The Lonely Bookshelf: top 7 books to read this Summer

Moody image of an open book and  a cup of tea beside a sunny window.

Members of the Tackling Loneliness Hub have been sharing recommendations for books which are themed around loneliness.  Are you looking for a book which offers practical steps to counter loneliness, or a heartwarming story to make you feel less alone? We’ve got one for you. 

Here are our top 7 recommendations for your Summer reading list.

  1. Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely by Gill Hasson

    Ranging from tips for meeting new people, to advice on managing more chronic feelings of loneliness, Lonely Less offers practical steps we can all take to better connect with others and increase our sense of belonging. 

  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    A compelling book that has a lot to say about loneliness and the stigma often associated with it. Funny, yet also deeply moving, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine draws attention to the importance of friendship and how small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in our lives. 

  3. On Connection by Kae Tempest

    Described by our Hub members as a ‘love letter to creativity and community’, On Connection highlights the power of creativity to increase our self-awareness and develop deeper connections with ourselves and the world around us.

  4. The Lonely Century: A call to reconnect by Noreena Hertz

    Combining research with first-hand reporting, Noreena Hertz offers a range of bold and thoughtful solutions to restore personal relationships and our sense of community. The Lonely Century is a powerful book which details the detrimental effects that loneliness has on our mental and physical health and why it is so important to reinvigorate our neighbourhoods. 

  5. Friends: Understanding the Power of our Most Important Relationships by Robin Dunbar

    Selected by one of our Hub members for the way it resonated with their own experiences, Friends looks at the different types of friendships and family relationships that exist in our lives. Exploring the psychological and behavioural mechanisms that make friendships possible, this book takes a closer look at the complex social world in which we live. 

  6. Someone to Talk To by Mario Luis Small

    In Someone To Talk To, Small looks at how a group of graduate students decide whom to turn to for support. Surprised that people often entrust deeply personal thoughts and feelings with strangers, Small investigates who we connect with, how and why.

  7. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

    The Lonely City offers a personal account of Olivia Laing’s experience of loneliness after moving to New York in her mid thirties. Eager to understand her loneliness, Laing begins to explore the city through its art. Moving from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, Laing investigates what it means to be alone, revealing not only the cause of loneliness but how it might be overcome.

Special message for our Tackling Loneliness Hub members – if you have read any of these books, don’t forget to tell others what you thought in the Hub’s reading group


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