The most recommended books about loneliness

Who picked these books? Meet our 50 experts.

50 authors created a book list connected to loneliness, and here are their favorite loneliness books.
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What type of loneliness book?


Snow Hunters

By Paul Yoon,

Book cover of Snow Hunters

Don Lee Author Of The Partition

From the list on by now-established Korean American authors.

Who am I?

A Korean American author myself, I published my first book in 2001, and in the ensuing years I’ve been heartened by the number of Korean Americans who have made a splash with their debut novels, as these five writers did. All five have ventured outside of what I’ve called the ethnic literature box, going far beyond the traditional stories expected from Asian Americans. They established a trend that is happily growing. 

Don's book list on by now-established Korean American authors

Why did Don love this book?

This stunning, superlative novel soars in its lyricism. In just 194 pages, we get a lifetime. Yohan leaves the Korean peninsula after the war and becomes an apprentice to a Japanese tailor in Brazil. This story is quiet, without a lot of fireworks, but it’s nonetheless haunting and just gorgeous. 

By Paul Yoon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snow Hunters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"At once as delicate and durable as the filament a spider weaves...the finest of fables...a small but radiant star in the current literary firmament." -Dallas Morning News

"[A] quotidian-surreal craft-master." -New York Magazine
Yoon's highly anticipated debut novel SNOW HUNTERS promises to be even more beloved than the collection of stories that introduced him to the literary world.  Snow Hunters traces the extraordinary journey of Yohan, who defects from his country at the end of the Korean War, leaving his friends and family behind…

The Stranger in the Woods

By Michael Finkel,

Book cover of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

David Humphreys

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Writer Podcast host Board game fanatic Traveler

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did David love this book?

I am a strong introvert. I like my "me" time. But then there’s this man—Christopher Thomas Knight, who spent 27 years living in the woods of Maine alone. 

Michael Finkel’s The Stranger in the Woods is about Knight, who went into the forest, unprepared, in 1986 and didn’t come out again until he was arrested in 2013.

He survived by growing to understand the woods and being an excellent thief—both in the sense that he was good at lifting things and was, as much as possible, a conscientious outlaw. 

I found this a compelling read, partly because of the terse writing and partly because I understand and don’t understand the things that motivated Knight.

By Michael Finkel,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Stranger in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Could you leave behind all that you know and live in solitude for three decades? This is the extraordinary story of the last true hermit - Christopher Knight.

'This was a breath-taking book to read and many weeks later I am still thinking about the implications for our society and - by extension - for my own life' Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

'A wry meditation on one man's attempt to escape life's distractions and look inwards, to find meaning not by doing, but by being'
Martin Sixsmith, bestselling author of Philomena…

Book cover of Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Katherine Pryor Author Of Zora's Zucchini

From the list on to help kids like vegetables and one fruit.

Who am I?

Katherine Pryor is the award-winning author of several picture books about food and gardens. In addition to writing, she has worked to create better food choices at institutions, corporations, and food banks. She gardens with her young twins at their home on an island in northwest Washington. 

Katherine's book list on to help kids like vegetables and one fruit

Why did Katherine love this book?

In a list about vegetables, I couldn’t resist including one book about fruit, simply because I love it so much. Various fruits take turns being celebrated in rhyme, but as one increasingly gloomy orange realizes, it cannot be included, because, well, it’s in the title. This is a book parents love every bit as much as the kids, and reading it aloud 10,000 times just made me love it more. It will make any meal or snack involving fruit more fun. (Our family still quotes a particularly memorable line every time we eat kiwi.) There are some references that go over kids’ heads, but the book is so funny and well-written that mine never cared. Have fun, and plan on stocking the fruit bowl.

By Adam Rex,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nothing Rhymes with Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A perfect laugh-out-loud, read-aloud from New York Times bestselling author Adam Rex!

