Monday, October 15, 2007

What is Oliver Sacks reading?

Oliver Sacks has written 10 books, including Awakenings and the recently-released Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. He is perhaps best known for his collections of case histories from the far borderlands of neurological experience, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, in which he describes patients struggling to live with conditions ranging from Tourette's syndrome to autism, parkinsonism, musical hallucination, epilepsy, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia, retardation, and Alzheimer's disease.

He talked to the Christian Science Monitor about his recent viewing pleasures and what he's been listening to.

And what he's been reading:

Music, Language, and the Brain by a colleague of mine called [Aniruddh] Patel. He himself is a good musician as well as a neuroscientist and a nice writer [with] a good feeling for language. A book [that] absolutely staggered me ... is The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History. It's by a brilliant young man in England called David Beerling, and it's such an incredible history of the last half billion years. It's the sort of book [that] Darwin would have blurbed. I also read some fiction, and I've become very attached to J.M. Coetzee.
Check out Sacks's recent encounters with movies and music.

--Marshal Zeringue