meg says read this

Meg Says Read This: The Opposite of Loneliness

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 10.08.54 AMMarina Keegan was an amazing woman, with an incredible voice. A few years ago, an essay she’d written entitled “The Opposite of Loneliness” went viral online, (literally it was popping up on the feed of each social media outlet I had.) Appropriately so, because upon reading it you’ll realize just how relatable the content is. You don’t have to be a recent college graduate to identify with concepts of nostalgia, the excitement and anxiety being on the verge of transition, the overwhelming sense of possibility. Keegan had a gift, a craft, a sense of wisdom that seemed to stretch beyond her short years on this earth. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of her stories – fiction and non-fiction. (Her mentors, friends, and parents worked hard to organize this posthumous publication.) The introduction alone captures Keegan’s youthful spirit and astonishing drive. Each story written in such a compelling manner that I devoured them in the span of 24 hours. Themes of optimism, relentless hope to strive for a future of worth with dedication to acts that mattered, and persistence all echo throughout each work. Keegan died tragically in a car accident, shortly after graduation from Yale. She had a promising future ahead of her, but she still created such a solid legacy. It can be eerie at times while reading, realizing how deeply she delved into ideas of purpose and death when she had no idea what was ahead of her. But none of us do, and we forge on anyway. She was self-aware, she found a way to encapsulate a modern twist to a timeless practice, and she injected emotion, reality, and energy in every word. Keegan’s voice is a shining reminder of why it’s important to find an honest passion in this life, and throw our all into pursuing it. The Opposite of Loneliness is one of my favorite reads in years, I found myself inspired and encouraged by Marina Keegan’s words. If you haven’t experienced the journey of reading it yet, what are you waiting for?

(Photo from my personal Instagram.)

meg says read this

Meg Says Read This: Attachments

I first fell for Rainbow Rowell’s writing style, when reading the young adult fiction gem that is Eleanor and Park. Rowell has a way of articulating a vast variety of human emotion, and the words on the page captivate such intense feelings in a relatable format. Recently, I found myself devouring the adult fiction novel Attachments. The premise alone is fascinating – a young man, Lincoln O’Neil working a night shift at a newspaper office where he’s in charge of monitoring employee e-mail. It’s the late 90’s and the company only shifted to computers because the ribbon was discontinued for their typewriters. It’s an interesting reminder of a time when social media and cell phones didn’t dominate the majority of people’s lives and interactions. The novel is formatted where the chapters alternate between Lincoln’s perspective, and the correspondence of e-mails between two women (Jennifer and Beth) who work for the newspaper. It’s funny how telling simple e-mails can be – little personality quirks come through quips, snarky commentary, and friendly encouragement. Jennifer and Beth’s personal stories splashed out in the internet world was exactly the sort of thing Lincoln was supposed to be responsible for flagging and warning in the office, but they’re also exactly what made his job more interesting. Attachments is an interesting story of relationships, and life and risks and chance. It’s easy to see how Lincoln could fall for Beth with such an intimate glimpse into the uncensored depths of her life, and her portrayal of chaos surrounding her. But what should he do when the person has no idea he even knows of their existence? . Readers will sympathize for Lincoln’s awkward position knowing so much about stranger’s private lives – but also how he ends up ultimately dealing with the situation. Attachments is a take on what you do when life doesn’t end up exactly how you’re thinking, and what kind of changes we make when we move forward, and how that one big move can be the catalyst to shift everything. While these characters are all adults, Rowell instills the same realness as her teenage characters – kind of just a combination of the qualities that make humans so vulnerable and unique. The book took me through a rollercoaster of reactions, but it’s always endearing when the wittiness of characters can make you laugh out loud. A few elements of the story are a bit heavy, but the tone of the delivery is lighthearted overall. If you’re looking for a quick, quirky read that’s kind of like your Saturday night chick flick, but with intelligent, intriguing characters totally check out Attachments.

(Photo from the Attachments official page.

meg says read this

Meg Says, Read This: P.S. I Still Love You

Some of you may recall my slight obsession with author, Jenny Han. From the first page of The Summer I Turned Pretty, I was hooked! For girls who spent any amount of time in life pining over a seemingly unattainable crush, Han has a way of putting all those complex intense emotions on paper. I devoured the trilogy, and later read her middle grade reader book Shug, and the Burn for Burn triology written with her best friend Siobhan Vivian, and of course the romantic story of Lara Jean To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Han’s voice in her writing is just so relatable, so vulnerable and raw that it’s hard not to fall in love with all of her characters.

P.S. I Still Love You is the much anticipated sequel to Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Loved Before. If you haven’t read the first novel, here’s an over view. Lara Jean is a heart on her sleeve, romantic, who years before had written letters to the boys she loved in her life. Her younger sister Kitty ends up discovering the letters (in addressed envelopes hidden in a hat box in Lara Jean’s closet none the less!) and sends them away! As someone who’s written letters I never intended on sending, I could sympathize with the horror of such a reality. As could be expected, the unsuspecting recipients of the letters were quite surprised to receive such declarations, (especially old school snail mail style.) Not to ruin anything, but of course all that emotional revelation happening in high school leads to some complications, and it might even find Lara Jean in a fake relationship with one of the boys she wrote a letter to!

