We are taught that there is shame in being alone. For women, in particular, there lurks the implication that no one is ever willingly by themselves. There's this idea that o one wants to be single (and if they say they do, they're just kidding themselves) or that no one wants a life that is truly untethered. "Find me a husband!" has been at the center of book, movie and TV plots for centuries. But part of growing up — er, maybe not even "up," but "out" — has been learning to love singularity. These books taught me how to be alone - and why there's power in loneliness.
Though it took until I was out of college to realize this tendency, I have always fallen into a lifestyle of independence. I bought my own prom ticket my senior year (and some classmate's mom looked at me pityingly and said, "Just one?"). I had moved to two new cities, without much of a plan, twice by the time I was 21. And it wasn't until other people started pointing out that I'm the opposite of a serial monogamist, that I take (to them, oddly) long walks by myself and show up to parties by myself and eat meals in public by myself, that I began to feel ashamed of being alone, of loneliness. I downloaded all the dating apps, I began spiraling into depression. I started relying on other people to do my own emotional lifting. And then I started reading books about women who refused to shut up about the intricacies of loneliness.
As an extrovert, the process of loving alone time has been particularly challenging. I do gain energy from being in the company of others. I love to chat and socialize. But as Warsan Shire sagely wrote, "You can't make homes out of human beings." This reading list helped me learn that.