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Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude

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A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller--and even in one's own city--is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world--patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds--in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others. Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations--Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York--are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associated with the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives--facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend--and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures.


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A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of travelling solo In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller--and even in one's own city--is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world--patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds--in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others. Alone Time is divided into four parts, each set in a different city, in a different season, in a single year. The destinations--Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York--are all pedestrian-friendly, allowing travelers to slow down and appreciate casual pleasures instead of hurtling through museums and posting photos to Instagram. Each section spotlights a different theme associated with the joys and benefits of time alone and how it can enable people to enrich their lives--facilitating creativity, learning, self-reliance, as well as the ability to experiment and change. Rosenbloom incorporates insights from psychologists and sociologists who have studied solitude and happiness, and explores such topics as dining alone, learning to savor, discovering interests and passions, and finding or creating silent spaces. Her engaging and elegant prose makes Alone Time as warmly intimate an account as the details of a trip shared by a beloved friend--and will have its many readers eager to set off on their own solo adventures.

30 review for Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude

  1. 3 out of 5

    Miriam Smith

    "Alone Time - Four seasons, four cities and the pleasures of solitude" written by New York Times columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom explores the sensory experience of solitude. I found this book extremely informative, entertaining and quite compelling and very different from my normal reads which was a refreshing change. The amount of references to support the authors comments is phenomenal and equally the amount of research that must have been carried out is truly amazing. I particularly liked readin "Alone Time - Four seasons, four cities and the pleasures of solitude" written by New York Times columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom explores the sensory experience of solitude. I found this book extremely informative, entertaining and quite compelling and very different from my normal reads which was a refreshing change. The amount of references to support the authors comments is phenomenal and equally the amount of research that must have been carried out is truly amazing. I particularly liked reading about 'savouring the moment' and could truly visualise it. Set in four cities - Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York during four seasons this book really is fuel for the senses. Rich, intoxicating descriptions of food, places and people certainly have you craving for the solitude Stephanie refers too and although I've never travelled alone, should I ever have the need to this book has given me the confidence and the desire to happily travel solo and enjoy my own company. This is a very calm book to read and very relaxing and highly recommend to anyone planning on traveling alone or who wishes to build the confidence and mental security to go it solo. 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    (Although I did read this in egalley form, I verified quotations with the final version.) "Alone, there's no need for an itinerary. Walk, and the day arranges itself." Stephanie Rosenbloom takes on four cities to try to (re)discover the pleasure of solo travel - Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York City (where she lives.) I truly loved her ruminations and observations along the way, and feel like buying this for every friend who travels solo, whether that is a luxury of retirement or a necessit (Although I did read this in egalley form, I verified quotations with the final version.) "Alone, there's no need for an itinerary. Walk, and the day arranges itself." Stephanie Rosenbloom takes on four cities to try to (re)discover the pleasure of solo travel - Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York City (where she lives.) I truly loved her ruminations and observations along the way, and feel like buying this for every friend who travels solo, whether that is a luxury of retirement or a necessity they have carved out for themselves. Rosenbloom combines traveling alone with copious amounts of research ahead of time, and I couldn't help but think that this method might be the best for any traveler - prime the brain with history, stories, and art, and let those pieces of information form the baseline for what can be seen. Then without the interruptions of other people or technology, see what people you meet, what is unexpected, or how those pieces of knowledge come together. "When preparing for a trip, we can read about architecture and restaurants. But what ultimately breathes life into the daydreams of anticipation are the people we encounter when we're actually there."The Paris section seemed to be about the little secrets hidden everywhere if you notice them, while the Istanbul section seemed to be more about the people, whether or not she interacted them. Sometimes their mere presence (and noticing them) would alter her experience. She also talks about anticipation, which I've discovered is sometimes my favorite part of a trip (she also balances this by frequently reminding the reader not to be wedded to an itinerary; to allow for discovery)."To anticipate is to court joy, to fall in love with a place the way it is in a book or a movie or an Eartha Kitt song. But to stay open to the unexpected is to embrace anticipation - to know that it serves its purpose before the journey begins and must then be set aside for reality, for whatever beautiful, strange, unpredictable thing awaits when we step off the ferry."Occasionally, Rosenbloom highlights terms that other cultures use to describe travel, from the Japanese wabi-sabi (seeing beauty in imperfection/impermanence) and the Turkish huzun (communal melancholy) - one more way of noticing, by putting on new eyes. At the end, Rosenbloom includes suggestions for how to learn to be more comfortable talking with strangers, tips for safety while traveling, and other resources. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy through Edelweiss.. I first discussed the book after a round of book speed dating on Reading Envy Podcast Episode 120, and knew I'd want to finish it. It came out June 5, 2018.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Randal White

