I've just finished reading 'Solitude' by Anthony Storr. It's a study of the positive nature of solitude, as opposed to the usual view of dysfunction and a failure of human relationships. I liked it very much because it explores something I'd felt about aloneness - that there is a modern over-fixation upon personal relationships as being the prime source of happiness in life. He also looks closely at creativity and the link with a need for solitude. I know that if friends or family visit, I can't paint or write until they've gone, regardless of how undemanding they may be. Delighted as I always am to see them, there's also a pleasure in returning to myself.
In a country where you MUST have a partner and you MUST have a telly and why don't you have a car/ go on foreign holidays/ wear designer clothes?, I'm blissfully happy to be a deviant!
One review on the back of the book says "This is an important, even revolutionary book. If it saves naturally non-sociable people from anxiety about "not belonging" and enables them to come to terms with their solitude it will have done a notable human service" (Birmingham Post) and another... " This book brings excellent news for those who, whatever their reasons for doing so, live alone... It is heartening to find a psychiatrist of Dr Storr's eminence diverging from the received wisdom." (Anita Brookner)