What I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

3/5 pineapplesWhat I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

Marina Keegan intrigued me.

From the start, I noticed her in a bright yellow coat looking at me every time my friends and I found ourselves in Barnes & Noble (which is often). Finally, I opened the cover. When I found out she died just after her college graduation, I set the book back on the shelf and walked away.

At some point, Marina ended up on my Goodreads "to-read" list but I didn't think much of it until this semester. The semester of three classes, free time, and low motivation meant reading more. I gravitated towards nonfiction and short essays, easy to pick up after longer periods of time. Marina caught my eye once again. This time I obliged.

The Opposite of Loneliness documents a college writer's potential. Marina's fiction is a little weak in some places and the stories aren't as well done as, say, George Saunders. Frequently her writing reminded me of what I come across in some of my writing workshops. That talented kid, who always comes up with something the professor loves, sometimes too big for his or her own good--that's Marina. She has so much potential, and it's clear that with more training and time she could have really been a writer. A good one. (A paid one.)

What I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

The beauty of her book is not, then, in the quality of the writing. It's in the story behind the essays and the person who wrote them. Young people have something to say, something that I feel is too often ignored by adults. Yes, the writing might not have the experience to be extraordinary. But it's still valuable and useful. Marina's nonfiction, my favorite part of the book, really says something. In each essay I can feel her passion for her words. She cares about these topics. And she wants others to know. So what if the language is a bit rough in places; Marina knew how to get people's attention.

Marina inspired me and my writing. Every time I put her book down I wanted to write something of my own, something worthwhile and helpful. I wrote this article for the school newspaper and a post for our admission blog (not yet published), both inspired by her writing. Marina's inspiration is what makes this book worth reading. Her passion and her story are what make it good.

While I'm not nearly as talented as Marina, nor as recognized, I hope I can follow her example and create a lasting impact with my writing. While it may only be a ripple and not a splash, that's more than enough for me.

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Below the Line:

  • I had my very last class of junior year today. Two plays and a paper from now, I'll be a senior. Now there's a scary thought.
  • Trying to live up these last few weeks with my senior friends has been lots of fun (Cardinal's game! Weeknights at the Duck (the on-campus bar)! Stargazing at 4:30am!) but as graduation looms closer it's harder to keep the sad thoughts at bay.
  • However, I am very excited for this summer. I love spending time with my family and I love Indy. Plus I have two great internships I'm really looking forward to!
  • I'm trying a new style for my photos. What do you think?

What I Read: Ishmael | My Triumphant Return!

Welcome back to posts with Leeann! You might have forgotten about me, but I'm the junior who foolishly thought majoring in two reading-heavy departments wouldn't kill me. Needless to say, I was wrong. Anyway, this triumphant return is not a permanent return :(. Promising I'm back to my regular posting would just be a lie. I have large assignments due at least once a week until the end of this semester, and I know they're going to be taking a bunch of my time. But I will do my best.

BUT! Do not be grieved! In light of my busy schedule, I'm going to ask some of my friends to write some posts for you all. Coming next week: a post from future-librarian and book-reading fiend Amanda.

Now, let's get into Ishmael, or the book that will change your worldview life.

5/5 Pineapples

What I Read: Ishmael | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn is a dialogue between a teacher and his student. Only the twist is--the teacher is a gorilla. Together the narrator and the gorilla talk through humanity's history, break down Genesis, and result in a "program" that can save humanity from certain extinction.

First of all, disclaimer: I read this for my Environmental Crisis Literature class, so a lot of how I understand this book comes from class discussion. If I start getting into any theory that doesn't make sense, just skip it. I barely understand it myself :)

It's hard to explain just what I loved about this book. It's not your typical novel and what I love about it is the course of the entire conversation (or, you know, the whole book). You have to move from start to finish in order to understand what Quinn is saying. Plus, with the promise of learning how the save the world, you must be patient and read until the very end of the novel.

