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On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks

By Kate McCorkle

Famed neurologist Oliver Sacks died in August 2015, having led one of the most eccentric and productive lives any doctor could dream of. Among other things, he was a very prolific writers.

He wrote continuously from the time he was 14, writing dream journals when in therapy as a teen, daily diaries, travelogues (Oaxaca Journals), and case notes on hundreds of patients (Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat). He took thorough notes on every interesting neurological condition he developed, most of which became books such as Migraine, Leg to Stand On, and Hallucinations. He wrote about the famous scientists, writers, and movie stars that he met and worked with. And, he wrote about his personal interests such as marine biology and motorcycle riding.

One thing he did not do was write an autobiography. So, several years before his death, he began working with his assistant of thirty years to create one from his most extensive books. The biography is a highly entertaining chronicle beginning with his English childhood and blossoming into a life of worldwide adventure and achievement.

Uniquely, Sacks wrote about his life as it happened, 80 years of it. He didn’t spend much time second-guessing himself. When he gained perspective on the past, he recorded it without regret. Those who have read any of his 16 books know that he is a clear and entertaining writer. Reading about his all-night motorcycle rides as a medical resident, his drug addiction, his search for his sexual identity, his weight-lifting excesses, and a score of youthful antics, we can all be grateful that this brilliant, sensitive man survived to help so many and to share his observations with his readers.

On the Move: A Life, can be found on the recent arrivals shelf at the Biblioteca Pública.


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