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review 2018-12-27 17:44
All Cats have Asperger Syndrome, Kathy Hoopmann
All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome - Kathy Hoopmann

Here's a delightful book explaining the traits of Asperger's Syndrome, with short, simple text over illustrative and cute pics of kittens and cats. It's obviously aimed at children but it wouldn't be a bad first place to start learning as an adult and it only takes a few minutes to read cover to cover. The idea probably came from the quote "Cats are autistic dogs," which is quite apt...


1. The convention is "Asperger's Syndrome," not "Asperger Syndrome."
2. A small number of the traits mentioned do not apply to all but the phrasing suggests they do.
3. The gendered language, "His..." throughout is frustrating because Aspergirls exist and this could give the impression that they don't. It's avoidable just by rephrasing to refer to plural Aspies.

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text 2017-12-15 22:41
Currently Reading... and reading, and reading...

Books are my escapism. I love them. They are life. Except...



I've been currently reading the same book for what feels like ages, well for the whole of December, so really only a couple weeks. It isn't as if I don't like the book. I have no idea why I procrastinate something I love so much! I go through spurts of reading 20+ books in a month, and then reading like 2 and sometimes nothing at all!


I recently found out some of my "quirks" come down to autism. Shocker. 33 and I'm only now finding out who I really am, or at least understanding more why I do things the way I do them. The more correct term would be ASD or Asperger Syndrome Disorder.


People can call me a special snowflake all they want. I finally have a term, or label (if you will) that helps me understand my head a little better. I did not get it officially told to me by a doctor, either.


First I got advice from a friend who has it and she gently told me to look more into it, because apparently aspies are really good at recognizing each other. What she did not know was that I had already been wondering about it and when she gave me this long message talking about her experiences and relating them to what she has seen me do, I just couldn't control the melt down I had while reading it.


Like I feel ashamed and broken, but rationally, I know there is nothing to be ashamed of and I'm not broken. It is just another part of me. One that 90% of people won't take seriously because I'm a grown woman, and I didn't get a "Doctor's Note."


This hardly has anything to do with books. I was wondering if non bookish blogs are fine, considering this blog site is called "booklikes"


Anyone else share non bookish stuff? Is that frowned on here? I sometimes have things I want to blurt to people and nobody to blurt them to.


Oh, I wanted to share my current saving grace is the La La Land soundtrack. I put that music on full blast when I am having "moments" where I want to ignore the world. Go see the movie and make the music your life!! All music is my saving grace, but I really love this soundtrack. I'm really into the music I grew up with, the 90s/early 00s, plus a few more modern things. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that some people are calling the 90s the oldies now.

Image result for la la land


I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!


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review 2016-09-29 01:03
Look Me in the Eye
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's -

According to the foreword written by John Elder Robison's brother Augusten Burroughs, when their father died, Burroughs was surprised at the depth of emotion he saw from his older brother, because he'd never seen that from him before.  Burroughs encouraged him to write about their father's death, which led to an essay that Burroughs posted on his website.  The essay became one of the most popular features on the website, and readers frequently asked "How is your brother doing?" and "Will he write anything else?"  Look Me in the Eye was the outcome when Burroughs encouraged him to do just that.


Look Me in the Eye recounts Robison's growing up with undiagnosed Asperger's/autism.  He didn't understand why people were always urging him to look into their eyes--why they thought not doing so meant he was shifty or trying to hide something.  He had trouble understanding social situations.  His alcoholic, abusive father and mentally ill mother were not improving matters. Although he was highly intelligent, he ended up dropping out of school as soon as he was able to, taking the GED.


Parts of the book were a great companion to Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs's first memoir.  Robison uses the same pseudonyms as Burroughs did when he discusses people who appear in both books.  He reveals just how his parents originally became involved with the infamous "Dr. Finch," who provided couples and family counseling beginning when John Elder was 13 and his little brother was six.  Early on, it seems the doctor did provide some help, including convincing his father to stop hitting John Elder.  Then later on, he went off the rails.


John Elder Robison recounts a very interesting life, that includes having customized guitars for Kiss, designing video games, and repairing luxury cars.  At the time this book was written, he had been married twice and had a son from his first marriage.  Being diagnosed with Asperger's at age 40 came as a great relief, because it helped him understand himself.


I've seen other reviews for this book complaining about certain stories in the memoir being boring.  I hate to agree, but there were times when I felt a good editor ought to have encourage some cuts.  I was reminded of a comment Burroughs made about his big brother in RWS, noting that he could go into long, detailed explanations about technical topics without understanding that his audience doesn't find it fascinating.  Some of the stories were like that, so this is why I'm at three stars instead of four (though keep in mind that I use a Goodreads "I liked it" for three stars).  Fortunately most of the stories weren't like that.

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text 2016-06-06 02:48
Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's by John Elder Robison
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's - John Elder Robison

Ever since he was young, John Robison 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, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.





** I already posted this review last year, but when I was organizing my BookLikes blog shelves, I somehow accidentally deleted this review, so am now reposting. 



