Happy New Year! I closed out 2018 by writing my second review for the Englewood Review of Books — and coincidentally (or not?), it was on a book about singleness, just like the first review I wrote for the site. However, this one, “The Significance of Singleness” by Christina Hitchcock, is a different kind of book: part theological treatise, part history lesson, part memoir. I appreciated a lot of things about it — and I hope married Christians will read it, in part so they won’t keep saying the dumb things that I and other single Christians hear way too often, which Hitchcock points out are seriously flawed.
Since reading the book, I’ve realized how right Hitchcock is about how Westerners value autonomy and romance above all else in their relationship decisions, and I’ve noticed the ideal of choosing your own (consensual) sexual/romantic partner without any outside interference popping up all over. (Two terrific movies I saw last year, “The Big Sick” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” both preach that this viewpoint is superior to the Eastern belief that your parents should have at least some say in who you marry and that loyalty to family is something to take into consideration.) In addition, I’m happy to see so many writers in the Christian market addressing singleness from a more understanding point of view, seeking to help us unmarried folks live fulfilling lives rather than just shaming us and harassing us to get married (although I do hope and pray that happens for me someday!).
I also recently found a good book that indirectly relates to singleness in another publishing category: cookbooks! After reading about chef Anita Lo’s “Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One” in The New York Times last year, I got it for Christmas. I’ve already made two of the recipes, and not only were they delicious, the process of cooking for myself in smaller quantities was surprisingly satisfying. (I usually make bigger recipes but wind up wasting a lot of food, so I’m grateful for how Lo’s dishes have gotten me to shop and prepare differently as well.)
These books have reassured me that being single doesn’t mean you’re less important or somehow forbidden from doing nice things for yourself and enjoying life. Jason Derulo sings that he “never knew single could feel this good,” and I encourage all the single people out there to discover that as well.