Tuesday, November 28, 2006

First Thoughts: Back Bay and One L

Back Bay seems like a cheesy 70s novel so far, but, hey, nothing wrong with that. I have this old, old used copy with a cutout on the front cover, like one of those peekaboo windows to one of the characters' faces on the inside flap. Then on the back of the front cover are artists' renderings of the fictional characters in different dramatic poses. It's really dated. The other funny thing is that there is a big family tree in the front and the bottom row, which represents the hip new generation in their twenties, were all born in the early fifties. But the book was published in 1979 so it makes sense.

I'm really excited about One L because it's literary nonfiction. I had always thought it was a novel about the first year of Harvard Law School right up until I read the preface. Nonfiction is rapidly giving fiction a run for its money in terms of what I like to read most these days, especially with the explosion in fascinating literary nonfiction titles over the past few years. See The Hinterlands for a really complete rundown on this genre. Anyway, interestingly, One L was also written in the seventies. Scott Turow's first year at Harvard Law School was in the fall of 1975. Probaby the moment I was born, he was reading a case for a class the next day. Here are two of his groovy points of view from that decade: The first is that, upon walking into the registration room on his first day, he notes that most of the men wear their hair "quite short." The second is this: "The casebooks are especially dear, $16 to $25 when bought new, the prices probably inflated because the publishers recognize that casebooks are required reading and have to be purchased." A quick Google search shows that casebooks nowadays are between $75 and $100.



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