We all know nothing rhymes with orange. But how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out! When a parade of fruit gets together to sing a song about how wonderful they are-and the song happens to rhyme-Orange can't help but feel like it's impossible for him to ever fit in. But when one particularly intuitive Apple notices how Orange is feeling, the entire English language begins to become a bit more inclusive.

Beloved author-illustrator Adam Rex has created a hilarious yet poignant parable about feeling left out,…


By Vivek H Murthy M.D.,

Book cover of Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World

Matthew Hinsley Author Of Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time

From the list on enlightened nonprofit arts management.

Who am I?

I’ve been a community leader in the arts for more than twenty-five years. In raising millions of dollars, advocating for arts in our schools and communities, and teaching arts administration at the university level, I’ve had countless opportunities to witness the energy in people’s hearts that turns into action, growth, and success. What I’ve learned is that success in this arena involves things you can’t see or measure, like kindness, gratitude, and wonder. When we harness those elements of Essence, however, we can change the world.

Matthew's book list on enlightened nonprofit arts management

Why did Matthew love this book?

Vivek Murthy has been Surgeon General of the United States in both the Obama and Biden administrations. Together is a book about the health crisis of loneliness facing America. When you go deep as the leader of an arts organization, no matter what your organization does, I think you’ll realize that what you do has the potential to address this crisis in powerful ways.

By Vivek H Murthy M.D.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Together as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller from Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, MD.

“We have a massive, deadly epidemic hidden in plain sight: loneliness. It is as harmful to health as smoking and far more common. And as his gripping stories of the science and suffering make clear, we can do something about it. Together is fascinating, moving, and essential reading.”—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

“Together made me rethink much of what I believe about physical health, public policy, and the human condition. By revealing America’s epidemic of loneliness—and then offering an array of remedies for the condition—Murthy has done…


By Iain Reid,

Book cover of Foe

K.T. Seto Author Of Parallel: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

From the list on science fiction that will mess with your head.

Who am I?

Do you remember the moment you found the thing you love most? I do. I was 9 and sitting on the floor in the corner of my neighborhood library reading Dune. That little girl is now a grown-up with a passion for books that stick with you. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and coffee lover who has graduated from Dune to other things. Genres, authors, formats. But Science Fiction is my first and truest love. Especially Science fiction that messes with your head. Now I write what I love to read and strive to give my readers what my idols gave me. An escape.

K.T.'s book list on science fiction that will mess with your head

Why did K.T. love this book?

Released in 2018, Foe is a book recommended to me by a friend who said – Oh, you like trippy fiction, check this out. The premise of the book has been done before – Invasion of the Body Snatchers et al. You got a guy who has a double he didn’t agree to or know about at first. But the twist here is something that grabs you by the throat and makes you stop after some of the chapters and go – man that’s not right- before reading on. I started reading this at night. Put it aside and finished it during the day in one sitting. It was good. But it also made my stomach clench uncomfortably and sent me down too many rabbit holes of thought. It is very entertaining and you will not be unhappy spending your time with this tale.

By Iain Reid,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Foe is a tale of implacably mounting peril that feels all the more terrifying for being told in such a quiet, elegantly stripped-down voice. Iain Reid knows how to do ‘ominous’ as well as anyone I’ve ever read.” —Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan

A taut, psychological mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the…

Our Souls at Night

By Kent Haruf,

Book cover of Our Souls at Night

MJ Werthman White Author Of An Invitation to the Party

From the list on aging, family, and relationships.

Who am I?

As a kid, our public library in the basement of the Methodist church became my second home. However, I considered any visit a bitter disappointment that didn’t result in one or two dog stories in the stack I signed out. Big Red, Old Yeller, Lassie, Lad a Dog, Call of the Wild, White Fang (the occasional wolf was also okay), I loved them all. That experience has continued to affect the adult I’ve become. As I’ve turned to reading, and writing, stories of family, relationships, and, lately, of aging, it’s become clear to me that I’ve never found a story that wasn’t improved by the appearance of a good dog.

