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How to be a prolific reader when you have no time to read

eleanor-chung-generation-jdI was always very envious of professors who say things like, “That very point was raised by X in her book, ‘Recent Developments in Z Law.’” There was simply no way that I could catch up, to do reading additional to the required reading, in the paucity of time available to me as a
parent.

This wistfulness converged with another emotion of law school—raw anxiousness, which is best expressed in recipe form:

Stress-induced stomach ulcers
5.5 hours of interrupted sleep — on the hour, every hour
3 cups of full-caffeine coffee to get out the door
40 minutes of traffic while listening to all the troubles of the world on morning news radio
2 hours of constitutional law and/or administrative law class

Let ingredients marinade

There was nothing I could do about the sleep, traffic  or classes. But, I did cut down to half-caff, eliminated the morning news radio and put an end to my wistfulness. How? With a podcast!

My favorite is The Week in Health Law, hosted by UM Carey Law’s own Professor Frank Pasquale, as well as Professor Nicolas Terry of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. Each episode is interesting and the hosts and guests have a sense of humor.

I listened to Episode 107, with guests Aaron Kesselheim and Ameet Sarpatwari (a Carey Law grad!) to prepare for our Health Law Symposium on prescription drug pricing. (If you actually have time to read, you can also check out Kesselheim’s recent article in The New York Times on solutions to exorbitant drug costs. It’s coauthored with Baltimore’s own Joshua Sharfstein, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.)

When I needed to write a paper on a patient’s property rights in rare genetic disease sample sets for an internship at the National Institutes of Health, I listened to Episode 110, where guest Jessica Roberts of the University of Houston Law Center discussed state genetic property statutes.

Even when I don’t have something to urgently accomplish, I’ll browse for an interesting episode. For example, as an anthropology major who thinks that health care law and policy-makers would benefit from on-the-ground participant observation, I really enjoyed Episode 95.
Khiara Bridges, a professor of law and anthropology at Boston University, discussed her book on privacy rights and the experiences of Medicaid recipients.

If health law isn’t your cup of tea, I’ve also heard great things about First Mondays, where the hosts discuss upcoming Supreme Court cases and really get into the nitty gritty of the legal arguments.

Does anyone else rely on podcasts in order to read prolifically? I’d love to hear recommendations!

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