Mary's Library

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What Wilhelm is Reading Now

In anticipation of my imminent change in status from "retired" to "semi-retired" upon becoming a judge pro tem, I am currently working my way through that page-turner Washington Court Rules -- State Pamphlet 2006 (West Publishing, 2006). It is a page-turner in that I can scan many pages and conclude, "nope, nothing on this page that I need to know." On the other hand, there is an appallingly large amount of stuff that I do need to know.

With respect to literary merits, Court Rules has little to recommend it. There is essentially no character development. In fact, there are precious few characters at all, except for some shadowy figures, sketchily described as "plaintiff", "clerk", or "interested party". While Court Rules is more or less organized by topic, there is really nothing that you could legitimately call a plot. As for literary style, well, I imagine that Soviet reports on agricultural production under the latest five-year plan were a tad more sprightly.

So, why does such a book continue to sell, with new editions each year? For one thing, if you need this book, you really need it. Failure to comply with its edicts could get you yelled at, or even thrown into jail, I suppose, in extreme cases. And, if you get to wear a robe for professional, rather than for fashion, purposes, then you really had better know the contents of this hefty paperback. (I haven't even started yet on that series known to the cognizenti as "RCW", which has more volumes than Tom Clancy. Ach du lieber.)

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