One of the challenges of being a young adult is trying to express genuine interest in whatever career path your friends have chosen to undertake right out of college. I know my own friends struggle with this — I have heard all of the possible pained, perfunctory responses from my peers when I rave about some entertaining college softball game I covered.

One book that made it momentarily easier for me to engage with my friends who are in law school was “One L,” which I referenced in a previous Bookshelf as a persuasive attempt at a gift from my lawyer aunt, but which turned out to be a quite compelling account of what it was like as a first-year law student (a “1L”) at Harvard in the 1970s. In an honest, compelling and periodically humorous narrative, Scott Turow touches on what have become archetypes of law school literature: the competitive students from diverse backgrounds united by common struggle, and the esoteric, intellectual professors pushing them to their limits. He shows all the gory details of the first-year rite of passage, from the first experiences with the dreaded Socratic method to the finishing touches on a term-long study guide.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.