Mad Dog's Reviews > Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
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's review
Jul 30, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, music, brainiac
Read from July 10 to 22, 2010

Didn't finish this and probably won't. My crush on Oliver Sacks (after just reading "The Man Who Mistook His Wife..." and loving it) appears to be short-lived. It is interesting how criticism of Sacks' books seems to a interesting microcosm of criticism itself. People so often interpret things 'oppositely'. For example, I found his writing to be informal (in "The Man Who Mistook His Wife...") and I thought this was a strength of that book. Others found his writing too be technical and found that to be a major weakness of that book. Some find Sacks to be a compassionate writer and others find him to be insensitive. Now I am struggling with this book ("Musicophilia") and I find it to be often too technical and lacking in compassion. Part of "the problem" might be this: When I am NOT enjoying something then all weaknesses get amplified AND when I am enjoying it these same weaknesses are 'glossed over'. And maybe I am just a little crazy myself.

But summarizing things, I found the stories in "The Man Who Mistook His Wife ..." to be much more interesting than these stories. Perhaps if I had kept going with this book, my enjoyment of the book would have increased.

It might have helped me out a bit if any of the musical references (in the part of the book that I read) were a little bit more current. Was there any reference (in this book) to music that isn't at least a couple of hundred years old? Doesn't Sack see any patients that listen to 'modern music'? Even a reference to the Beatles (which still would be stodgy to some) would make this book more relevant.

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