We are celebrating the inaugural Bartlett Reads community reading event by reading the New York Times bestselling book The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by local author David Finch. This September, the community will come together to read the book, and attend events based on the themes in the book.
Now that you’ve read The Journal of Best Practices, what’s next? Try these books!
The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s by Temple Grandin
In this innovative book, Dr. Temple Grandin gets down to the REAL issues of autism, the ones parents, teachers, and individuals on the spectrum face every day. Temple offers helpful do’s and don’ts, practical strategies, and try-it-now tips, all based on her “insider” perspective and a great deal of research. These are just some of the specific topics Temple delves into: How and Why People with Autism Think Differently, Economical Early Intervention Programs that Work, How Sensory Sensitivities Affect Learning, Behaviors Caused by a Disability vs. Just Bad Behaviors, Teaching People with Autism to Live in an Unpredictable World, Alternative Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine, and Employment Ideas for Adults with Autism. This revised and expanded edition contains revisions based on the most current autism research, as well as 14 additional articles.
Dummy: A Memoir by David Patten
From his birth in 1954, David Patten was unbearably sensitive to the world around him. Unable to concentrate or learn the basics of reading and writing, he was punished and pathologized, labeled lazy, stupid, and a troublemaker. David was finally diagnosed with dyslexia, among other elements in the autism spectrum. But at a time when these disorders were little understood, David was unable to get the help he needed, and he gradually fell into the dark underbelly of American life. David’s struggle to survive and find a life worth living included time in a mental institution for attempted suicide at fourteen, and life as a drug dealer in Chicago’s criminal underworld. Eventually, David’s exceptional abilities in abstract and analytical thinking led him into the technology field, and a lucrative six-figure career as a crisis manager and trouble shooter. His story of gradually transforming disabilities into skills, hopelessness into freedom is a testament to the power of the human spirit.
Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters by Jesse A. Saperstein
The poignant, funny, and truly unique observations of a young writer diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. “Please be forewarned that you are about to read the observations and life lessons of someone who entertains himself by farting in public and conversing in gibberish with his cats.” Thus begins the charming, insightful, and memorable story of Jesse Saperstein. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism, Jesse has struggled since childhood with many of the hallmark challenges of his condition-from social awkwardness and self-doubt to extreme difficulty with change and managing his emotions. He has also worked hard to understand and make the most of his AS- developing his keen curiosity and sense of humor, closely observing the world around him, and most of all, helping others with AS to better cope and even thrive. Told with endearing and unflinching honesty, Jesse brings his unique perspective to the circumstances of his life and his condition.
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits–an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them)–had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on. After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a “real” job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be “normal” and do what he simply couldn’t: communicate. It wasn’t worth the paycheck. It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself–and the world. Look Me in the Eye is the moving, darkly funny story of growing up with Asperger’s at a time when the diagnosis simply didn’t exist. A born storyteller, Robison takes you inside the head of a boy whom teachers and other adults regarded as “defective,” who could not avail himself of KISS’s endless supply of groupies, and who still has a peculiar aversion to using people’s given names (he calls his wife “Unit Two”).
Born on a Blue Day is a journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today — guided by its owner himself. Daniel Tammet sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man. Daniel has a compulsive need for order and routine — he eats the same precise amount of cereal for breakfast every morning and cannot leave the house without counting the number of items of clothing he’s wearing. When he gets stressed or is unhappy, he closes his eyes and counts. But in one crucial way Daniel is not at all like the Rain Man: he is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life. He has emerged from the “other side” of autism with the ability to function successfully — he is even able to explain what is happening inside his head. Born on a Blue Day is a triumphant and uplifting story, starting from early childhood, when Daniel was incapable of making friends and prone to tantrums, to young adulthood, when he learned how to control himself and to live independently, fell in love, experienced a religious conversion to Christianity, and most recently, emerged as a celebrity. The world’s leading neuroscientists have been studying Daniel’s ability to solve complicated math problems in one fell swoop by seeing shapes rather than making step-by-step calculations. Here he explains how he does it, and how he is able to learn new languages so quickly, simply by absorbing their patterns. Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human — our minds.