The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales Description:

In his most extraordinary book one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century i The New York Times i recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders Oliver Sacks s i The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat i tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities whose limbs have become alien who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents br br If inconceivably strange these brilliant tales remain in Dr Sacks s splendid and sympathetic telling deeply human They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do A great healer Sacks never loses sight of medicine s ultimate responsibility the suffering afflicted fighting human subject

Rating: 3.58 out of 5

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain Description:

With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition In Musicophilia he shows us a variety of what he calls musical misalignments Among them a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty two an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth people with amusia to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds for everything but music Illuminating inspiring and utterly unforgettable Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks latest masterpiece

Rating: 3.40 out of 5

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales Description:

Paradoxical portraits of seven neurological patients including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette s syndrome unless he is operating an artist who loses all sense of color in a car accident but finds new creative power in black amp white amp others

Rating: 3.37 out of 5


Hallucinations Description:

Have you ever seen something that wasn t really there Heard someone call your name in an empty house Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing br br Hallucinations don t belong wholly to the insane Much more commonly they are linked to sensory deprivation intoxication illness or injury People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny Lilliputian figures of animals and people People with failing eyesight paradoxically may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres Those who are bereaved may receive comforting visits from the departed In some conditions hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one s own body br br Humans have always sought such life changing visions and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them As a young doctor in California in the s Oliver Sacks had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics These along with his early migraine experiences launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience br br Here with his usual elegance curiosity and compassion Dr Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains how they have influenced every culture s folklore and art and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all a vital part of the human condition br

Rating: 3.56 out of 5

On the Move: A Life

On the Move: A Life Description:

When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report Sacks will go far if he does not go too far It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed i On the Move i is infused with his restless energy As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early s first in California where he struggled with drug addiction and then in New York where he discovered a long forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life br br With unbridled honesty and humor Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions weight lifting and swimming also drives his cerebral passions He writes about his love affairs both romantic and intellectual his guilt over leaving his family to come to America his bond with his schizophrenic brother and the writers and scientists Thom Gunn A R Luria W H Auden Gerald M Edelman Francis Crick who influenced him br br i On the Move i is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human

Rating: 3.69 out of 5


Awakenings Description:

i Awakenings i which inspired the major motion picture is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I Frozen for decades in a trance like state these men and women were given up as hopeless until when Dr Oliver Sacks gave them the then new drug L DOPA which had an astonishing explosive awakening effect Dr Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients their lives and the extraordinary transformations which went with their reintroduction to a changed world

Rating: 3.70 out of 5

The Mind's Eye

The Mind's Eye Description:

In Musicophilia Oliver Sacks explored music and the brain now in The Mind s Eye he writes about the myriad ways in which we experience the visual world how we see in three dimensions how we recognize individual faces or places how we use language to communicate verbally how we translate marks on paper into words and paragraphs and even how we represent the world internally when our eyes are closed Alongside remarkable stories of people who have lost these abilities but adapted with courage resilience and ingenuity there is an added personal element one day in late Sacks became aware of a dazzling flashing light in one part of his visual field it was not the familiar migraine aura he had experienced since childhood and just two days later a malignant tumor in one eye was diagnosed In subsequent journal entries some of which are included in The Mind s Eye he chronicled the experience of living with cancer recording both the effects of the tumor itself and radiation therapy In turning himself into a case history Sacks has given us perhaps his most intimate impressive and insightful no pun intended book yet

Rating: 3.57 out of 5


Gratitude Description:

A deeply moving testimony and celebration of how to embrace life br br In January Oliver Sacks was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer and he shared this news in a i New York Times i essay that inspired readers all over the world I cannot pretend I am without fear But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude Above all I have been a sentient being a thinking animal on this beautiful planet and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure br i Gratitude i consists of four essays that originally appeared in i The New York Times i accompanied by a foreword that describes the occasion of each chapter The foreword is written by Billy Hayes Oliver Sacks s partner and Kate Edgar his long time collaborator

Rating: 3.72 out of 5

Uncle Tungsten

Uncle Tungsten Description:

In Uncle Tungsten Sacks evokes with warmth and wit his upbringing in wartime England He tells of the large science steeped family who fostered his early fascination with chemistry There follow his years at boarding school where though unhappy he developed the intellectual curiosity that would shape his later life And we hear of his return to London an emotionally bereft ten year old who found solace in his passion for learning Uncle Tungsten radiates all the delight and wonder of a boy s adventures and is an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary young mind br If you did not think that gallium and iridium could move you this superb book will change your mind The Times br The amalgamation of personal recollection and scientific history makes a luminous inspiring book Sunday Telegraph br Uncle Tungsten is really about the raw joy of scientific understanding what it is like to be a precocious child discovering the alchemical secrets of reality for the first time the sheer thrill of finding intelligible patterns in nature Guardian

Rating: 3.72 out of 5

Seeing Voices

Seeing Voices Description:

Like b The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat b this is a fascinating voyage into a strange and wonderful land a provocative meditation on communication biology adaptation and culture In b Seeing Voices b Oliver Sacks turns his attention to the subject of deafness and the result is a deeply felt portrait of a minority struggling for recognition and respect a minority with its own rich sometimes astonishing culture and unique visual language an extraordinary mode of communication that tells us much about the basis of language in hearing people as well b Seeing Voices b is as Studs Terkel has written an exquisite as well as revelatory work

Rating: 3.66 out of 5