From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Sacks, a neurologist and practicing physician at Columbia University Medical Center, and author of ten popular books on the quirks of the human mind (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) focuses here on creative people who have learned to compensate for potentially devastating disabilities. From the concert pianist who progressively lost the ability to recognize objects (including musical scores) yet managed to keep performing from memory, to the writer whose stroke disturbed his ability to read but not his ability to write (he used his experience to write a novel about a detective suffering from amnesia), to Sacks himself, who suffers from "face blindness," a condition that renders him unable to recognize people, even relatives and, sometimes, himself (he once confused a stranger's face in a window with his own reflection), Sacks finds fascination in the strange workings of the human mind. Written with his trademark insight, compassion, and humor, these seven new tales once again make the obscure and arcane absolutely absorbing. (Oct.)
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Sacks, famous for combining his knowledge as a physician and his compassion for human stories of coping with neurological disorders, offers case histories of six individuals adjusting to major changes in their vision. A renowned pianist has lost the ability to read music scores and must cope with the fear of an ever-shrinking life as her vision worsens. A prolific writer develops “word blindness” and is unable to read even what he himself writes, forcing him to develop memory books in his mind, adaptations that he later incorporates into his fiction writing. Sacks recalls his own struggle to cope with a tumor in his eye that left him unable to perceive depth. He includes diary entries and drawings of his harrowing experience. Sacks, author of the acclaimed Musicophilia (2007), among other titles, combines neurobiology, psychology, and psychiatry in this riveting exploration of how we use our vision to perceive and understand the world and our place in it and how our brains teach us to “see” those things we need to lead a complete, fulfilled life. --Vanessa Bush