An Update on My Reading Goal: The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

I have finished my second book off NPR’s list of the 10 best books of 2016. The first book off the list, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, wowed me. The second book, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing, had quite the opposite effect.

Laing writes about solitude and its impact on us. Despite loving my family and friends, I have long relished my alone time, so I was interested in the subject matter of the book. However, it reads like a sub-par high school term paper.

The book wasn’t a complete waste of time: There were some interesting anecdotes about artists and how loneliness influenced their work, specifically in the cases of Andy Warhol and David Wojnarowicz. There is also the reminder at the book’s conclusion that art exists to remind us that we really are not alone in our challenges.

Despite this book being a bit of a dud, I am still committed to finishing this list. I’m deciding today which book I’ll crack next. If you’re looking for more great reading lists, Trajectory of a Life and Mom is Such a Nerd have some good ones. Check them out.


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Here is the updated list:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs by Robert Kanigel