Thoughts

Bout of Books Day 4 (Thursday)

Posted on Updated on

So, I’ve been doing alright with my Bout of Books 10.0 Challenge.

When I started, I set out to read:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Let Me In by John Ajvide Linqgvist
and
Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

I was able to finish up The Assassin King by Elizabeth Haydon. I wanted to make sure I read it to give me some context for the ARC I have for her upcoming book. I was finished with it by the end of day one.

I then started in on McCarthy’s The Road and have really enjoyed it. That same day, I read a novelette by R.J. Palacio, The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story.

Day three, though, was a slow one.

Work was hard and I wasn’t able to get anything read. I came home exhausted and read a total of 30 pages. I was pretty uninspired to read.

I did pull out a graphic novel, though. I finished the first half of Manifest Destiny Vol 1. It’s a pretty campy story about Lewis and Clarke. It features buffallo headed men and plants that turn humans into zombies.

Today, I’m getting into Let Me In . I’m almost a hundred pages in and it’s starting to roll. It’s a better feeling.

Let me know what’s up with you. What’s going on in your Bout of Books challenge?

Mental Disability in Literature

Posted on Updated on

As some of you may know, it’s autism awareness month. This is a very special issue to me; my older brother, G, has very severe autism and my childhood took place in an environment where that was not an unusual or strange thing.

I understand more than most what a mixed blessing a family member with disability can be, particularly when that disability is mental. There are frustrations and anger, but also love and compassion. This is why it irks me when I see most portrayals of mental disability in literature, especially SF/F.

Literature often does not portray mental disability well. Whether out of ignorance or inability to show the complex family and social dynamics, literature (as well as many other storytelling medium) fall far short of the mark. I often find that, in fiction, persons with disability are used more as a plot device than as a character with purpose and emotion. This is not something done maliciously or out of some anger towards those with disability, but perhaps it happens because we take people for granted–people of all shapes, sizes, and ability.

I’ve put below some of my favorite representations of autism and disability below. I’d love to hear yours.

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

A Song of Fire and Ice, George R.R. Martin (This is not for Hodor’s protrayal, which I find largely disappointing, but for his relationship with his grandmother, who loves and accepts him for who he is despite her frustrations.)

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer