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October Books, founded in 1977 and now based on Portswood Road in Southampton, is a not-for-profit co-operative radical neighbourhood bookshop. Any money we make, is ploughed back into the business. We trade independently from any political organisation, and seek to promote a fair and equal society. Our workers and volunteers are from many different backgrounds, and they bring diversity to the shop, so everyone feels at home in October Books.

Our stock is comprised of general popular fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, alongside our traditional range of specialised radical books and magazines. Our specialty areas are social issues, adoption, humanities and political issues. We can order any book in print in the UK, US and Europe, and you can order with us online, or via Hive or Biblio. Alternatively, you can also call into the shop or order by phone.

Over the years, we have expanded our range to greeting cards, organic and fair-trade foods and green household items.

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Monday to Saturday: 9am to 6pm

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Book of the Week

In A Different Keythumbnail

In A Different Key

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

The stunning history of autism as it has been discovered and felt by parents, children and doctors

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi became the first child diagnosed with autism. In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of the world his diagnosis created – a riveting human drama that takes us across continents and through some of the great social movements of the twentieth century.

The history of autism is, above all, the story of families fighting for a place in the world for their children. It is the story of women like Ruth Sullivan, who rebelled against a medical establishment that blamed “refrigerator mothers” for causing autism, of fathers who pushed scientists to dig harder for treatments, of parents who forced schools to accept their children. But many others played starring roles too: doctors like Leo Kanner, who pioneered our understanding of autism, scientists who sparred over how to treat autism, and those with autism, like Temple Grandin and Ari Ne’eman, who explained their inner worlds and championed a philosophy of ‘neurodiversity’.

This is also a story of fierce controversy: from the question of whether there is truly an autism ‘epidemic’, and whether vaccines played a part in it, to scandals involving ‘facilitated communication’, one of many treatments that have proved to be blind alleys. And there are dark turns too: we learn about experimenters feeding LSD to children with autism, or shocking them with electricity to change their behavior; and the authors reveal, for the first time, that Hans Asperger, discoverer of the syndrome named after him, may have cooperated with the Nazis in sending disabled children to their deaths.

By turns intimate and panoramic, In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions, to one in which parents and people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as difference rather than disability.

Now available in store at October Books…

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