Books That Were Loved in 2022

Ever since I began to curate books for Pause Library I have become immersed in reading books like never before.  It started off as a deep deep love for picture books. They are short, they are infinitely no-nonsense and straight to the point, and gosh they are a celebration of everything beautiful about being a human, the books at Pause atleast.

Chapter books are another thing altogether, as someone who is neurodivergent I have struggled with reading chapter books for several reasons, not only do they need to really grab my attention, I also struggle with books that fully grab me as well. When its the latter, I dream about the characters, I become fully transported to the world of the book and it can take weeks after I am done with the book to fully peel myself away from the world I was transported to. For someone who needed to function in this alternate “productivizing” world, that was a whole lot of time lost. This was one reason why 10 years ago I had stopped reading fiction.

Ive had some sweet mentors in my path to curating Pause library, they encouraged me to read beyond picture books. And I knew i could only take it back on if they were curated. As an autist person, reading books that are in alignment to ideas of social justice, both futuristic fiction, fantasy, dystopian novels steeped in stories of hope in the face of pain and lived experiences of people who are ND, queer and in communities as well as ideas of social justice and embodied community making have deeply resonated with me. The last year then saw me fully immerse myself in books then. In my hope to really celebrate this shifting and shaping state of my life and in celebrating this community of stories I have in my heart now, I share with you the books I read and quick notes on them. Hope you get a chance to read them too, and when you do, write about it and tag pause_library, I’ll feel solidarity feelings ūüôā

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire 

A gentle, kind and warm queer love story. It was a salve to my queer soul and an affirmation of queer love and its queerness. A must read for anyone who wants to immerse in love, in queerness and the brilliance it can offer.  

Can You See Me? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott 

One of the first few books I first stumbled upon to immerse myself in a young Autistic person’s lived experience. It spoke to my child part and the ways in which I mask as an autistic person today. Gentle exploration into the world of the autistic AFAB (assigned female at birth) person.¬†¬†

The Sherlock Holmes Connection by Anushka Ravishankar 

A famous five like adventure down memory lane plus! It is a sweet story of young people being heard by adults when an injustice is done. Yet another sweet book to read when you want a distraction which isn’t too abrasive.¬†¬†

Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenera Nerenberg¬†

Jenera Nerenberg does a wonderful job of deconstructing the DSM and its violent history upon neurodivergent people especially those who are women and gender minorities. This is an excellent first book to immerse oneself in if you would like begin exploring neurodivergence 

Seeking Begumpura : The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals by Gail Omvedt 

Gail Omvedt is a seminal writer in the anti-caste movement and this book is a wonderful historical walk through to help us see the many ways in which Indian movements have been anti caste and yet been appropriated and Brahminised. In this taking back of history Omvedt helps us see it through very important frames needed to remember our ancestors and their anticaste stance as we continue take that stance today.  

God as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd¬†

This brilliant book does such the important work of viewing the Buddha and His teachings from the stance of politics and philosophy rather than reduce it to religion where it has become coopeted into Hinduism or esoterism. In doing so,  Ilaiah carves the path to an alternative way of being and seeing the world other than the hierarchical, incarceral caste system and Brahminism.  

Why am I not a Hindu by Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd 

This is one of my favorite books. Ilaiah breaks down the injustice of caste system upon people and points to the ways of Bahujan people that are a stark protest against Brahmanical feudalism and hegemony. This book grounded me in the philosophy of mindful presence, and it has been a deeply gratifying experience to read it. 

In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan 

We literally learn one single paragraph about Gilligan’s contribution in Undergrad psychology programs. If you are in a mainstream psych program, that’s about all you learn about Carol Gilligan. But Giligan is a seminal feminist developmental psychologist and cracks you up with very true to today ideas of what it means to have voice as a woman. This is a must read for anyone in the psych field, it begins to orient you to more than what we are dumped upon as students in academia.  

Engaged Buddhism in the West by Christopher Queen 

If you are interested in the ways in which Buddhism influenced the world, this is a brilliant book to help you see that. The ways in which Buddhism chose a social justice stance speaks to so much of what Omvedt and Iliah also speak about. Whitewashing esoterism upon Buddhism really stands to be questioned. There is so much more, and we ought to wake up to it all.  

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J.Klune 

This book is love. It is neuroqueer love. It made me cry. It speaks to the life and world I hope to be creating for neuroqueer chosen families.  

Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD by Penny Williams 

This is a book about a mother of an ADHD child. Her advocacy, meltdowns, freakouts, and love are present to see. Her journey from pathologizing ADHD to really advocating for its neurodiversity as her child experiences this distressing world is a complex, painful and hope making one.  

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown  

 If there was one book i would make the seminal text to teach me about life again and again, this is one of it. I want to be Adrienne Maree Brown when I grow up. This is such a deeply evocative and influential book about building community in a world that keeps eating at our souls every day.  

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: Kai Cheng Thom 

This is realistic fiction if you ask me. This book is a testament to the fierce lives of trans women. survival of trans folks is both magical, fraught with both wondering how we live each day and what benevolence will show up for us to continue to survive. This book weaves that magic and terror into its pages through this fabulous fictional memoir.  

Caste Matters, Suraj Yengde 

Caste Matters is one of the required readings in my Intro to Counseling class in the post graduate program that I teach. It is a must-read text exposing the casteist landscape of our country and the many ways in which upper caste culture is the assumed neutral in our country like Whiteness is in other parts of the world. Yendge does a brilliant job in exposing caste Hindus and the ascribed privilege given to upper class DBA folks by Brahmins. Yengde does groundbreaking work in speaking to the difference between emancipation and liberation, the need for the latter and the power of Dalit love in offering the just world, the world needs.  

Neuroqueer Heresies by Nick Walker 

May i just say, I am in love with everything Nick Walker. Neuroqueer Herisies is an all time favourite now and a true testament to the brilliance that has come through from the social justice work of Autistic folks and their labor. The neurodivergence paradigm is an earth shifting way of experience diversity and completely reframes the ways in which therapy can be accessed. A must read for all! 

Quick notes for the first 15 are all I am posting for now. The next set of 20 books that I’ll document will be in the next blog folks! You can come on over to Pause_Library’s insta page to check out the picture of these books and all the other fun things we do there. Here are the next 20 books I did read:

A Field Guide to Earthlings by Ian Ford 

Neurodiversity Studies: A New Critical Paradigm by Rosqvist et al 

Unraveling Assumptions: A primer for understanding oppression and privilege by Suyemoto, Donovan and Kim 

Counseling for Multiculturalism and Social Justice: Integration, Theory, and Application by Ratts and Pederson 

Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement by Steven K. Kapp 

Social Justice and Counseling: Discource in Practice by Audet and Paré 

The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by Davit Steritt  

Healing Resistance by Kazy Haga  

The Emergence of Somatic Psychology and Bodymind Therapy by Barratt 

Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste by Gail Omvedt 

Unmasking Autism by Devon Price 

Mindfulness: Where it comes form and what it means by Sarah Shaw 

The Making of Buddhis Modernism by David L. McMahan 

Practitioners Guide to Ethics and Mindfulness-Based Interventions by Monteiro, Compson and Musten 

American Dharma by Ann Gleig 

S.N. Goenka: Emissary of Insight by Daniel M. Stuat 

Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and social Engagement by Purser, Forbes and Burke 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler 

Justice-Doing at the Intersections of Power by Vikki Reynolds