T.O.T.Week: loneliness

I’ve always considered myself a bit of an introverted extrovert (I love a good oxymoron). This probably defies what distinguishes the two terms, but I feel that the extrovert’s soul is fed from time spent with others. And while I am most definitely opinionated, fairly talkative, and choose to speak in front of a crowd of seventeen ten-year-olds regularly, what feeds my soul is my solitary time – reading, running, cooking, blogging. So I was a bit surprised by myself this weekend when I woke up with no agenda, no plan… and I felt uneasy. I haven’t had an uninterrupted respite like this in quite some time. Yet I felt blue at the thought of my parents snuggling as they watch their k-dramas in Jersey, my siblings gathering for an impromptu dinner in New York, and my boyfriend working all hours in New Orleans. It did get me thinking about loneliness, a feeling I’ve worked through before yet also strangely value. There are different aspects of loneliness. Now, this weekend’s outcome ended positively, as I reacquainted with myself and enjoyed a nice meal, a couple of bookstore visits, and even a movie expedition. (Babylon is definitely a movie theater movie, to those of you wondering…) Then, upon reflection, some of the most intense feelings of loneliness I’ve experienced have been when surrounded by people, whether as a homesick child amongst a sea of three hundred girls at summer camp or a cautious graduate student avoiding ice breakers during Orientation Week. To feel that lack of connection when there are so many voices at once… that’s really, really hard.

With this in mind, I chose four books that I feel touch on different types of loneliness, which I believe we’ve all experienced at one point or another. You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey is a picture book that connects child and nature with its titular message. Kat Yeh’s middle grade novel Way to Bea introduces young Bea entering middle school with a sense of dread, wondering why her friends have stopped speaking to her. The Perks of Being A Wallflower… well, it’s pretty much in the title, isn’t it? I top it off with an ever classic, The Great Gatsby, because let’s be real, has there ever been a lonelier character than Jay? I may have also been slightly influenced by my Babylon viewing…

You Are Never Alone by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim (picture book)

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh (middle grade novel)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Steven Chbosky (YA novel)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (adult classic)

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