The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
A holiday custom at the University of Chicago Law School is for the faculty to be asked to recommend a book or two that they have recently read. (Here are my recommendations from two years ago.) Here are my two selections for the very strange year of 2016:
An unfortunately timely book. Inazu makes the case, in engaging prose and with passionate empathy, for finding ways to live together despite our deep moral conflicts. One of the book's great strengths is that it covers a wide range of applications, from religion to sexual orientation, from public action to private action. And the book also reflects a moral confidence, maintaining that we can and should find ways to peaceably coexist without becoming skeptical about our own values.
Ben Winters, "The Last Policeman"
A small-town policeman solves crimes while the world discovers that an asteroid is soon going to collide with Earth and end life as we know it. The mystery plots are good, but the really interesting parts are the descriptions of ordinary life in a doomed world. Some people panic, some people slide into debauchery, but many people just continue to go on trying to do their jobs as best they can. You might fairly call this an "existentialist detective novel." It is the first in a trilogy, and all three books are very good.