The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
In his most extraordinary book, "one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century" (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks's splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine's ultimate responsibility: "the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject."

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales Details

TitleThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 2nd, 1998
PublisherTouchstone
ISBN-139780684853949
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Science, Health, Medicine, Medical, Biology, Neuroscience

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales Review

  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    It's rare that I read non-fiction. It's just not my bag.That said, this is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. I'm guessing I've brought it up hundreds of times in conversation.It's written by a neurologist who works with people who have stranger-than-usual brain issues. And not only are the cases interesting, but the way he writes about the people invovled is really lovely. It's not clinical at all. Not judgemental. It's very... loving, I would say. It's interesting to see someone It's rare that I read non-fiction. It's just not my bag.That said, this is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read. I'm guessing I've brought it up hundreds of times in conversation.It's written by a neurologist who works with people who have stranger-than-usual brain issues. And not only are the cases interesting, but the way he writes about the people invovled is really lovely. It's not clinical at all. Not judgemental. It's very... loving, I would say. It's interesting to see someone who obviously knows a lot of hard-line science write about these cases in terms that seem to me more suited to someone who would be a philosopher or a spiritualist.Amazing book. Can't recommend it highly enough...
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  • Dru
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Dr. Sacks, On page 112 of the paperback edition of your book, the second paragraph begins with the following sentence:"And with this, no feeling that he has lost feeling (for the feeling he has lost), no feeling that he has lost the depth, that unfathomable, mysterious, myriad-levelled depth which somehow defines identity or reality."I've read this sentence at least twelve times, and I still don't even have the slightest inkling of what the hell it means. What is the subject? What is the ve Dear Dr. Sacks, On page 112 of the paperback edition of your book, the second paragraph begins with the following sentence:"And with this, no feeling that he has lost feeling (for the feeling he has lost), no feeling that he has lost the depth, that unfathomable, mysterious, myriad-levelled depth which somehow defines identity or reality."I've read this sentence at least twelve times, and I still don't even have the slightest inkling of what the hell it means. What is the subject? What is the verb? Why is the word "that" italicized (twice?)? Good God man, what are you trying to tell me?Sincerely,Baffled in BrooklynSome people may think "well, if I read the whole chapter, I'm sure I could decipher the meaning." To those people I say: good luck, Charlie. I hope you may succeed where I have so miserably failed. This book has many fascinating studies of neurological disorders, and the stories behind the patients are easily understood and, in many cases, enthralling. However, Dr. Sacks seems to give his readers too much credit when he throws off "hyperagnosia", "Korsokovian", and "meningioma" like he assumes we had read an entire neurology textbook before picking this one up. Also, many of his sentences (like the example above) include so many digressions and sudden turns that each one could practically be its own M. Night Shaymalan film pitch. All of this might have to do with the fact that it was written in the eighties, when I presume people were smarter.
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  • Huda Yahya
    January 1, 1970
    كيف يمكن لإنسانٍ أن يخسر هويته ولا يدري خسارتهكيف يتحول معنى الهوية بروحه إلى لا معنى،،إلى لاشئ؟في هذا الكتاب تتعلم من جديد إحترام الإنسانية فجنون أدب العبث ولامنطقيته يتجسد هنا في نماذج حقيقة لبشرٍ يفتشون عن بقاياهم المتناثرة في الكون العابث بهم والمنتظر لردود أفعالهم التي تأتي مذهلة وغير متوقعةهنا نتعلم معانٍ جديدة لكلمتيمأســـاة و نضـــالهنا يتجلى الوجع الإنساني وغرائبه وضياعه الفلسفي المتجسد في أمراضٍ عصبية عجيبة ومثيرة للدهشةكلنا هذا الكائن المسكين الضائع في الكون الضخم والباحث عن هويته عن كيف يمكن لإنسانٍ أن يخسر هويته ولا يدري خسارتهكيف يتحول معنى الهوية بروحه إلى لا معنى،،إلى لاشئ؟في هذا الكتاب تتعلم من جديد إحترام الإنسانية فجنون أدب العبث ولامنطقيته يتجسد هنا في نماذج حقيقة لبشرٍ يفتشون عن بقاياهم المتناثرة في الكون العابث بهم والمنتظر لردود أفعالهم التي تأتي مذهلة وغير متوقعةهنا نتعلم معانٍ جديدة لكلمتيمأســـاة و نضـــالهنا يتجلى الوجع الإنساني وغرائبه وضياعه الفلسفي المتجسد في أمراضٍ عصبية عجيبة ومثيرة للدهشةكلنا هذا الكائن المسكين الضائع في الكون الضخم والباحث عن هويته عن معنى وجوده ،، نحن نحاول دوماً أن نحيا،، أن نجد للحياة المعنى ، والمغزى أن نتحدى الجنون المتلاعب بنا دوماًقد ننجح ،، وقد نخلق جنوناً جديداً رداً على كل العبث السائدلن تكون القراءة الأخيرة لساكس فهو طبيب وإنسان شغوف وممتليء بإحترام الإنسانية
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  • Sheffy
    January 1, 1970
    Despite so many people recommending this book, my high expectations were disappointed. Yes, it's perversely interesting to hear about neurological conundrums that afflict people in peculiar ways, but Sacks isn't a particularly good writer, nor does he have a good grasp on his audience. At times he obliquely refers to medical syndromes or footnotes other neurologists, as if he is writing for a technical physician audience, but on the whole his stories are too simplistic to engage such an audience Despite so many people recommending this book, my high expectations were disappointed. Yes, it's perversely interesting to hear about neurological conundrums that afflict people in peculiar ways, but Sacks isn't a particularly good writer, nor does he have a good grasp on his audience. At times he obliquely refers to medical syndromes or footnotes other neurologists, as if he is writing for a technical physician audience, but on the whole his stories are too simplistic to engage such an audience. He talks about phenomenology, but doesn't satisfactorily discuss mechanistically what is going on in the brain, so what's the point? To quote a friend in college, it's his own "mental masterbation"--he likes to show off how well-read he his, how many bizarre patients have been referred to him (or he's God's gift to them) and erudite his vocabulary is, but fails to clearly get his points across. On top of his confusing musings, his reconstructed dialogue is incredible unrealistic, it's clear why doctors need to learn to communicate better.
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  • Supratim
    January 1, 1970
    When I had come across the title of the book on Goodreads, I had mistakenly assumed to it to be a humour novel. But, when I finally found the book during one of my book hunts, I learnt that it is a non-fiction book where the author, a neurologist as well as a gifted writer, has presented some fascinating case studies about his patients with unique afflictions.The book has been divided into 4 parts wherein each section contains the case studies pertaining to a particular category of neurological When I had come across the title of the book on Goodreads, I had mistakenly assumed to it to be a humour novel. But, when I finally found the book during one of my book hunts, I learnt that it is a non-fiction book where the author, a neurologist as well as a gifted writer, has presented some fascinating case studies about his patients with unique afflictions.The book has been divided into 4 parts wherein each section contains the case studies pertaining to a particular category of neurological afflictions.Medical case studies are written in a dry, clinical language where the patient is dehumanized, and reduced to a cursory phrase . In the preface the author says, “Such [medical case] histories are a form of natural history – but they tell us nothing about the individual and his history; they convey nothing of the person, and the experience of the person, as he faces, and struggles to survive, his disease.” Thus, the author has attempted to “deepen the case history to a narrative or tale” and I liked the way he has talked about his patients with warmth, sympathy and respect.The narratives are often enriched with quotes, theories and experiences of other doctors, some of whom were stalwarts in their fields. There is a reference to Anton Chekhov as well.I believe most of us understand what a magnificent and complex entity the human brain is, and the book reinforced the fact that how fragile it can be – a little bit of damage and it can turn a person’s life upside down, make it difficult or even impossible for the individual to do even some basic functions which are so mundane that we do not even think about them. In the pages of the book, I came across afflictions I wouldn’t have imagined possible even in my weirdest dreams. A gifted music teacher suffering from “visual agnosia” had indeed mistaken his wife’s hand for a hat, and provided the title of the book; a woman would learn to use her hands at the age of 60 and prove herself to be a gifted sculptor; a man had the problem of leaning like the Tower of Pisa without his knowledge and would come up with his own novel solution and the list goes on. In some cases the patients would learn to cope, but in others they would not be so lucky. What a coincidence that I had just read Forrest Gump, the story of a fictional “idiot savant” before coming across real life idiot savants in the pages of this book.One particular comment by the author – “The power of music, narrative and drama is of the greatest practical and theoretical importance” , pleasantly surprised me. I wouldn’t have expected this from a doctor, but maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised because the author did show his preference for a humane (for the lack of a better word) treatment of the patients.One problem you might encounter while reading the book is that the narrative is full of medical jargon. Thanks to the internet, we can find out the meanings much effortlessly compared to a dictionary, but if you read a real book, like I did and always do, then you need to put in the effort to type the words in your browser a lot of times. But, you know what, even if you do not check out every single jargon, you can till understand the fact of the matter.I understand that everybody might not like this book. But, if my review has piqued your interest, then I would urge you to at least check out the Goodreads page of the book.I just came across the list of : 100 books everyone should read by Amazon, and guess what! This book is included in the list.
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  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    January 1, 1970
    This is not only an informative work on neurological disorders, but a humbling meditation on the beauty of imperfection. Through entering the worlds of a number of "limited" individuals, Sacks reveals the brain's (and therefore the individual's) remarkable ability to overcompensate for cognitive deficiencies. As a result of these heightened states of perception, the often frightening and infinitely compelling worlds of each individual are manifested in the means with which they organize and enga This is not only an informative work on neurological disorders, but a humbling meditation on the beauty of imperfection. Through entering the worlds of a number of "limited" individuals, Sacks reveals the brain's (and therefore the individual's) remarkable ability to overcompensate for cognitive deficiencies. As a result of these heightened states of perception, the often frightening and infinitely compelling worlds of each individual are manifested in the means with which they organize and engage with the ordinary, whether it be through mathematics, dance, music, or the visual arts. In simply dealing, they manage to transcend. Sacks explores the varying cognitive expressions of his patients without coming across as cold, sterile, or objectifying. Rather, he devotes a chapter to each individual case, creating in the reader a sense that they are engrossed in a series of fictional character studies, rather than a dry psychological manual or the surface-level observations and blind assumptions of a pompous intellectual. This would be a perfect starting point for anyone interested in learning a bit more about abnormal psychology.
