Monday, June 29, 2015

Mini-review & giveaway for How to Be Alone by Tanya Davis, illustrated by Andrea Dorfman

Publisher: Harper
Release Date: October 20th, 2013
Source: Publisher (thank you!)

Synopsis: A charming and deeply poignant illustrated poem based on the popular viral Internet video that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide

If you are, at first, lonely be patient. If you've not been alone much or if, when you were, you weren't okay with it then just wait...

Since its debut on YouTube, Tanya Davis's beautiful and perceptive poem, How to Be Alone, visually realized by artist and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, has become an international sensation. Her wise and perceptive words, vivid in their evocation of solitude's beauty and calm, have touched millions. Now her poem's deep eloquence and compelling illustrations have been adapted for the page in this beautiful, meditative volume, a keepsake to treasure and to share.

From a solitary walk in the woods to sitting unaccompanied on a city park bench to eating a meal and even dancing alone, Tanya reveals the possibilities and joys waiting to be discovered when we engage in activities on our own. As she soothes the disquietude that accompanies the fear of aloneness, and celebrates the power of solitude to change how we see ourselves and the world, Tanya reavels how, removed from the noise and distractions of other lives, we can find acceptance and grace within.

For those who have never been by themselves and those who feel lost or lonely on their own, this moving work encourages us to recognize and embrace the possibilities of being alone-and reminds us of a universe of joy, peace, and discovery waiting to unfold.

Review: This book is so light to hold but it carries an important message. HOW TO BE ALONE calmly asserts that the act of being alone is not a sign of weakness, but of quiet strength.

Being an introvert all my life, I was always told that I should be more social, go out more, etc. I internalized these messages for years until I reached my early 20s and realized that a) introversion is a thing b) there was nothing wrong with me for liking to be alone and c) being an introvert doesn't require a cure.

These revelations came at a slow pace. I wish I had had a book like this to tell me that being an introvert is not only common but a rather lovely way of living if you choose to see it that way. I admit that my first time finding Tanya's poem was through her youtube video--her voice is so soothing--but it was such a treat to read her words in book form. Tanya describes the many instances where one can be alone but find fulfillment and wonder in their own company. The language and imagery she utilizes in her poem are so charming and beautiful; the way she describes the baby steps of learning to be alone by doing simple acts: going to the movies by yourself, eating in public places alone or going to the library... One wouldn't think that these types of activities could be a practice in anything. However, through Tanya's words, readers can see these moments can teach us to appreciate being in the moment and understanding that once you're comfortable with yourself, the world becomes a more interesting place to explore.

As for the illustrations in HOW TO BE ALONE, Andrea Dorfman's drawings are colorful, easy on the eyes and perfectly accompany Tanya's words; their styles coalesce and create this really sweet, inspirational message that anyone--regardless of whether they're social butterflies or wallflowers--can understand. HOW TO BE ALONE is a quick read but it gives you plenty of things to think about.

Final Verdict:  If you haven't had the chance to read this book or listen to Tanya's video, I recommend that you find five minutes to set aside during the day and read (or listen) HOW TO BE ALONE. It only takes a few minutes to absorb Tanya's message (as well as being treated to Andrea's peaceful drawing style) but you'll find yourself tremendously enlightened by Tanya and Andrea's vision.

Here's the video that started it all....

Wasn't that lovely?

Now onto the giveaway:   GIVEAWAY OVER
One person will be winning a copy of HOW TO BE ALONE. If you are interested, please fill out this form. Here are the rules:  
  • U.S. only (sorry international peeps!) 
  • This giveaway will run from today (June 29th) until July 6th, 11:59pm EST. I'll announce the winner the following day (July 7th).
  • The winner has 48 hours to respond; if they do not respond within that time frame, I'm picking someone else.
  • For more information on privacy and giveaway policies, please click here and here.


  1. I loved the video the first time I saw it and can see why it would transfer well to book format. I've been relearning how to alone + my personal line between wanting solitude and needing people. It's been interesting. :)

  2. I hadn't seen that video before and wow. I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian