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"Dinners With Ruth" is really three excellent books: a memoir of Nina Totenberg's relatively blessed life; an anecdotal account of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's; and, finally, a paean to the bond of friendship, which, like fine wine, gets better with age.

It is so engagingly written, so captivating, it's difficult not to feel at least a little jealous of Totenberg, who seems to have it all. Legal affairs correspondent for NPR, she lived a life largely blessed both by success and by friends to share the good — and, more important, bad — times with.

For Totenberg, whose father was a Polish-born virtuoso violinist, it was an idyllic upbringing: a house filled with music and parties attended by artistic boldface names ranging from writer Dorothy Parker to composer Aaron Copland.

Totenberg quit Boston University three years in and wrangled a job writing for the women's page of the Record-American (later the Boston Herald). Other papers (and better beats) followed, including the National Observer, where she first started covering the Supreme Court.

Her first contact with Ginsburg was as a source, but they grew closer over the years. So much is known about the public life of the Notorious RBG that I, for one, pretty much thought I knew it all. But Totenberg shares fresh details, or at least details fresh to me: how husband Marty was instrumental in getting her appointed as a federal judge, how she ignored President Barack Obama and refused to resign because she wanted a victorious Hillary Clinton to appoint the next justice; and how RBG became "a personal lifeline "when Totenberg was dealing with the serious illness of her first husband, former Sen. Floyd Haskell.

"It seemed she always had an extra ticket to take me to a performance or an extra seat at the table for a dinner out. And please will you come wasn't a question. It was asked in a way I couldn't say no."

And it wasn't just Ginsburg. Totenberg was a friends magnet and formed similar relationships with colleagues Cokie Roberts, Linda Wertheimer and CBS' Leslie Stahl, among others — important pairings for professional women in the pre-me-too era.

The book is filled with so much love it's almost an antidote to the daily news section. Almost.

Totenberg revised her epilogue following the Roe v. Wade decision, wondering if "even some staunch conservatives may come to miss the more centrist Court ... that rocked the boat from time to time, but seemed to know it couldn't go far beyond public opinion."

Certainly the court — and much of America — misses the strong voice of Nina's friend Ruth.

Dinners With Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships

By: Nina Totenberg.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, $27.99.