer! The book also shows how Mole put his friendship with Pig before his own fears, and really stepped up to bat when Pig needed him most. We can accomplish so much if we just remember to express ourselves and that friends are there to support us as we support them. (more…)

Casual Reading Collections

As part of Seattle University’s mission to educate the whole person, the Law Library features three unique, reading collections: The Read Book Collection includes works of significance selected by our Read Poster celebrities during National Library Week. The Read Book Collection is located in the bookcase in front of the Reference Desk. The Walkover Collection, named after popular law school professor and associate dean Andrew Walkover, who died in 1988, consists of books that he would have recommended. The Recreational Reading Collection contains a rotating inventory of current fiction and nonfiction titles. The Walkover Collection and the Recreational Reading Collection are located by the 2nd floor stairwell. We hope you will take a break and enjoy a good read.

Recreational Reading

If you’re searching for a novel to read as an antidote for exam studying, check out the recreational reading collection at the base of the stairs on the main floor of the library.

New and Notable: Family: A Novel

Family: A Novel
By J. California Cooper
New York: Anchor Books, 1992, c1991
PS3553.O5874F36 1992

From Professor Natasha Martin:

Some topics and problems are just too heavy to confront, let alone to solve. Thank goodness for writers like J. California Cooper. She weaves a story about slavery with grace, at times beauty, and remarkably, with little bitterness. It is a testament to the healing power of a gifted storyteller.

From the banks of the Nile to the bowels of the pre-Civil War American south, Family is a masterfully woven multi-generational story about brutality, survival, and resilience. It is also a powerful exhortation on the meaning of family, identity, and belonging. Narrated by Clora, it is the story of a black slave woman who takes her own life and attempts to take the lives of her children. No longer inhabiting the earth, Clora’s gaze is on her progeny as they navigate the horrors of slavery and move toward freedom. The reader accompanies Clora along her supernatural travels through time following the lives of her descendants as they endure the savagery of oppression. Family reflects the heart wrenching fervor and expanse of a mother’s love.

The power of this novel lies in the author’s ability to offer hope – a space to imagine, to resist devastation, and to affect change. I am deeply moved, for example, at the sheer courage of those who, faced with the horrors of slavery, managed to live, to love, and to find kinship in spite of physical, spiritual, and psychic torture. Love was often forbidden, excised through violence, fear, and domination. Yet, these characters transcend traditional familial boundaries and create community wherever they land. As an adoptive mom, this work resonates because it captures the essence of belonging – kinship is not about bloodline or place, but the shelter of love and the sanctuary of unconditional acceptance. This book reminds me that we are all connected.

Family is a cautionary tale about the chains that constrain our hearts and minds. We live in a world of immeasurable social and legal problems. Amid this complexity, lies a web of seemingly irreconcilable forces and contradictions. How do we more fully appreciate the dilemmas and remedy the suffering of the human condition? Perhaps the antidote is ‘deceptively simple’ – Love conquers all. We must use our heads and hearts to solve the world’s complex problems. As J. California Cooper writes towards the end of Family, “History don’t repeat itself, people repeat themselves! History couldn’t do it if you all didn’t make it.” She reminds us that the “future has a past.” So we have a choice – to love and to embrace our interconnectedness. This relational stance paves the way for justice to prevail. (more…)

New and Notable: Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality

Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality

By Richard Kluger
New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 2004
KF4155.K55 2004

From Dean Mark Niles:

Simple Justice is the story of the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed racial segregation in public schools in the United States and of the people, policies and strategies that led up to the decision. It tells hundreds of stories spanning several decades involving the multiple cases that were joined together in the Brown appeal, and all the work of lawyers, law professors and other citizens that helped move the nation to this historic decision.

I first read the book when I was in middle school and I was particularly drawn even then to the story of Charles Hamilton Houston, a dean at Howard University Law School in the 1920’s. Houston was the primary architect of the successful NAACP legal strategy that led, step by step, to the Brown decision. He was also a central driving force in the education of the attorneys, including future Solicitor General and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who would carry this strategy into the nation’s courtrooms. The book gave me the sense at an early age of the power of both law and lawyers to achieve social change and the important role that law schools (and law school deans) can play in that process.

I keep my old copy of the book on my desk to remind me of the potential for legal education and educators to pursue and promote social justice in our communities. (more…)

New & Notable: In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
By Truman Capote
New York: Vintage Books, 1993
HV6533.K3C3 1993

From Professor Marilyn Berger:

“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’”  So begins the first line of Truman Capote’s ground-breaking, non-fiction masterpiece about a prairie town in the heartland of America and the lives and deaths of six people—four are members of the Clutter family who lived on River Valley Farm‑‑William, wife and mother Bonnie; daughter Nancy (sixteen); and Kenyon (fifteen). Forever linked to the Clutter family are the lives of the two men who saw the Clutter family last on November 15, 1959, Richard Eugene Hickock (Dick) and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally murdered the Clutter family.  Five years, four months, and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Dick and Perry were hanged for the four murders at a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas. (more…)

New & Notable: Red Harvest

Red Harvest
By Dashiell Hammett
New York: Vintage Books, 1992
PS3515.A4347R4 1992

From Professor John Weaver:

I was a second year law student with some time on my hands.

That’s not the usual case, but it happened.  It was mid afternoon, too early to go to a bar, so I went to the local public library (Did I say I was also low on funds?).  There I found Ross McDonald’s Lew Archer, the first Hard Boiled Detective (hereafter “HBD”—I did learn some things in law school), I had ever encountered. (more…)

2009 Faculty READ posters

This year, our READ posters feature Professors Lorraine Bannai and Robert Chang.  Please check out the display located at the bottom of the stairs on the main floor of the library.

New & Notable: No-No Boy

No-No Boy
By John Okada
Seattle: University of Washington Press, c1981, c1976
PS3565.K33N6 1981

From Professor Lorraine Bannai:
After they had been removed from their West Coast homes and left all they had built and after they found themselves incarcerated in desolate camps, the over 110,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II were subject to a further indignity.  Early in 1943, they were handed questionnaires.  One of the questions asked if they were willing to serve in the U.S. armed forces; another asked them to swear their loyalty to the United States.  The questions caused confusion and, in some, resentment.

Ichiro Yamada answered both questions “No” and became one of the “No-No Boys,” sentenced to a prison term and made an outcast in his own community.  John Okada’s landmark book explores the complex and mixed reactions that Japanese Americans had to the internment.  Most felt that they could prove their loyalty through their cooperation and by fighting for their country.  Some said they would fight if freed.  Some could not swear allegiance to a country that had interned them.  Ichiro paid dearly for the answers he gave and struggled with the belief that he had done the wrong thing.

I think that this book, which follows Ichiro’s post-war life in Seattle, is important because of its more nuanced view of the Japanese American community’s conflicted responses to wartime incarceration.  But, more importantly, the book’s importance derives from the fact that John Okada wrote this book in 1957 – a Japanese American writing about Japanese Americans long before there was a body of work that one could call Asian American literature.  Mr. Okada passed away at 47, never knowing that he paved the way for others to speak of the dark chapter that was the internment. (more…)