Summer Reading Guide: The Opposite of Loneliness

The Opposite of Loneliness is a posthumous collection of short stories and essays written by a talented 22-year-old woman who was ahead of her generation named Marina Keegan. She was tragically killed only five days after her graduation from Yale ending what would have been a life of brilliance beginning with her job as an editorial assistant that she lined up at The New Yorker.

The book’s title comes from one of her essays that was posted online which went viral after news of her death went public. Seeing the outpour of grief, but also the admiration by so many for this young literary talent, her parents, friends and professor collected her works of writing and published it as a book.

The short stories span everything from young relationships, career aspirations, political events including the Gulf war, while the essays range from portraits of real people, such as an elderly exterminator discussing his life and how people treat him; a story about Keegan’s personal struggle with Celiac disease and how she came to appreciate the efforts to feed her by her overprotective mother only after leaving home for college; and my personal favourite: an insightful essay on her experience of try to save great whales beached on shore from death.

The whale essay contemplates the motivations as a society behind our actions in animal activism and our occasional ability to ignore the plight of fellow humanity. The book as a collection literally documents the mindset and possibility of this young woman evoking awe, grief and and respect for Keegan and her family. You get insight into the mind of this 22-year-old and the possibility and passion of a young generation that stands at the adult world on the eve of full integration into it ahead of them.

Regardless of age, anyone with an appreciation of the power of the web (due to the viral nature of the title essay) and a deep appreciation for strong writing will enjoy The Opposite of Loneliness. Plus, this work of art is perfect to place by your bedside to read before bed as each essay or story ranges from thirty to 40 pages long so you can leisurely peruse the pages.

Want a chance to win a copy of The Opposite of Loneliness from Simon and Schuster?

Simply share with us your favourite work of literature and why it moved you. The best answer wins! Plus, be sure to check back regularly for the next installment in the 29Secrets’s Summer Reading Guide! 

Tags: Marina Keegan, reading, self help, summer reading, Wellness

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  1. Avatar
    • Catherine K
    • September 17, 2014
    The Handmaid’s Tale moved me. I first read it while in my early 40s and perhaps, due to my age and life experience, that was the perfect time to read it, rather than high school. Original dystopia tale that is scarier because it could become true.
  2. Avatar
    • Cathy C
    • September 13, 2014
    Jane Eyre in University out on a Saturday night and went home because Jane was calling me. LOL Decided I wanted to finish the book more than hang out with my friends.
  3. Avatar
    • Carol
    • September 11, 2014
    Of Human Bondage. A book about trial, tribulations and life. An excellent classical read.
  4. Avatar
    • Mary Danieli
    • September 1, 2014
    My favourite literary book this year was Longbourn. I had an intense and visceral reaction to the plight of the servant class during the 1800s. It reminded me of how shitty life was, especially for women, but I also got to see how strong they were and I love the Pride and Prejudice tie-in.
  5. Avatar
    • Mary Downey
    • August 29, 2014
    A big surprise for me was Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. While not a fan this book was a gift. I was touched by her characters trying to do their best, though lack of experience led to problems. The largeness of their hearts and their love a child stood above all.
  6. Avatar
    • Jen Reschke
    • August 29, 2014
    Memoirs of a Geisha is a book I can pick up and read again and again. It is so beautiful in it’s imagery. I admire how the protagonist rises above painful childhood experiences to become incredibly successful and admired in her life’s path.
  7. Avatar
    • Jennifer L.
    • August 29, 2014
    I love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. For me, it’s the perfect book. I care so much about the characters and get so involved in their lives and dramas. My desire for Elizabeth and Darcy to work out their problems and end up together is so powerful each time I read the book.
  8. Avatar
    • Victoria Sit
    • August 27, 2014
    I loved reading The Giver. It moved me because it reminds me of the trade-off of feeling sadness, pain, and grief; that is, that it allows you to feeling happiness, joy, and love, and that has been a good thing to keep in mind throughout my life.
  9. Avatar
    • kristine hibbs
    • August 26, 2014
    I loved the book The pearl that broke its shell…a wonderful story that really moved my heart…a struggle for the women in Afganastan that is a reality to this very day.
  10. Avatar
    • Julie F
    • August 26, 2014
    The Diary of Anne Frank is the book that has moved me the most, even today just thinking of her story brings goose bumps to my body!
  11. Avatar
    • Sandra Rooke
    • August 25, 2014
    I enjoyed Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. I grew up in a small Ontario town also and can truly relate to some of her experiences.

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