    An interesting, light read. The author explores four different cities in four different seasons. She does it alone, to experience the benefits of solitude that can disappear when you are with someone else or with a group. Basically, slow down, open your eyes (and ears, and nose), and let your mind make it's own memories. It's a great idea.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Carlos

    I didn’t like this book that much , I thought I would get an insight into what being alone means and some musings to go along with it , what I got was basically a traveling guide for people that want to travel alone , helpful but that what I wanted to read .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    As a mother of three I must admit alone time seems like a distance memory and one that i’d have no problem filling! However I very much enjoyed the journey to the four countries that the author takes us on.  I don’t think I’d ever dare to travel to a foreign country on my own, to a place where I knew no one, but I admire Stephanie for having the courage to do it. The four cities (Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York) are vividly described by the author so that the reader feels like they are the As a mother of three I must admit alone time seems like a distance memory and one that i’d have no problem filling! However I very much enjoyed the journey to the four countries that the author takes us on.  I don’t think I’d ever dare to travel to a foreign country on my own, to a place where I knew no one, but I admire Stephanie for having the courage to do it. The four cities (Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York) are vividly described by the author so that the reader feels like they are there alongside her experiencing all the sights and sounds too.  I really felt that I could visualise the cities in my mind and I now want to visit them in the near future as Stephanie makes them seem so interesting.  In each city we are taken on a whistle stop tour of the tourist attractions and must see sights which were fascinating to read about.  I spent a lot of time on Google looking up some of the places as they sounded so intriguing.  This is cleverly interwoven with some history of each place and some quotes from famous people who lived in or visited the area.  This helped add to the experience of each place and it was very interesting to know more about how other people perceived the city too. I found her experience of New York to be very intriguing, especially as there are places mentioned in the book that I haven’t visited yet.  I had no idea so many famous people had lived in New York and that so many interesting things had happened there.  Stephanie’s love for her home town shines from the page and it was lovely to detect a little bit of pride in her writing. I love the idea of revisiting your home town and seeing it again with fresh eyes.  I have lived in the same town for over twenty years and will be taking time out to visit some of the famous and beautiful areas as soon as possible. This is Stephanie’s debut book and I’ll be interested to read more books from her in the future. Huge thanks to Hayley and Transworld publishers for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Preaching to the choir for me... I don’t really see the question to which this book was supposed to be an answer to... it’s not enough information for a travel guide and not enough emotion and reflection for a memoir. And it’s a hard case of tell not show...

  7. 3 out of 5

    Steph

    I've recently figured out that I really enjoy traveling alone and I'm a sucker for any book that gives me ideas for how to have even more fun doing so. I'll need to check out the resources/ideas she mentions at the end of the book before my next trip. It'd be worth reading that chunk of the book if you're thinking of traveling alone (or even if you're just traveling).

