In May and June, it's all about easing into summertime. I've still been reading plenty in Finnish, but I won't go into those books here.
Linking with the lovely Modern Mrs Darcy's Twitterature link-up. Go there for more, and more, and more recommendations and short reviews of books.
First a couple of books in the category of "borrowed on an impulse from the e-library"...
Kathi Lipp: The Get Yourself Organized Project
I like Kathi Lipp's ideas for cleaning clutter and getting organized. My favourite thought in this book was looking for the way we naturally do things and going from there: for example, if you always open your mail in the kitchen, arrange the space for sorting out the mail in the kitchen, so it's easy to put things right where they belong.
I'm probably not quite the target audience - too "naturally organized" for that - but we have our clutter points, and I sorely need to develop better ways to deal with paperwork.
Rich Roll: Finding Ultra
From an alcoholic and an overweight couch potato to a competitive vegan triathlonist. Yes, his life has been quite a journey, and I did finish the book. But felt a bit blah. I guess that for me to really like a memoir, I need to somehow connect with the people in it, and that didn't happen with this one.
And then for the books that had been on my TBR list. Looks like Asperger was one of my reading themes...
Daniel Tammet: Born on a Blue Day. A Memoir of Asperger's and an Extraordinary Mind
Daniel has Asperger's syndrome, synesthesia, and savant syndrome. His mind is truly extraordinary, and what is even more rare and extraordinary: he can describe his thought processes eloquently and vividly. Numbers are his "friends", and like a first language to him. And yet he loves words, too, and he can learn a new language in a week or so.
This is a fascinating book, and I really enjoyed reading it.
Fun detail: I looked at his surname and thought "That's not a typical English surname, it sounds Estonian." The book said nothing about his surname, but later I looked at his homepage and the Wikipedia page about him, and it turns out he has changed his surname himself, choosing the Estonian word. (The word tammet is also Finnish and means "oaks", but the plural form is not used as a name in Finnish.)
Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeInitially, I found it hard to get into the story. It was intriguing, though. Picking up the clues the narrator (a boy who is somewhere in the autism spectrum) didn't. Trying to piece together an idea of what the people in his life were like. A good read.
Thank you, Jeannie, for recommending this!
However. Reading Haddon's novel right after Tammet's memoir (and having read another memoir by a woman with Asperger's, not so long ago), made me ponder the limits of fiction. Haddon doesn't claim to be especially knowledgeable about autism/Asperger's. The novel is his impression of how a person with Asperger's (or somewhere on the autism spectrum) might think. It's a tool for telling the story and describing familiar things, like the London Underground, from a new and fresh viewpoint. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Authors need fresh viewpoints.
Perhaps Haddon's novel also helps some 'normal' people to have more empathy for someone with Asperger. How hard it is when the way you perceive things is so different from other people's. How overwhelming some situations can feel, and that's what causes the 'strange' behaviour. It's easier for many people, I suppose, to pick up Haddons novel rather than Tammet's memoir.
Yet, personally, I got more out of the real-life stories of Daniel Tammet and Paula Tilli. I guess that's just how my mind works. :)