BOOK REVIEW: The Opposite Of Loneliness – by Marina Keegan

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Title: The Opposite Of Loneliness
Author: Marina Keegan
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, Short Stories
First published: April 8th 2014
Finished reading: June 11th 2016
Pages: 208
Rating 3,5qqq

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.”

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Those who follow my blog know I like to read a non fiction book or memoir every now and then, so I was excited when The Opposite Of Loneliness came up as one of my TBR jar picks. The story behind this memoir is actually quite tragic: the author Marina Keegan sadly passed away in 2012 after a car accident, and this collection has been created afterwards in her honor. Reading about the actual details is truly heartbreaking, but it doesn’t mean that this memoir gets a free pass to a full 5 star rating. Because if I have to be honest, I expected something better/different out of this short story and essay collection. First of all, I didn’t realize that part of this book is actually a collection of short fictional stories. I don’t mind reading fiction, but it wasn’t what I expected and most stories were a bit too cheesy, romantic or awkward for me. Especially since knowing about the author’s tragic end makes you read some stories under a different light (for example: in Cold Pastoral I felt awkward reading about a main character where her boyfriend dies, while her own boyfriend had to go through a similar situation.) Another story I found slightly disturbing is Reading Aloud, where an older woman reads aloud to a blind young man while she is completely naked. I know it’s fiction and all, but I think I could have gone without that mental image. My favorite of the fiction stories would probably be The Emerald City, since it’s not the typical contemporary romance story. It’s about an officer in Afghanistan who tells about his daily life and concerns to a girl back home. Challenger Deep was also really good. The non fiction section of this memoir is a little too short if you ask me, but provides some very interesting essays and is a satisfying ending to this read. In fact, I would probably have given The Opposite Of Loneliness a higher rating if it would have been just the non fiction essays… This memoir is without doubt still worth reading though.

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The young Yale graduate Marina Keegan was without doubt talented and it shows in this collection of essays and stories. Her essay The Opposite Of Loneliness is probably one of the most famous ones and is without doubt inspiring.

“Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…). We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.”

Only five days after she graduate magna cum laude from Yale, Marina died in a car crash. The people close to hear joined together to create this collection of her best short stories and essays. They are a mix of fiction and non fiction and explore different genres and writing methods.

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Like I said above, I really wanted to like this memoir even better, but there were quite a few fiction short stories I can’t say I enjoyed. Some were a bit disturbing, others made me feel awkward or were too much like a typical cheesy romance story (one even with a love triangle!). There were some exceptions though: especially The Emerald City and Challenger Deep stood out from the rest. The non fiction essays were excellent as well, and most likely ended up improving the rating. I would definitely recommend reading The Opposite Of Loneliness, just make sure to remember it’s not actually just a memoir and also included fictional short stories. That may avoid a similar reaction to the one I had when I was reading the fiction section….

WWW Wednesdays #95 – June 15th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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The only reason I haven’t finished The Munich Girl by Phyliss Edgerly Ring yet is that I don’t have a lot of time to read, because I’m really enjoying this historical fiction story so far. Hopefully I will be able to finish it before the weekend! And I haven’t actually read any new pages of A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas since last week, so process is still minimum. It’s not that I don’t want to read it, but I wanted to finish other books first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Three books sounds like a lot when I didn’t have a lot of time, but when I wrote last WWW I had the first title already almost finished… And the other two are a collection of short stories and a novella, so supposedly ‘quick’ to read.
* I really enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes retelling A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, and I will definitely be looking out for the sequel. Fast-paced, entertaining and it really shows the main characters were based on the original duo.
* The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan wasn’t as good as I was hoping for, but I guess that was mostly because I didn’t realize there was going to be a fiction part. I didn’t really like the fiction stories in general, although there were a few exceptions. The non fiction essays are really good though.
* I don’t like to say this about any book or novella, but reading Heart Of Tin by Danielle Paige was simply a waste of time. I REALLY didn’t like this sappy romance story where all that happens is that the Tin Woodman pines over Dorothy and tries to win her over… But since I’ve been promised this is the worst novella and the others are better, I will still read the next two.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have a new ARC pending:Cascadia by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard. It promises to be an adrenaline-filled suspense story about the after effects of extreme natural events (in this case a massive earthquake and tsunami), and I’m definitely looking forward to read it soon. And I decided to keep both Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and The Ex by Alafair Burke on my list since they sound like really entertaining and ‘easy’ reads (which is something I need right now since I don’t have a lot of spare time to read). My newest TBR jar pick is The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz.

WWW Wednesdays #94 – June 8th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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Basically, I haven’t been having a lot of free time to read, so I’m still reading A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro even though I really enjoy the story so far. I’m hoping to finish it today though! I also have The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan and A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas on my currently reading list, although the process with both books is so minimum that I can’t say anything constructive yet.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Wait, only one book finished since last week?! I don’t think this has happened in a long time… I definitely wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t have a lot of time to read. 😦 I finished More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera though, which took me ages to read because I didn’t really enjoy the first part of the book. I actually thought about DNFing at one point, but I’m glad I continued reading because the last part of the book was really good.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I still have the following ARC pending:The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring. I love historical fiction set during WWII, so I’m looking forward to start reading it as soon as I finish my current reads. And since I don’t have a lot of time to read I decided to put some ‘easy’ and entertaining looking reads next; I’ve heard great things about both Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and The Ex by Alafair Burke, so I can’t wait to read them myself. My newest TBR jar pick is The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, which works out perfectly because it’s a historical fiction read set in the 1910s, which is one of the periods I still needed for the When Are You Reading? challenge.