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  • PattyMacDotComma
    January 1, 1970
    10★This is such a classic that I can’t possibly “review” it, so I’ll just share some stories. Oliver Sacks was the much-loved, highly regarded neurologist who opened up the world of the mind and brain not only to doctors but also to the public. The well-known movie, Awakenings, where he was played by Robin Williams, was based on his successful treatment of catatonic patients (including Leonard, played by Robert De Niro), “frozen” for decades after being afflicted with encephalitis. Sacks’s perce 10★This is such a classic that I can’t possibly “review” it, so I’ll just share some stories. Oliver Sacks was the much-loved, highly regarded neurologist who opened up the world of the mind and brain not only to doctors but also to the public. The well-known movie, Awakenings, where he was played by Robin Williams, was based on his successful treatment of catatonic patients (including Leonard, played by Robert De Niro), “frozen” for decades after being afflicted with encephalitis. Sacks’s perception and inspiration led to the trial which “awakened” them, and he continued to use his remarkable insight and warmth until he died in August 2015.This book is a collection of cases of people with various brain anomalies, some caused by accidents or illness and some conditions present at birth. It is disconcerting today to read some of the accepted references to patients in 1985: retardates, defectives, idiots, morons, simpletons. “The Man” of the title piece, lost not only the ability to recognise faces, he didn’t even know what a face was. When he tried to put his shoe and sock back on after a medical test, he picked up his foot and asked if that was his shoe. His wife was seated next to him, and he reached across and pulled on her head when looking for his hat. He was almost like a blind man, guessing what and where things were by feel, smell, taste. Yet he still functioned as a music school teacher and sang or hummed his way through his daily life to keep himself on some sort of track.Other cases include phantom limbs (gone but still painful), limbs that are perceived as foreign (it’s somebody else’s leg in my bed, doctor, and when I try to throw it out, I end up on the floor), and a woman who had completely lost her proprioception – which is our sense of where our body is in space (a common failing of drunks, but not to this extent). We know how to pick up our foot and move it forward. She had to concentrate every second on where her body was and what she needed to do or she folded up and collapsed. Couldn’t sit or stand without actively thinking about it. Another woman’s case is worth sharing, it’s so unusual: “She has totally lost the idea of ‘left’, with regard to both the world and her own body. Sometimes she complains that her portions are too small, but this is because she only eats from the right half of the plate—it does not occur to her that it has a left half as well. Sometimes, she will put on lipstick, and make up the right half of her face, leaving the left half completely neglected: it is almost impossible to treat these things, because her attention cannot be drawn to them (‘hemi-inattention’—see Battersby 1956) and she has no conception that they are wrong. She knows it intellectually, and can understand, and laugh; but it is impossible for her to know it directly.. . . Knowing it intellectually, knowing it inferentially, she has worked out strategies for dealing with her imperception. She cannot look left, directly, she cannot turn left, so what she does is to turn right—and right through a circle. Thus she requested, and was given, a rotating wheelchair. And now if she cannot find something which she knows should be there, she swivels to the right, through a circle, until it comes into view.. . . If her portions seem too small, she will swivel to the right, keeping her eyes to the right, until the previously missed half now comes into view; she will eat this, or rather half of this, and feel less hungry than before. But if she is still hungry, or if she thinks on the matter, and realizes that she may have perceived only half of the missing half, she will make a second rotation . . . ” and so on. Incredible, isn’t it?Tourette’s, Parkinson’s, Syphilis, Epilepsy, so very many conditions that cause brain malfunctions. The last part of the book deals with retardation and autism and how Sacks discovered that many people who were considered to be without any intelligence actually did have views of the world --it just couldn’t be measured. He says testing measures deficits. It doesn’t allow for the human, as opposed to the neurological, vision of a person. It reminds me of the saying: Don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.Sacks says although our brain is computer-like, it is also personal and involves judging and feeling. Without that, our brains actually do become defective, and we can’t understand what is real and concrete, like “The Man”. He obviously can’t really interpret the world except the part he understands through music. And that still makes sense to him. But Sacks watched “hopeless cases” carefully, figured out what they reacted to when he spent time with them, and had the insight (and, dare I say, patience) to interact with them. They drew for him, played games, expressed themselves in their own way, and enjoyed his company. One simple, clumsy girl who couldn’t learn but who loved listening to her grandmother read stories, also loved being outside. He approached her in the park one day, and she gave him a huge smile, gestured, and then called out single words: “spring, birth, growing, stirring, coming to life, seasons, everything in its time.” Sacks realised she did have her own very clear, poetic, perception of the world after all.Regarding the people who seem to have unexplained abilities with numbers and calendars but who cannot perform on tests, he understands that they may see the world in numbers (as we see it perhaps in pictures or sounds). In 1966, he met a pair of severely impaired young twin men who always sat together giggling and calling out long numbers to teach other. They could also tell you any calendar date, but they didn’t seem able to “do” mathematics. Sacks started writing down their numbers, checked them, and discovered they were all, without exception, prime numbers (like 3 or 5, divisible only by 1 or by themselves, for those of you unfamiliar with primes.) But these were several digits long. So he got out his chart, sat with them one day, and then called out a prime number that was one digit longer than theirs. They were stunned! Sat and thought about it, smiled, and started calling out numbers the same length (7 and 8 digits). They eventually outstripped him (12 digits!), but Sacks had no way of