There are a lot of books I wish more people would read – I think it is part of the reading experience that we should want to share it with others. I guess for me, there are a number of books I have read which have been particularly eye opening, that have taught me a lot about the world, and some of the amazing people in it, and also taught me how little I know about the world and its various people.
One book which really opened my eyes tremendously was Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks. Sacks has written eleven books over the last few decades, all looking at the way people with various neurological conditions adapt to and struggle with these challenges, and what sets his books apart is that he so compellingly portrays the human side of this medical science, focusing on the people behind the stories as much as the stories themselves, with a warmth and precision unparalleled by other medical writers.
In Musicophilia, his tenth book, Sacks looks into the way the worlds of music and neurology intersect – two subjects about which he is very passionate. He looks at the way music is used as therapy for people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and amnesia, often providing the ability to move and remember where it otherwise would not exist – in the latter there is an extreme case of a man with a memory that only last seven seconds, except when he listens to music. Sacks examines lesser known cases such as people who suffer from musical hallucinations, normally after suffering from sudden on-set deafness, people born with amusia, where their brains cannot perceive music as anything other than cacophony, and an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are born hyper-musical. And yet there are even more bizarre cases, such as a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly is inspired to become a pianist.
There is just so much I love about this book, and so many reasons that I wish people would read it. Music is such an important, intrinsic part of our lives – it has in fact been proven that music occupies more of our brain than even language. We all know of the power of music on some level, as many of us have felt the depths and heights of emotion music can move us to, many of us have been ‘saved’ by music when nothing else could, many of us have been taken down roads of nostalgia by music, connected to people through music, even been persuaded to buy things because of music. But what is inspiring about this book is just how much more music can and does do in our brains, and just how much power it has, especially for people who are facing challenges most of us can never even begin to imagine.
You don’t need to be a medical genius to read this book – if you enjoy music, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy this amazing collection of stories, and will quite possibly be blown away by it as I was.
Do you have any books that you wish more people would read? Why do you feel this way about those books?