NOTORIOUS RBG: THE LIFE & TIMES OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Read this if you’re in the mood for: feminism, general badassery, witty dialogue, diversity, politics, non-fiction, biography

Summary:  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she has only tried to make the world a little better and a little freer.

But nearly a half-century into her career, something funny happened to the octogenarian: she won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg first made her name as a feminist pioneer are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute.

Notorious RBG, inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself and brought to you by its founder and an award-winning feminist journalist, is more than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg's family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

Read this if you like:
BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey
Ok, so BOSSYPANTS is a comedic memoir and NOTORIOUS RBG is a political biography (I guess, technically? It's too fun to be a biography!) of a Supreme Court Justice... but to be honest, this is the first political biography I've ever read, and the charming accessibility of the writing reminds me of BOSSYPANTS. Plus, RBG has sass, and so does TIna Fey.

The Rec: As a reader of YA fiction, historical romance, and the occasional comedic memoir, I went slightly outside my normal parameters with this book -- and loved it. I'm a feminist who's been putting in a concerted effort to be knowledgeable about politics and current events, so it was time to expand my readerly horizons. NOTORIOUS RBG is an excellent bridge book to more traditional non-fiction fare -- it has the lighthearted and admiring tone of the Tumblr that inspired it, but it's serious in its examination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a modern feminist icon.

Though I went into the audiobook familiar with RBG's more recent Supreme Court dissents, I was blown away by how, decades before she was a Supreme Court Justice, she almost single-handedly got laws passed that have affected every aspect of my life as a woman. I didn't realize the extent of her influence and the intelligent ways she got a legal system led by white males to, slowly but surely, rule in favor of progressive policies that granted equal rights to women and minorities. Though we still have a ways to go, RBG has spent decades chiseling away at the patriarchy, one case at a time.

With Justice Scalia's recent passing, it's an incredibly timely book, and it gave me a better understanding of the legal implications of choosing a replacement justice. But timeliness aside, the best part about NOTORIOUS RBG is that it left me with an incredible amount of respect for a unassuming-yet-relentlessly hardworking woman who smashed every barrier placed before her. She's depicted as both a heroine to admire and a human to empathize with... and she could beat me in a push-up contest.

The Caveat: The audiobook is great, but the physical copy has photos and other visuals that many readers would appreciate.

You should read this because: RBG is a woman to admire, and her pioneering influence touches nearly every aspect of modern American life. NOTORIOUS RBG is an entertaining but informative tribute to Ginsburg as both a woman and a justice.

Read this book!
NOTORIOUS RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik (HarperCollins, October 2015)
Audiobook narrated by Andi Arndt
Indiebound/B&N

Recommendation by: Donna