DECEMBER READS - SPOILERS - An Anthropologist on Mars

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DECEMBER READS - SPOILERS - An Anthropologist on Mars

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1Morphidae
marraskuu 24, 2014, 10:48am

December's book is An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I've got it ordered from the library but can't say I'm looking forward to it all that much. I didn't like Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. It got only 3/10 stars and I said, "I thought this would be stories and essays about psychological issues, instead it was clinical notes on neurological problems. Too much medical jargon, not enough story." I'm hoping this one will be different.

It wouldn't have been on the original list to chose from but I didn't recognize the author until a few months ago. LOL!

2Marissa_Doyle
marraskuu 24, 2014, 10:55am

I think you'll enjoy this one much, much more--this one has a much more narrative, human style. This was actually my first Sacks book and I loved it, so that when I went back to read The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, I was somewhat taken aback.

3klarusu
marraskuu 24, 2014, 11:00am

I'm not sure Morphy, if this had been a paper book not an audiobook, I think at some point I might have thrown it against a wall ;-) I'll be interested to see what the GDers make of it and will refrain from comment until later.

4zjakkelien
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 24, 2014, 1:31pm

It sounds interesting. I think I'll wait a bit until someone is reading it, though. If there isn't enough story, then I might not like it.

I read a few reviews and figured I would read it, but then I saw the following quote on GR:

Some people with Tourette's have flinging tics- sudden, seemingly motiveless urges or compulsions to throw objects..... (I see somewhat similar flinging behaviors- though not tics- in my two year old godson, now in a stage of primal antinomianism and anarchy)

That doesn't sound very story-like... But I'm keeping it in mind!

5SylviaC
marraskuu 24, 2014, 2:06pm

I like it, but I like most of Oliver Sacks' books. Medical case study type stuff fascinates me.

6Esta1923
marraskuu 26, 2014, 6:40pm

I'm very fortunate to have been at several of Sack's personal appearances. (Being the bold person that I am I have several times spoken to him. He is gracious and charming in person.)

Tho I am delinquent (i.e. have not written reviews of the books I own) I just grabbed my copy of "An Anthropologist On Mars" and reread my favorite chapter, "The Landscape of His Dreams," about which he had spoken in conjunction with the exhibit.

I hope you will like it.

7SylviaC
marraskuu 26, 2014, 8:51pm

>6 Esta1923: How lucky you are! I think it would be fascinating to hear him speak.

8DugsBooks
marraskuu 30, 2014, 10:53pm

{Skulker here} Looks like an interesting book Morph. I liked Man who mistook his wife for a hat.

9Morphidae
joulukuu 26, 2014, 9:59pm

Well, I read the first of seven stories. It pretty much solidified my thoughts on Sacks. A few pages were interesting when it stuck to the story of the person but the rest was medical jargon. I'll try one more section tomorrow but I'm pretty sure this will be a DNF.

10SylviaC
joulukuu 26, 2014, 10:18pm

>9 Morphidae: When you said you didn't like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, I guessed that you probably wouldn't like this, either. Some people like that kind of medical detail, and some don't.

11klarusu
joulukuu 27, 2014, 9:21am

>9 Morphidae: For me, it's not the medical detail but the patronising, exploitative style that makes me mad. The chapter where he talks about the autistic child just about finished me.

12RowanTribe
joulukuu 30, 2014, 3:14pm

He does have a sort of "more professorial than thou" writing style, now that you mention it. :)

I don't mind it, because I'm always all up in my head myself, and I have a lot of doctors/professors/academics in my family, and they're ALL like that - one gets used to it - but I can see how that tone, along with all the medicalese, could really get on someone's nerves.

13klarusu
joulukuu 30, 2014, 3:47pm

>12 RowanTribe: Ha!Ha! Working in scientific academia, I can see where you're coming from ;-). I think it's why I have a short fuse with his style. I get worn out by colleagues who see the scientific questions without seeing the real people behind them. Sachs' writing leaves me feeling that his 'subjects' are really a tool for his own advancement. It's a shame because what he's describing is really interesting ... if only he could have more empathy & compassion.

14SylviaC
tammikuu 16, 2015, 10:28pm

I finished rereading it, alternating between the audio and print versions. I still like his style, and found the stories interesting, but I'll admit I the chapter about the autistic boy was a bit hard to take. I noticed this time that the book is starting to show its age with some of the terminology and attitudes. I liked that he looked at the positive aspects of everyone's conditions. The chapter "To See and Not See" reminded me of a conversation I once heard between my mother and her friend (both blind for all or most of their lives), in which they agreed that they would not want to be given sight if they were offered the choice.

15Morphidae
tammikuu 23, 2015, 8:41pm

It's officially a DNR for me. I keep putting it off so I know I'm not picking it up. Back to the library it goes!