Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian - by John Elder Robison

Using stories from his own life, Robison gives readers insight into how individuals with Asperger's Syndome see the world, as well as how others may see them. An eye-opening book for those who know anyone with Asperger's Syndrome, it also provides hope for young people living with it. After reading it I thought it seemed like it might serve as a start to an "It Gets Better" campaign, similar to what is being done for GLBT youth on youtube. After a childhood of being teased, and then dropping out of school, as an adult Robison finds his niche in music, and cars, as well as learning how to compensate for his differences.

The two places where Robison mentions libraries are only 2 pages apart. Interestingly, in the first he is discussing cutting classes, and blowing off all things academic, in high school because he had trouble focusing "[a]fter all, the Hungry U and Augie's Newsstand were far more interesting than the school library." But in the second case, he recognizes the potential of the library as a place where people can study whatever they please, "I knew the value of knowledge, but I assumed I could learn anything I needed on my own (emphasis mine) in the libraries and labs at the university." Here we see he clearly grasps the idea of the library as "the people's university".

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