MJ's book list on aging, family, and relationships

Why did MJ love this book?

Kent Haruf wrote Our Souls at Night as he was dying. What happens in it? Not a lot. It’s much easier to write stories in which things blow up, plot devices creak, and an ending ties everything up neatly. This quiet, elegiac novel is not that.

Addie and Louis, elderly neighbors, begin sleeping together because the nights are long and they are lonely. Her young grandson, Jamie, visits. Louis gives him a catcher’s mitt and brings home a shelter dog, Bonnie. Their grown children interfere. Complications ensue. And there are no quotation marks to indicate dialogue.

Yet, here I am telling you to go, now, find this book and read it today? Am I crazy? You decide (after you read the book).

P.S. Skip this film. Jane Fonda’s Stepford Wives’ perfection ruins a movie that needed its female beauty defined by wrinkles and gray hair, and an aging, infirm body.…

By Kent Haruf,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Our Souls at Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Absolutely beautiful' The Times

'Luminous' Ursula K Le Guin, Guardian

'I loved Our Souls at Night' David Nicholls

Addie Moore's husband died years ago, so did Louis Waters' wife, and, as neighbours in Holt, Colorado they have naturally long been aware of each other. With their children now far away both live alone in houses empty of family. The nights are terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk to. Then one evening Addie pays Louis an unexpected visit.

Their brave adventures-their pleasures and their difficulties-form the beating heart of Our Souls at Night. Kent Haruf's final novel is an…

The Invisible String

By Patrice Karst, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Book cover of The Invisible String

Jessica L. Borelli Author Of Nature Meets Nurture: Science-Based Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids

From the list on people who want to connect with their child.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by relationships since I was a kid. I grew up a keen observer of the relationships in my own family, mostly focused on the way in which the dynamics were difficult for me. This led me to develop a strong interest in psychology, a passion I pursued in my undergraduate education. I became acutely intrigued by an idea a professor exposed me to early on – that experiences of safety and security within attachment relationships are essential in order for children to thrive, and that without safety/security, they can experience chronic struggles. This early interest paved the way for what developed into my career as a psychology professor and therapist.

Jessica's book list on people who want to connect with their child

Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a touching children’s book that helps to teach young children about the connections they have with others in their lives.

The metaphor used in the book is about an invisible string that connects the child to other people they love. The book is so poignant in its simplicity – the message is concrete enough for a young child to understand, providing them with language they can use to describe their ongoing emotional connection to a caregiver during a time of separation, or why it hurts when someone they loved is no longer there.

I have found that reading this book to my own children or child clients creates opportunities for important conversations about the meaning of our connection. 

By Patrice Karst, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Invisible String as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With over 400,000 copies sold, this accessible, bestselling picture book phenomenon about the unbreakable connections between loved ones has healed a generation of readers--children and adults alike--and has been updated with new illustrations and an afterword from the author. Now available in paperback for the first time!

Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they're all connected by an invisible string. "That's impossible!" the children insist, but…


By E J Noyes,

Book cover of Alone

Alaina Erdell Author Of Off the Menu

From the list on sapphic romances to make you swoon.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading sapphic or lesbian romances ever since I got my hands on Touchwood and Curious Wine decades ago. When not writing contemporary sapphic romances, I’m always reading them. Happily ever afters haven’t always been the case for two women in love, least of all in fiction. I write sapphic romances to provide for other women like me what I hoped to find in bookstores when I was younger. It wasn’t easy to find a romantic story between two women, let alone have choices. Representation matters, and writing–and reading–books about two women in love is important to me and women like me, especially as states ban such books.

Alaina's book list on sapphic romances to make you swoon

Why did Alaina love this book?

It might tempt someone to choose a book in Noyes’ Ask, Tell series, but Alone is my recommendation.

A romance with such a lonesome title might not appear swoon-worthy on the surface, but dig a little deeper, and witness the burgeoning romance between Celeste and Olivia develop in such beautiful fashion in their isolated cocoon–until all goes wrong.