Fast forward to P.S. I Still Love You. Lara Jean and the boy from the pseudo relationship have decided to give things a real shot, (how could you pretend for that long and not conjure up some real feelings – and who’s to say they weren’t already there?) Throw in some YouTube hot tub video scandal, another boy from a different letter popping back up again, and the woes of teenage turmoil and you’ve got this sequel in a nutshell. In P.S. you’ll see the return of Lara Jean’s older sister Margot, from college in Scotland, get more of the wild antics from Stormy at the nursing home, see Kitty play match maker to the Song sister’s sweet Dad, and get a bit of closure to that ever long feud between Lara Jean and Genevieve.

Han did it again with her ever lovable characters and their heartfelt stories taking readers through a whirlwind that brings laughter, sighs, and maybe even a tear. If you haven’t read P.S. I Still Love You, yet I definitely recommend giving it a read!

(Photo from Simon & Schuster.)

meg says read this

Meg Says Read This: Scar Tissue

  Like I’ve mentioned before, I can never get enough of heart-wrenching, raw, honest memoirs and that’s exactly how I would describe Anthony Kiedis’s Scar Tissue. You’re probably familiar with the front man of the rock and roll band The Red Hot Chili Peppers because they’ve achieved outrageous success after more than twenty years playing together. Known for their wild antics, and truly living the mantra of sex, drugs, and rock n roll – the book chronicles their crazy ride. Reading this memoir was an emotional tour through Anthony’s life, and I think it’d be near impossible not to have some feelings stirred up in response to his story. He describes his childhood with a scary early beginning to his drug use, his adventurous teenage years, tumultuous relationships, the slow growth of the band and then their full blown fame – all of it. It’s fascinating as he reflects on some of the events that his most famous lyrics. One of the most intriguing parts of this book was how Kiedis described his relationships – romantic and platonic. (A standout one to me being with Sinead O’Connor for a time – and faxing her a poem each morning!) It’s amazing what he’s experienced, and what he’s survived. He discusses the harrowing loss of friends that were more like brothers, and relationships damaged and deteriorated by insatiable addiction. He describes the pain of hurting his mother, but also details his journey of recovery. As heart-breaking as it is to read about his struggles, it’s just as inspiring to read about his triumphs – to see someone rediscover beauty in nature and in being alive. This book is definitely a great read for fellow memoir addicts, but also if you’ve ever been curious about the stories behind this zany artist. I had a new appreciation for Anthony Kiedis after reading his story.

(Photo from my Instagram; beach read day.) 

Read This

Turn the Page Tuesday, Read This: “We Were Liars”

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite authors. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my favorite novels. Her characters are typically independent, witty, strong, smart, inspiring young women and their perspective on life and adventures is such a breath of fresh air. Being that I follow about a zillion YA authors on Twitter who were all buzzing about it, I was in the camp of complete anticipation to get my hands on a copy of her latest, We Were LiarsI was following the Tumblr (check it out for awesome quotes, photos, playlists and more) with all it’s bits and teasers, so I knew there was a certain mystique surrounding the story, and I didn’t want the suspense to be ruined before I could read it. I pre-ordered the book, and brought it with me to the beach one weekend, and I read it in a few beach sittings. It’s not my favorite Lockhart novel, but there’s still something…special about it. The curiosity sparked by the mystery was enough fuel for me to keep reading. Plus, the gorgeous description of the Sinclair cousins, and friends? Those beautiful words were enough to suck me in immediately. (Example: He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.) It’s funny because the characters are so articulately and artistically described in these acute details, but at the same time you don’t necessarily feel like you know their depth. At first this frustrated me as a reader, but later I came to think that it may have been more of a story-telling technique, intentional in its design. I don’t want to spoil the aura of surprise with this one, but I’ll say it’s a story with much more than meets the eye. Perhaps you pick it up and think it will be about a snotty rich family’s summers in the Vinyard, or first love, or teenage rebellion and careless days spent in the cloak of invincibility. Maybe it’s all of those things, but it’s more…there’s the flip side of love in loss, and there’s the struggle of navigating uncertainty in friendship and relationships, there’s the drama of coming to terms with the fact that our family members are humans with their own flaws and mistakes, and it’s about the moments that shape and define who we are and what we will become. Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s always time to pick up this book and jump right back in. Be prepared to get attached to these characters, and maybe for a little bit of shock and surprise. At one point, I felt like I’d been punched in the chest by surprise, and while that caught me off guard, I also wanted to applause the success of plot twists. Definitely a READ THIS! recommendation.

(via We Were Liars Tumblr)