I've never quite understood the appeal of author Oliver Sacks.
This started in college, when I knew several people who had to read his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat for their psychology classes, and just raved about it. I picked it up and thought it was completely boring, and although I continue to look at every new book he publishes, I still haven't found one that does anything for me.
This has been the case again with his latest title, The Mind's Eye. It's yet another collection of medical oddity stories, culled from Sacks's life and work as a doctor and professor of neurology and psychiatry. I only read the first two chapters, so perhaps I shouldn't say anything. But the fact remains that I just don't understand why this guy is a bestselling nonfiction author. I find his writing so dry:
"In contrast to these severe visual problems, her speech comprehension, repetition, and verbal fluency were all normal. An MRI of her brain was also normal, but when a PET scan was performed--this can detect slight changes in the metabolism of different brain areas, even when they appear anatomically normal--Lilian was found to have diminished metabolic activity in the posterior part of the brain, the visual cortex." (p. 7.)
God. If I wanted to hear something a) depressing, and b) expressed in a lot of words I didn't understand and feared, I'd just go to the doctor myself. In the case study above he is referring to a musician who was losing her ability to read music (or words, for that matter). And that's all this first chapter is: describing this poor woman's degenerative neurological condition. In these books I keep expecting Dr. Sacks to be able to help these people he's describing, but it never really seems like he does--he always just seems there to report on these phenomena. Blah. Too depressing for me by half.