TTT – Top Ten Books by Autistic Authors

So I’ve mentioned it on Twitter, but I have been remiss in mentioning it here – April is Autism Acceptance Month! This is another cause close to my heart, because my husband is on the spectrum. We didn’t actually realize this until a year ago, but having realized it, it has given us SO MANY tools to use to manage daily life. The improvement has been amazing. So in the last year I’ve been doing a lot of self-education about autism, and I recently learned that there is a publishing house specifically for autistic authors, because so many mainstream publishers were turning them away! It’s called Autonomous Press, and their slogan is Weird Books for Weird People. Goodreads also has a list of books by autistic authors; some are explicitly about autism, some are fiction with autistic characters, and some aren’t about autism at all. But reading books by autistic authors is a great way to support the community and neurodivergence. This list is more of a to-be-read list for me; these are books I want to read. My library only has a few of them, though, and a few of them are working their way through the system to me.

journalThe first book on my list is one I HAVE read – The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Aperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to be a Better Husband. I really enjoyed this one, as a chronicle of a marriage almost torn apart but ultimately saved by their new understanding of how his brain works. So many of the author’s behaviors are things I also see in my husband – I often stopped to read passages to him, only to have him stare at me in surprised recognition. It was also surprising to me – I’d have to stop and say “wait, is that really the way you think about that subject?” To which he’d reply “what, that isn’t normal?” So it was a journey of discovery for us both.

queens of geekCurrently out from the library I have Queens of Geek, which I didn’t realize was by an autistic author and only makes me more eager to read it. (Also, look at that cover! Bright hair FTW!) Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate – A User Guide to an Asperger Life is by a blogger whose blog I pored through, reading nerdy shy socially inappropriate asperger autismentries to my husband and following links to quizzes and other resources. (Taking the diagnostic quizzes together was also enlightening – I really did not fully realize how differently his brain worked from mine – and we’ve been together over twelve years!)

pretending to be normal aspergerMaking their way to me through my extended library system (they’ll ship books to my county from any system in the state, it’s amazing!) are Pretending to be Normal – Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Loud Hands – Autistic People Speaking. I really prefer loud hands autistic people speakingreading about autistic experiences through the eyes of actually autistic people. I know there’s several books out there by family members or doctors, but really. Who knows them better than themselves? I’m trying to be aware of the #ownvoices movement when reading about marginalized groups, and this is part of that.

So those are the five books I have read or am going to read. The next five are ones I either don’t have requested yet, or my library doesn’t have them at all. But they look interesting.

ABCs_of_Aut_Acceptance_Ebook_Cover3_largeThe ABCs of Autism Acceptance is one I should DEFINITELY read. I might be making an order from Autonomous Press soon! This is a collection of 26 short essays about autistic culture, systemic barriers that face autistics, and some of the history of autism. I really want to pick this one up.

The_Real_Experts_Online_Cover_largeThe Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children doesn’t apply to me specifically, but I still thought it should receive a place in this top ten list. It’s another collection of essays, this time by a variety nothing is rightof autistic adults.

The Shaping Clay series of novels looks interesting; they’re about the life of an autistic man named Clay Dillon. They begin with Nothing is Right, set in first grade. The books continue through Imaginary Friends to Defiant, taking place when Clay is 30. The books are written by Michael Scott Monje Jr, who is transgender as well as autistic.

Spoon_Knife_Cover_Final_JPEG_largeThe Spoon Knife Anthology: thoughts on Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance looks like a fascinating book, edited by Michael Scott Monje Jr. and N.I. Nicholson. This appears to be an annually published book, with Spoon Knife 2 being called “Test Chamber.” They’re published by NeuroQueer, an imprint from Autonomous books that focuses on gender, sexuality, and race, and they’re billed as an “annual open-call collection to find new talent.”

barking sycamoresAlso under the NeuroQueer imprint is the first anthology of Barking Sycamores, a quarterly magazine of neurodivergent literature and art. The magazine publishes “poetry, artwork, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and hybrid genre work by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as book reviews.” They’re only available online at the website, though past issues can be bought as ebooks. They publish one piece per day on their blog until the issue is complete. I’ll definitely be following this blog!

