Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Best Books for People Who Are Single (and happy about it) Part I

Seven great books that applaud the virtues of solitude and offer reassurance to singles, loners, introverts, uncompromising romantics, and others that proper, coupled-off society deems as outcasts. (By some estimates a third to half of the population are introverts.) 

These book are of particular interest to creative types and others who need more quiet time than is considered acceptable. If you can read only one book, read listing 6, "The Missing Piece" by cartoonist Shel Silverstein.

1) Solitude: A Return to the Self by Anthony Storr

My short review: 
Must read, especially for creative types. The author, now deceased, had serious cred as a psychiatrist, but manages to write clearly and in plain English.  
Best part of the book: listings of all the famous people who never married or lived solitary lives: Goya, Kafka, Kant, Beethoven, Anne Sexton, Beatrix Potter.

From Amazon:
Solitude was seminal in challenging the established belief that "interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness." 
- Indeed, most self-help literature still places relationships at the center of human existence. 
- Lucid and lyrical, Storr's book cites numerous examples of brilliant scholars and artists ... to demonstrate that solitude ranks alongside relationships in its impact on an individual's well-being and productivity, as well as on society's progress and health. 
- But solitary activity is essential not only for geniuses, says Storr; the average person, too, is enriched by spending time alone...More

2) Party of One: Loners' Manifesto by  Anneli Rufus

My short review: 
Fuck Publisher's Weekly (who bashed it). I really enjoyed this book -- it was a quick read, especially in the beginning. The preachy tone got a little weary later on, so I just stopped reading.
- Best part of the book: The author is married, living with another loner, and they both work at home. She looks forward to the time each day when her husband leaves the house to go get the mail -- and she has the house to herself.

From Amazon:
The Buddha. Rene Descartes. Emily Dickinson. Greta Garbo. Bobby Fischer. J. D. Salinger: Loners, all—along with as many as 25 percent of the world's population. 
- Loners keep to themselves, and like it that way. 
- Yet in the press, in films, in folklore, and nearly everywhere one looks, loners are tagged as losers and psychopaths, perverts and pity cases, ogres and mad bombers, elitists and wicked witches. 
- Too often, loners buy into those messages and strive to change, making themselves miserable in the process by hiding their true nature—and hiding from it. More

3) Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics by Sasha Cagen

My short review: Geared toward women
Dopey title, but a different take on being single: We're picky and less desperate than many people who end up settling. 
- An interesting note: In the book "Flying Solo" listed below, Cagen is interviewed and sound like she's getting tired of being single. 
- OK, being single can be tiring, especially on Saturday nights, when I'm at the movies by myself and sitting in the handicapped seat.
Best part of the book: Most of it.

From Amazon:
quirkyalone (kwur.kee.uh.lohn) n. adj.
A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. 

- With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status. 
- ...Of, relating to, or embodying quirkyalones. See also: romantic, idealist, independent. More


4) Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg 

My short review:
Interesting reading that offers a sociological look at an emerging trend. Personally, I think the trend is bad news, more evidence that society is going down the tubes. But I don't have a doctorate, what do I know.
Best part of the book, the stats: Fifty percent of households in Manhattan are people living alone?

From Amazon:
With eye-opening statistics, original data, and vivid portraits of people who live alone, renowned sociologist Eric Klinenberg upends conventional wisdom to deliver the definitive take on how the rise of going solo is transforming the American experience. More

5) Paying for it: a comic-strip memoir about being a john by Chester Brown

My short review: Geared toward men.
Guy gets tired of dating. Guy starts paying for sex and writes about it. Surprisingly, innocent and not too skeevy: The guy is a nerd who just wants to get laid without the hassles of a relationship. If you like R. Crumb, you'll like this guy.
Best part of the book: Author's honest assessment of relationships and how paying for sex makes sense for him.
From Amazon:
...Paying for It offers an entirely contemporary exploration of sex work—from the timid john who rides his bike to his escorts, wonders how to tip so as not to offend, and reads Dan Savage for advice, to the modern-day transactions complete with online reviews, seemingly willing participants, and clean apartments devoid of clich├ęd street corners, drugs, or pimps. More

6) The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

My short review:
A quick read, this children's book is a fable about "quest and fulfillment." It also can be interpreted as a spin on the search for a significant other and how some people may be more content acknowledging that their missing a piece -- and rolling on with their lives. Silverstein, now deceased, was on of the most popular cartoonist's of his day.
Best part of book: You can read it in five minutes -- literally.

From Wikipedia:
This very simple story deals with the concept of true happiness, fulfillment, non-monogamy and love. As Anne Roiphe explained in The New York Times Book Review: "This fable can also be interpreted to mean that no one should try to find all the answers, no one should hope to fill all the holes in themselves, achieve total transcendental harmony or psychic order because a person without a search, loose ends, internal conflicts and external goals becomes too smooth to enjoy or know what's going on. Too much satisfaction blocks exchange with the outside." More


7) Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella DePaulo

The title pretty much says it all. This is the one book on this list that I haven't read, but I've been following social scientist Bella DePaulo's blog and column in Psychology Today for years.

From Amazon:

Singled Out Debunks Ten Myths of Singlehood, Including:
-Myth--The Dark Aura of Singlehood: You are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic.
-Myth--Attention, Single Women: Your work won't love you back and your eggs will dry up. Also, you don't get any and you're promiscuous.
-Myth--Attention, Single Men: You are horny, slovenly, and irresponsible, and you are the scary criminals. Or you are sexy, fastidious, frivolous, and gay. More


Any books I missed?  List in comments section!

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