crowyhead, March 4, 2008 (view all comments by crowyhead)
This is a collection of Oliver Sacks's usual fascinating stories about human neurology and behavior, this time with music as its central focus. I very much enjoyed it, although in some ways I felt the title was a bit misleading -- it makes it sound like it is mainly about humans' love for music, when in reality that is only addressed by a small portion of the essays.
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K Bloom, December 24, 2007 (view all comments by K Bloom)
In his latest book, Oliver Sacks continues to tell us stories that draw us in, engaging our minds and emotions. In each chapter he introduces different people, some sorely affected by neurological disease, who have strange and profound relationships with music. This is not a dry scientific treatise. Sacks describes these people in a highly personal way, so that we see and feel the human aspect of science. At the same time he teaches us about the science of the brain, and the wonderful ways that music and the mind are intertwined. The subject is inherently fascinating, and the author does not disappoint. Drawing upon case histories from his own practice, and some from literature, he delves into the mysteries of the human brain, how it produces music, and how it is profoundly affected by it! I'd also recommend reading Tino Georgiou's bestselling novel--The Fates--if you haven't yet
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auroragaia, October 31, 2007 (view all comments by auroragaia)
I first came across his work while a student in a Developmental Psychopathology program. While so much of my studies were stale and statistical, leaving the patient always a number with no personality or real humanity, his writing drew me in and reminded me that each case is a miraculous piece of the world we live in. Oliver Sacks became famous for "Awakenings" which was eventually made into a movie, as well. But his greatest achievement has been the numerous other case studies that, over the years, have illuminated the general public about the mysteries of the human brain. From disorders such as Asperger's Syndrome to traumatic brain injuries that leave the patient without their prior senses, Sacks is able to make the neurological world available to those who may have previously only read fiction.
I look forward to reading this one and adding it to my collection, as well. If you have not read his work, do pick one up and you'll never regret it.
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Deborah Fochler, October 29, 2007 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
Fascinating - Mr. Sacks explores the impact of music on the human. The stories are extremely interesting and compelling. Who cant hear a song and be transported back years to another place and time. What about the profoundly retarded children who are so undeniably musically inclined. They often use music to help patients deal with pain and learn relaxation techniques. It is a powerful instrument and this author explores many aspects. Intriguing and fascinating.
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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
0 stars -
Knopf Publishing Group -
Musicophilia is a fascinating look at music and its effects on our brains. Who but Oliver Sacks could make such a compulsively readable book?
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Sacks is an unparalleled chronicler of modern medicine, and fans of his work will find much to enjoy when he turns his prodigious talent for observation to music and its relationship to the brain. The subtitle aptly frames the book as a series of medical case studies — some in-depth, some abruptly short. The tales themselves range from the relatively mundane (a song that gets stuck on a continuing loop in one's mind) through the uncommon (Tourette's or Parkinson's patients whose symptoms are calmed by particular kinds of music) to the outright startling (a man struck by lightning subsequently developed a newfound passion and talent for the concert piano). In this latest collection, Sacks introduces new and fascinating characters, while also touching on the role of music in some of his classic cases (the man who mistook his wife for a hat makes a brief appearance). Though at times the narrative meanders, drawing connections through juxtaposition while leaving broader theories to be inferred by the reader, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This book leaves one a little more attuned to the remarkable complexity of human beings, and a bit more conscious of the role of music in our lives." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Los Angeles Times,
"Sacks portrays our innate propensity toward music as an overall plus — often therapeutic and occasionally a lifesaver."
"Sacks is not in the business of answers carved in stone....His ultimate gift to readers is a sustained sense of wonder at the enormous variability of individual human experience."
by Seattle Times,
"Sacks' tales...work their way beyond passionate personal appreciation of music toward potential uses with neurological conditions."
by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
"Sacks is less interested in providing answers here than he is in creating awareness. While the stories Sacks relates are not as fantastical and colorful as in previous books, they are just as compelling."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Pleasantly rollicking, but with a definite hint that the grand old man is taking it easy."
"Neurologist Sacks...charmingly argues that music is essential to being human in ways that have only begun to be understood....His customary erudition and fellow-feeling ensure that, no matter how clinical the discussion becomes, it remains, like the music of Mozart, accessible and congenial."
"A gifted writer and a neurologist, Sacks spins one fascinating tale after another to show what happens when music and the brain mix it up."
Sacks's compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains. Here, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people.
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