Tag Archives: awakenings

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks: This is quite possibly the most amazing collection of true stories I’ve ever read. I’d encountered Sacks’s work in the past only through the movie Awakenings (which I didn’t even know was him, given that the doctor in the film is named Malcolm Sayers), but that was merely the tip of the iceberg. Herein is described a man whose memory failed him, where he perpetually believes it to be some forty years ago, and cannot remember anything that’s happened since for more than a minute or two at a time. A woman who has trouble hearing people over the deafening Irish music playing in her head. A man whose visual understanding of the world is so diminished that he literally cannot identify a rose until he smells it, though he can describe its shape and colors to the smallest detail. And on and on. The mind is an amazing machine, and this book of various ways it can misfire is not at all depressing, as one might expect. Indeed, it’s actually full of hope, a reminder of how ingeniously mankind can adapt to even the most unusual and strenuous of circumstances.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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