Thursday, 26 July 2012

Unearthed - 'Uncommon law' by A.P. Herbert

One of the things I enjoy most is discovering new books, particularly by little known authors or books that have been obscured and buried over the decades, or even centuries. I 'unearth' new (well old usually) books and authors in many different places. Sometimes it is reading reviews of other books on Amazon which leads to a new find, or browsing the shelves of a second hand bookshop. Most often though it is chatting with people, either online or in real life, that I discover so many good books. From time to time I'd like to share these books with you too. Where I do, I'll tag the posts with 'unearthed'.

This week, my parents came up for a visit. Over after dinner coffee, we were discussing how there were so many great books published in the past that were acclaimed at the time, but are long since out of print and languishing in obscurity. He told me about a very interesting writer he remembered called "A P Herbert", so I looked him up. He was a British Member of Parliament, who was also a humorist, playwright and law reform activist. He wrote a number of novels and plays, but was most famous a humorous series of writings called 'Misleading Cases in the Common Law'. These were satirical law reports or 'judgements' about different aspects of English law, highlighting the absurdity of many laws in the English legal system.

These writings were collected together in the book "Uncommon Law". A number of them are about laws which have since been changed, but they are still very funny, or so reviewers on Amazon say. One particularly helpful reviewer gave it 3 stars, but "if you like reading Jeeves and Wooster give it another star", which I think sums it up quite nicely.