The subtitle here pretty much sums it up. This is Robison talking about his life and how being diagnosed with Asperger's worked into that. Robison explains that he was not officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome until the age of 40, but looking back he now sees he had classic markers of it from early childhood. The problem was, he grew up in a time before much was known of the condition. It wasn't until 1981 that doctors collectively brought together all the flag traits of the syndrome they knew and actually gave it the name Asperger's (named after Dr. Hans Asperger of Austria). I was also amazed to learn just how prevalent this condition is now -- Robison points out that in a 2007 study done by the CDC, 1 in 150 people (or 1 in 50 families) fall somewhere within the autism spectrum!

Though I am familiar with Burrough's family story (since the majority of his books discuss it), it was interesting but saddening to hear Robison's side and how he was affected by his father's alcoholism, his mother's gradual decline into severe mental illness, the lack of affection from both parents -- in fact, his father was pretty abusive. To me it seems like the parents were unconvinced they even wanted kids. Robison finds quiet and calm for his mind when he discovers a love and aptitude for electronics, becoming a self-taught sound engineer. This eventually leads him to developing special effects guitars for the band KISS. He makes good money whenever they go on tour but pretty much nothing when the tours go off, so he talks about scrambling to find work to pay the bills in the meantime. He ends up installing sound and lighting systems for nightclubs, which later opens the door to an engineering job with Milton Bradley, designing sound chips for their electronic games, working his way up into a management position with them. This is all by the age of 23! After doing this for a time, he ends up leaving MB to start up his own company servicing and repairing luxury European cars.

I found myself really moved when he talks about the day his son was born, maybe because of how he described his own childhood. I love seeing guys who embrace being a friend and kind-hearted role model to their kids, rather than just the stern, emotionally constipated disciplinarian. It was cute to read the story about how when his son was born, Robison made sure to "tag" his son with sharpie to make sure the nurses didn't mix his kid up with someone else's! X-D And how he still checked info on the foot bracelet. I especially liked when he joked that when they were leaving the hospital, he noted that after paying nearly $5,000 they weren't given any gifts or perks (clothes, toys, accessories, etc), just pretty much a room and they got to keep the baby, but he was "relatively certain" that the kid living in his house was the same one that came out of his wife seventeen years earlier.

Robison reiterates what a number of memoirs of those with Asperger's say when he talks about his experiences stemming from his inability to pick up on body language or conversational elements such as social cues, facial expressions or sarcasm.He also talks about his struggle with remembering or wanting to use a person's real name so when he develops a close enough relationship with someone, he gives them a nickname instead {ie. his first wife he called Little Cub, so their son he called "Cubbie"; his second wife was Unit 2 (being the second oldest of three sisters) while his in-laws were Unit Zero; Augusten used to be called Snort or Varmit}. While I've read about this trait in other books such as Daniel Tammet's Born On A Blue Day, it was still good to be reminded to be aware of this when conversing with someone with autism or Asperger's.

I think comparatively I took more away from Born On A Blue Day as far as actually learning about the inner workings of an autistic mind a little bit better, but I really liked the humor and conversational tone Robison brought to his story, which was something that felt missing from Tammet's book. For anyone interested in the topic, I recommend reading both. Also, if you are a Burroughs fan like I am, reading Robison's books gives an interesting extra perspective / extra backstory to the works of Burroughs.

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review 2015-09-14 12:07
The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, Tony Attwood
The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome - Tony Attwood

Tony Attwood is a therapist rather than a researcher and that is reflected in this somewhat incomplete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. If you want a comprehensive description of the Syndrome, the ever-changing diagnostic guidelines and the individual symptoms, this is the book for you. If you want an extremely thorough over-view of all available therapies/interventions/support services and their efficacy this is most certainly the book for you. If you want a summary of the current state of research into causes of autistic behaviour, you will need to look elsewhere as there's a total of less than two pages on the subject.


The book focuses heavily on childhood and adolescence but does not completely ignore adulthood; I think this just reflects where the effort has been put with regard to helping Aspies - there's just much less support for adults available. Because of the focus on ways of helping Aspies with their social problems, there is comparatively little discussion of their strengths, but Attwood is clearly aware of these strengths, appreciative of the positive things Aspies can offer society and sympathetic to their cause. Nevertheless, particularly early on he does make quite a few value-judgements that I feel are entirely subjective and out of place. He also use "empathy" in a technical sense that is not what non-psychologists would generally assume it means - but doesn't explain this specialised usage for several more chapters. This potentially helps fuel an incorrect and very negative stereotype about Aspies - that they have no empathy - which is completely without foundation.


The tone is quite dry, somewhat academic, but not excruciatingly dull. It is heavily referenced for those who wish to dive into the research literature. Various case histories and anecdotes leaven the text and for the most part I think it's readily accessible to the general reader. The book will be of most use to parents of Aspies and I believe Attwood had that readership in mind when he wrote it.

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