Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading List, Sans Bibliography

Currently, I have 39 books in my somewhat cluttered office on, or about, autism.  Over the years, I have given several away, including Born On A Blue Day (a great memoir by a British man with Aspergers who does a remarkable job explaining his experiences, very helpful), two additional books on navigating IEPs, and Jenny McCarthy's Louder Than Words.  (Where DID those books go, I wonder?)

In the last year, I've also tossed three binders and their reams of paper from old Autism Research Institute and Autism Society of America conferences.  In a fit of de-cluttering, I figured the information was probably outdated anyway.

I've got one book totally dedicated to toilet-training (yes, it can be that hard), a book on special education law (we hired a lawyer, but still, I bet I could go all Erin Brockovich on those school people), a pre-teen fictional book about living with a sibling with autism, and a personal favorite, The Explosive Child.  (Needless to say, it didn't help with Conor, it's actually for typical kids. But it was interesting.)

I've purchased at least 6 books written by individuals on the spectrum.  One of my absolute favorites was Songs of the Gorilla Nation.  (I bought it used, honestly.  I didn't steal it from the library. Maybe that person stole it?) Simply fascinating, the relationship that this woman with Aspergers had with gorillas in a zoo that helped her come to terms with, and understand, her own disability.

Anyway, I also have a book edited by Nick Hornby, you know, of High Fidelity and Fever Pitch fame, who has a child with autism and donated funds from the sale of the book. I didn't include it in my little anthology here because none of the stories are about individuals with autism.

Oh!  I almost forgot that stupid book, the one about the dog in the night? The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time, that's right.  I felt like the author just made stuff up.  I mean, he writes fiction, of course he makes stuff up.  (I guess that's the point.)  But I didn't like the idea of someone who doesn't have autism trying to write as if he has autism. Or maybe I read it at a particularly low point in my life. Who knows?  Still, thumbs down.

Facing Autism is the very first book I read.  I actually purchased it before my son was diagnosed.  It's been years since I've read it, but it truly did help me face it. I have a certain affection for it.

It's funny, you know?  I read and I read and I read, and I go to conferences, and I talk to parents and doctors and specialists, and I still feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing most of the time.  But I've always found solace in the written word, escapism in the fictional ones and hopefully some measure of enlightenment in the nonfiction.

I can't remember a time when I didn't love books.

Still, it's been a long time since I've bought a book on the topic. Sometimes experience is the best teacher, I suppose.  Now if I could only find the anthology on all things Conor.  Wouldn't that be nice?

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