Welcome to “Marginal Interests,” a series highlighting the varied reading habits of the local comp community. This month, we spoke to Jon Robinson, attorney with his own Strongpoint Law Firm and author of Longshore and DBA Review. Read on for Robinson’s favorites and advice for commuting book-worms!
Comp Blog: What’s the best book you’ve read recently and what spoke to you about it?
Robinson: In the last year, I’d say Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The book is great. It is a hero story set in a dystopian future. The best part is that the book is grounded in 1980s pop culture so, while the universe that Cline created is completely new, it still feels familiar. I liked it so much that I bought the audiobook to listen to while driving the Causeway Bridge. Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: The Next Generation fame reads the book and does a really good job.
As for what spoke to me about it, I spend most days reading or writing pleadings, reviewing deposition transcripts, and arguing. When I read for pleasure, I appreciate stories that can transport me to a different world. Ready Player One was a good escape.
Comp Blog: What’s your favorite book of all time? Why?
Robinson: My favorite book of all time is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. I like satire and dark humor – Catch-22 fits the bill. The writing is clever and the plot never gets old.
Comp Blog: Any favorite literary characters either from childhood or now?
Robinson: I have a lot of favorites, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Of course I like Wade Watts from Ready Player One, and Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22. But I’m also a fan of Mickey Haller from the Lincoln Lawyer series and Harry Bosch [from The Black Echo.] I like Roland Deschain from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I also like Dean Moriarty from On the Road. If we are going back really far, I was always a fan of Othello. Iago may be the best villain ever written.
Also, in the first Game of Thrones book, there was a great character named Syrio Forel. He was a minor character, Arya Stark’s sword instructor. Spoiler alert! When the Starks are captured in the first book there is a great chapter where Syrio fends off the Kingsguard so that Arya can escape. It is one of the best chapters in the series. I wish they had done more with it in the HBO series.
Comp Blog: Favorite author right now?
Robinson: I’d have to say Michael Connelly. I’m a big fan of the Mickey Haller and Harry Bosch books. I’m presently reading Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada. We’ll see if my opinion changes…
Comp Blog: Are there any books that you return to again and again?
Robinson: I’m a big one for re-reading novels. I’ve gone through Ready Player One, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Frank Herbert’s Dune and The Lincoln Lawyer multiple times. And then I buy the audiobooks and listen to those while driving the Causeway Bridge.
Comp Blog: What genres do you gravitate to the most?
Robinson: Mostly science fiction and fantasy.
Comp Blog: What’s your book collection like (paper or digital, organized or chaotic, etc.)?
Robinson: All paper, except for audiobooks. And all over the place. Chaotic. I have books—stacks of books—in every room. It’s been this way since college.
Comp Blog: Any favorite book stores you’ve encountered?
Robinson: I order so many books online now. Most of my audiobooks are from iTunes.
Comp Blog: How do you think reading benefits your personal and/or professional life?
Robinson: Reading helps me learn about different cultures and people. It is a way to gain compassion for folks from different walks of life. Plus, it helps me decompress from a long day of work—to let my mind recharge before going back to whatever case I am developing.