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Why We Feel Lonely and Odd

May 13, Vic Van rated it it was amazing. I did not read this because I need to learn how to be alone. I love being on my own, outside or at home. I do not mind it one bit. But as the author suggests, people who seem to enjoy being on their own or alone, tend to be regarded as a little awkward. People regularly ask me why I go hiking on my own, for instance. As I set out for another Sunday walk all on my own, someone asked me recently: is your desire to be alone so strong? I was ashamed to tell her: yes, in fact it is.

But this book sor I did not read this because I need to learn how to be alone. But this book sort of puts me in the clear. The reasons that Sara Maitland sums up for wanting to really be on her own are exactly the same as mine. Spending time alone, as for her, is a way to recharge my batteries, to empty my mind of everyday stuff and to focus on the core and essence of life, but also on the beauty of my surroundings, it provides food for thought and creative inspiration, and it allows me to connect with the things that transcend me.

So, Sara Maitland, thank you for this There were both fascinating and unsurprising parts of this book.


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It just so happens that the fascinating parts derive not from Maitland's prose but by the considerable amount of excerpts she used between original writing. I can say that this was a book that produced a strong desire in me to read more from all the authors that seem to have inspired her. This b "How have we arrived, in the relatively prosperous developed world at least, at a cultural moment which values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfillment and human rights, and above all individualism, more highly than they have ever been valued before in human history, but at the same time those autonomous, free, self-fulfilling individuals are terrified of being alone with themselves?

This book was largely preaching to the choir, yet still gave me lots to ponder. For example, the notion that we often label people whose behavior is incomprehensible to us as mad, bad, or sad.

This book is really a self help guide for people who don't like to be alone, and has philosophy and psychology woven in so as to make taking the first steps not so scary. While I'm perfectly happy with my own company, I enjoyed the meandering meditations on this topic. Jan 18, Aseem Kaul rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. A disappointing read. It may be just that I'm too comfortable with solitude to appreciate this book - like someone in grad school reading a nursery primer - but Sara Maitland's book struck me as both saying too little and too much.

On the one hand, I found Ms. Maitland's obsession with justifying one's own solitude to other people bizarre and misguided - surely the first step to being alone is learning not to care what other people think of you. Moreover, Ms. Maitland seems confused about what s A disappointing read. Maitland seems confused about what she means by 'being alone', veering wildly between living alone in hermit like isolation and going for the occasional walk by yourself. On the other hand, there's a great deal of over the top talk about discovering God and creative genius, all buoyed by some fairly dubious anecdotal evidence, and backed by some half-baked theory about Christianity vs.

For most of us, I suspect, the point of being alone is not to arrive at some transcendent spiritual discovery of one's true self or some similar new age mumbo jumbo , the point is that it's comfortable and fun, and no more or less virtuous than any other form of leisure. Ironically, Ms. Maitland's desperate attempts to defend justify solitude end up legitimizing the idea that solitude requires social justification. This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It debunks the myths that solitude is not "natural" , or that people who like to be alone are bad ,mad or sad.

It claims that solitude is very healthy activity. It is truly very odd. I have more trouble with wanting to be alone shades of Garbo when others want me to be with them. So much of this small book is not aimed at me. However, I had two reasons for reading this.

She was one of the first authors that I read that showed me that Christianity and feminism might be able to be integral to my life. I still revisit the essays that she edited on Christian feminism decades ago. Sometimes all you need is a short intro to a subject you know nothing about. For example, she suggests that the reader find ways to be solitary.

I am a handweaver. This is not a hobby that you do with lots of other people. I spend time with other weavers, but not when I am actually at my loom. Since I have been reading about solitude and silence, I am grateful to Maitland for suggesting some books to add to my reading list. I have plenty to read, but this subject seems to be a project of mine. There are five to six books already on my TBR pile about either silence or solitude.

If you are curious about why someone would choose to be alone — pick this up. Jul 09, mentalexotica rated it it was amazing. This is the kind of book that looks for you, finds you and makes itself available tangibly to you at the perfect time in your life. I am convinced of it. Your first response to the title may well be, "but I don't want to be alone!

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Sara Maitland has a gift of being spot on. On the bean. She reads you so keenly that you will squirm. And the only way This is the kind of book that looks for you, finds you and makes itself available tangibly to you at the perfect time in your life.

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And the only way this can be made possible is with the knowledge and insight gained and nurtured over years of study, observation, and experience. This book tells you the difference between solitude and everything you thought being alone was about. It will teach you how silence and solitude are warm, friendly partners on the road of life and well worth a visit when you feel weighed down by the doubts, the dreariness, or even simply the draw towards something more divine.

Everything is truly within you. And the journey to that everything must be undertaken by yourself into yourself. Jun 03, Sata rated it liked it. The problem of such books is that they try to elaborate on one precise topic and end up circling around one Idea in a boring and repetitive way, I personally enjoy learning by living the experience through narrated story, and I can say that I had more appreciation for solitude after reading "The Wind-up bird chronicles" and "The metamorphosis" than reading this book, however it wasn't that bad, in fac 3.

The problem of such books is that they try to elaborate on one precise topic and end up circling around one Idea in a boring and repetitive way, I personally enjoy learning by living the experience through narrated story, and I can say that I had more appreciation for solitude after reading "The Wind-up bird chronicles" and "The metamorphosis" than reading this book, however it wasn't that bad, in fact it had some solid points when it mentioned real life examples of hermits and creative thinkers who used solitude as a fuel for both the soul and mind, plus the way of ending the book with the positive side of the topic the benefits of solitude was effective.

Feb 09, Annika rated it liked it Shelves: self-improvement , the-school-of-life , on-the-subject-of-solitude. The first half is an insightful look onto why society has come to rebuke lonesomeness. The other half is a handbook on how to overcome the pre-programmed cognition of being alone.

While I agree with most of it, there were also a couple of points in the second half of the book there that I did not agree with or that I found troublesome to hear. Perhaps it's because it was written at a time where you could get away with saying such things unlike now where one has to always be politically correct The first half is an insightful look onto why society has come to rebuke lonesomeness. Perhaps it's because it was written at a time where you could get away with saying such things unlike now where one has to always be politically correct which is the tone of voice that I've come to know and look for in any sort of writing I come across.

Anyway, it was a breezy read, and a nice introduction into The School of Life series. Nov 14, Lisa rated it it was ok. May 14, Dennis rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction.

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I was an Episcopal monk for three years. More recently, I spent one month off of the grid, not seeing, or speaking with, anyone. Maitland truly captures some of what I wish to express to others about the value and depth of those experiences.


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