November 21, 2020

When it comes to reading, I tend to prefer “expository” content (such as self-help and pop science) over “narrative” content (such as fiction and biographies).

I noticed today that this preference is less about my interest in the topic, and more about the way sentences are structured in each style.

If information is presented in an order that feels unnatural to me, then it’s difficult to parse. I read a phrase, it doesn’t make sense, I learn the necessary context in the next phrase, and then I backtrack to reread the first phrase. It’s exhausting.

I suppose that most people can hold a mysterious phrase in their mind until they arrive at its explanation. But that requires “working memory,” and mine is limited.

I enjoy reading stories that unfold in the same order I would have told them – if I’d had the same idea, with the talent and patience to capture it.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.