checking anything more than 10. They ended up with 20 digits, which he had to assume were also prime. He quotes the mathematician Wim Klein, speaking about himself: “‘Numbers are friends for me, more or less. It doesn’t mean the same for you, does it—3,844? For you it’s just a three and an eight and a four and a four. But I say, ‘Hi! 62 squared.’” I don’t know how much has changed in the thinking since this book was written, but I quite like his idea that we all respond to order and patterns, and while most of us respond in similar ways to similar things, some people need to have music to order their activities (“The Man” could function as long as he sang or hummed), some need numbers, some need nature. Given the right conditions, many people who were previously cast aside could enjoy life more on their own terms. He does caution about what we would now call “mainstreaming” people (to make them more like “us”). The number twins were separated to give them a better chance to live a normal life, which they did to some extent (catching public transport, etc.), but the joy seemed to disappear. What kind of price is that to pay to meet our standards instead of their own?“One is reminded somewhat of the treatment meted out to Nadia— an autistic child with a phenomenal gift for drawing . . . Nadia too was subjected to a therapeutic regime ‘to find ways in which her potentialities in other directions could be maximized’. The net effect was that she started talking—and stopped drawing. Nigel Dennis comments: ‘We are left with a genius who has had her genius removed, leaving nothing behind but a general defectiveness.’ ”It's a fascinating glimpse into a fascinating field of study. It’s scary to think how many people we’ve passed judgement on over the years who could have been freer to enjoy life if we’d figured out how to enable them.I’m looking forward to reading some of his newer work to see where it took him and whether or not we’re doing a better job of understanding the immense variation of the human condition today.P.S. Another GR reviewer, Barbara, has done a nice job of summarising some of the cases in her review. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this book because I am a fan of Oliver Sacks and his various speaking engagements (lectures, public radio interviews, etc)...but I have to say I was fairly nonplussed with it.While the case studies in and of themselves make for interesting reading, the tone of the writing is fairly "clinical" and...removed. Despite the review blurbs stating that these are "personal" and "touchingly human" looks at neurological disorders, I saw only a few glimpses of this warmth (an example that sprin I picked up this book because I am a fan of Oliver Sacks and his various speaking engagements (lectures, public radio interviews, etc)...but I have to say I was fairly nonplussed with it.While the case studies in and of themselves make for interesting reading, the tone of the writing is fairly "clinical" and...removed. Despite the review blurbs stating that these are "personal" and "touchingly human" looks at neurological disorders, I saw only a few glimpses of this warmth (an example that springs to mind is the "Returning To India" story).I can't really pin down what I didn't like about the book, but reading it, I had the sense I was being whisked in and out of hospital rooms by a busy, clipboard-toting doctor...which wasn't the best feeling.
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  • سلطان
    January 1, 1970
    من أجمل ما قرأت في هذه السنة. لقد غيّر هذا الكتاب الكثير من المفاهيم الخاصة بالذاكرة عندي. كما تغيّرت عندي مفاهيم أخرى تتعلق بحالات الجنون والاكتئاب والحالات النفسية.هذا الكتاب ليس كتاباً طبياً، أو نفسياً، أو تجارياً. بل هو كتاب إنساني بالمقام الأول.هل تعرف قيمة ذاكرتك أيها الإنسان؟ هل تعرف قيمة حياتك بلا ذاكرة؟ بنصف ذاكرة؟ بربع ذاكرة؟ بذاكرة قديمة؟ هل تعرف لماذا يتصرف بعض الأشخاص أحياناً بصورة تجعلنا نظن بأنهم مجانين؟ وأخيراً.. هل تعرف كم فاتك إن لم تكن قرأت هذا الكتاب بعد؟
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  • Mona
    January 1, 1970
    I first heard about this book when my biology professor mentioned it in class in reference to right-brain and left-brain disorders. Just last year, I had the good fortune to see the author himself - Dr. Sacks - speak at the university in my hometown. He was a dynamic and entertaining speaker and from then on, I resolved to try out his books. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat matched its author. The book is a collection of case studies on Dr. Sacks's patients with neurological disorders. Sac I first heard about this book when my biology professor mentioned it in class in reference to right-brain and left-brain disorders. Just last year, I had the good fortune to see the author himself - Dr. Sacks - speak at the university in my hometown. He was a dynamic and entertaining speaker and from then on, I resolved to try out his books. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat matched its author. The book is a collection of case studies on Dr. Sacks's patients with neurological disorders. Sacks divides the book into four parts, each of which deals with "losses" and "excesses of neurological functions, "transports" of hallucinations, visions, and imagination, and "the simple", concerning the mentally or physically challenged, respectively. In one chapter titled "The Twins", Sacks describes a pair of twins who had the ability to factor large numbers in their heads, so much so that they could calculate the date of any day of the week in history. He discovers that numbers, especially prime numbers were, for them, a special sort of communication that required no thinking through but was instantaneous. In another chapter, Sacks relates how a previously healthy patient woke up one morning convinced that the leg lying in his bed was not his. Efforts to convince him otherwise (including his own efforts to toss it out onto the floor which resulted in the rest of him falling out as well) were fruitless. How and why do these pheomena occur? These are the questions Sacks attempts to answer. Although Sacks includes discussion of concepts that may be familiar only to psychologists or neurologists, the book is accessible to readers without that type of backgroud. It was extremely readable, such that I finished it in two days. My only complaint is that although Sacks includes a postscript to most of the chapters to explain further studies or new discoveries that occurred after he first met these patients, there is often no resolution to these stories. This is understandable, considering that many of the patients' disorders are unusual and may not have any resolution, but I still found it a little frustrating. I do, however, want to do more reading on this subject and look foward to reading Sacks' book titled Awakening.