  8. 3 out of 5

    Agi

    Stephanie Rosenbloom has done a thing that I'm dreaming about - she's travelled alone to four different cities. I don't actually have to travel around the world but being alone is high on my list of priorities. You know, I'm actually never alone, there is always someone around me, be it at work or at home, and a solitary minute is like a Utopia Island. I think I wouldn't be afraid of travelling alone, I'd enjoy every single minute and use it in exactly the same way Stephanie Rosenbloom did. I usu Stephanie Rosenbloom has done a thing that I'm dreaming about - she's travelled alone to four different cities. I don't actually have to travel around the world but being alone is high on my list of priorities. You know, I'm actually never alone, there is always someone around me, be it at work or at home, and a solitary minute is like a Utopia Island. I think I wouldn't be afraid of travelling alone, I'd enjoy every single minute and use it in exactly the same way Stephanie Rosenbloom did. I usually don't read books like "Alone Time", which is a shame as I actually found this book informative and entertaining, interesting and refreshing. I absolutely admire how much research must have gone into the story, as it is full of facts and references - some of them I found amusing and interesting, and I'd do without the others but altogether it was something different and I truly learnt from this book. The author takes us on a journey through four cities - Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York, during four seasons. There were incredibly vivid descriptions of food that made my mouth water, beautiful settings and descriptions of places and of course people the author has met during her travels. This all will give you solitude and courage to perhaps travel alone one day and enjoy your own company, to focus on things we usually take for granted instead of appreciating. It will show you that it is really worth to slow down and open your eyes and your tastes. And it will show you how great it is to make your own marks and memories. Full of tips and resources, it's really worth reading, not only when you're planning a solo excursion. It felt so relaxed, and it was also very well written . Stephanie Rosenbloom's writing style is warm and inviting, insightful and it pulls you into the book. It is also full of depth but the author knows when to add a relaxed anecdote to make it even easier to follow and for us not to feel too overwhelmed with the facts.. I must also mention the gorgeous cover of this book - it's simple but beautiful, and the blue colour is one of the most brilliant and friendly ones. It will be for sure standing out on the bookshelves. Let's stop in Florence for a moment - this stop was full of art. I loved the precise descriptions, the slow motion, the no - hurry, to see Florence through Stephanie Rosenbloom's eyes like this. The one or two anecdotes or memories were an added bonus, of course, the secret place so worth mention. This destination was beautifully described, with so much heart and soul in every word, and the educational part was truly well balanced by humour and sharp observations. Stephanie Rosenbloom has visited Florence in autumn and the descriptions of trees glowing yellow in the sunshine were so vivid, as well the descriptions of food and streets, and I really didn't know there are streets like Death, Hell and The Way of the Discontented in Tuscany - but this book is so much more than a travel guide. Many great names are being mentioned in this chapter, just think about Michelangelo, Padre Pinocchio, The Birth of Venus, and I would really take someone's arm off to see those things with my own eyes. There were brilliant, interesting facts mentioned that I would probably never hear about if I hadn't read this book, and it was full of clever insights and observations. Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pam Cipkowski

    I’ve always liked Stephanie Rosenbloom’s writing in the travel section of the New York Times, so I looked forward to the release of this book. It was everything I wanted it to be—pensive, insightful, evocative, thought-provoking—so I’m surprised at some of the less than stellar reviews. Rosenbloom recounts her travels alone in four different cities around the world: Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York City. She describes what it is to walk, dine, and go to a museum alone, among other singula I’ve always liked Stephanie Rosenbloom’s writing in the travel section of the New York Times, so I looked forward to the release of this book. It was everything I wanted it to be—pensive, insightful, evocative, thought-provoking—so I’m surprised at some of the less than stellar reviews. Rosenbloom recounts her travels alone in four different cities around the world: Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York City. She describes what it is to walk, dine, and go to a museum alone, among other singular activities. While many people fear the thought of engaging in time alone, “Alone time is an invitation, a chance to do the things you’ve longed to do,” Rosenbloom explains. “Time spent away from the influence of others,” she continues, “allows us to explore and define who we are.” Rosenbloom’s writing voice is quiet and meditative. While some readers bemoaned the lack of a narrative or a memoir-like style, I found her vignettes pleasurable to read. If you enjoy traveling alone or opportunities to be by yourself, you will savor and delight in this book.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Kyle Lane

    Couldn't finish it. It's like she wanted to write about a trip she had and made up a reason for it and tried to find supporting arguments after the fact. I get it, you like Paris, we all like Paris.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather Nixon

    As someone who definitely values alone time, likes time on my own and is interested in solo travelling, it made for an interesting, eye opening and somewhat relatable read. To me it's a mix between an intimate, detailed account of solo travelling as well as a travel guide and mindfulness/self help guide with quotes, studies and statistics. The main negative was the repetition, especially the phrases: 'slipped my finger into the handle of my coffee cup', 'slid my finger through the tasseled keycha As someone who definitely values alone time, likes time on my own and is interested in solo travelling, it made for an interesting, eye opening and somewhat relatable read. To me it's a mix between an intimate, detailed account of solo travelling as well as a travel guide and mindfulness/self help guide with quotes, studies and statistics. The main negative was the repetition, especially the phrases: 'slipped my finger into the handle of my coffee cup', 'slid my finger through the tasseled keychain' and 'slipped out of the door', which seemed a little like lazy writing to me. Additionally, on occasion it felt forcefully wistful which came across as cheesy at times and the tips at the end of the book appeared to be sponsored by the websites and apps mentioned (maybe not!), so much so that it felt a touch inauthentic. However, I adored the slow but rich experience of reading about the wonderful cities mentioned, I found myself tabbing so many quotes, statistics and places to visit within this book (it gave me serious wanderlust) and despite my grievances, I would highly recommend it, particularly if you're planning to visit any of the four cities explored in the book. Review taken in part from my blog: www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

