Saturday, September 17, 2016

Introverts' Guide to Fiction

If they cannot offer me the solace that my shyness might be overcome, have these shy writers taught me anything more useful? Perhaps this: by taking shyness as a subject, they have made it real. All my life I have thought of shyness as a debility, an inadequacy, an absence. But for these writers it is a definite, if painful, quality – something you are, not something that stops you being who you are. It is less a shrinking away from the world than a redirection of our energies. Rather than smother our sociable impulses, it just makes us social in convoluted ways. Shyness is simply part of being a human, this more or less communal species which happens to be lumbered with a strange gift for turning in and reflecting on itself.
~Joe Moran, "What lies beneath: an introvert's guide to fiction - and life"

You don't have to be an introvert to love reading or to choose writing as a profession. But, as Claire Fallon from Huffington Post asserts,

For the solitary dreamers who tend to live inside their own heads, books have always been cherished companions. In reading, introverts can indulge their need for a respite from socializing; even better, they can live vicariously through the characters on the pages, sharpening their powers of observation in a forum where they won’t be called upon to get involved. 

This might serve to draw introverts to the written word, as readers or writers or both. Whether or not you are an introvert - if you fall somewhere in between on the extrovert-introvert spectrum (we've recently been reading a lot about ambiverts) or just know an introvert - reading fiction with introverted characters might hone your own sense of empathy.

An article by Hilary White suggests that introverted bibliophiles might enjoy books that feature solo journeys, social awkwardness, hopeless romanticism, and characters who use creative ways to cope with their introversion, among other aspects of the introverted lifestyle, so we've compiled a list of books by authors known to be introverted and featuring introverted characters which we hope reflects the many different lifestyles brought together under this umbrella.

By introverted writers

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor

Towards Another Summer by Janet Frame

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

For introverted readers

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx [eAudio]

Us by David Nicholls

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Maurice by E. M. Forster

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky [YA]

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell [YA]

Where'd You go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

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