Ishmael is also a very deep read, one it took class discussions and writing a paper on it for me to fully understand. You have to sit down for a period of time to read it. While it doesn't have to be read all at once, chapter by chapter is really helpful to understanding and staying on track with the conversation.

But the main reason this book is amazing is because it makes you think about how we treat nature. Yes, climate change is a current threat, and we can no longer continue to act the way we do and expect to survive. Change has to happen if the world can make it the next 100, 50, 20 years. Ishmael explains how we've reached this point and what we can do to remove ourselves from the doomed trajectory we're on.

Basically, I highly recommend anyone and everyone to read this book. Then will you definitely understand what I am talking about, and I think you'll find it well worth your time.

What books have made you think before? Any that had an impact on your actions?

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Below the Line:

  • Two weeks until Fall Break!
  • I've been eating popcorn like nobody's business. Just take one look at the popcorn carcasses under my desk and you'll understand just how intense this snack love has become.
  • My Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide) life has fully kicked in. If anyone wants me to do a post on Greek life or being a Rho Gamma, just let me know. I wasn't planning on doing anything until I can reveal my affiliation but I'd be happy to do a generic post now!
  • This is the first time I've been caught up on my schoolwork in two (three?) weeks. Hopefully I'll hang on to it, but with the two papers, discussion leader assignment, and test I have coming up, it seems unlikely.
  • Don't forget, guest post next week! Get excited!

What I Read: We Were Liars (50 Followers Bonus Post!)

Before I get into the review, thank you SO MUCH for 50 followers! It's been a lot of fun writing this blog this summer, and I'm glad there's 50 of you out there who enjoy it :) What's a blog without great readers? In celebration, here's a bonus book review about one of the more talked about novels of the summer. I hope you like it!

4.5/5 pineapples

What I Read: We Were Liars | Scribbling in the Margins blog

This review has been difficult to write. I finished We Were Liars in the beginning of August, but I just haven't been able to review it yet. It's a complicated book. Plus it straight out warns me to lie when people ask what it's about.

I don't buy into that sales tactic. So I will review this book as I would any other, without spoiling anything but still explaining what I do and don't like. The book is about the extravagantly wealthy family, the Sinclairs. Of course, they're a total mess (that's what makes things interesting). Cadence, the eldest grandchild of the Sinclairs, serves as our narrator. Due to some unspeakable accident, Cadence can't remember the summer she was fifteen on her family's fancy-pants island. We follow her thoughts throughout the book as she tries to figure out what happened.

First of all, Lockhart's writing style is refreshing. It has a lyrical quality to it, breaking up paragraphs and even sentences into short lines. She also inserts fairy tale inspired stories in between the narrative that provide insight into Cadence's rather messed up mind.

The plot is also intriguing enough to keep reading. This was a refreshing element, since recently I've had to drag myself through the books I've read. That plus the writing style makes its easy to get through this book in one or two days.

What I Read: We Were Liars | Scribbling in the Margins blog

But my absolute favorite part of this book is the mystery. I love mysteries, whether in book or TV form. I like trying to figure out with the characters what different elements mean, and then going back once I know the answer and seeing what clues I missed. We Were Liars is one giant mystery. Cadence doesn't figure out what happened that "missing" summer until the very end of the book. It's a twist I didn't see coming at all.

I left feeling like I learned enough, though. This wasn't one of those cliff-hanger books, hitting you with big information and then simply dropping off the page. I wasn't trapped without a satisfactory resolution.

Yet, I couldn't give We Were Liars the full five pineapples. Simply because, like Gone Girlit was an entertaining read but not a life-changing one. Still, it's an excellent book that keeps you guessing. Lockhart's writing style also keeps the  story moving and brings an interesting perspective on the truth versus the lies. I highly recommend it.

What did you think of We Were Liars?name


Below the Line:

  • I'm faced with lots of packing to do this week as I get ready to head back to school. Any packing tips would be appreciated (and yes, this is my third year- I still haven't figured out the best way to pack :))
  • My back-to-school series resumes on Tuesday! More college knowledge (see what I did there?)