Olivia Laing's Books for Lonely Lockdown Days

Goodreads asked author Olivia Laing to share her recommended reading list with us. Laing is the author of the The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. Her new essay collection, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency, will be available in the U.S. on May 12.

From Olivia Laing: "Sometimes loneliness can feel like a prison, but it also has hidden gifts. In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary that she thought loneliness might allow her to experience 'the singing of the real world.' I love that idea and my own experience with loneliness has borne it out.

Here are twelve books about lonely people of many different kinds, tormented by difference, isolated by social forces, but still longing to communicate and connect. We are living through a frightening moment. We can’t touch each other, but we can read. These are books to show you that even in the deepest loneliness you are not alone."

[Check out more recommended reading lists from your favorite authors.]
List Challenge
The average Goodreads member has read 1 out of 16 books on this list — how many have you read?
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Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Ula (new)

Ula I will add to this list "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro.


message 2: by Kira (new)

Kira Davis "Adventures of the Novel Coronavirus" might be appropriate for this list:-)


message 3: by Tricia (new)

Tricia Toney I read 7 of the 14.


message 4: by Alphonse (new)

Alphonse nice


message 5: by John (new)

John Can I also recommend 'Lost in Yaba; Down and Out in Laos' for this list.
Btw, I've read 3 on this list. Above average. Yay! : )


message 6: by Roberto (new)

Roberto Garcia Booklovinglady wrote: "@Roberto
Do stop adding your own book in the comment section, as it is not nice (and there are other ways of promoting your own book)."


Sorry about that. I thought I was adding my book to the list. I'm new to this.


message 7: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady @Roberto
As far as I know, authors can't add their book to a Listopia (which is not what a Listopia is for, anyway).


message 8: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Cohen-Maitre, Ph.D. I would like to add "Asher and Stacey's Magnificent Road Trip" by Stacey Cohen-Maitre


message 9: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 17, 2020 12:00AM) (new)

Booklovinglady @Stacey
As you share the same first name, I can't escape the notion that you might be the same person as the author?


message 10: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Simon Almost anything by Anita Brookner would qualify. I’ve read 4books on your list.


message 11: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady @Carol
As far as I know, authors can't add their own books to a Listopia (and rightfully so, as that is not what a Listopia is meant for).


message 12: by Maria (new)

Maria Haven't read any of those but now I am planning to!

Thank you :)


message 13: by chantel (new)

chantel nouseforaname I've read 4 on this list - I definitely want to read Solitary by Albert Woodfox next year :)


message 14: by Len (new)

Len Hayter The Bell Jar? Why not read Stephen King's The Shining - ideal when you're all by yourself in the middle of winter. I was thinking more along the lines of "keep it light". I can only offer British (and Irish) suggestions: George & Weedon Grossmith "Diary of a Nobody"; Spike Milligan "Puckoon"; Stella Gibbons "Cold Comfort Farm"; W E Bowman "The Ascent of Rum Doodle"; and for a wallow in a long disappeared British countryside, Kenneth Grahame "The Wind in the Willows". They are all capable of the preparatory anaesthetisation that soothes the way into a blissful vaccination. I hope.


message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol Mottershead If you're looking for something to read that is a 'feel good' and in the vein of 'keeping it light' look now further than Joan - Put On A Happy Face Joan: Put on a Happy face available on Amazon worldwide sites


message 16: by Len (new)

Len Hayter Re: message 15. Thank you for the tip, Carol. I used to be a bookseller myself, though due to lack of talent I had to sell other people's. However, I'm sure I will get around to reading Joan: Put on a Happy Face in the future.


message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol Mottershead I'm sure you'll be able to find something to interest you in my book Len :-) You should never underestimate yourself or put yourself down there's enough people will do that for you haha!
As an online bookseller, maybe you could give me some hints on how to sell my book haha! Darn cheek I hear you saying! lol! But hey... if you don't ask you don't get Dad always used to say lol! My book covers such a lot if only people will buy it to begin with lol! Regression therapy... I used to be a hypnotherapist and my main passion was regression hypnosis! The Institute of Hypnosis and Parapsychology trained me with Dr Peter L Goodwin and I seemed to attract all the paranormal cases such as a lady who was working as a healer but only when Sister Theresa of Avila took over her body haha! That was really interesting case and I'm thinking of writing it up as soon as I can find the regression tape of the spirit being regressed to her death lol! No joke! It's a real case lol! Well, nice chatting with you. My book is available on kindle unlimited free like most, or what the events section for the next promo deals Amazon run for me lol! All the best, you stay safe, be strong and keep positive during this testing time. All the best, Carol Joan: Put on a Happy face


message 18: by Len (new)

Len Hayter Carol wrote: "I'm sure you'll be able to find something to interest you in my book Len :-) You should never underestimate yourself or put yourself down there's enough people will do that for you haha!
As an onli..."


Sorry for the delay in replying. I can't really help you. I used to sell second-hand and antiquarian books and, if you're publishing in ebooks and such things, you'd be better finding someone of a different generation to me. But the best of luck with your work. I hope you have a bestseller.


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