Jury duty…one of the few places in today’s world you will see ALMOST EVERYONE carrying a book. Why? Because electronic devices (even e-readers) are not allowed in the courtroom and potential jurists know they may have LOTS of downtime. Therefore, even people who haven’t picked a book up years may be reading.

I actually like jury duty and not just for the chance to read – ha! However, this time around I reported on Monday for a very short time and was never called back during the week (darn it!!).

During the half hour or so I was in the jury room on Monday, I was playing “book detective” trying to see what books people brought. Would it have been creepy to obviously look at the books and jot down titles? I thought so. So my list below only includes the books I could reasonably and non obviously look at and also remember until I was released and had time to make notes (this was difficult!!) Oh how I wish I could have continued this “study” throughout the day and week!

Is this a recommended reading list? NO. Although I did find a couple I may buy for myself or others.

As you probably know, in the courtroom, jurors are anonymous and only identified by a number. Therefore, the potential jurists reading these books will also remain anonymous and are only identified as Jurors 1-6. Also I need to remember to use “carrying” not “reading” as I have no evidence they were actually reading the book (as we never got to the “downtime) please let the record show these books were only carried in by the person 😉

Here are the books I spotted at jury duty:

Juror 1: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this book had been sitting in this person’s bookcase for some time as I trouble tracking it down online. He was carrying Murdock’s Law (Page Murdock, US Deputy Marshall, Book 3) (published 1987). However, since this is #3 in the series I can assume the juror had read the first two at some point. Here is the publisher’s description:

The big ranchers wanted a gunslinger marshal. The small ranchers had a hired gun. Even Murdock’s deputies couldn’t be trusted. But the badge on Murdock’s chest meant law, and he’d enforce it the best way he knew . . . with a gun.

Looks like a classic western. And has the word “gun” three times in three sentences of its boilerplate! It has pretty good reviews on goodreads and Amazon.

Juror # 2 was carrying A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2).

I am not a watcher of Game of  Thrones so I didn’t immediately recognize this title for the pop culture icon it is. Published in 2000, this is the book behind the series’s second season.

In this eagerly awaited sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any you have ever experienced.

Looks like a good pick for a GOT fan to get through jury duty.

Juror #3 had this book: The Big Book of Answers.

This actually looks like a really fun and interesting reference book. It may make a good gift or coffee table book! Thank you juror #3.

There is so much to know about our world that sometimes it can be overwhelming. If you don’t recall everything you learned in high school or college- and who does?- now you can get answers to over 1,500 of your questions on 19 important subjects in just one book! Packed with information, The Big Book of Answers covers everything from the hard sciences to important facts about human civilization.

Finally, a book I recognized!

Juror #4 was holding  Little Fires Everywhere. I’ve seen a lot about this book this season and considered putting it on my fall-winter reading list. But the plot just didn’t interest me too much.

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

It’s getting good reviews and is a bestseller so I may revisit this book at some point.

Juror #5 was holding a hardcover version of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon (1969.)

I am a fan of F.Scott, as I mentioned in this post but I had trouble getting into his most recently released stories (I had these on my summer reading list.) But this – the last of his writing -is intriguing to me.

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America’s booming film industry.

I would have loved to discuss this book with Juror #5 if we had the time.

The final book – from Juror #6 – I was able to get my eyes on in the short time I had was Natural Right and History (Walgreen Foundation Lectures).

In this classic work, Leo Strauss examines the problem of natural right and argues that there is a firm foundation in reality for the distinction between right and wrong in ethics and politics. On the centenary of Strauss’s birth, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Walgreen Lectures which spawned the work, Natural Right and History remains as controversial and essential as ever.

Hmmmm. Admittedly this is too deep for me even though I studied Joyce. Good for you, Juror #6.

This concludes my observations from that single hour of jury duty. Hopefully I will get called again someday and will be able to play book detective again. Until then I will continue to spy on the books strangers are reading in other public places, but nowhere else will I see so many at once!

And if you are wondering what book I had with me, it was Manhattan Beach, which I posted about earlier this week.

Does anyone else spy on books in public or is it just me?

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