So those are my Top Ten books to read this month for Autism Acceptance Month. (Technically I suppose that’s thirteen books, but I grouped the series together.) I think an order from Autonomous Press is in my near future!

So I had finished this post and had it ready to publish when a friend of mine gave me a few more titles! The Autism Women’s Network has published a few books like All The Weight of Our Dreams, which is a collection of essays by autistic people of color, and What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew, a collection of essays by autistic women. So those are also worth checking out!

As I continue to find and read books by autistic authors, I’m just going to list them at the bottom of this post so they’re all in one place to refer back to!

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

The Kiss Quotient

Look Me In The Eye

 

 

TTT: Top Ten Books I Loved that I will Never Re-read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I loved that I will never re-read.

harry potter sorcerer stone

So the catch with this one is I RARELY re-read books. Even if I love them. About the only exception is if I realize I’ve forgotten some details in a series and a new book in the series is coming out, then I might re-read a book or two to refresh my memory. So coming up with books I won’t re-read for reasons other than “I just don’t do that” was the real challenge here.

Harry Potter
Starting out with the classic that everyone re-reads multiple times. I love the Potter-verse (though JK, lately, can go die in a fire) – I’m a diehard Hufflepuff. (I have a hat, scarf, gloves, mug, cross-stitch, enamel pin…the list goes on. I rep Hufflepuff whenever I can.) But I’m never going to re-read the books. I just don’t have it in me to dive into that series again.

salvation's dawnEve of Redemption (Salvation’s Dawn)
This is a set of ebooks I found via Kindle Unlimited about draconic humanoids in a high-fantasy world, and they are surprisingly excellent. But they’re also five large books and I just don’t have the time to devote to that.

odysseyThe Odyssey
I was surprised at how readable The Odyssey was, and I did love it, but it’s still too…obscure in language, I guess, to want to read it again.

Song of the Lioness quartet
song of the lionessOh, Tortall. Song of the Lioness was my introduction to Tamora Pierce and Tortall, by way of my husband, but having read her more recent novels, the quality of writing of Alanna’s story is very obviously lacking. The story is good. The writing level is nowhere as good as her later novels.

goddesscompGoddess Companion
I was reading this in my pagan phase, and it’s still on my shelf, but it’s basically a pagan devotional and I can’t see myself cracking it open again. It did get me through some difficult times, though.

Sookie Stackhouse series
sookie stackhouse billI read most of these before True Blood came out, and then I watched the first few seasons of True Blood as they came out, and while I love Alexander Skaarsgard as Eric, I HATE BILL. I can’t even read the books anymore for picturing freaking Bill from the show. (That’s him on the cover to the right – ew.)

married to the militaryMarried to the Military
This book was invaluable when Alex enlisted in the Marine Corps but is no longer really applicable to my life now that he’s out.

wizard's first ruleSword of Truth series
Man, I loved these in high school. Unfortunately Terry Goodkind’s kind of a douche and I won’t be reading his books again.

kushiel's dartKushiel’s Dart Trilogy
Beautiful, evocative books that I will just never pick up again. I’m not really sure why. There’s something about long books about incredibly-detailed fantasy worlds that I can only read once. I don’t have the energy for them a second time.

world war zWorld War Z
Oh, World War Z. One of the best dystopias I’ve ever read. But I get nightmares about zombies very easily, for some reason. And I slept with the lights on for several nights while I read this, and for a few nights afterwards. I had a detailed plan for what we would do if the zombies came. The book was excellently done but I will not subject myself to that kind of terror again. It definitely tops my list of books I loved that I will NEVER re-read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Take Place in Another Country

Hey! I’m trying something new this week, and participating in That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday. If I like it, I may continue with these on Tuesdays instead of my typical book reviews. (Those might get bumped to Monday, or I might actually start reading a little slower and only do Thursday and Saturday – we’ll see!)