Still, the loving way they interact, learn about each other, and then yearn for each other had my heart skipping beats until the end. Noyes has a way of writing characters with whom it’s easy to fall in love.

By E J Noyes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Half a million dollars will be Celeste Thorne’s reward for spending four years of her life in total isolation. No faces. No voices. No way to leave.

Since Celeste has never really worried about being alone, the generous paycheck she’ll receive for her participation in the solitary psychological experiment seems like easy money. br>
When she finds an injured hiker in the woods bordering her living compound, her strictly governed world is thrown into disarray. But even as she struggles with the morality of breaking the rules of the experiment, Celeste can’t deny her growing attraction to the kind and…

Hug Me

By Simona Ciraolo,

Book cover of Hug Me

Geneviève Godbout Author Of What's Up, Maloo?

From the list on to discuss loneliness and depression.

Who am I?

I am a freelance illustrator who specializes in children’s literature. I now live in Montreal, surrounded by my little family, after many years spent in London as a Winnie the Pooh character artist for the Walt Disney Company. What's Up, Maloo? is my first book as an author and was inspired by my own experience of suffering with anxiety and depression. I wanted to create Maloo as a tool for children and adults to discuss the importance of being well surrounded and to reach out to a friend when we are feeling low.

Geneviève's book list on to discuss loneliness and depression

Why did Geneviève love this book?

Hug Me depicts the story of Felipe, a young cactus, who just wants to be hugged. The problem is that his family just isn't the touchy-feely kind. It leads Felipe to go on his own path to find a friend. But hugging a cactus can be a tricky thing... This simple yet touching story will make you see the prickliest person as someone who also needs to be loved and hugged. I promise you, this cute little cactus will melt your heart!

By Simona Ciraolo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hug Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever feel like you need a hug, a really big hug from someone? That's how Felipe the young cactus feels, but his family just isn't the touchy-feely kind. Cactuses can be quite prickly sometimes you know . . . and so can Felipe. But he'll be darned if this one pointy issue will hold him back, so one day Felipe sets off on his own to find a friend and just maybe, that long awaited hug.

In her debut picture book, Simona Ciraola creates an endearing tale of friendship, beautifully illustrated with buoyant wit and the perfect story to share.

The Wolf Suit

By Sid Sharp,

Book cover of The Wolf Suit

Lauren Stohler Author Of Gnome and Rat

From the list on early graphic novels with unique vibes.

Who am I?

I'm an author/illustrator of picture books and early graphic novels! I love stories that are immersive, transformative, and moody. Some of my favorite vibes come from: smelling freshly-shaved pencils in autumn, hearing a great song for the first time, and finding exactly the right book when you need it!

Lauren's book list on early graphic novels with unique vibes

Why did Lauren love this book?

The vibe is: foreboding folklore with a comforting twist!

The Wolf Suit wends through a dark wood, illustrated in a stark folk-art style that is in turns haunting and verdant. The story takes its time, building a deeply delicious atmosphere of suspense before revealing a completely unexpected ending that turns a fearful forest into a much friendlier place.

Keep a bowl of blackberries handy (and maybe a blanket to clutch), and relish the page turns! While The Wolf Suit is long in pages, the text is concise and flavorful, making this book a conquerable challenge for young readers!

By Sid Sharp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wolf Suit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Gorgeous."-The New York Times * Best Books of 2022 lists: NYPL, School Library Journal, The Globe and Mail, Indigo * JLG Gold Standard Selection * Moonbeam Children's Book Award Winner * Kids Indie Next Pick

Bellwether Riggwelter is, once again, out of blackberries. This time, rather than tiptoe through a forest full of predators, he comes up with a new plan. He will keep himself safe by blending in-he will sew a Wolf Suit! The disguise works perfectly . . . sort of. Bellwether realizes he can't enjoy the forest in a bulky suit, and he may not be the…