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Book Review: Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Reviewed by Meilee Anderson

I enjoyed the chance to learn more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the book “In My Own Words.” When I saw the audiobook “Notorious RBG” was available in my library app I snagged a copy.

As I listened to the 5-hour long audiobook narrated by Andi Arndt I had to smile. Not only did I enjoy the content but listening to the narration was like listening to Siri properly caffeinated and happy to read aloud. There was something charming about the dulcet yet at times robotic tone of Ms. Arndt.

If you get a chance to read the printed version of “Notorious RBG”, do because it contains rare archival photographs, documents, and illustrations. I can see why this book was a New York Times Bestseller. It’s a fast read. Most of the content in this book was familiar to me, yet there were new layers of insight into RBG. If I had to choose one book to reread “In My Own Words” or “Notorious RBG” I’d pick Notorious.

Things I learned, aside from a deeper understanding of her positions on equality and the law…RBG chewed on her pencils and was a night owl. When she wasn’t in court but still needed to work in the office, she would sometimes wear a turban. Creative way to deal with a bad hair day? I love that about her. The more I learn about her marriage to Marty Ginsburg the more I think #relationshipgoals.

Notorious RBG”, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I marvel at RBG’s self-discipline and work ethic. She could outwork people half her age. I like the way she committed and pursued things in life she wanted like her education, career, and making time for opera and theater. I respect her ability to measure words and thoughtfully reply both in writing and in conversation. She strikes me as a careful considerate woman.

“If my opinion runs more than twenty pages,” she said, “I am disturbed that I couldn’t do it shorter.” The mantra in her chambers is “Get it right and keep it tight.” She disdains legal Latin, and demands extra clarity in an opinion’s opening lines, which she hopes the public will understand. “If you can say it in plain English, you should,” RBG says. Going through “innumerable drafts,” the goal is to write an opinion where no sentence should need to be read twice. “I think that law should be a literary profession,” RBG says, “and the best legal practitioners regard law as an art as well as a craft.” ― Irin Carmon

“RBG has never been one to shrink from a challenge. People who think she is hanging on to this world by a thread underestimate her. RBG’s main concession to hitting her late seventies was to give up waterskiing.” ― Irin Carmon

I’m ready now to watch the movie “On the Basis of Sex”. I wanted to make sure I took time to read about Ruth before seeing Hollywood’s highlight reel of RBG life. I’m glad I took a deeper dive into the life of this influential woman and went beyond the headlines.

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Meilee Anderson
Meilee Anderson
A marketing consultant by day, avid reader most nights. To say she’s a voracious reader is an understatement. Meilee completed the 2020 Tacoma Extreme Reading Challenge (50 books in 50 weeks) by March 31. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book Meilee can be found exploring the PNW with her husband, kids, and menagerie.