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Our November non-fiction chat book: An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks

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Old 09-28-11, 01:06 AM
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Exclamation Our November non-fiction chat book: An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks

Lord help me, my pick needs not to suck this time. I have previously read books by Sacks (author of Awakenings, on which the DeNiro/Robin Williams movie was based), and I know he's a good writer. Of course, that didn't help with Dani Shapiro, now did it...?

Anyway, I wanted to read this one because it's supposed to give some great insights into the autistic mind, a subject that is very relevant for me and Amber. So I am hopeful.

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales by Oliver Sacks.

Amazon.com Review
The works of neurologist Oliver Sacks have a special place in the swarm of mind-brain studies. He has done as much as anyone to make nonspecialists aware of how much diversity gets lumped under the heading of "the human mind."
The stories in An Anthropologist on Mars are medical case reports not unlike the classic tales of Berton Roueché in The Medical Detectives. Sacks's stories are of "differently brained" people, and they have the intrinsic human interest that spurred his book Awakenings to be re-created as a Robin Williams movie.

The title story in Anthropologist is that of autistic Temple Grandin, whose own book Thinking in Pictures gives her version of how she feels--as unlike other humans as a cow or a Martian. The other minds Sacks describes are equally remarkable: a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a painter who loses color vision, a blind man given the ambiguous gift of sight, artists with memories that overwhelm "real life," the autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire, and a man with memory damage for whom it is always 1968.

Oliver Sacks is the Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould of his field; his books are true classics of medical writing, of the breadth of human mentality, and of the inner lives of the disabled. --Mary Ellen Curtin
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