Friday, August 8

What I Haven't Been Reading

I thought it might be worthwhile to note what I'm not reading -- the books that come home from the library and are returned unread.

The Order of Things; an archaeology of the human sciences

I wrote earlier about David Weinberger's "Everything Is Miscellaneous." He praised Michel Foucault's The Order of Things; an archaeology of the human sciences," so I decided to read it.

Here's a random sample from the book:

IV. Duplicated Representation

However, the property of signs most fundamental to the Classical episteme has not yet been mentioned. Indeed, the very fact that the sign can be more or less probable, more or less distant from what it signifies, that it can be either natural or arbitrary, without its nature or its value as a sign being affected--all this shows clearly enough that the relation of the sign to its content is not guaranteed by the order of things in themselves. The relation of the sign to the signified now resides in a space in which there is no longer any intermediary figure to connect them . . .

You get the idea. It's more or less understandable, kind of, but now realize this is one of the more lucid passages and multiply it to get 387 pages.

As the punchline of the old joke goes, "Up in the hills where my people come from we speak of little else!"

The Siege

The Siege, by Clara Claiborne Park, is one of a series of books I've been reading for a book list on autism and Asperger's syndrome. The Morton Grove Public Library hosts the Fiction-L book lists (fiction Reader's Advisory) and they have a great list on Autism and Asperger's in Fiction, compiled by the subscribers of the Fiction_L mailing list.

However, when I was looking for anything I could read about autism/Asperger's Syndrome, it was memoir that really helped me cope and understand. (My oldest son has Asperger's Syndrome, and though he's come a long way, it was a hard slog for a long time.) I found a treasure trove of such memoirs in the downtown Minneapolis Library and am working my way through them. Or maybe I'm not.

"The Siege," written in 1967, is one of the earliest popular works on autism told from the family's point of view. (As opposed to works by professionals about children in institutions.)

I read the first 70 pages and found it entirely too evocative of those painful early years. I wasn't as ready to revisit it as I thought I was. I'd like to return to it, but for now I've put it aside.

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