The Mind’s Eye – Oliver Sacks

There is very little actually interesting about the Kidneys. They clean your blood. That’s pretty much the end of it. Something may go horribly wrong with your kidneys, and the too may be interesting from a certain morbid standpoint, but for the most part we have not made thing all that much more interesting.

Pick your internal organ of choice and you can replace ‘kidney’ in the above paragraph with that and for the most part you could keep the paragraph exactly the same. Our organs are kind of boring – and this is coming from a person who thinks most things are interesting. There isn’t a lot to say about these organs. They even feel a little bit removed from us. The most notable exception is your brain. The brain is just infinitely fascinating. It also doesn’t really feel all that removed from us. The brain is linked to the very essence of our being, which is certainly not something we can say about any other organ. Get a kidney transplant and you remain largely you. However, if  you could hypothetically get a brain transplant, you would most certainly no longer be you.

That last sentence is what makes Oliver Sacks interesting in a nutshell. His work revolves around brains and what happens when they go wrong. How brains go wrong wouldn’t be all that interesting, although there is some of that in his work, but what happens – how the essence of us goes wrong – is incredibly interesting.

So in that case, why was this review so damned hard for me to write?

I probably wrote this nearly six months to a year after I read the book, and I am only even bothering because I think I finally figured out why. There is nothing new to add from the last time I reviewed a book by Oliver Sacks. Mind you, if I bothered to do something silly like rate books, I would have given this one top marks – it was interesting, it was well written, i never felt bored or lost. But there was also extremely little to differentiate this from the previous book I read by Sacks. To be kind for a moment, this book was much more better thematically organized, and that is something that is certainly worthy. But I cannot pretend for a moment to be able to write a 500 word review about the virtues of thematic organization. I just don’t feel like there is a whole lot to add to this discourse from the last time I wrote about this author.

If you are thinking about reading Oliver Sacks, do so. These books are all great.

If I read another book by Oliver Sask, and I likely will, I will either not review it, or endeavor to write a 500 word review about the virtue of thematic organization.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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