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  • Simon Clark
    January 1, 1970
    I've read a lot of popular science books in my time, and in one way or another they have always felt cut from same cloth. Similar language used, similar structure, drawing on the same inspirations. After a while it almost feels like you are reading the same book over and over again, with only slight variations in content.So The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat came as a complete breath of fresh air. A blast, in fact. Oliver Sacks has written a book rather unlike anything I've read before, both I've read a lot of popular science books in my time, and in one way or another they have always felt cut from same cloth. Similar language used, similar structure, drawing on the same inspirations. After a while it almost feels like you are reading the same book over and over again, with only slight variations in content.So The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat came as a complete breath of fresh air. A blast, in fact. Oliver Sacks has written a book rather unlike anything I've read before, both in its content and delivery, but also the way it acts as a meta-commentary on the field of science communication. The book is a collection of case studies from Sacks' career as a neurologist, each chapter focusing on a particular patient. The stories themselves are fascinating, ranging from the titular man who's vision is so neurologically impaired that he literally mistakes his wife for a hat, to the woman who lost all sense of proprioception - if she did not look at where her body was in space, she had no idea where it was. However the way that Sacks tells these stories was what gripped me. Quite apart from other popular science writers, he draws on a wide range of inspirations from poetry to philosophy to music to medical papers. The text is sumptuous. One gets the feeling of a writer who has lived a rich life, who has not been confined to one box of academia, and who allows his experiences to wash together in a melange of words on the page. I loved, loved, loved it.You could argue that Sacks actually makes a point about this in the final chapter, a neurological patient who is a brilliant artist but almost completely incapable of interpersonal communication. Reading this, at the very end of the book, I got the impression that Sacks was holding up the mirror to the way science was written about at the time, and still is to this day. Are you scientists not brilliant at abstract thought, gifted beyond measure in unpicking complex behaviour from a mass of data, yet totally incapable of connecting another human to that process? You spend so much time living in your box, in your world of abstraction, that you lack the necessary experience in being human, exposure to the humanities, to make a genuine connection to other people. Sacks demonstrates that if you allow the human to take centre stage, pushing the science to a supporting character, then communication, and wonder, will flow.Absolutely recommended. A real must-read.
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  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a book about people with neurological disorders centred on issues with perception and understanding the world. The brain receives so much information each second, information we will never be consciously aware of. But what happens when the pathways start to break down? Weird and wonderful things evidently. Sacks reminisces over some truly bizarre case studies he encountered over his career. And, like the title suggests, one involves a man who mistook his The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a book about people with neurological disorders centred on issues with perception and understanding the world. The brain receives so much information each second, information we will never be consciously aware of. But what happens when the pathways start to break down? Weird and wonderful things evidently. Sacks reminisces over some truly bizarre case studies he encountered over his career. And, like the title suggests, one involves a man who mistook his wife for a hat in his inability to accurately perceive people and his utter confusion regarding objects. It’s amazing really how someone like that can get through life. The way they see the world, the way they experience the realities of the everyday, will be vastly different to what you and I see. For them though it is normal. They don’t know that their mode of reality completely alien to everybody else’s. When this was published Sacks addressed some rather odd disorders but now, over thirty years later, this book is less shocking as many of these conditions have been normalised to an extent. The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is a mere curiosity, nothing more.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Oliver Sacks was a physician, author, and professor of neurology who published several books about individuals with neurological problems. In this book Dr. Sacks discusses patients whose brain malfunctions cause a variety of 'maladies' including: a musician who lost the ability to see faces or recognize familiar objects; a former sailor who believed the year was permanently 1945; a man who thought his leg belonged to someone else; and other unusual afflictions. To provide a feel for the book Dr. Oliver Sacks was a physician, author, and professor of neurology who published several books about individuals with neurological problems. In this book Dr. Sacks discusses patients whose brain malfunctions cause a variety of 'maladies' including: a musician who lost the ability to see faces or recognize familiar objects; a former sailor who believed the year was permanently 1945; a man who thought his leg belonged to someone else; and other unusual afflictions. To provide a feel for the book I'll just give a capsule description of (what I think are) the most interesting cases. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A HatDr. P was a talented musician and music teacher whose problems began when he lost the ability to see people's faces - though he could recognize them by their voices and movements. The problem worsened to the point where Dr. P mistakenly thought inanimate objects - like fire hydrants, parking meters, and furniture knobs - were humans. In time Dr. P could no longer identify everybody objects. For example, he thought his shoe was his foot and vice versa. Though Dr. P was not diagnosed, physicians speculate that he had a brain tumor or brain damage that caused 'agnosia' - "the loss of ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells."The title of the story refers to the fact that - when looking for his hat one day - Dr. P mistook his wife for a hatrack, took hold of her head.....and tried to put it on. Luckily, Dr. P retained the ability to play and teach music, and was able to continue with his fulfilling career. *****The Lost MarinerIn 1975, Dr. Sacks saw Jimmie G - a 49-year-old man who left the Navy in 1965 after serving for more than two decades. Jimmie seemed confused about his current situation but was able to describe his school days and his experiences during