During the past while I've read several books.
I re-read these two books:
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 1: Volume 1 (re-read)
Keiko Tobe - With the Light 2: Volume 2 (re-read)
The series in total has 8 volumes, but after re-reading 2 volumes I felt more in the mood to read something non-manga (after re-reading the Kare Kano series before this), so I decided to put the rest of the series on hold for a while and focus on some books with more text (and less pictures).
I then read Alis Rowe - The Girl with the Curly Hair: Asperger's and Me. This is a memoir of a woman with Asperger's Syndrome. I really enjoyed reading this book! I recognised a lot of things from my own life, and in other cases, things didn't work the same way for me, but I could understand why Alis felt that way. The memoir made me feel less alone, knowing there are other people out there with whom I share some similaties, is really helpful. Overall I really enjoyed reading this memoir, I loved it. I can see it might not appeal as much to people who have little interest in autism, but I really liked this memoir, it really resonated with me.
Over the course of the year I've been reading Gretchen Rubin - The Happiness Project, reading a chapter per month (so the January chapter in January, and the February chapter in February, and so on). I have unfortunately forgot a lot of what I thought of earlier chapters, since I didn't think to make notes (I have however one post in which I posted what I thought of the book about half way through the year, so I'll be using that as a basis for some of my review).
I liked most of the chpaters. Some information was interesting, other things were not for me. It was interesting to read how things affected Gretchen. Sometimes it didn't seem fair to me, how much work she was putting in, compared with other people.
There was one chapter I really didn't like. It was the June chapter, about making friends. What irked me about the chapter was that the author wrote that it would be good for everyone to make more friends and connect with strangers in real life and such (not online). It's possible that the research said it would be good for most people, but for me with my autism spectrum disorder it doesn't work that way, and I do not agree with her that it's good for everyone to connect to lots of people. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts, and all that. If she had written "most people" instead of "everyone", I wouldn't consider it a problem at all, but as she wrote "everyone", I simply do not agree with her (since it doesn't help me, for instance) and I feel she doesn't take mental illness and my conditions (or conditions others may have) into account. I'm glad it worked for her, but that's just not how it works for me, and so that chapter really irked me.
I believe everyone has need of a certain amount of contact with others, a certain level of contact at which they are most happy and most comfortable. For me, that level isn't as high as it would be for someone who is an extreme extrovert. I am happy with the friends I have (including BCF!) and the family I have, and I don't have the energy to connect much to strangers or new people in real life. It costs me a lot of effort to socially communicate, and it would, in most cases, cost me more energy than that I would get positive energy out of it. Communicating online is much easier for me than communicating in real life, too, since there is no body language and voice intonations etc., to take into account.
Communication is easier if there is, what I call, a certain protocol to be followed, ie. I buy something in a shop. There is then a set amount of things that the cashier might say to me, "it's 10€.", "please", "thank you for your purchase", "have a good day" etc. As soon as anything falls outside those boundaries I have taught myself, I get confused and it costs me much more energy (because I don't know what to expect the other person to say or how to respond to it). Communicating with someone when there is no set protocol, is extremely hard for me, and I don't like doing it and it costs me more energy than that it gives me energy (or happiness). I get tired just from going to the supermarket (and communicating with the cashier in the 'shopping' protocol), I get tired from spending half an hour or an hour with my family (I can predict the kind of things they might say), I would get extremely tired if I have to talk to a stranger in real life without any set rules in place. And it takes a special person to really understand me, to be honest, most people don't really understand me, at least not without a huge effort from me to tell them lots of things about myself. It costs me a lot of energy just to communicate with my family for a little while - I struggle with my energy levels as is. I would much rather have 5 close friends than 20 acquaintances. And I imagine I'm not the only one who would be feeling that way.
Okay, that's enough about the June chapter. I really liked the rest of the chapters. The decluttering January chapter, for example, I thought that one was quite good. It's just that the June chapter grated on me. If she has written and said 'most people' instead of 'everyone', I probably would've enjoyed reading the chapter a lot more, now instead I felt left out and like the author didn't understand certain mental conditions. Overall I enjoyed reading this memoir / self-help book. I plan to read the next one (Happier at Home).