The Opposite of Loneliness- A Book Reivew

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and StoriesThe Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was hauntingly beautiful and strange to read.

Mariana Keegan was a literary student at Yale with a keen sense of life at a very young age. Mariana died in a car accident and this book shows what an awful loss it was for the whole world.

The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of Mariana’s fiction and non-fiction stories. It is a touching tribute to a beautiful writer.

I found the stories to be engaging and terrific. I especially loved the fiction ones. You could tell that Mariana used a lot of her real life interactions to create these lovable characters in such a short period of time. I would have loved to read a full book of these characters that she created.

The non-fiction ones were a bit harder for me to connect with, but there were real and honest and very touching.

I also think that the family and friends that created this book did an outstanding job of creating this theme for a book from writings of a creative young girl who never meant to create such a theme. Its so interesting that her writings can all tie into this greater understanding of human nature and what its like to be lonely and also what its like to be the opposite of lonely.

I commend this family and friends for creating this art, because I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to create such a personal experience for everyone to read.

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2016 Erin Condren LifePlanner

Hi Everyone!

I am gearing up to get next years Erin Condren planner and wanted to share the link to the website and my excitement for the new one! I know its hard to think about next year already but I like to get mine early so that I can enter all the birthdays and anniversaries now and start to get it all pretty for me come January! If you click on the picture below, it will take you to my referral page where you can look at the planners and accessories that Erin creates! My Erin Condren planner has saved my life sometimes! I posted quite a bit about it at the beginning of this year when I first got it but haven’t said much about it since so I thought I would update you in preparation for my new one!!

Erin Condren Logo

I carry my planner in my purse and it goes everywhere with me. I slip documents in it when I need to take care of them, I stick Post it notes on the pages when I need to remember something and I write down each event that I need to keep track of. Right now our lives are not too crazy but I know that once my daughter starts school that it will be even more useful.

I think the thing that helped me the most with my planner was to use it all the time. I take it out of my bag at work every day and look it at. It helps to remind me of things that need to get done and what I can expect for the coming weeks. I also try to use it to jot down goals and ideas that bounce around in my head. If you follow my blog you realize that I am not really a blogger. This is a space for me to write down my thoughts and to have discussions about topics that I like. I find a lot of reviews of these planners by bloggers or business people with multiple things going on in their lives. I have a daughter and a job but still find that my planner works really well for me. I like how pretty it is and the money that I have to invest in it makes me use it. I know that’s a pretty horrible reason to use a planner but it works for me!!

The New LifePlanner has a horizontal layout option which I am PUMPED about. I really love the functionality of the planner but think my brain would work better in that layout. I also love the new space for goals and ideas which I think I will use a lot! As always they have the lined pages which is good and now graph paper which will be awesome! At the back of my planner right now I have drawings of how I wanted my living room rearranged, and how I wanted my “drop zone” to be set up. graph paper will be awesome for that in the future!!

On the lined pages in the back I keep my TBR (to be read) list and I LOVE IT. I love that there is always a spot for me to put these titles down that I will not lose.

Another fun option that she has is the notebook with an option to add the monthly calendar. I have thrown that idea around in my head, because often times I find that I am really just planning weekends but then the next week I use every ounce of space on my weekly view and I am glad I went with the full book.

Erin has also created some seriously awesome accessories. Coil Clips are genius, they let you clip in any wayward piece of mail or invite that you may have floating in your planner. She also has really great stickers and other cute things to personalize your planner. I also have invested in Washi Tape and use that like its going out of style. It is always more fun when you want to look at your planner and when you invest time in making it beautiful for yourself!

So I hope that I have inspired a few of you to look into the planner for yourselves!! Happy Planning and let me know how it works out for you!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel review- it was like all the characters were just supporting characters, supporting this mind blowing story which was the real main character.

This book was mind expanding and frustrating all at the same time. The thought process of creating this before and after world was amazing, while the characters and their progress were a bit slow. Overall a great book but I found it hard to connect because of the characters.

I just tried to type a synopsis of this book and erased it three times in a row….

So I decided to take an excerpt directly from the book description (cheating I know but the book is just too complex to explain)

“Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all.”

You can read the whole synopsis by clicking on the quote.

