Friday, May 27, 2016

Time out for books: Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that, if you haven't already purchased this book, do yourself a favor and buy the hardback version. I probably would have gone the electronic route had it not been for my friend who purchased Notorious RBG and loaned it to me. It is a gorgeous book with so many wonderful photos and terrific graphics, befitting someone whose style has become part of her legacy. Co-authors Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik dedicated the book "To the women on whose shoulders we stand" and I am so grateful to women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for doing so much of the heavy lifting that moved boulders for women like me.

More than anything, I take delight in the fact that RBG defies easy labeling. On the surface, you might conclude she is a traditional woman - in a wonderful marriage to her husband and partner, Marty, for 56 years, mother to a daughter and son and grandmother of four. She is diminutive and soft-spoken but don't let these characteristics fool you. As the book notes, RBG is "Not a bombshell thrower but a bombshell achiever." She has quietly gone about her business of law since 1960 but her cases have carved a path of progressiveness through social and legal muck.

This is the second book this year I have read about remarkable women - the first being My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. While these woman led very different personal lives, I was struck by how similar they were in style and approach. They are listeners and more than anything, hard workers - putting in hours that most people would never dream of.  On the more frivolous side, both Steinem and Ginsburg have also received attention for their appearance. While physically nearly opposites with Steinem's blonde to Ginsburg's brunette, both were known for achieving a certain fashion distinction.

And Ginsburg's sense of fashion and whimsy is perhaps most evident in her collars - called jabots - and we see one on the above cover. In August of 2014, Katie Couric interviewed Ginsburg about her collars and it is her dissension jabot that earned the slogan, "Fear the Frill". It looks like RBG may earn yet another distinction among bead enthusiasts as advancing the cause of bead art in the courts!

The book summarizes how we can each be like RBG:

  • Work for what you believe in. 
  • But pick your battles. 
  • And don't burn your bridges. 
  • Don't be afraid to take charge. 
  • Think about what you want then do the work. 
  • But then enjoy what makes you happy. 
  • Bring along your crew. 
  • Have a sense of humor.

What a terrific book about an amazing, wonderful woman! Thank you RBG!

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