The Asperger would prefer to read non-fiction, unless the fiction book could possibly be related to factual information such as biographies, history, or science fiction. Aside from literature being a special interest, most Aspies find fiction slow and boring, with all of its adjectives and phrases describing scenery and conversation that never took place to begin with. The Asperger would much rather read facts or other useful information that could be put to good use.

Cliff Notes were probably invented by an Aspie for the Aspie, and they worked wonders until one 10th grade teacher announced that he would design questions on the test that could not be answered by reading the Cliff Notes alone.

“Who cares what Ken Kesey meant when he wrote, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” thinks the Aspie. “Wasn’t he doing heroin when he wrote that anyway? And how could anyone possibly write something that is worth my time analyzing and writing a paper on if they are clearly stoned? (Note: The fact that the writer may have been stoned probably didn’t sit too well with the Aspie either, due to the Aspie’s strong sense of morality which you will learn about in a later post. Stay tuned for these messages.)”

Fahrenheit 451 may have scored on their list in secondary school, but only because it dealt with the idea of people losing their interest in ridiculous literature and fantastic useful facts like what temperature it took to burn these ridiculous works. Plays might not be as bad, as at least some entertaining conversation takes place as opposed to paragraph upon paragraph of descriptions of brick streets, cottage houses, and the shapes the clouds were making (or at least the shapes the stoner writer thought they were making) that day.

12 Responses to “#11 Non-Fiction And The Hatred Of Fiction”

  1. Danechi Says:

    I’m flaming autistic (diagnosed Asperger’s, but tend to fit dx’ed classic autistics’ self-descriptions far, far better), and this doesn’t fit me at all! (Nor does a lot of the stuff on this site, really.)

    I love both fiction and non-fiction, and while my interests in fiction tend toward science fiction and fantasy, that’s more out of escapism and general love for such universes rather than anything relating to basis in fact. I don’t like romance novels and don’t care for mass-produced spy thrillers, but those are close to my only limitations in what I’ll read.

    I know other auties with an extreme love for fiction. It’s not all that rare. In contrast, my mostly non-autistic father (described as non-autistic by people at Autreat, which helps seal it, I think), refuses to read fiction. I think that the purported NT/AS divide based on this criterion is *mostly* based upon stereotypes.

  2. Dan Says:

    It’s true that not every stereotypical trait describes every Aspie. However, some tests have some parts of the adult criteria based on the adult not enjoying or having interest in fiction. But, as stated in the post, literature is a “special interest” for a lot of Aspies. This site describes me exactly.

  3. David-Saladin Says:

    I love both, but I noticed along time ago that my affinity with fiction has to do with analyzing the writer/characters. Like I try to read the writers mind at the time the writing took place, as well as escaping into the story, but not so much the latter…

  4. Craig Says:

    I’m also a big fan of fiction; in fact, my college major was English Literature, and I’m an aspie. I think this mostly comes from my interest in characters as archetypes. I like trying to categorize the stories I read and the characters in them. Also, fiction helps me connect with and make greater sense of my emotional side, and that’s something all aspies can benefit from.

    It’s true that most aspergers hobbies tend to be based more on reason that emotion, but that’s not always the case. Besides, literature definitely lends itself to analysis. However, it takes some learning to really appreciate fiction and dissect it in such a manner.

    More in line with this post, I’m definitely a non-fiction writer. I’d much rather write about how to do things, or write essays and scientific reports, than write fiction. I can never think of enough detail, and my fiction always comes out feeling dry and devoid of emotion (a bit like Isaac Asimov, but less brilliant).

  5. Courtney Says:

    …have to say that so far this is the only one that doesn’t fit me.

    Well, don’t have to actually, but felt compelled to.

  6. Amy Says:

    This describes exactly how I feel. Despite repeated attempts to find pleasure and value in works of fiction, I still find it a laborious waste of time. I pine for the relaxation and mental enjoyment fiction appears to gift its readers with, and hoped it would provide a welcomed reprieve from the unrelenting mental activity that dominates my waking hours. But it doesn’t. I just don’t value it.

    My aspie kids, however, are huge fiction fans (sci-fi and fantasy). One is a gifted fiction writer– stories pour forth from her pen like water from a spring. It’s remarkable.

  7. Ettina Says:

    I’m actually quite obsessed with fiction, specifically science fiction and fantasy. I’d like to be an author someday.

    I do like non-fiction books if they’re about psychology (my special interest). But I like them in a totally different way than fiction.

  8. Bryan Says:

    I adore fiction–so long as it is either comic books or part of a very strong and deep internal universe.

  9. Violet Black Says:

    It’s quite funny that this one describes me, given that I am hoping to be a professional fiction writer myself someday. I can spend the whole day lost on the TV Tropes Wiki or on websites reviewing a book/movie, but actually reading/watching it gets put at the very bottom of my to-do queue along with other “time-wasting” activities. The way my reasoning goes, I do not need the entertainment, but I could use a primer on how other authors think the world/human psyche works and how closely that matches objective reality. I approach everything as if it were sci-fi, continually fretting about realism even when the best advice my friends and family can give is “willing suspension of disbelief”. But really, how is anyone going to take my distant-future alien Jurrasic-Park-like pseudo-re-creation of Earth society seriously if the girl imprinted with a 3D scan from the memories of a 21st-century abuse victim’s brain doesn’t react realistically to being hit on by a retrovirus-popping shapeshifter who is doing his most obnoxious Cthulhu impression due to his own pathological control issues?
    It is often said that if you want to write well, you have to read quite a bit as a learning exercise (preferably in the genre you wish to write in), but I get complimented on the little snippets I share even without all that. It may be all the non-fiction reading I do that reinforces my linguistic competence (such as it is), or maybe they are just being nice. I like to think I can get away with not “imitating” anyone, and I definitely hope I can get away with not following the conventions of these “genre” things, which may not be worth sustaining anyhow. By Aspie logic, if a certain storytelling device proves to be dishonest to readers, why spread it?
    My Mommy says she likes my work because of all the “detail” and the fact that I obviously have a vivid visual imagination. In fact, I don’t know any other way of doing things, and it’s not something that could be easily taught in books. I can read a textbook and visualize all of it (or not visualize it, which would be synonymous with not understanding it for me), or I could read and similarly visualize fiction but get a smaller data-to-fluff ratio.

  10. Tanya Says:

    I actually prefer reading fiction ’cause non-fiction usually have a language I can’t really comprehend. The fiction that I read are usually sci-fi, fantasy and historical books and I don’t analyze the characters or anything like that. I enjoy reading non-fiction purly as escapism and ’cause I often find fiction to be written with beautiful words. The only thing I really love with non-fiction books are that many of them have beautiful pics ^-^ Oh and I’m on the boarder between AS and classical autism.

  11. Lyd Says:

    I’m an aspie. I love fiction. For both reasons: escapism and character analysis. I agree completely with Craig.
    I read, for example, sexually explicit paranormal fiction, and analyse/categorize the characters’ interactions and cause/effect behaviors.
    Moreover, I think reality is so limited and boring (in my opinion, due to society’s behavior unreasonable expectations), that fiction really helps my mind survive, and imagine a life without this behavior boundaries and mines.

  12. Rose Says:

    I can relate to this somewhat. I have Aspergers and was hyperlexic as a child and read a lot of fiction books as a result, but now I’m much less willing to suspend my disbelief than when I was much younger. Scientific research, especially that in the field of human enhancement, fascinates me, but when applied to fiction in the form of science fiction books it’s nowhere near as interesting. Fantasy is worse, since it relies too heavily on the supernatural, which isn’t to my tastes at all.

    However, I can enjoy some fiction from time to time, if it interests me and isn’t full of cliches. Typically I prefer to read in Japanese, my second language. However, I dislike anime and manga since the whole medium runs on the same old cliches.

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