WWW Wednesdays #93 – June 1st

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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Basically, I haven’t been having a lot of free time to read lately… So while I have started both these books above, I’m not sure when I will actually finish them. First up is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, a book that has been recommended to me quite a lot and I’m really looking forward to. The other is a Sherlock Holmes retelling: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. I can’t wait to continue reading both soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which turned out to be an entertaining enough middle grade classic. Still, I probably would have enjoyed it better reading it about twenty years ago…
* Another book I was able to finish is Heartsick by Chelsea Cain, which turned out to be one of the best whodunit reads I’ve read in a while. I will definitely be reading more of this series! Some of the scenes might be a bit gruesome if you have a weak stomach, but I personally didn’t mind. The main character Archie is a detective with a very messed up personal life (which is not original at all in this genre), but the story more than makes up for it.
* The last title I managed to finish is Housebroken by The Behrg, which turned out to be a really messed up thriller/horror story about a kidnapping similar to your worst nightmare… If you enjoy a good horror read, definitely make sure to check out this book!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I haven’t be able to read much, so yet again I haven’t been able to read many of the titles I mentioned before. But since I’ve finally finished Housebroken, I have a new pending ARC: The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring, I love historical fiction set during WWII, so I’m looking forward to start reading it. I also still want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I don’t know how much longer I can resist the temptation of reading A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas… Plus, I’m afraid I will run into unwanted spoilers any day now. 😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

WWW Wednesdays #92 – May 25th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

Note: I’m actually out of town right now, but will be back before the weekend… Gotta love the post scheduling option! 😉

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been seriously neglecting one of my favorite genres lately, so I decided to put all my planned books on hold and pick up a proper whodunit: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I’m not far into it yet, but I hope to finish it before I come back! Also, I will try to read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry during my trip. I’m ashamed to admit I have never read this classic, but better late than never right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is Binge by Tyler Oakley, which turned out to be a really entertaining memoir even though I hadn’t heard from the author before.
* I’ve also finished Hero by Belinda Crawford, a very enjoyable ARC with an interesting worldbuilding, no romance and a fast pace. Definitely recommended!
* I also finally picked up my Spanish copy of the first Harry Potter book again. I have been wanting to read more books in Spanish and it was the perfect excuse to reread this series… Because no matter what language the story is told in, it always stays magical (Although I prefer the original version). I found out while reading Harry Potter Y La Piedra Filosofal that I’m still able to read Spanish with a ‘fast’ pace, so I’m quite a happy camper right now. 😀

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Once again I haven’t been able to start any of the books I wanted to read last week…Whcih is partly to blame to the lack of time and I was in the mood for different genres as well. But I’m going to try and read them this week though! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation.😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

WWW Wednesdays #91 – May 18th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I haven’t been reading much during the last two days, because I have been trying to reduce the backlog of reviews after the Bout Of Books read-a-thon. Still 5 reviews to go, sigh… I have started reading Hero by Belinda Crawford the other day, which is a very interesting read so far and I’m looking forward to continue reading this story soon. I’ve also picked up Binge by Tyler Oakley on a whim because I was in the mood for a light (and funny) read, and this memoir has been really entertaining so far even though I have to confess I hadn’t heard of the author or his youtube channel before.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, which was originally written in French. I really enjoyed this story! Part of it felt a bit like Fahrenheit 451, but also completely different… And I loved the fact that the main character read random pages he had saved himself from the Thing.
* I then finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which I read for the The Revolving Shelf book club. I really liked that this story was a mix of elephant info, paranormal elements and a missing person case. Not perfect, but really entertaining.
* Stars Above by Marissa Meyer was my previous TBR jar pick, and turned out to be just as entertaining as I thought it would be. I liked some stories better than others, but the epilogue was without doubt brilliant. It might be a sappy happy ending, but I really didn’t care in this case. 😉
* I also read See How They Run by Ally Carter, and the sequel was almost just as good as the first book. A really entertaining spy thriller with an international touch that is definitely worth reading, even though the main characters can get annoying.
* My last BoB book I finished was Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, which has turned out to be yet another ‘unpopular opinion’ book for me. I didn’t really like this story: the way the main character treated the others; the way she was treated by most people; the stereotypes; the bullying… I just wasn’t convinced.
* I also read the classic The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which turned out to be a really short read and quite interesting.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I just realized that I have actually read or at least started all the books I mentioned here last week! That has to be a first… On to four fresh titles this week it is! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation. 😉 My new TBR jar pick is The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

Friday Finds #44 – July 10th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads.  Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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