Top of the books

Best legal book of 1995: Project Finance: a legal guide, Graham Vinter, Sweet & Maxwell, £6 Few books address the legal dimensions of project financing and this admirably fills the gap. Concise and well structured, it explains technical terms and acronyms as well as the law.

Best book of 1995: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Andrade and Guerrero

If you can lift these two weighty volumes, you are in for the delight of seeing and reading about what money can buy – second only to a visit to see the originals in Madrid.

Favourite book of all time: The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, Julian Barnes

An audacious fictional history of the world which at first seems to consist of intriguing disconnected stories, but which gradually interlock. A varied and witty read.

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? Any new work on John Singer Sargeant.

Mark Dillon, chair, Trainee Solicitors Group

Best legal book of 1995: Applicants Guide To Judicial

Review (Public Law Project)

A concise and user-friendly guide to an area of increasing importance. It provides clear information on the whole judicial process and is essential reading for lawyers wanting to pursue public law remedies for clients disadvantaged by administrative decisions.

Best book of 1995: The Body Farm, Patricia Cornwell

Dr Kay Scarpetta, the driven, hard-bitten forensic pathologist, uses the latest scientific techniques to track down a serial killer. I finished this book in the small hours, and then slept with the light on. Not recommended for the squeamish.

Favourite book of all time: The Periodic Table, Primo Levi

An ingeniously crafted work which gives glimpses of the life story of its late author. Levi, one-time industrial chemist, Italian partisan and inmate of Auschwitz uses elements from the periodic table both as chapter headings and as a point of departure to discuss key events in his life and the nature of the human condition.

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? The Life of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell

It is common knowledge that Boswell secured lasting fame for himself and his subject when he produced what is regarded as the finest biography in the English language. Less well known is that Boswell was, by profession, an (unsuccessful) lawyer at both Scottish and English Bars.

Geraldine McCool, partner at Leigh Day & Co

Best legal book of 1995: Multi-Party Actions, Legal Action Group, £35

Published by Martyn Day, Paul Balen – and me – with a foreword by Michael Napier who wrote a good book on conditional fees this year.

Best book of 1995: Immediate Action, Andy McNab, Bantam Press, £15.99

The MoD's reaction to this tome was far more interesting than the book itself. As I act for scores of service personnel, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing.

Favourite book of all time: Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco, Picador, £8.9The best bedtime book of all time. Two paragraphs of this puts me to sleep every time.

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? Any book about golf courses in exotic parts of the world.

David Penry-Davey QC, Chair-elect of Bar Council

Best legal book of 1995: Cross and Tapper on Evidence, eighth edition, Colin Tapper

This edition incorporates 3,000 new cases. A clear and comprehensive guide for lawyers in a fast-changing world where silence is no longer golden.

Best book of 1995: Watergate – The Corruption and Fall of Richard Nixon, Fred Emery, Pimlico, £12.50

This was actually published in 1994 but it has taken me a year to get round to reading it. It is a well researched and highly readable account of the goings-on as recounted by Emery as foreign correspondent of The Times, but now with the benefit of much additional material, including recently released White House tapes.

Favourite book of all time: The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Ratlidge, £12.9A wonderful and moving account of the life of Betrand Russell. His clarity of thought is reflected in his fine English prose and the half-page prologue, "What have I lived for", moves me as much now as it did when I first read it nearly 30 years ago.

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? Taste of The Sea, Rick Stein, BBC, £16.9I love seafood and cookery books and this offering by the chef at Padstow Seafood Restaurant looks rather tasty.

Lord Woolf

Best legal book of 1995: Judicial Review, A Thematic Approach, Brigid Hadfield, Gill & Macmillan

This is a different and novel approach to a fashionable area of the law. It draws attention to what is happening in Scotland and Ireland, which are jurisdictions to which too little attention is usually paid by English lawyers and judges.

Best book of 1995: The Habsburgs, Viking, £A remarkable dynasty which is brought to life by Andrew Wheatcroft.

Favourite book of all time: Pride and Prejudice

Even before the recent television serialisation.

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? Accountable To No One, Simon Jenkins, Hamish Hamilton, £15.9

Lord Mackay, Lord Chancellor

Best legal book of 1995: Judicial Reviews of Administrative Action fifth edition, SA DeSmith

Best book of 1995: The Faber Book of Science, John Carey

Favourite book of all time: Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan

Which book would you like to receive this Christmas? Roy Jenkins' biography of Gladstone