How To Be Alone – II


I had promised Cheerful Monk that I would review the book once I had finished reading it and here it is.  I hope that Anjali agrees with my conclusion.

I am disappointed.

Sara Maitland has taken the theme that she loves being alone and would like other people to enjoy being alone too; but present societies consider this preference as countercultural. This may well be true of Western societies but I do come from India where it is anything but countercultural. That India, particularly urban India has increasingly become Westernised considered, the vast majority of Indians would not consider going off to live alone or on retreats as being odd.

Having said that, there are as many pressures here for single people to get married as there are in the West and as many snide comments about singles made to them or behind their backs as there apparently are in the West.

Ms. Maitland has collected many quotes from many authors and her suggested reading list for those looking to be alone include Henry Thoreau, Philip Koch, Isabel Colegate and Peter France. Frankly, I have no intention to read any further on the subject as nothing new has come up in her work and I doubt that I will learn anything new from the others though I must say that I have always found Thoreau’s Walden a fascinating read.

Unless you are now not alone and are being forced into or voluntarily planning to go it alone for the rest of your life and are looking for a DIY book, you can safely give this book a bye.

22 thoughts on “How To Be Alone – II”

  1. I enjoy retreating occasionally into my private space, but believe part of the good feeling is knowing I will return soon to a life featuring interactions with other humans. The concept of being totally alone for the rest of one’s days holds no appeal for me.
    Gabbygeezer recently posted..We’re Being Bowled Over

  2. even being alone…
    I think everyone needs at least someone in their life …
    to call and share a meal with… and good rollicking discussions!
    so that when you get back home and in your little room…
    you feel warmed and happy… both from company and yet again in your own solitude.
    I don’t know if that can be learned from a book.
    it’s just the way it is.
    making up your mind to be happy and love the life you have really.
    unless a person is the type that is ‘clinically depressed’ or something…
    which is entirely to do with the brain… and can be helped with medication.
    my first reaction to your review I have to admit sean…
    was delight.
    I said to myself… “don’t beat around the bush rummy! tell us how you REALLY feel!” LOLOLOL! you’re the best.

  3. I’m often on my own and I can occupy myself very happily. I lived on my own for many years when I was young, and of course I’ve never had any children to interrupt my periods of aloneness. So I doubt if she could tell me anything new on the subject.
    nick recently posted..Spilling it out

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