Friday Five: Yours and Yours Alone

Southeast LibraryStaff Picks

Friday Five: Yours and Yours Alone

Some Books about Solitude for Valentines Day

Valentines Day is the perfect time to think about.... solitude. At this time of year when we feel all kinds of pressure to find the perfect match, it can be healthy to reflect on what it means to be ok with yourself, to be happy in your own company.

So, even though we are hosting a slate of speed-dating sessions this month, allow me to also suggest five books that lift up our capacity for solitude and self-reliance.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
by Haruki Murakami

The great fiction writer Haruki Murakami is also a seasoned marathon runner and wrote a fantastic memoir about it called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. If long-distance running has ever been a part of your life, you know how lonely it can be. Murakami explores his love for running as well as his passions for literature and food and music. It's an ode to being in love with life.

Journal of a Solitude
by May Sarton

Poets often have a sensitivity to the experience of being alone. In addition to her poetry, May Sarton's journals explored the contours of the solo life, and her Journal of a Solitude is an especially beautiful document of a period in her life when she chose to live and write alone.

Drinking the Rain
by Alix Kates Shulman

Stories of divorce and separation can be a particularly poignant window into loneliness, but I really appreciate a story that shows someone moving on towards independence and a wiser heart. Drinking the Rain, by Alix Kates Shulman is her memoir of divorcing her husband and forging a new life on the streets of New York City and the beaches of coastal Maine.

Born on a Blue Day
by Daniel Tammet

Memoirs of people whose minds work in unique ways often have themes of loneliness and isolations as well as hard-earned independence and vitality. Daniel Tammet's memoir Born on a Blue Day is a vivid and moving account of his experience with Asperger's syndrome, synesthesia, and linguistic savantism. I felt incredibly bonded to Tammet by the time I came to the end of his own story.

A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki

For a fiction title, try Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being offers a rich and compassionate look at a troubled teenager in Japan. We read it in our Capitol Hill Reads book club, the book is written by a Zen priest and definitely reflects a world-view based on calm abiding in the midst of suffering and uncertainty. Books about meditation are often instructional in form, so we enjoyed discussing a piece of fiction that embraced mindfulness as a useful method for living a full life.