When novelist Peter Orner's father died, he found himself unable to write. At the same time, his marriage fell apart. He consoled himself by reading and started to write responses to the literature that gave him comfort. The result is Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live (Catapult), a collection of memoir-like essays about the literature that sustained him -- the works of Anton Chekhov, Eudora Welty, W.G.Sebald, among others. Unlike self-help books, literary fiction provides no easy answers for real-life dilemmas. But reading connected Orner to his own humanity, and the essays became secret diaries, revealing Orner himself.
Read an excerpt from Am I Alone Here?
Photo: Sean Dellorco