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

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
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Dec 08, 2008

it was ok

I don't know why I keep trying to read books about music. I've finally come to the conclusion that music is never going to be important to me and that I shouldn't bother trying. Which, ironically, is why I picked up this book.

"Musicophilia" is a bunch of case studies about how the brain functions in relation to music. And when I say case studies, it really is a series of case studies. The author, who's written several books in a similar vein, often says "A patient I once had..." or "M.S. came to me with a peculiar condition..." He's even got the gall to reference the same patients that he's written about in his other books in the footnotes. Personally, I found this really smarmy.

But I digress. I really read this book to find out if there's a medical reason for why I just don't care about music. And the short answer is, yes. I'm probably slightly amusical, which means that music doesn't do much for me. But there's no explanation for it. In fact, Sacks doesn't do a whole lot of explaining at all. Most of his entries go something like, "So-and-so came to me with a problem. We tried a bunch of treatments but nothing seemed to work. So they learned to live with it. Until they died." If that's your kinda thing, then go for it. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
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