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Read | Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

May 20th, 2016 · 2 Comments · books, Reads

Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Biography of a Badass.

 

 

The authors Carmon and Knizhnik have done an impressive job of bringing the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg into pop culture while highlighting serious scholarship and the fierceness of the Supreme Court Justice. Before reading Notorious RBG, I considered her a  remarkable woman. While I was reading I responded personally more than once, pausing because her steadfast and resolute campaign for equality took my breath away. I have become a rabid fan of her work.

The book touches upon many aspects of her life: her early years, her academic appointments, her arguments before the court. She is one of the most important Civil Rights leaders of today. You will want everyone you know to read about this cultural icon.

 

RBG-early timeline

Her early years were often spent in the library with books [You know I couldn't possibly leave out that detail]:

“For a while, her favorites were books about Greek and Norse mythology, and then she graduated to Nancy Drew. “This was a girl who was an adventurer, who could think for herself, who was the dominant person in her relationship with her young boyfriend,” RBG remembered happily.”
RBG - timeline

Her early career:

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”

“1963: RBG becomes the second woman to teach full-time at Rutgers School of Law.   “[The dean explained] it was only fair to pay me modestly, because my husband had a very good job.”

“She said, ‘I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

 

RBG - and her partner Marty

 

The story of her marriage reveals what a true partnership looks like, decades before the idea of men sharing equal responsibilities in raising children reached popular culture.

 

RBG - workout routine

RBG’s physical resilience is yet another area where I was floored. She has survived cancer twice, and can do more pushups in her nineties than I can.

 

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She does it all with the clarity of her life’s work.

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity,” she said simply. “It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

“She likes to quote the opening words of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.” Beautiful, yes, but as she always points out, “we the people” originally left out a lot of people. “It would not include me,” RBG said, or enslaved people, or Native Americans. Over the course of the centuries, people left out of the Constitution fought to have their humanity recognized by it. RBG sees that struggle as her life’s work.”

No wonder she’s inspired a cult of admirers.

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Read it: Carmon, Irin, and Shana Knizhnik. 2015. Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

And check out the Tumblr that started it all.

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Middle Grade March- Books I Read; Gifts to Give

April 19th, 2016 · 1 Comment · books, Reads

4 books perfect for middle graders to readI finished reading 4 books in March, all middle grade (or younger) stories.

1. Cheaney, J. B. 2015. I Don’t Know How the Story Ends:

Our story begins in a dusty little town in California, a bustling place called Hollywood…

Isobel Ransom is anxious. Her father is away treating wounded soldiers in France, leaving Izzy to be the responsible one at home. But it’s hard to be responsible when your little sister is chasing a fasttalking, movie-obsessed boy all over Hollywood! Ranger is directing his very own moving picture… and wants Izzy and Sylvie to be his stars.

Izzy is sure Mother wouldn’t approve, but scouting locations, scrounging film, and “borrowing” a camera turn out to be the perfect distractions from Izzy’s worries. There’s just one problem: their movie has no ending. And it has to be perfect – the kind of ending where the hero saves the day and returns home to his family. Safe and sound.

My take: This would be nice to give to a young reader interested in history and especially the history of Hollywood.

2. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts:

An artfully playful collection of unexpected and remarkable facts about animals, illustrated by Swedish artist Maja Säfström.

Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom (Bees never sleep! Starfish don’t have brains!) are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.

My take: A charming book for all ages, my husband and I actually read this together, discussing the tidbits about animals.

3. Benjamin, Ali. 2015. The Thing about Jellyfish

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…

My take: Heartbreaking and beautiful, a wonderful book I would give to any sensitive middle grade student navigating the difficult lessons of growing up.

4. Shevah, Emma, and Helen Crawford-White. 2015. Dream on, Amber

My name is Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto.
I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

 My take: I adore spunky Amber who needs encouragement to stand up in the face of racial insensitivity and confront bullying. She creates her own world and works through insecurities by drawing. I wish I had read a book like this in my early years.

“Read a Middle Grade Novel” is part of the Book Riot “Read Harder” challenge for 2016. Read more about the challenge here.

Do you have any middle grade books to recommend?

 

* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting me!

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Read: Gloria Steinem – My Life on the Road

January 29th, 2016 · 1 Comment · books, Reads

Quote Gloria Steinem My life on the Road

 

Favorite Quotes:

“When humans are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.”

“What we’re told about this country is way too limited by generalities, sound bites, and even the supposedly enlightened idea that there are two sides to every question. In fact, many questions have three or seven or a dozen sides.”

“Decisions are best made by the people affected by them.”

“We might have known sooner that the most reliable predictor of whether a country is violent within itself—or will use military violence against another country—is not poverty, natural resources, religion, or even degree of democracy; it’s violence against females. It normalizes all other violence.”

I was angry because young men in politics were treated like rising stars, but young women were treated like – well, young women. I was angry about all the women candidates who put their political skills on hold to raise children – and all the men male candidates who didn’t. I was angry about human talent that was lost just because it was born into a female body, and the mediocrity that was rewarded because it was born into a male one.”

 

“…One of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.”

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My take: The last quote sums up what you will read in My Life on the Road, much less a memoir than a look at who Steinhem listened to along the 80+ year journey that has shaped her view of the world. She lifts the voices of women young and old, people of color, immigrants, truck drivers, taxi drivers, hell’s angels, and many many others. I am grateful that she’s shared these people with the world and keeps fighting for their voices to be heard.

Related links:

Emma Watson has a feminist book club and you should join here.

Gloria Steinem on NPR talking about her life on the road here or below.

 

 

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