  12. 3 out of 5

    Susie

    I wanted this to feel more like a memoir or narrative than it actually did.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miko Lee

    A solo woman’s travelogue through parts of Europe. Bits of research and history are added to the tales but overall a bit dry.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz Pardey

    Totally boring -- it is written like a magazine article -- a teaser personal reminiscence followed by 'tips for travellers' I had expected a memoir and ended up skim skipping through which I something I rarely do.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    Solo travel and the pleasures of solitude in general are topics that I heartily endorse. All of my trips to Italy so far have been solo adventures. I have learned more about the country and also myself through these opportunities precisely because I traveled on my own. With that in mind, initially, I was very excited to read this book. And, parts of it I enjoyed. The author's chapter on her market experience to organize a picnic for herself in the Luxembourg Gardens was equally entertaining and Solo travel and the pleasures of solitude in general are topics that I heartily endorse. All of my trips to Italy so far have been solo adventures. I have learned more about the country and also myself through these opportunities precisely because I traveled on my own. With that in mind, initially, I was very excited to read this book. And, parts of it I enjoyed. The author's chapter on her market experience to organize a picnic for herself in the Luxembourg Gardens was equally entertaining and relatable. I would do the same thing she did by following the older French ladies who clearly knew the market's best vendors and then fumbling my way through my purchase with that vendor - language barriers and all. Loved, loved, loved the descriptions of that entire experience. My overarching disappointment with this book, however, is that it doesn't know what it wants to be - Travel memoir? Pop psych? Rosenbloom clearly did her research across a wide range of topics related to solitude, and that is commendable. But, the organization of the book was so disjointed that I struggled to hit a reading "flow" (suitable to reference this since she talks about the "flow" concept in the book). One paragraph would be research references to make a point, then the next paragraph would be her experience or observations of said point. A very stop/start, stop/start, etc. reading experience. It was challenging for me to relate to the author's chapters on Florence. My own experiences in the city were different, and to use another reference from the book, more serendipitous in the moments of joy I experienced (even joy amidst frustration in learning to be flexible with plans when Mother Nature thwarts your best laid plans). What stood out clearly in this book is that Rosenbloom adores Paris. Through her eyes, I experienced a solo travel perspective of Paris that motivates me to plan my own solo excursion there soon. I happily take that motivation, and am currently doing research for such a trip. Side Note: If you are looking for a true "four seasons" memoir abroad, read Anthony Doerr's Four Seasons in Rome. A friend recommended the book to me after my first solo trip to Rome, and I'm so grateful for her spot-on recommendation. Doerr's memoir is a true love song to Rome, and my experiences echoed so many of his lyrical expressions.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kate Schwarz

    3 1/2 stars. I liked this book. I liked living vicariously through Rosenbloom's travels as she visited four cities for about a week each: Istanbul, Florence, Paris, and New York City. I liked listening to the results of her research on the benefits of being alone--such as how solo museum-goers appreciated the art more when alone. The statistics on the rise of solo travel and solo dining surprised me, and encouraged me to try it sometime, albeit on a smaller scale. I was surprised that there was on 3 1/2 stars. I liked this book. I liked living vicariously through Rosenbloom's travels as she visited four cities for about a week each: Istanbul, Florence, Paris, and New York City. I liked listening to the results of her research on the benefits of being alone--such as how solo museum-goers appreciated the art more when alone. The statistics on the rise of solo travel and solo dining surprised me, and encouraged me to try it sometime, albeit on a smaller scale. I was surprised that there was only one single mention about how traveling solo to places far and near is a massive luxury, and how the ironic it is to write and promote a book on solo travels when so many people wish they didn't have so much alone time. They'd rather have rooms full of laughter and conversation and meaningful exchanges rather than silence; I can relate. I am pretty sure she was single when she wrote the book and makes no mention of children, and talks only briefly about why people might want to go alone. I think in ten years she might spend more time on this. Still, I found myself thinking about her book and the idea of traveling with or without a companion or two. Or three, or four, given that I've got four people I take care of 95% of the time. It was lovely daydreaming about this, so I am glad I listened to her book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Carlson

