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NOTORIOUS RBG: Thoughts and Five Related Books to Read

notorious rgbThe most surprising fact I learned about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – aka Notorious RBG – this weekend is that her reputation as a fiery dissenter on the Court is a product of just the last 10 to 15 years of her tenure. For most of her storied career, RBG has been someone who works to develop consensus, fighting for equality in the law through incremental steps and focused decision-making.

I’m so glad that I finally picked up my copy of Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhink during this weekend’s readathon. This breezy, informative, and well-produced biography was fun to read and piqued my interest to dig more into the issues that were part of her career as a pioneering lawyer and judge.

And of course, the book is filled with many more fun facts than that: RBG works out regularly and (at 83) can do 20 push-ups. She has a particular jeweled collar she likes to wear when reading dissents. She was the first tenured female professor at Columbia Law School. She lives on coffee and can get away with just a few hours of sleep every night. She wrote a book about civil procedure in Sweden. She’s basically a super woman.

In addition to just being boundary-breaking in her life and career, RGB worked to secure equal rights for women as co-founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s. Reading about the cases RBG helped lead filled me with feminist rage (in a good way). You guys, it’s almost ridiculous to think that within the last 50 years a woman could be fired for getting pregnant and widowers weren’t entitled to Social Security benefits because men weren’t acknowledged as caregivers for their children. Through her early career as an attorney, RBG led a focused, incremental dismantling of laws that hurt women, working towards a more egalitarian vision that saw men and women as equals. There’s a lot to admire in her strategy.

The only drawback of Notorious RBG – if you can even call it a drawback – is that it’s so brief. As I was reading, I wanted to keep learning more about the various movements, organizations and moments that RBG has been part of through her career. So of course, I started putting together a Notorious RBG Reading List:

If you enjoy feminist biographies, Tumblr, kick ass ladies or legal drama, Notorious RGB might be right up your alley — I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) April 26, 2016, 8:05 am

    RGB sounds like an amazing woman! I need to get my hands on this book. I want to read the Steinem book too.

    • Kim May 1, 2016, 8:48 am

      I’ve heard lots of good things about that one, it’s high on my list.

  • Aarti April 26, 2016, 8:37 am

    I was going to suggest that you read When Everything Changed, which is the book that first made me into a super-ardent RBG supporter! It’s also an excellent book to get those feminist hackles up 🙂

    • Kim May 1, 2016, 8:47 am

      That one is on my shelf right now, it’s moving up to the TBR quickly!

  • Amanda April 26, 2016, 10:37 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I love RBG and definitely have the good feminist rage from this read as well. My Beloved World was excellent and so interesting as was Toobin’s The Oath. I really need to read Sisters in Law soon I think.

    • Kim May 1, 2016, 8:47 am

      That was the first one I put on my hold list at the library — can’t wait!

  • Codi April 26, 2016, 12:49 pm

    I can’t wait to read this! You got me jazzed up to participate in the next readathon!!

    Also, I giggled all of the way through this post plus your last 2 when you’ve put “RGB” every time instead of “RBG” even after writing out her name hehe. For some reason, it’s stuck in your head like that!

    • Kim April 26, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Oh my gosh, thanks for pointing that out!! I deal with image files at work in RGB format and totally got that stuck in my head. Hopefully I was able to fix all of them now 🙂

  • Amelia April 26, 2016, 12:57 pm

    I LOVED this book, it was quick and I learned so much about her life.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End April 26, 2016, 6:22 pm

    She can do TWENTY PUSH-UPS? Kim, what have I been doing with my life??

    • Kim May 1, 2016, 8:44 am

      It’s pretty amazing… she’s a bad ass.

  • Kristen M. April 27, 2016, 9:52 am

    I had seen this book and was mildly interested but now I really want to grab a copy! She’s rather amazing.

  • Michelle April 27, 2016, 3:20 pm

    I definitely want to get to this one some day. We all need to read about the heroes who went before us and fought for us!

  • Heather April 30, 2016, 8:57 am

    This is on my must-read list. I read the Sotomayer last year and really enjoyed it.

  • maphead May 1, 2016, 7:55 pm

    I now must read this! Thanks for inspiring me to do so.
    By the way, The Nine is excellent!
    Here’s a link to my review in case u wanna know more: