Related to: 'Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

John Murray Learning

Complete Esperanto

Tim Owen
Authors:
Tim Owen
John Murray Learning

Human Origins

The story of how our ancestors made the first tentative steps towards becoming human, how we lost our fur but gained language, fire and tools, and how we strode out of Africa, invented farming and cities and ultimately created modern civilisation.Where did we come from? Where are we going?Homo sapiens is the most successful, the most widespread and the most influential species ever to walk the Earth. In the blink of an evolutionary eye we have spread around the globe, taken control of Earth's biological and mineral resources, transformed the environment, discovered the secrets of the universe and travelled into space.Yet just 7 million years ago, we were just another species of great ape making a quiet living in the forests of East Africa. We do not know exactly what this ancestor was like, but it was no more likely than a chimpanzee or gorilla to sail across the ocean, write a symphony, invent a steam engine or ponder the meaning of existence. How did we get from there to here?Human Origins recounts the most astonishing evolutionary tale ever told. Discover how our ancestors made the first tentative steps towards becoming human, how we lost our fur but gained language, fire and tools, how we strode out of Africa, invented farming and cities and ultimately created modern civilisation - perhaps the only one of its kind in the Universe. Meet your long-lost ancestors, the other humans who once shared the planet with us, and learn where the story might end. ABOUT THE SERIESNew Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Sceptre

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A young man’s voice from the silence of autism

Naoki Higashida
Authors:
Naoki Higashida
Hodder & Stoughton

The No-Grain Diet

Dr Joseph Mercola
Authors:
Dr Joseph Mercola

Forget fats as the biggest dietary sin, the latest scientific evidence now shows that the real culprits in escalating weight gain are grains, starches and sugars. By eliminating grains from your diet, you actually reprogramme your mind and body to release fat and burn it, and as a result the weight you lose is kept off - permanently. This all-new low carbohydrate diet moves on from Dr Atkins, cutting out the unhealthy side-effects of that diet and including a wider range of healthy foods than Atkins or any of his successors.The No Grain diet offers three plans tailored to suit your needs: The booster plan (to ease you more gently into the plan), the core plan (for faster results), and the advanced plan (for those who need to lose a lot of weight fast for health reasons). What's more, it presents a unique psychological technique to combat cravings, bolster your self-belief and help you ride low periods, which usually lead you to break the diet. With delicious recipes and advice on additional factors to further support your new healthy lifestyle, The No Grain Diet is the last diet book you'll ever need.

Hodder & Stoughton

Thinking in Numbers

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet
Teach Yourself

Freud: The Key Ideas

Ruth Snowden
Authors:
Ruth Snowden

Is this the right book for me?Gain a solid understanding of the main conceptsReading the complete works of Sigmund Freud would take more time than most of us have to spare. Freud - the Key Ideas condenses all the information you need about the life and work of the great man into one book. With clear explanations and examples drawn from Freud's own cases you will soon have a solid understanding of the main concepts, from psychosexual development to dream analysis. Learn effortlessly with a new easy-to-read page design and interactive features: Not got much time?One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.Author insightsLots of instant help with common problems and quick tips for success, based on the author's many years of experience.Test yourselfTests in the book and online to keep track of your progress.Extend your knowledgeExtra online articles to give you a richer understanding of the subject.Five things to rememberQuick refreshers to help you remember the key facts.Try thisInnovative exercises illustrate what you've learnt and how to use it.

Hodder & Stoughton

Embracing the Wide Sky

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet
Hodder Paperbacks

Born On a Blue Day

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Work It Out

Sandra Krebs Hirsh
Authors:
Sandra Krebs Hirsh
Davies-Black

Make It Work

Joe Frodsham
Authors:
Joe Frodsham
Intercultural Press

Vietnam Today

Mark A. Ashwill
Authors:
Mark A. Ashwill

Vietnam stands at a crossroads. Located in the geographical center of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a complex mixture of the ancient and the modern. A Soviet-style legacy contrasts with an emerging Western-style market economy. Vietnam is faced with pressing political, social and economic challenges, and yet it is full of hope and potential. Here is a first look at Vietnam in the twenty-first century, a nation undergoing rapid change and opening up to the world. Dr. Mark Ashwill paints a broad picture of Vietnam, past and present, and explores today's defining issues. Readers come to understand how a two-thousand-year history of foreign invasion, occupation and war has deeply influenced the Vietnamese character. The Chinese, French and U.S. Americans have all left their imprint. Yet the struggle against oppression has infused the Vietnamese with a fierce spirit of nationalism and caution in their dealings with foreigners. Building relationships and trust as a prelude to doing business are critical to the Vietnamese, whether at home or abroad. Vietnam Today reveals the most prominent characteristics of the Vietnamese: their energy and drive, the dominance of group over individual and the paramount importance of maintaining harmony. In doing so, Ashwill and his Vietnamese contributor shed light on many sources of misunderstanding between Vietnamese and Western professionals. But for those who are prepared to take the time to get to know the people, to move at their pace, and to learn about their culture and history, Vietnam can be a land of promise and opportunity.

Carolyn Parkhurst

Carolyn Parkhurst is the author of three novels: Lorelei's Secret (published in the US as The Dogs of Babel) and Lost and Found, which were both New York Times bestsellers, and The Nobodies Album. In 2010, she published her first children's book, Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Born in New Hampshire, she lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two children.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

David Perlmutter

Dr David Perlmutter is president of the Perlmutter Health Centre in Naples, Florida, and the co-founder and president of The Perlmutter Brain Foundation. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American College of Nutrition and the Linus Pauling Award. A frequent lecturer, he writes a blog at VanguardNeurologist.com and is a contributor to The Huffington Post. His previous books include Grain Brain and The Grain Brain Cookbook.

Elisabeth Smith

Elisabeth Smith was born and educated in Germany. She studied English at Hamburg University with a teaching career in mind, and well before EU days was offered her first assignment at a London prep school. While on contract in Africa she became sidetracked by commerce. She spent the next ten years learning about printing and publishing in Zambia before joining a publishing house in Johannesburg where she ultimately became the company's chief executive. In spite of climbing the corporate ladder she never lost her interest and skills in teaching languages. During the last 30 years she has taught French to English children, English to Zambian students, German at evening classes and Italian to her daughter "just for fun".Since moving to Spain she had to learn Spanish in a hurry - cutting across traditional learning methods. This gave her the inspiration for thehighly successful "Teach Yourself Instant..." series currently offering eight titles with a further four to be published in early 2001.Elisabeth Smith now lives in Marbella like a "proper" author with a volatile PC and two cats.

Henry Normal

Henry Normal is an English comedian, television producer, poet and writer. He co-wrote The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, Paul and Pauline Calf's Video Diaries, Coogan's Run, The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon, Dr Terrible's House of Horrible and The Parole Officer. He is Managing Director of Baby Cow Productions Ltd, which he set up with Steve Coogan, responsible for bringing The Mighty Boosh and Gavin and Stacey to the screen, amongst many others.

Mahmoud Gaafar

Mahmoud Gaafar worked for the United Nations and Radio Cairo and now authors print, radio and TV resources for the Arab World.

Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas is a world-famous language teacher with an incredible skill to teach in days what usually takes years to learn. A psychology graduate, Michel survived starvation in French concentration and slave-labour camps, endured torture at the hands of Klaus Barbie and, after the war, hunted Nazis as an officer with US Counter Intelligence. These unique, challenging and varied experiences helped him to forge his revolutionary learning system that is in demand from heads of industry and movie stars alike.

Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. He was diagnosed with severe autism in 1998 and subsequently attended a school for students with special needs, then (by correspondence) Atmark Cosmopolitan High School, graduating in 2011. Having learnt to use a method of communication based on an alphabet grid, Naoki wrote The Reason I Jump when he was thirteen and it was published in Japan in 2007. He has published several books since, from autobiographical accounts about living with autism to fairy tales, poems and illustrated books, and writes a regular blog. Despite his communication challenges, he also gives presentations about life on the autistic spectrum throughout Japan and works to raise awareness about autism. In 2011 he appeared in director Gerry Wurzburg's documentary on the subject, Wretches & Jabberers.

Susie Dent

Susie Dent is the resident word expert in Dictionary Corner on C4's Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, has been on every programme about words: 15 x 15, Word of Mouth, More or Less; and is a regular panellist on R4's Wordaholics. Susie also writes a weekly column for the Radio Times, reviews for the Spectator and has over 86,000 followers on Twitter. This is the book she has always wanted to write.