Tales of Music and the Brain
By Oliver W. Sacks
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400033539, 425pp.)
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
List Price: $16.95*
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Revised and Expanded
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.
- In the preface Sacks presents differing views on the origins and evolution of the music instinct. On first reading, which explanation is the most persuasive? Did the book change or confirm your opinion?
“Powerful and compassionate. . . . A book that not only contributes to our understanding of the elusive magic of music but also illuminates the strange workings, and misfirings, of the human mind.” —The New York Times“Curious, cultured, caring. . . . Musicophilia allows readers to join Sacks where he is most alive, amid melodies and with his patients.” —The Washington Post Book World“Sacks has an expert bedside manner: informed but humble, self-questioning, literary without being self-conscious.”—Los Angeles Times“Sacks spins one fascinating tale after another to show what happens when music and the brain mix it up.” —Newsweek“Sacks once again examines the many mysteries of a fascinating subject.” —The Seattle Times