Quick overview

All posts still in progress. If you have additions you want to suggest, please let me know in the comments or on twitter @schomj.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Influential Books

In Jessica Olin's Essential Reading post asked the question "So, how about you? What are your favorite books that you think inform who you are?"

Because I am who I am, that set me to wondering which books I would credit/blame for being me.

Like Jessica O., one of the books that had a sustaining influence on me was by Ursula K. LeGuin. But in my case it was The Disposessed that stays with me the most. I can't even describe all the things this book left with me, but its presentation of an anarchist utopia that didn’t make me roll my eyes, the way it questions the concept of freedom, and its presentation of science as a living, growing thing had a profound impact on how I viewed the world for a long time.

I can’t pick just one Terry Pratchett novel, the Discworld is just too big and too amazing. But I can narrow it down to two primary influencers: Wyrd Sisters was the first Pratchett novel I ever read and the first fantasy novel I read that featured actual adult women making actual adult decisions unrelated to their love interests.

The second Pratchett novel I would pick is Guards! Guards! Captain Carrot, Sam Vimes, dragons, politics, policing, and life all dealt with humorously and lovingly and angrily, as appropriate.

Violence and the Sacred by RenĂ© Girard. I know people have strong feels on this book, and I came to it as a layperson not as a philosophy expert so I can’t really explain why this book resonated with me so much. I think because it helped remove a veil of illusion that had been over my eyes about the ongoing, culturally sanctioned use of violence and sacrifice.

Diary of a Madman and Other Stories. Nikolai Gogol's absurdist, satirical, farcical, tragic 19th century Russian stories. As Jenny Holzer famously said, “Protect me from what I want.”

Susan Wendell's The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability allowed me to recognize and accept myself as having a disability in a way that has really helped me emotionally and physically.

I can’t actually remember the book that introduced me to Buddhism (it had a purplish paper cover with a Dharma wheel on it, was from the ‘60s or ‘70s, and talked as much about cosmology as about the Buddha, but it started me on a path that has impacted me powerful). So, instead I’ll showcase Ayya Khema’s Being Nobody, Going Nowhere. This book talks about the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path in really practical terms, and explains why meditation and the dhamma are so valuable in a way that removed a lot of my performance anxiety around it.

There are probably some that I’ve overlooked, but it’s lunchtime and food is as important to me as books are.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fiction featuring characters with disabilities, suggested to me via twitter



Alpha order by title, not sure how or if I'm going to provide links. Trying to include brief keywords indicating genre and type of disability but this is sometimes complicated to do! 


  • ACCESSING THE FUTURE edited by Djibril Al-Ayad and Kathryn Allan (science fiction : various)
  • BEST BOY by Eli Gottlieb (fiction : autism)
  • BLUE SKY, YELLOW SUN by Jamie Hoang (fiction : blindness)
  • THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS by Cristina HenrĂ­quez (fiction : )
  • BORDERLINE by Mishell Baker (fantasy : amputation, mental illness)
  • The Bride Wore Starlight by Lisbeth Selvig (m/f romance : )
  • CANDLE IN THE WINDOW by Christina Dodd (m/f romance: blindness)
  • COURTING GRETA by Ramsey Hootman (m/f romance : spina bifida)
  • THE DROWNING GIRL by Caitlin Kiernan (dark fantasy with romantic elements, lesbian relationship featuring a transgender woman : schizophrenia)
  • DUNCAN MACLAIN series by Baynard Kendrick (out of print in US)
  • EDGE OF SURVIVAL by Toni Anderson (m/f romance: diabetes)
  • THE FIRE KING by Marjorie Liu (m/f romance : amputation)
  • A HEART OF LITTLE FAITH by Jennifer Wilck (m/f romance : )
  • HIS PRETEND BABY by Theodora Taylor (m/f romance : autism?)
  • JUST PHYSICAL by Jae (lesbian romance : MS)
  • LINCOLN RHYME series by Jeffrey Deaver (mystery : physical disability)
  • A MAN LIKE MAC by Fay Robinson (m/f romance : physical disability)
  • MOVING IN RHYTHM by Dev Bentley (gay romance : )
  • Mari Ness (mix of online short stories and poetry)
  • OUT OF THE BLUE by Sally Mandel (romantic fiction : MS)
  • PLANETFALL by Emma Newman (science fiction : mental illness)
  • A PRIVATE GENTLEMAN by Heidi Cullinan (gay romance : mental illness)
  • RIVETED by Meljean Brook (steampunk m/f romance : amputation)
  • SATED by Rebekah Weatherspoon (ebook only) (primarily m/f romance but the hero is poly : amputation)
  • SEMI-SCRIPTED by Amanda Heger (m/f romance: diabetes)
  • SIMPLE JESS by Pamela Morsi (m/f romance : cognitive disability)
  • THE SPEED OF DARK by Elizabeth Moon (sci fi : autism)
  • STOLEN MOMENTS by Barbara J. Fischer (m/f romantic fiction : lupus)
  • SURVIVORS CLUB series by Mary Balogh (m/f romance : various)
  • VORKOSIGAN series by Lois McMaster Bujold (sci fi : physical disability)
  • WILL TRENT series by Karin Slaughter (mystery : dyslexia)
  • WINNING RUBY HEART by Jennifer Lohman n (m/f romance : wheelchair user hero)
  • THE WRITE MAN FOR HER by Christie Walker Bos (m/f romance : physical disability)