What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? 
Stephen Sedley’s “Ashes and Sparks.”Sedley was a senior judge in our court of appeal until last year and in this collection of essays he writes on a range of issues that concern the individual and the state. He belongs, as one commentator noted, to the English tradition of radical nonconformism — the title is taken from a 17th-century Leveller pamphlet. But you could have no interest in the law and read his book for pure intellectual delight, for the exquisite, finely balanced prose, the prickly humor, the knack of artful quotation and an astonishing historical grasp. A novelist could be jealous.