and after WWII - which he talked about in the present tense. Dr. Sacks learned that - in Jimmie's mind - the year was perpetually 1945 and he was 19-years-old. Jimmie couldn't recall anything that post-dated 1945 and was unable to form ANY new memories. In fact, if Dr. Sacks walked out of the room and returned, Jimmie thought they were meeting for the first time. When shown a mirror, Jimmie was shocked at his 'old' appearance, and - though his brother was long-married with grandchildren - thought his sibling was a single man in accounting school. Apparently Jimmie was competent until he left the Navy, but by 1971 was totally disoriented - probably from severe alcohol abuse. It was determined that Jimmie suffered from amnesia due to 'Korsakov's Syndrome' - "an amnestic disorder usually associated with prolonged ingestion of alcohol." *****The Disembodied LadyChristina was a bright, athletic 27-year-old computer programmer who worked from home. When health problems required the removal of her gall bladder, Christina was treated with prophylactic antibiotics prior to the operation. This was a common precaution, not expected to have any deleterious effects. Shortly before the surgery Christina had a dream in which she lost sensation in her hands and feet. A couple of days later Christina REALLY lost sensation.....in her entire body. Christina couldn't feel her arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. She couldn't walk, was unable to pick things up, and so on. Christina felt like her body was 'dead, not real, not hers.' Christina was diagnosed with inflammation of the nerves in her limbs. As a result, Christina lost her sense of 'proprioception' - "the ability to sense the relative positions of body parts without looking at them or thinking about it." It's unknown whether the prophylactic antibiotics caused this or not. Eventually, Christina learned to use her other senses - especially vision - to compensate for her loss of propioception. Christina had to consciously monitor and regulate every motion, making her movements difficult and clumsy. Nevertheless, Christina persevered and tried to live as normal a life as possible. ***** The Man Who Fell Out Of BedDr. Sacks was called in to see a man who had been admitted to the hospital because of a problem with his leg. After falling asleep in the hospital, the patient woke up to find 'someone's leg in the bed'.....a severed human limb. The man was horrified, and concluded that a nurse had perpetrated a bizarre joke. The patient threw the leg out of bed, but he went with it.....because the limb was attached to him. While Dr. Sacks was in the room, the patient began punching and tearing at his left leg. Dr. Sacks advised the man to stop, as he was injuring his own limb, but the patient refused to accept this. The man apparently had hemiplegia - "paralysis on one side of the body".....probably caused by brain damage. ***** PhantomA 'phantom' is the sensation that a lost body part (usually an amputated limb) is still there. Dr. Sacks tells the story of a sailor who accidently cut off his right index finger, but couldn't dislodge the notion that the digit was still sticking out of his hand. For the next 40 years, the sailor was wary of bringing his damaged hand near his face - to eat or scratch his nose - because the finger might poke his eye out. The sailor knew this couldn't really happen, but was unable to make the feeling go away. The sailor was finally 'cured' when he lost sensation in ALL of his fingers due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). The phantom finger 'disappeared' with the rest of his digits. ***** Tilt Mr. Dunston, a 93-year-old man with Parkinson's disease, tilted to the side when walking - to the point he was in danger of falling over. However Mr. Dunston was unaware of the slant, and refused to believe he wasn't upright.....until Dr. Sacks filmed him in motion. Mr. Dunston, who had been a carpenter, attributed the problem to the loss of his inner 'spirit level' (an instrument used to determine whether a surface is perfectly horizontal or vertical).Mr. Dunston, being a clever fellow, rigged up a 'level' that could be attached to his eyeglasses - called 'spirit spectacles' - which he could use to correct his posture. The spirit spectacles became very popular with patients afflicted with Parkinson's disease.*****Eyes RightAfter a massive stroke, Mrs. S - a woman in her sixties - lost the ability to see anything on the left side. If Mrs. S's dessert was on the left side of her tray, she couldn't see it; in fact Mrs. S couldn't even see the food on the left side of her plate. This 'left blindness' extended to everything, so that Mrs. S. would only make up the right side of her face, etc. To compensate, Mrs. S got a rotating wheelchair and swiveled in a circle until things came into view - a crafty solution to (some of) her problems.*****Cupid's DiseaseNatasha, a 90-year-old woman, had begun feeling unusually 'frisky' at the age of 88 - giggling, telling jokes, and flirting with men. Natasha realized this was 'inappropriate', and - surmising she was physically ill - consulted a doctor. Natasha reported that, at age twenty, she had contracted 'Cupid's Disease' (syphilis) - which was treated, but apparently not eradicated. In fact Natasha WAS suffering from neurosyphilis - an infection of the brain and/or spinal cord caused by Treponema pallidum (the bacteria that causes syphilis). The bacteria were stimulating her cerebral cortex and affecting her behavior. Natasha didn't want to get end-stage syphilis, but didn't want to be cured either.....since she was enjoying her girlish feelings. So doctors gave Natasha penicillin to kill the microbes, but did nothing to repair her cerebral cortex - allowing the elderly woman to remain playful. (At 90 years old, why not. LOL)*****ReminiscenceMrs. O'C - an 88-year-old Irishwoman living in an old age home in NY - was a little deaf but otherwise in good health. One night Mrs. O'C dreamed of her childhood in Ireland, complete with a woman singing Irish songs. When Mrs. O'C awoke, she still heard the Irish songs - very loud - and went to turn off the radio broadcasting the music. But there was no radio. Mrs. O'C then thought her dental fillings were picking up a broadcast, but this wasn't the case either. Finally, Mrs. O'C concluded something was wrong with her ears - and consulted a doctor. Mrs. O'C was eventually sent to a neurologist - Dr. Sacks - but had trouble hearing him through the music. Dr. Sacks determined that the songs were neurological, probably due to a stroke that caused seizures in Mrs. O'C's temporal lobe (a part of the brain that processes music). As Mrs. O'C recovered, the music faded away. *****The Dog Beneath The SkinStephen D. was a 22-year-old medical student who regularly used amphetamines, cocaine, and PCP. One night Stephen dreamed he was a dog, and woke up with a greatly heightened sense of smell.Stephen was able to distinguish all kinds of things by their 'aroma' including: friends, patients, streets, stores, sexual activity, foods, and so on. Unfortunately, unpleasant odors were stronger as well. Moreover, Stephen felt COMPELLED to sniff everything (like a pooch)....and had to be careful to avoid being inappropriate (LOL).After three weeks the enhanced sense of smell disappeared, and Stephen returned to normal.Years later, Dr. Sacks revealed that HE was Stephen D. (Naughty naughty)*****The World of the Simple **I have to insert a note here. To modern ears, some of the language used in this section is very disturbing. Talking about people who are mentally challenged, Dr. Sacks uses terms like: simple, simpleton, retardate, mental cripple, idiot, moron, and dullard. Granted, these essays were written before such terms became 'forbidden.' Still, the book has been re-released several times over the years, and these words could have been changed (IMO).