    NY Times staff columnist(Travel section) and writer Stephanie Rosenbloom superbly stimulates the senses in her terrifically written book Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude. When I recently browsed the library shelves of new releases librarians had put this one out on display and for good reason. Indeed this is a book to "savor" as I enjoyed each page. As I turned the pages I was immediately taken in by her seemingly "old soul" approach and even more surprised whe NY Times staff columnist(Travel section) and writer Stephanie Rosenbloom superbly stimulates the senses in her terrifically written book Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities and the Pleasures of Solitude. When I recently browsed the library shelves of new releases librarians had put this one out on display and for good reason. Indeed this is a book to "savor" as I enjoyed each page. As I turned the pages I was immediately taken in by her seemingly "old soul" approach and even more surprised when her photo revealed another detail; she's young. Rosenbloom offers her experiences in Paris, Istanbul, Florence and NY intertwined with factual and interesting revelations which should endear and attract any lover of travel, history, reading and writing. One of my favorite parts comes near the end in the form of suggestions for lodging, eating, safety, giving etc. I am now a member of Bookcrossings.com and MoreLoveLetters.com (page 233). Complete with acknowledgments and notes.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Have you ever come home from a vacation and needed a vacation to recover from your vacation? Rosenbloom preaches the joys of an unscheduled holiday, were you are in complete control of your itinerary and time. She encourages readers to anticipate and savor the experiences of walking thru strange cities and spending time in the now. Why I started this book: Eye catching title... and who wouldn't want to learn more about Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York City. Why I finished it: In addition to Have you ever come home from a vacation and needed a vacation to recover from your vacation? Rosenbloom preaches the joys of an unscheduled holiday, were you are in complete control of your itinerary and time. She encourages readers to anticipate and savor the experiences of walking thru strange cities and spending time in the now. Why I started this book: Eye catching title... and who wouldn't want to learn more about Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York City. Why I finished it: In addition to reporting on her trips solo, Rosenbloom research what artists, poets and others from the past have written about traveling alone. It is a reminder that we all need time alone to rest and recharge, and an invitation to do so.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Rosie Amber

    3.5 stars Alone Time is a non-fiction memoir of self-discovery. The author believes that the single person, as a commodity, is a growing market particularly for travel and dining alone, whilst time alone is good for the soul: it can reduce stress, lessen anger and provide the opportunity to be reflective. With this in mind Stephanie Rosenbloom travelled to four cities to explore and experience them through solo travel. Paris in June, Istanbul in summer, Florence in autumn and New York in winter. S 3.5 stars Alone Time is a non-fiction memoir of self-discovery. The author believes that the single person, as a commodity, is a growing market particularly for travel and dining alone, whilst time alone is good for the soul: it can reduce stress, lessen anger and provide the opportunity to be reflective. With this in mind Stephanie Rosenbloom travelled to four cities to explore and experience them through solo travel. Paris in June, Istanbul in summer, Florence in autumn and New York in winter. See here for full review https://wp.me/p2Eu3u-bs9

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I wanted to like this book so much, but it fell a little bit flat for me. I am a big fan of solo travel and actually read this while I was on a solo leg of a recent trip to Europe. The book spent a large amount of time describing Paris, and felt a little lighter on the other trips she took. It mixed in some good details about benefits of solo travel, but in general it didn't really do it for me. It's not horrible by any means, but could be so much more.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Annarella

    A light to read and enjoyable travel book with a lot of reflections on solitude. Even if it's a light read it's full of food for thought. Many thanks to Viking and Edelweiss for this ARC

