Hermit crabs are self-contained, self-possessed. They are animals that survive on their own, but even hermit crabs need others in order to have more room to grow.
Reading is a refuge for the lonely and those seeking to be alone. In books, a social life emerges from words on a page. We befriend fictional characters, get entwined in plots. Crack open a book. We can read our way out of loneliness.