** John and MichaelJohn and Michael were 26-year-old twins who had been institutionalized since the age of seven. They had an IQ under 60, and were variously diagnosed as autistic, psychotic, or severely retarded. As happens with some autistic people, the twins were 'idiot savants' - "mentally handicapped persons who display brilliance in a specific area, especially involving memory." The twins had clear memories of ALL their experiences and had a 'calender program' in their heads so that - given any date, past or future - they could instantly pair it with a day of the week. The twins were also able to recall and repeat a long string of numbers (over 300 digits).....explaining that they 'could see it.' Perhaps most remarkable of all, the twins made up a game in which they recited increasingly large prime numbers to each other.....a feat that's almost impossible without a computer. In fact, Dr. Sacks - wanting to join the game - got a 'cheat book' of prime numbers. (Ha ha ha)Dr. Sacks waxes poetic about the twins, saying: "The twins, though morons, hear the world's symphony, but hear it entirely in the form of numbers." Eventually the twins were separated - 'for their own good' - which seems very sad to me. The Autist ArtistJosé was a mentally handicapped man whose epileptic seizures and (possible) autism became obvious when he was eight. At that time José's family confined him to the cellar, where he was isolated and deprived of stimulation for 15 years. Finally, at the age of 22, José 'blew up in a rage' and was hospitalized. In the hospital, José - now properly medicated - showed a remarkable talent for drawing. This was when Dr. Sacks met the patient. Dr. Sacks showed José his pocket watch and asked him to draw it. José studied the timepiece, then quickly and confidently drew a faithful fascimile.....with creative flourishes. Dr. Sacks was impressed, thinking José had more mental agility than people thought. Durng a later visit, Dr. Sacks showed José an issue of 'Arizona Highways' magazine, which had a scene of people canoeing. José swiftly copied the canoe and canoers - making the people seem even more intense and alive than the original. To Dr. Sacks, this demonstrated José's powers of imagination and creativity. Then, when Dr. Sacks showed José an image of a rainbow trout, the patient drew a fish of his own - with an amusing roguish look.....like a 'fish-person.' This showed not only imagination, but a sense of humor.Eventually, surrounded by caring doctors and staff, José began to blossom. He no longer accepted his deprived state, strived to recover speech and understanding, and began to draw for self-expression. *****Dr. Sacks' case studies are interesting and informative, and - when originally published - shed light on afflictions that were not well understood at the time. Dr. Sacks' stories are still fascinating and instructive, and I enjoyed reading them. I also applaud the fact that Dr. Sacks showed that mentally challenged individuals can have talents and abilities that rival those of mainstream society - which usually marginalizes these people. And I admire Dr. Sacks attempts to help his patients find happiness and meaning in their lives. That said, there are parts of the book I didn't like. Dr. Sacks includes a GREAT DEAL of philosophical musing in his stories, in an attempt (I think) to imbue neurological afflictions with some deeper meaning. In my opinion, illnesses (even brain malfunctions) are biological phenomena. Thus they have no abstract significance, and I found the 'philosophical' sections of the book boring and sometimes incomprehensible. I'd recommend the book to readers interested in neurology and brain function. Though I listened to the audiobook version, the individual case studies are readily available online - in case you're especially interested in one or two. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
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  • Hamad
    January 1, 1970
    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.” 🌟 I have been intrigued by this book’s title as soon as I first heard it. I thought it was a fiction book but then discovered that it is Non-fiction and I decided to read it this year as part of my challenge to read some non-fiction books.🌟 Then, I di This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.” 🌟 I have been intrigued by this book’s title as soon as I first heard it. I thought it was a fiction book but then discovered that it is Non-fiction and I decided to read it this year as part of my challenge to read some non-fiction books.🌟 Then, I discovered that it was written by a neurologist and it features neurological disorders. I had a hate relationship with Neurology and its disorder in the first two years in medicine. I then decided that I had enough and that I want to understand it more. I went back to the basics, took Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience courses, aced them and I became yet another fan of neurology!!!🌟 The human brain is one of the most intriguing things ever and is also one of the biggest mysteries of the universe, and although our understanding of it is way better than decades ago, we still haven’t scratched the surface –at least for me-.🌟 The disorders this book includes are interesting as the man who mistook his wife for a hat literally, Phantom limbs in which people can feel pain and sensations in their amputated limbs, Seizures that made a man has super smelling, the twins who can’t do simple arithmetic but can tell you how many sticks are stacked together just by a simple glance and more!! Some of the cases were not very interesting but they were mostly short cases so it was OK!🌟 I can’t say Dr.Oliver is the greatest author because his writing is full of medical jargon and may be hard to understand for non-medical readers. He assumes that we have a good knowledge in many things as opposed to the book I am currently reading (Which discusses sleep and the language makes much more sense for all readers). Dr.Oliver’s language is like a text-book/ scientific language more befitting for teaching than a general book.🌟 Summary and Prescription: I have a long history with Neurology so this was a mini challenge for me to read. The language is not very easy (But still can be understood) for the general population. There are some really interesting cases here for anyone who is interested in the human brain and it’s disorders.I decided to give this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars!