This week’s topic is “Books That Take Place in Another Country” – and while I could probably cheat and list a bunch of fantasy, I’m going to try to stick with actual real-world countries!

Top of my list is definitely The Astonishing Color of After. It was my Book of the Month this month and it was outstanding. A small part of it is set in the US, but the majority of the book takes place in Taiwan.IMG_20180323_234037_500.jpg

bornacrime#2 is Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime – It’s set in South Africa. I’ve really enjoyed Trevor as the host of The Daily Show, and his book was laugh-out-loud funny.

 

 

hangman's daughter#3 I’m going with Oliver Pötzsch’s The Hangman’s Daughter. Really the entire series. These are set in 17th century Germany, and they follow the Executioner, his daughter, and her man as they solve mysteries. They are translated from their original German, and they’re excellent.

 

 

 

city of brass#4 – I feel like The City of Brass only barely counts, as it began in Egypt and then moved to a fantasy realm, but it was amazing so I’m listing it anyway! I love non-Western inspired fantasy, and this has djinns, ifrits, court intrigue, a little bit of romance, hidden magic – everything, basically!

 

victorian#5 – I’ve read a lot of Canadian books in the past year for my Read Canadian Challenge, but surprisingly several of those were still actually set in the US! (Well, let’s be real, it’s unsurprising that most of their dystopia has its roots in the US, who’s more likely to be the cause of the end of civilization?) That Inevitable Victorian Thing was YA alternate future. I don’t want to call it dystopia because it was surprisingly positive. Though I really want to see the darker side of the world it’s set in, because that technology could be twisted to nefarious purposes SO EASILY. And as I was writing this, I realized THIS is what I know this author from – I was just looking at my bookshelf at the Star Wars Ahsoka book (which I haven’t read yet, I need to fix that!) and thinking the author looked familiar.

kissofsteel#6The London Steampunk series! Bec McMaster’s brand of steampunk romance and political intrigue is exactly my kind of escapist fluff. Vampires, werewolves, robots and London court politics and underground crime bosses – this series was great.

places in between#7The Places in Between by Rory Stewart is a book I read MANY years ago before I started this blog – Stewart chronicles his travels as he walks(!!) across Afghanistan. It’s REALLY good, and I really liked his style of writing. He also wrote The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq.

 

handmaid#8 – You know, it might be cheating a little bit, but I’m going to throw in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a harrowing book, and it’s technically set in Gilead, even if it is supposed to be what’s left of the US. But it’s definitely one of my all-time favorite books, and it somewhat fits the theme! (It’s also free via Kindle Unlimited right now!)

crown's fate#9The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate are Russian fantasy, and they’re beautiful. I cried like a baby at the end of the first, and the second was wonderfully bittersweet. Game was Evelyn Skye’s debut novel, and I WEPT at the end. It didn’t actually end on a cliffhanger; I didn’t know there was a sequel until much later.

 

 

his majesty's dragon#10The Temeraire Series covers the Napoleanic Wars, if there were dragons involved! It ranges from Britain, to France, to China. I’ve only read the first six books and there are apparently nine now. I got a little bored with the series and moved on to other things, but the world building, like all of Naomi Novik‘s work, was really good. (Uprooted, another book of hers not in this series, is an absolute favorite of mine!)

 

So those are my top ten picks for books not set in my country (The United States). It was actually a little difficult, because I didn’t want to use books set in entirely fictional countries, and I read a LOT of fantasy! I also didn’t want to use a ton of books set in the United Kingdom, and that’s where a lot of romance and urban fantasy are based. Honorable Mention probably goes to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I almost included. Also anything by Philippa Gregory. I’ve reviewed several books that I didn’t include here that would fit, but I didn’t think they were good enough to warrant a spot in a Top Ten list.

This was kind of fun. What do you think, should I continue doing these on Tuesdays? Next week’s theme is “Characters I liked that were in Non-Favorite/Disliked Books.” That’s gonna be a tough one!