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Could have and should have been so good! But there was a reminder every few paragraphs about what she wanted the reader to think about, rather than letting the reader think.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    As someone who is very introverted, doesn't mind spending lots of time alone, avoids crowds, etc. this title sounded super intriguing. Being "alone" is an increasingly precious commodity and her book sounded very interesting. Being alone in four cities, and the experience of being alone in her travels with her solo spaces and solitude. Unfortunately, the negative reviews are on point. If you've done any reading of relatively recent articles urging people to do more things by themselves or taking As someone who is very introverted, doesn't mind spending lots of time alone, avoids crowds, etc. this title sounded super intriguing. Being "alone" is an increasingly precious commodity and her book sounded very interesting. Being alone in four cities, and the experience of being alone in her travels with her solo spaces and solitude. Unfortunately, the negative reviews are on point. If you've done any reading of relatively recent articles urging people to do more things by themselves or taking off on a trip solo or finding ways to find "quiet" in the world, etc. then the book isn't new. I also agree with the assessment that the book can't quite decide what it wants to be: a memoir of her travels or a discussion about why we should do things alone? Normally travel memoirs are fine for me and I always like reading about experiences of people going off on their own but this was another book that should have stayed a long-form article or a series that runs on weekly basis or something. If you're someone who hasn't done this or is unfamiliar with the concept this may be something to read. If you're at all interested in any of the cities she mentions it may be of interest. Otherwise, though, you can probably read better magazine articles that cover this topic just fine. Library borrow if you're really interested.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Hannah

    I enjoyed this light read that really captures the beauty and adventurousness of solitude.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Travel Alone Insights This book spoke to me as I already spend a lot of time alone and I enjoy discovering new places on my own. Her tips and tricks on how to approach a new city or a familiar one are spot on. The joy of new places on ones own is worth a try for anyone who hasn’t done it.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Tracey Sinclair

    Fluidly written and well-researched, and on a subject that I am fascinated by, though I felt I didn't connect with this quite as much as I wanted to.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve Nolan

    As I got into the first part of the book, I realized it was basically just preaching to the choir. It was making a case for why you should travel alone, and that's been pretty much my jam now for like 3 years. Tho I am bad at meeting people while traveling, so the tips it has for that will be helpful! It also tipped me off that Istanbul is a cool, hip place to visit, so that got it another star. The overwritten-ness just kinda wore on me, I almost didn't finish it. Also, she described how "no on As I got into the first part of the book, I realized it was basically just preaching to the choir. It was making a case for why you should travel alone, and that's been pretty much my jam now for like 3 years. Tho I am bad at meeting people while traveling, so the tips it has for that will be helpful! It also tipped me off that Istanbul is a cool, hip place to visit, so that got it another star. The overwritten-ness just kinda wore on me, I almost didn't finish it. Also, she described how "no one seemed to be paying attention to one another" during her trip to a Turkish bathhouse, everyone was just immersed in themselves. Except...for her, who I assume was holding a soggy notebook at the time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This is a pleasant book in which the author uses four weeklong visits (in Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York) to reflect on the benefits of solo travel. Basically, she says you tend to notice more, think more deeply, and experience a place more fully, when you travel alone. She frequently cites this study and that writer to support her points, which I mostly didn’t care about because it all sounds like the same old pop sociology touted in countless life-hack articles and TED Talks. None of This is a pleasant book in which the author uses four weeklong visits (in Paris, Istanbul, Florence, and New York) to reflect on the benefits of solo travel. Basically, she says you tend to notice more, think more deeply, and experience a place more fully, when you travel alone. She frequently cites this study and that writer to support her points, which I mostly didn’t care about because it all sounds like the same old pop sociology touted in countless life-hack articles and TED Talks. None of that really matters. All that really matters is whether you want to go; if you do, well, the author provides encouragement that you absolutely can do it, and you’ll never regret it if you do. She even includes a section of “Tips and Tools for Going It Alone” at the end. This probably is an excellent book for someone dreams of taking a restorative, reflective sort of trip by themselves, but aren’t sure if they’re up for it. She writes charmingly about interesting little corners of the cities she visits, discoveries made during days of strolling. She walks and walks through each city. She lavishes attention on Parisian cafes and food shops, she wades through crowds at the Uffizi, and she visits minor museums in each city. (I’m glad she visited Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, so I don’t have to. I’d read about it but never bothered to track it down ether time I’ve been to Istanbul; and from her description I’m glad I didn’t.) She writes about Leonard Bernstein’s Hallelujah so winningly that I pulled it up on my iPad and played it on repeat as I continued reading. I smiled as she described little magical discoveries, like finding a Bookcrossings book in Paris and hunting no for Clet Abraham’s street art in Florence. But mostly I think I’m not the right audience for this book. I’ve traveled to each of the four cities she writes about, three of them more than once, and of them I’ve been to Istanbul and New York on my own. I’ve traveled to a good number of other places on my own as well. I don’t think of solo travel as some separate category that requires different types of hotels or transportation or activities than travel with a friend or family does. I don’t need to be told about the Google Translate app, or to be comforted that eating in a restaurant alone actually isn’t pathetic or weird. I agree with her that traveling alone can build confidence and capability, and reading this book makes me think I already have more of that than I realized. The problem with me as a reader here is that I’ve already bought what she’s selling, and I bought it a long time ago.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Ronnie Turner

