Two more of my favorite books of 2015…just under the wire

Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG, The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon & Shana Kniznik

After reading this fantastic ‘biography of a badass’, I realize that appointing her to the Supreme Court was probably the best thing that Bill Clinton did.  The book is written by two young women who portray her life with lots of anecdotes, graphics and notations. Lately, she has been the Supreme Dissenter in so many 5-4 decisions. When asked what number of female justices on the bench would be enough, she said 9. For RBG, abortion rights are not about ‘privacy’ but about equality. Here is her dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart: “Women, it is now acknowledged, have the talent, capacity, and right ‘to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation’.  Their ability to realize their full potential, the Court recognized, is intimately connected to ‘their ability to control their reproductive lives.’ Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.”  The quotes within my quote are from Justice Kennedy, reminding him of his words in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, from which he was now departing. She always has the long view, constantly working on changing hearts and minds, especially the other justices’, about what “We the People” really means…that is, full rights for everyone.

the trip andy warhol book

The Trip: Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure, by Deborah Davis.

This incredible book documents a road trip that Andy and three friends took from New York City to Los Angeles in 1963, with the author seemingly riding shotgun. For most of the trip they travel and get their kicks on Route 66, the highway my family took when moving from Providence to Los Angeles in 1958. At the end of Route 66 is Santa Monica, CA, where the author describes the amusement park at the beach, Pacific Ocean Park, of which I have many fond and fun memories. The Trip is the centerpiece this riveting biography of Andy Warhol, but it includes so much more. Davis describes Pop Art, the movement he created, in great detail, especially how it developed from designing for department stores and other ‘commercial art’, which he elevated to fine art. There is a fascinating section on how Andy decided to make his Campbell Soup can art and how it was initially received.  She has also done her research on Andy’s shy, outsider social life, his relationship to his mother, his wigs, and his great difficulty finding intimacy with anyone. During The Trip, JFK was assassinated and he created his famous silkscreen of the mourning Jackie Kennedy. This is a fun and thoroughly entertaining and informative book about Andy Warhol during a critical period of American art and history.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jerry polon
    Jan 01, 2016 @ 03:48:07

    If I remember rightly she was suggested to Clinton by Orrin Hatch, back in the day, when every nomination wasn’t World War III. In her senate hearing, when challenged about her ACLU work, she said’ “You’ll never get me to say anything bad about the ACLU.” She breezed through anyway, 97 to 3. Nowadays that would be impossible.



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