It stinks to be singled out, but it certainly doesn’t stink to be single. If you want some distraction from your crippling loneliness — erm, we mean independence, check out the six books we picked below!
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosh (Touchstone Books, 2013)
I had an awkward childhood, but who didn’t? I’m also a 20-something college grad who doesn’t have a clue. Allie Brosh’s book features her favorite stories from the cult blog of the same name accompanied with silly Microsoft Paint drawings that are the epitome of derp. She recounts hilarious anecdotes from her youth and throughout her 20s. I can relate. So much so that while reading it, I’ve had moments where I’ve said to myself, “Oh, so that’s why I don’t have a girlfriend.” (Cue laughter, then silent weeping.)
The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
If you haven’t heard of the The Room (not to be confused with 2015’s Room) then you’re missing out on the Citizen Kane of crappy movies. Watch it. If you’re sitting in your living room on a Friday night and want to take a break from that same singles bar you go to every week, pick up this book. Written by one of the film’s “stars,” this book ridiculously chronicles how Sestero got to know the mercurial director, writer, editor and star of The Room: Tommy Wiseau.
Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari (Penguin Books, 2015)
“Life is all about the people we meet and the people we love.” Really? Well, now it’s also about the people we meet, like, go on dates with and then never get a reply from that text you sent three hours ago. Amiright?! The romance game has drastically changed thanks to technology, and it’s changed the way we’re wired. If you’re newly single and think no one understands your heartbreak, don’t worry, Aziz does. Aziz understands. And Aziz wants you to read his book, so it sounds like a win, win.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami, Translated by Philip Gabriel (Knopf, 2014)
This meditation on loneliness will make you feel anything but lonely. Murakami’s masterful writing follows Tsukuru Tazaki as he tries to put the pieces together about a seminal moment in his past, when his four closest friends unanimously abandoned him without warning. Sixteen years later, his girlfriend prompts him to visit his old friends, find out why they left him, and move on emotionally. Twinged with elements of Murakami’s trademark magical realism, this journey is equal parts weird and heartfelt. You’ll feel mysteriously satisfied after finishing it.
The Country Girls Trilogy, Edna O’Brien (Plume, 1987)
This collection of three novels traces the experiences of two young women into adulthood in Ireland around World War II. Cait and Baba, the protagonists, are extremely relatable and have such a bad time traveling in and out of various relationships that you’ll be more than happy with your singleness. O’Brien’s writing is engrossing, and was considered outrageous when the first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960 (O’Brien’s hometown priest burned copies from his pulpit). It’s easy to fall into these novels, and they’ll give you a new perspective on the value of independence.
Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Translated by Olena Bormaskenko (Chicago Review Press, 2012)
As tempting as it may be to read lonely novels or self-help books when you’re single, the best kind of book to read is something that has absolutely no bearing on your date-ability at all. Reading something completely different is probably the best way to get your brain out of a funk, so I suggest this dystopian, peculiar science fiction novel from Soviet Russia. Originally published in 1971, the book is set in an alternate future where aliens came and left Earth in the space of a few minutes. The story follows characters in a small town near one of the landing sites years later, as the world still reels from the realization that aliens exist. Filled with cool characters, bizarre genetic mutations, strange discoveries, low-key zombies, and locations where the laws of physics don’t apply, this off-beat novel is odd, but the writing is normal enough to appeal to everyone. It’ll be a perfect distraction from any nagging concerns you may have about dying alone!