Nibbles & Bits, Vol. 5
I wanted to read it to learn more; I didn't know I'd learn more about myself in the process
Happy Tuesday readers,
What a relief! If I sound thrilled, it’s because I am. Yesterday was the FINAL tax deadline of the 2021 tax season; no more tax returns until 2022. That doesn’t mean there is no more work to keep me busy; it means there are no more tax deadlines, not much overtime required, and, thankfully, more time for reading. Two more tax season deadlines, and then I am DONE forever!
When I decided to read Dinners with Ruth, I didn’t know who Nina Totenberg was. She has been a correspondent at NPR for years, and I’ve never watched NPR, nor have I ever listened to any of the NPR podcasts available. I hadn’t read much about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the past, but this book sounded like a way to learn more about Ginsburg through the context of their friendship. The subtitle, A Memoir of the Power of Friendships, grabbed me from the beginning, and I couldn’t wait to read it.
Totenberg’s memoir focuses not just on her friendship with Ginsburg but also weaves in stories about her NPR colleagues Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer and their careers at NPR. She talks about how hard it was for women in the workplace, specifically about making inroads in their careers in the media, and it was a legal brief that prompted her to call Ginsburg to understand more about why she filed that brief. This simple phone call was the beginning of an almost fifty-year friendship that carried the two women through marriage, becoming widows, shopping, the opera, dining, and so much more, in what sounds like an incredible friendship they both treasured.
Even though politics plays a part in seemingly everything nowadays, and while everyone in this book had their own political opinions, this book is not about politics; it is about friendships between people with political beliefs playing a minor part and politics not getting in the way of something so worthwhile and life-giving—the valuable friendships all had made along the way.
I found myself in tears several times while reading the book, not necessarily because I was reading something sad, but because I was reading about friends being there for each other and having fun together while living life to its fullest. I was gobsmacked when I realized that I hadn’t had very many of those types of experiences and those experiences are what I have been craving in my life for quite some time. I haven’t worked through all of this yet, but now that I’m getting ready to retire, I need to make friendships and other things a priority in my life. After all, I’m not getting any younger.
As I usually do when I discover something new, I research and find out more about it, and Totenberg is no exception. I found a couple of podcasts she has recently been on promoting her new book and the obituary she wrote for NPR when Ginsburg passed away.
NPR Fresh Air podcast episode with Totenberg on her friendship with RBG
Obituary Totenburg wrote for NPR at Ginsburg’s death
Axe Files episode discussing her early career as a reporter, covering the Supreme Court and her friendship with RBG
I love discovering Little Free Libraries in my travels, but most of the ones I’ve seen are just functional; they aren’t very unique. For those of us that love to see adorable and unique LFLs, here are ten across the US that make me smile and admire the creators’ imaginations.
A follow-up to Nibble & Bits, Vol. 4, this NY Times article (gift link) reviews Fatima Ali’s memoir Savor. I recommend this memoir to anyone that loves Top Chef, food, and living life to its fullest; it will leave you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.
Sometimes less is more, and this BookRiot article makes that point. What are your thoughts about less is more where reading is concerned?
I was surprised by my emotional reaction while reading Dinners with Ruth, and I’m still trying to sort through my thoughts and feelings since then. This book gives me plenty to contemplate as I look toward my future. Sometimes readers read for fun, enjoyment, and escape; other times, we read to learn something. For me, the wonder of reading is when a lightbulb turns on when I least expect it. This book was that for me. Have a wonderful reading week. Happy reading!
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