This book was intense and vivid. It depicted this terrifying world where everything was gone and we were all reduced to savages. It took everything we are used to and ruined it, changed it, and made us look like selfish pigs in a digital world where everything is handed to us on a silver platter. This book made me seriously look at the way I live my life, the things I take for granted every day. It was terrifying to think about how easily this pandemic could happen, how easily it did happen in this book. One character was haunted by the last cell phone conversation he had; not to his wife, but to his boss about a meeting the next day and an email that he would “shoot over” to the client. How simple that action seemed to be and how it was the last thing he was thinking about in the old world.

So, it seems like I loved the book right? I did. The plot and the intensity of the situation that the characters were in made this a delightful read. The problem, for me, was the characters. I think it depends on the type of reader you are. I find that I connect best with the book when I can connect with the characters and this book didn’t give you that. The story was outstanding and the characters were not meant to steal the show. They were there so that you had that emotional connection to the story. But that was a problem for me, I wanted to feel the horror that they were experiencing.

I wanted to feel more for the characters and I just couldn’t. It didn’t ruin the book for me though, because the story was so good that it stood up on its own, it was like all the characters were just supporting characters, supporting this mind blowing story which was the real main character.

I would love to hear what you thought about the book!! How did you like the ending? Did you feel the same for the characters?

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler- A fitting title for a charming book

If I could have given a half star review, this would be a 3.5 rating

This book stumped me. It’s not a bad book; in fact I rather enjoyed the storyline and the quirky characters. The title is fitting, yet at the end I felt like I was left holding the spool but there was still some blue thread on it. Maybe that is how Anne Tyler wanted it though, it leaves you to decide what you think will be the ending. It leaves it up to you to picture how the story unfolds after we turn the last page.

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My take on: If You Love Your Kids More Than Your Husband, You’re Wrong | YourTango

balancingemma

Click on the picture to get taken to the article!

This article hit home for me. I know I haven’t talked a lot about the mom role but my blog is “Balancing Emma” for a reason. It is hard for me, like mind boggling hard to do this balancing act called life, but I am learning everyday that I am not alone in this crazy thing called life.

I am finding that I am having a hard time being MOM and WIFE. If I leave my daughter for the night with a babysitter, I feel guilty because I was a work all day and didn’t get to see her, (in there is also the feeling I have that other people are judging me because I should be home) But if I skip the social event to be home with my daughter, then I am sad that I don’t get to spend time socially with my husband. I would have never thought I would feel this literal guilt when you leave your child home with a perfectly competent and loving person to go enjoy myself for the night, but it is there and it is so hard to swallow. This article made me feel a little better about myself, made me feel like I am not alone in this battle, and not a bad mom for wanting to go out to dinner with my husband.

It is funny because I am normally a fairly logical person, I just have to tell myself that I am a good mom and stop worrying about people and I know that. I know that I am a good Mom and that my daughter loves me and I love her, but after you have a kid you get this crazy complex that makes me think that it will never be enough. You ask yourself all those haunting questions- What if this is affecting her, what if she is sad that I am not there, what if she feels neglected and put out because I am not there to put her to bed? All these questions run through my mind and its hard, really hard to find the answers to them.

So Balancing Emma is still a work in progress just like my daughter and my husband and our lives right now. I know it will be ok for us in the end but reading things like this article make it easier, so thank to you Huffington Post for posting this and helping me to understand that its ok to put Wife before Mom sometimes.

I am interested to see if I get any feedback from this post. I read a lot online about mothers and I have a feeling there is a portion of them that think this is totally backwards and I am interested to see how people feel about it.

If You Love Your Kids More Than Your Husband, You’re Wrong | YourTango.

Pure Genius on Paper- All the Light we Cannot See- Anthony Doerr

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Outstanding. This book was a mesmerizingly beautiful experience with eloquent characters and a hauntingly beautiful premise. Antony Doerr created an outstanding story that depicted World War II in a whole new light. Using children as his characters created a new layer of the story that made this book stand out.

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I re-read books. Do you?

I re-read books.

