Musicophilia: Tales of Music and The Brain is okay. As a huge Oliver Sacks fan and a musician, I thought I was going to like it more than I did. But really, it’s a pretty scattered book. There’s not much of an overarching theme or thread — just 350 pages of Oliver Sacks writing about music and the brain. Which is very cool and all, but it doesn’t make for an engaging long narrative. It might be a good bathroom book: you just pick up a chapter here and there, rather than reading it straight through.
Here’s a big roundup of links related to the book:
- Seed Magazine » The Listener » As Oliver Sacks observes the mind through music, his belief in a science of empathy takes on new dimension
- Wired Magazine » Oliver Sacks on Earworms, Stevie Wonder and the View From Mescaline Mountain
- The New Yorker » Oliver Sacks » A Neurologist’s Notebook » Music and amnesia
- Oliver Sacks » The Bat Segundo Show
Austin Kleon says
Just realized that the mindmap I did of THE GIFT contained almost the exact same drawing as the mindmap for MUSICOPHILIA:
On the left, “the artist” being given the gift of inspiration. On the right, Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon in Sacks’ book, who after being struck by lightning became obsessed by piano music.
Both drawings, of course, illustrate the reception of a gift — metaphorically AND literally from the heavens.
And you thought you were done with lightning after the re-design…
Oh man, you’re right!
Maureen McQ says
I just read The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers, which is about a young man who is in a car crash, goes into a coma, and when he comes out has Capgas Syndrome, which in his case means that he is convinced that his sister is actually a stranger pretending to be his sister. The book’s other major character is clearly based on Oliver Sacks. I’m not sure that I liked the book, but pass the info on…
Austin Kleon says
I’ve never read any Powers…neurological disorders seem to be ripe material for fiction…