Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bar Books

Books I’m Reading While Studying for the Bar 

I’ve always been a voracious reader. It was an escape from my scary household when I was a kid. I loved character driven fiction and read a novel a week starting in late elementary school. I loved disappearing into the worlds fiction created in my mind.

But then law school sort of broke my imagination. The time before law school (BLS), I did my best to read books that wouldn’t be turned into movies or, if they were, before they became movies. I would never even see the movies. I read plenty of books that hid in dark corners of libraries and would never be turned into anything other than dust collectors. Bur during law school I don’t think I even read in bed before lights out during the semester. However, once the first set of finals came around, I was frozen with panic and I turned to my old friends – books. Oddly, I found that I could only read books that had been turned into movies that I had seen. My study schedule for finals: study for 30 minutes, read made-into-a-movie fiction for 30 minutes, nap for 30 minutes and repeat, while nursing a single sugar-free Red Bull for 18 hour periods.

I am now studying for the bar exam 7 years after graduation. I’ve already passed one, but had an urge to take the one in the state where I now live. Every few years I like to throw my life into upheaval and I think taking the bar is a manifestation of that. I have no reason to take this bar and no need to pass. I have a job that pays well. *knock on wood* I have no hopes of practicing at a firm or really elsewhere. I can’t imagine a scenario where it would make me more money than I already make. But at least it’s productive upheaval. It’s requiring me to focus and concentrate and I’m learning really just for the sake of learning.  If I pass, it’ll be the greatest accomplishment of my life so far. If I fail, it will be so devastating that it might just break my upheaval/self-sabotage habit.

Studying now, I find myself back needing to read to calm my stress. I don’t follow my 30-30-30 cycle or having to read books that have been turned into movies anymore, but I do read before bed and when I wake. (Reading in bed in the morning is my favorite time/way to read, but it’s the most time-consuming and tends to send me into anxiety-dom because I “waste” time reading when I should be doing something else.)

Books I’ve read/re-read since I started studying for the bar a month ago:

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Secrethood – Rebecca Wells (re-read)
On Writing – Stephen King (re-read)
California – Edan Lepucki
Red Dragon – Thomas Harris (re-read)
Black Dahlia – James Ellroy (re-read, in process)
Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong – Jessica Bacal (in process)
The Girl on the Train - Laura McBride (on deck)

I should probably read my outlines more often instead of reading more books, but reading what I want to read is like a tranquilizer for me and studying for the Bar exam is disheartening at best and suicidal-thoughts stressful at worst.

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