Marina Keegan’s “The Opposite of Loneliness”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACarl Sagan asserts that books are proof that humans can work magic. It is with this concept in mind that the story of Marina Keegan makes the most sense.

Marina was a 22 year old writer and a Yale graduate when her essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness”, was published in a special edition of the Yale Daily News. Today, “The Opposite of Loneliness” has been viewed over 1.4 million times at the Yale Daily News website. Her book, which came out this week, is published under the very same title.

Unfortunately, she will never get a chance to hold this book with her name on the spine – she died in a car crash in May, 2012. The book is a posthumous collection of her essays, short stories, and other non-fiction works. Her words live on, breaking the shackles of time, carrying her voice forward, and reminding us (as she writes in one of her poems) that “everything is so beautiful and so short”.

You can read her original essay, her book, or this moving article by her friend to find out more.


I’ve become obsessed with NoiseTrade. This website has such a great database of music and books to choose from; everything is free but they sincerely suggest you donate a tip because “a little generosity goes a long way.” The site leads users to artists based on the sound of artists they choose or search for. By looking at the label “For Fans Of”, users can find artists that are similar to the one they are listening to. The same applies to the books and authors they provide. By providing your email, a download link is sent to you and your free music or book is only a click away. eBooks are provided in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats for different reading platforms while music is in the standard .mp3 format. Although neither the authors nor artists on NoiseTrade are going to be the big sellers on iTunes or New York Bestsellers, they are the well-loved unknowns that we should know. Go explore NoiseTrade’s libraries and discover new talent.

Use Reddit to Get Free Stuff

Companies and individuals offer to give out freebies online every day, but it can be pretty impossible to be at the right place at the right time. Luckily, you can find a lot of this free stuff using reddit. The site is organized into “subreddits” which serve as categorization for particular communities. The larger reddit community can be kind of love-it-or-hate-it, but certain subreddits can be a great tool in finding good deals. Subreddits dedicated to free stuff essentially become a giant crowdsourced gallery of links to cool offers.

Finding these subreddits themselves can be tricky at times, so I’ve provided a few below:

Some communities are more active than others, but you can easily find the best content on any subreddit by clicking the word “top” on the navigation bar and adjusting for time scale (top this month, top this year, top all time).

top all time on reddit


Books Without the Burden

Books are expensive; textbooks are outrageously expensive. And heavy. So even if you’re a die-hard print lover, this list of free books available online can ease your burden (both financially and physically).

The first and most obvious is the heavy hitter: Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg runs off of donations and impressively manages to provide over 42,000 high quality free e-books, and most are available in multiple file formats.

For textbooks, we have The site can be a bit annoying to navigate – broken links scattered through the navigation become frustrating quickly. On the bright side though, textbookrevolution has over 1000 free textbooks available on a variety of subjects. There’s also, an open source/open collection of informational books that utilizes the familiar wiki structure to crowdsource the content.

Finally, if you’re looking for a beach read to throw on your kindle, there’s Public Bookshelf has a community built around romance novels, and as such some of their top hits include Sense and Sensibility, Princess Zara, and a fictional biography of Jane Austen.

The full list at justenglish has 103 entries separated into even more categories, like foreign language novels, poetry, and even illustrated children’s books.

Imagination Library

80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children (Source). These same children often go without age-appropriate books available at home as well. This can set them up at a disadvantage from their very first moments in the education system.

Dolly Parton is out to change that. Imagination Library is her project, founded in 1996. Families who sign up can receive one age-appropriate book each month, starting at age 5. Imagination Library serves families in America, Canada, the UK, and Australia.

If you know a child that could use an opportunity like this, point their parents this way and pass on the #weekoffree love to those who need it most.

A Stop Motion Film for Book Lovers from Spike Jonze

Folks who love the texture and weight of a book in your hands, the telling but not too telling artwork, are going to love this short film from Spike Jonze and handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan. The pair took 6 months to write the script, cut 3,000 pieces of felt to create this beautiful stop-motion film set in Paris’ legendary bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi on

Want more? Have a look at the Making Of too.

From Brain Pickings: The Best in Graphic Novels

Storytelling takes many different forms. One particularly interesting type is graphic novels, books that combine words with pictures to convey meaning.

Black and white sketch of old man

Image via

A group of 130 graphic artists teamed up to tackle some of the great works of literature—Moby Dick, Leaves of Grass, and Wuthering Heights, to name a few—to create what 190 different classic tales would look like if illustrated as a graphic novel. Russ Kick, editor and writer, has combined these illustrations into a Graphic Canon Trilogy. You can see more of his incredible images here. Which books would you like to see depicted?

From Biographile: “Teresa Carpenter Dispels Writer’s Block”

Photo of Teresa Carpenter, author

Teresa Carpenter, via Biographile

In a recent post on Biographile, a site devoted to “Real People. Real Stories. Great Reading.,” they discussed whether writer’s block actually exists. New York Times bestselling author Teresa Carpenter strongly believes it does not.

“If you can’t sit still in your chair, you’re bored, not blocked,” she says. “If you are running a temperature of 103, you’re sick, not blocked.”

The idea here, then, is that “writer’s block” is nothing more than a term we use when we are having difficulty focusing on our work for a variety of reasons. What do you think? Does writer’s block actually exist?