What I’ve been reading

I’ve always been interested in legal writing or writing in general because I never liked how I wrote.  And I see so much terrible writing in legal papers.


A few weeks ago, I picked up Quack This Way, which is an interview of David Foster Wallace, by Bryan Garner.  As a lawyer, I was familiar with Garner through his books on legal writing and a legal writing CLE I took with him years ago.  I know David Foster Wallace from reading Infinite Jest[1] years ago.  So bizarre that those two had any relationship at all.

As it turns out, David Foster Wallace wrote a review of Bryan Garner’s Dictionary of Modern American Usage, which started their relationship.  Through that relationship Garner introduced David Foster Wallace to Scalia of all people (pp 13–15, if you are interested).  And they got along.  You wouldn’t think they would.  At least I didn’t.

98154667_4067775853263086_1945768859675918336_nSo, I picked up Consider the Lobster, which has David Foster Wallace’s review of Bryan Garner’s Dictionary of Modern American usage.



Going back to the interview, it explains why so much legal writing is terrible— we want to show that we belong, that we are members of that group (“I think it often stems from insecurity and that people feel that unless they can mimic the particular jargon and style of their peers, they won’t be taken seriously, and their ideas won’t be taken seriously.“) (pp 48–49).

I also learned what a Snoot is and that I am not smart enough to be a Snoot—One of “the Few, the Proud, the More or Less Constantly Appalled at Everyone Else.”

[1] I don’t remember much about it other than that it was really long, very hard to read, and it involved tennis.

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