    Alone Time follows journalist and author Stephanie Rosenbloom as she tours four very different cities over the course of four seasons. Exploring myraid cultures and touching on literature, architecture, science, food, religion and how some alone time can benefit so many people for so many reasons, this book is an intimate, thought-provoking and at times witty account of new experiences and positive discovery. I loved it! For so many reasons it is an absloute must-read! Combined with fascinating s Alone Time follows journalist and author Stephanie Rosenbloom as she tours four very different cities over the course of four seasons. Exploring myraid cultures and touching on literature, architecture, science, food, religion and how some alone time can benefit so many people for so many reasons, this book is an intimate, thought-provoking and at times witty account of new experiences and positive discovery. I loved it! For so many reasons it is an absloute must-read! Combined with fascinating statistics and anecdotes about the importance of having time alone, Stephanie Rosenbloom also offers readers a look into the cultures and everyday life of four cities. The quaint, pulsing streets of Paris, the tables and chairs scattered outside cafes where customers savour sweet treats. The sights and smells of Istanbul, the language and the rhythm of life in Florence, the noise and food of New York. Stephanie Rosenbloom introduces us to new corners of the world, all the while giving us the opportunity to realise just how crucial alone time is. Through so much of this book, I simultaneously wanted to hop on a plane to Paris and raid the fridge in an attempt to replicate some of the Parisian dishes mentioned in this book. Inside are brilliant quotes from chefs, actors, scientists, artists and writers you might have never heard before (like me) and never forget. They give another insight into how important time alone can be. It’s a way to open the door to inspiration, creativity, imagination and finding a balance in life. Taking a few moments to absorb and appreciate aspects of life that are usually lost in the rush of day to day activities, is quite full-filling. I really enjoyed this book! Although I have never visited Florence, Istanbul or New York, I did go to Paris as a youngster. And reading this reminded me of having treats from the sweet-smelling Pâtisserie and looking over Paris from the Eiffel Tower! Spanning four seasons and four bustling cities including Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York, Alone Time is a fascinating, insightful book that will prompt reflection and an altered outlook on the world around. Insightful. Fascinating. Wonderful!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Travel and solitude, mindfulness and savoring are the hallmarks of this book. I have to admit I read about the two cities I was most interested in--Paris and New York--and skimmed much of the rest. Paris is not a city I have thought about visiting but in around 100 pages (out of the total 252 plus notes), Rosenbloom definitely makes it sound doable and enjoyable. She mixes detailed accounts of her trips with studies on solitude and happiness and writings on solitude and creativity. Some takeaway Travel and solitude, mindfulness and savoring are the hallmarks of this book. I have to admit I read about the two cities I was most interested in--Paris and New York--and skimmed much of the rest. Paris is not a city I have thought about visiting but in around 100 pages (out of the total 252 plus notes), Rosenbloom definitely makes it sound doable and enjoyable. She mixes detailed accounts of her trips with studies on solitude and happiness and writings on solitude and creativity. Some takeaways include: Virginia Woolf, 1928, "A Room of One's Own," [some lines I hadn't paid attention to]: By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future of the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep in the stream" (59). Rosenbloom's list of "practices . . that helped make my alone time rich and meaningful: snapshotting the moment, trying new things, being present, being playful, communing with art cultivating anticipation, finding silence, rolling with whatever comes, walking, listening, reminiscing, remembering that everything is fleeting" (212). Bryant and Veroff's idea of "a savoring practice" called the Daily Vacation: Each day for a week, plan and take a daily vacation by doing something that you enjoy for 20 minutes" (227). [Rather like Julia Cameron's Artist Dates] One area I wish Rosenbloom has written about was how to negotiate this solo travel and alone time when you are in a committed relationship. She only mentions her husband in the acknowledgements at the end without any clue as to how these things worked for them. Now that I am single it is easy for me to find alone time but when I desperately needed it in earlier days, it would have helped to hear how others successfully negotiated those times. Still, lovely writing!

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