I know that some people just do, and some don’t. I re-read books for the 2nd, 5th, 10th, cough 20th (Harry Potter) time and love them just the same. I love that tingling feeling you get when you are anticipating something and even though I know what that something is, I still get all excited just the same. Sometimes I think it is better the 2nd or 20th time. I can anticipate what’s coming and even though I kind of know the story, you don’t remember everything and each time I can find a new and different part that I didn’t remember from the last time. That’s why books are so outstanding. I really love reading stories at a different point in your life. Re-reading books that you read in high school or even before is really quite amazing. You find new insight into the characters and find new lessons that the author was trying to impart on the reader. It’s all about context and finding that new context in an old book is really awesome for me. It also goes the other way, I have been following a thread on Goodreads about “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madame Engle and have been trying to defend a book that I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid and as an adult. Each time I read it, I found that I connected with different characters and took away a new idea or concept.

Right now I am re-reading Divergent however it is the most inappropriate time to be re-reading a book. I have 3 library books out and a Kindle FULL of those amazing cozy mysteries (free from Book Bub) and a to-read list on Goodreads that is a mile long! But I am. I got to the point where Tris jumps off the train and I was so excited inside and I almost literally squealed with joy when she first meets Four!! I know what happens at the end, and even throughout the whole book but reading it again makes it just as suspenseful. It’s almost easier to absorb the surrounding stories when you don’t have to focus on the direct plot. That opens up a whole can of worms about finding hidden meanings in books and how sometimes when I finish a book, I want to flip it over and start again because the ending changes everything and I feel like I need to read it again just to enjoy the new insight I gained from the ending!

Re-reading a book is like meeting an old friend again and I LOVE it!! I am notorious for re-reading Harry Potter. I literally had to rebuy The Sorcerer’s Stone because the cover fell off. The moral of this short post is to see if I am alone in this re-reading world or if I just need to get some friends and stop reading old books :) Does anyone else find that re-reading a book gives it a new light and creates a whole new experience for you? If so, what is your favorite book or author to re-read? I have re-read a ton of books but a few of my favorite are Sarah Dessen, Dan Brown, The Giver, Harry Potter (of course), and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Do you ever feel guilty for re-reading a book when you know there are so many outstanding ones out there?!

Thanks for reading!!🙂

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The Supreme Court Decision Everyone is Talking About

OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO

I know that politics and religion have no place among friends but it is much to exciting of a time for me to pass by without comment on the events of this morning.

Today is a new and exciting time to be alive during a Supreme Court decision like this one. I am thankful to the 5 justices for doing their part in society and the judicial system and to follow the preceding court decisions. Kudos to Justice Kennedy for speaking so eloquently about his decision and putting into words what every American should be thinking if they wish to continue in the World moving forward. This is the natural progression of our society and any who think otherwise will invariably be left behind.

I find the dissenting arguments to be archaic and old fashioned. I agree that deep rooted history defines a portion of marriage on the ability to procreate, however if you do not take into account the changing technology in regards to procreation then you are applying a severe injustice to the coming generations.

Congratulations to the justices that chose to rule in favor of same-sex marriage. It is you 5 that will lead our country into an era of new beginnings and exciting times.

(you can click on the quote below to a direct link to the Supreme Court decision)

 “The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understand­ing of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era. Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.”

–Justice Kennedy

If you wish to comment, please feel free but be reminded that I can edit any and all. I don’t mind your opinion, in fact I encourage it (I read the dissention in the decision because I feel that I always need to understand both sides before I make a decision on a matter) Just remember that we are adults and that hateful words will be removed.

An inspiring tale: The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

This was an enlightening book filled with wonderful stories and beautifully written sentences. Wingate painted a perfect picture of the Outer Banks.prayer box

 

“Other people’s judgment doesn’t have any power unless you offer yourself up for trial, so don’t.”

― Lisa Wingate, The Prayer Box

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Another brilliant chilling novel: Faithful Place by Tana French

Another stunning book by Tana French. Her words and characters are so riveting and deep that you find yourself thinking about them even while you are not reading the book.

Tana French

Frank Mackey comes from a roughed up Irish town called Faithful Place where tough soled kids run amok in the road and go home to even tougher souled parents. (Spellings intended) Frank’s whole life is ripped apart when his high school sweetheart doesn’t meet him the night they are to run off together. Frank leaves town and doesn’t return until he is called back after 22 years to an old suitcase, a body, and a whole town full of memories. Can Frank and the Dublin Murder Squad find out who killed Rosie before the town and the memories strangle Frank?

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