Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oliver Sacks' take on Music and The Brain

Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and other wonderful books, has a new book out that has just moved to the top of my reading list. It is entitled Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. This can't be a book report since I haven't read the book yet (although I suppose that doesn't stop some folks from "reviewing"). But the book sounds utterly fantastic.

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I just read an engaging review by Colin McGinn in the New York Review of Books that really whet my literary appetite. He compares this book to Daniel Levitin's This Is Your Brain On Music, which I have written about here. While Levitin writes about the effects of music on listeners and performers with "normal" brains, Sacks focuses, as usual, on individuals whose neurology is impaired in some way. McGinn's review goes into some detail about the cases Sacks chronicles, but I'm going to wait on being more forthcoming until I've read the book. Next stop: amazon.com.

1 comment:

W G Pollock said...

So how did you like the Sacks book? I am loving it. As much as I wanted to like Levitin's book, it seemed more self-important to me and put me off. Sacks' book is really insightful to me about music and the brain, even if his approach is less direct via the various pathologies he discusses.

Have you read Hawkins' On Intelligence? It's a great companion to these two books from the neuroscience side.