Continuing from the previous post, here are three more books I’ve read recently that I recommend.
All three of these books are not your typical non-fiction works. They’re closer to graphic novels, but even that’s an inadequate description. You’ll see what I mean…
Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
Potentially the best thing I’ve read all year. Kristen Radtke’s Seek You is not your typical graphic novel. In fact, graphic novel feels like the completely wrong description. It’s akin to a documentary but recorded in comic form rather than film.
Loneliness is an epidemic not being taken seriously enough. We need connection. We are social creatures, and our natural state is to have community of people around us. But our culture has changed. Now we aspire to live alone, and it’s to the detriment of our health.
This was the book I most needed to read when I was struggling with my own mental health and loneliness back in the early days of summer. It’s also what I desperately wish I could have read in 2018 when I was studying my Master’s and was writing a play about loneliness.
Radtke inserts her own personal narrative alongside scientific research and investigative journalism. She also includes a huge section on the research of Harry Harlow, whose monkey experiments — whilst horrifically unethical — fundamentally changed how we raised young children forever. If I could go back in time and give my younger self an idea for a play, it would be to write a theatrical take on Harlow’s research and how he mistreated both his subjects and the women in his life.
I’ll come back to this book one day. In fact, I suspect I’ll return to this book many more times in the coming years. The feelings it evoked were powerful and the questions it poses to our culture are important.