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Gratitude Hardcover – November 24, 2015
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“Elegant….a lovely slim volume.” —Melissa Dahl, New York Magazine
“Powerful….The book chronicles the famous author’s thoughts, wishes, regrets, and, above all, feelings of love, happiness, and gratitude even as he faced the cancer that ended his life last year at 82….the material offers incisive, poignant observations….A perfect gift for thoughtful readers, and a title that belongs in science and biography collections.” —Library Journal, *starred review*
“The neurologist and author died of cancer in August. Between 2013 and 2015, he wrote four moving essays, published in The New York Times, reflecting on his life and facing mortality. They are collected in this slim volume, a coda to Sacks’ remarkable career.” —Tom Beer, Newsday
“A book defined by celebration, not sadness.” —Danny Heitman, The Advocate
“This is a worthy little chapbook for the lovers of Oliver Sacks.” —Edith Cody-Rice, The Millstone
“The volume is tiny—short enough to read easily in one sitting—but it’s huge in heart. Oliver Sack’s just-published book “Gratitude,” consists of four essays the famous neurologist and chronicler of human quirks wrote in the months before his death of cancer this summer at 82. It is, in effect, a mini-memoir, a beautiful meditation on what it means to live a good life.” —Sydney Trent, Washington Post
“In these four graceful essays written in the two years before he died, Oliver Sacks looks at life, old age — and death, square in the eye….First published individually in the New York Times, together these pieces form a wise and profound quartet.” —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Gratitude is a bittersweet and absolutely beautiful read in its entirety.” —Maria Popova, Brainpickings.org
“A humane look at his own life, and death, told with good humor, acceptance, and that charming gratitude that had such a strong hold on him. If you know his writings, this will bring them to a thoughtful and enlightened conclusion; if you do not, the little book is a not just a farewell but will do for a grand introduction.” —The Dispatch
About the Author
Dr. Sacks spent almost fifty years working as a neurologist and wrote many books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Hallucinations, about the strange neurological predicaments and conditions of his patients. The New York Times referred to him as "the poet laureate of medicine," and over the years he received many awards, including honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal College of Physicians. His memoir, On the Move, was published shortly before his death in August 2015.
For more information, please visit www.oliversacks.com.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a very short read... A collection of some of his final essays. Though I had read some of them before - or heard him tell some of these stories in interviews, reading them again reminds me about what I love about Oliver Sacks' perspective and reminds me about what I'm grateful about in my own life.
The essays are presented in chronological order, beginning with “Mercury," in which Sacks recounts his love of elements and atomic numbers, allowing him to state “at seventy-nine, I am gold.” He enumerates some of the negative aspects of aging, such as slowing reactions, flagging energies, the tendency to forget names, and the looming fears of “dementia and stroke.” But he can still declare that he’s looking forward to being 80. “My Own Life” was composed after his diagnosis of a recurrence of fatal cancer. Here he cites philosopher David Hume, who wrote, at a similar juncture, “I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution.” He harks back to his attraction to the elements in “My Periodic Table.” He notes that on his desk is a “little lead casket” for his 82nd birthday, wonders if he will live to see bismuth (83), and feels almost sure he will miss the murderously radioactive 84th: polonium.
In “Sabbath,” the last of the four writings, Sacks recalls growing up in a close-knit orthodox Jewish home, and particularly the rituals of Shabbos: “Kiddush accompanied by sweet red wine and honey cakes…” But this idyllic cultural picture was fractured when Sacks admitted to his father that he had sexual feelings for other boys. His mother shrieked at him, making him hate religion. Leaving home, he struggled with addiction to amphetamines, but later found stability and solace in the work that inspired his book AWAKENINGS.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Who could not like Oliver Sacks? Always insightful and without medical jargon. We will miss him!Published 3 days ago by Dave Shumway
Very brief essays written while Sacks knew of his diagnosis and his limited time left on Earth. Glad he had the strength to share his thoughts and glad I took the time to read... Read morePublished 12 days ago by John Sollami
I have read most of Oliver Sacks's books and truly learned and enjoyed them. This was nothing more than a pamphlet, with no new insights.Published 12 days ago by JFHMD
I suppose this is a good book if you're into the philosophical, but $9.99 is an awful lot of money for 64 pages when you're settling in for a good read and find yourself done in no... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Whoever
Beautiful. These essays are still sifting through my consciousness, so it's difficult to say a lot right now. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Laura