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  • Greta
    January 1, 1970
    I guess I'm just not smart enough to fully appreciate this book. But I do realize that an awful lot can go wrong with our brains, and when that should happen to me, I would be very lucky with such an empathetic and humane doctor. Yet, his writing is dry and clinical, which is a shame because there were really interesting cases. I enjoyed reading some parts of the book, but not enough to feel satisfied about reading this book. Especially the chapter "The Visions of Hildegard", in which he describ I guess I'm just not smart enough to fully appreciate this book. But I do realize that an awful lot can go wrong with our brains, and when that should happen to me, I would be very lucky with such an empathetic and humane doctor. Yet, his writing is dry and clinical, which is a shame because there were really interesting cases. I enjoyed reading some parts of the book, but not enough to feel satisfied about reading this book. Especially the chapter "The Visions of Hildegard", in which he describes the hallucinatory visions of migrainous origin from a 12th century nun Hildegard from Bingen, made me wonder why this book is so popular.
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  • لونا
    January 1, 1970
    وعندما همَّ السيد "بي" بالمغادرة ، ودَّع الطبيب و مدَّ يده ليتناول قبعته وأمسك بدلاً منها برأس زوجته ........ ومن هنا جاءت تسمية الكتاب (الرجل الذي حسب زوجته قبعة) ، ولمعرفة السبب والتفاصيل أدعوكم لقراءة الكتابالكتاب يتناول مجموعة من الاضطرابات العصبية الغريبة و النادرة، مشروحة بطريقة مبسطة سهلت الفهم ... ولأنني أملك خلفية/اهتمامات طبية لم أجد الكتاب معقداً وكان أشبه بالمراجعة، وأعتقد أن الكتاب في متناول الجميع بكافة المستوياتالكتاب مُقسَّم لأربعة أقسام، كل قسم يتناول مجموعة من الحالات المرضية م وعندما همَّ السيد "بي" بالمغادرة ، ودَّع الطبيب و مدَّ يده ليتناول قبعته وأمسك بدلاً منها برأس زوجته ........ ومن هنا جاءت تسمية الكتاب (الرجل الذي حسب زوجته قبعة) ، ولمعرفة السبب والتفاصيل أدعوكم لقراءة الكتابالكتاب يتناول مجموعة من الاضطرابات العصبية الغريبة و النادرة، مشروحة بطريقة مبسطة سهلت الفهم ... ولأنني أملك خلفية/اهتمامات طبية لم أجد الكتاب معقداً وكان أشبه بالمراجعة، وأعتقد أن الكتاب في متناول الجميع بكافة المستوياتالكتاب مُقسَّم لأربعة أقسام، كل قسم يتناول مجموعة من الحالات المرضية مشروحة بطريقة قصصية ولكنها تشترك في صفة أساسية اختارها المؤلف كعنوان للقسمالقسم الأول: عن "الفقد" ... يتكلم عن الاضطرابات الذي تؤدي إلى فقد وظيفة معينة في الجسمالقسم الثاني: عن "الفرط" ... يتكلم عن الاضطرابات التي تؤدي إلى فرط "زيادة" إحدى وظائف الجسم القسم الثالث: عن "قدرة التخيُّل والذاكرة" ... الاضطرابات التي أدت إلى مضاعفة قدرة التخيل والذاكرة للمرضى (استمتعت بهذا الفصل كثيراً)القسم الرابع: "عالم السُّذَّج" ... حالات لأشخاص مختلين ولكنهم عباقرة (آلمني هذا الفصل كثيراً) ... أحسست بحزن المؤلف لشعوره بالتقصير ووقوفه عاجزاً أمام هؤلاء المرضى الذين عجز العلم عن تقديم يد المساعدة لهم "فصل إنساني جداً"خلال عرضه للحالات لفت انتباهي "القسم الثاني من الكتاب" تشبث بعض المرض بمرضهم ورفضهم بأن يكونوا طبيعيين، لأن ما هم عليه من تميُّز كان بسبب هذه الأمراض "نحن في مياه غريبة هنا، قد تُعكَس فيها كل الاعتبارات المعتادة، حيث المرض قد يكون عافية، والسويَّة مرضاً، وحيث الإثارة قد تكون عبودية أو تحريراً"شعرت بالذنب عند قراءتي للكتاب، وكأنني أحتاج لمن يُذكرني بإعجاز خَلْقِنَا ودقة تصميمنا وتوازننا، وكيف أن اختلال بسيط في مكان ما قد ينتج عنه حالة مرضية تُعجز العلماء بطبيعتها وصعوبة علاجها (أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا) ... سبحان الله ... فعلاً صدق الله عندما قال (وَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا)الترجمة "معقولة" وكان من الممكن أن تكون أفضل ... هذه النوعية من الكتب من المفروض أن تراجع من قبل أشخاص لهم خلفية طبية لإعطاء ترجمة المصطلحات الطبية حقَّها
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  • Mohammed
    January 1, 1970
    مراجعة مختصرة جدا لمن ليس لديه وقت: كتاب جميل يجمع بين الرصانة العلمية ومتعة الحكايات وله عمق إنساني مؤثر.مراجعة مختصرة لمن لديه القليل من الوقت:مجموعة قصصية نسجها المؤلف من حالات عاينها شخصياً ظاهرها الظرافة وباطنها البؤس. كتاب ممتع ينصح بقراءته إذا تمكن القارئ من التعامل مع المادة العلمية التي تطغى أحياناً، وتمكن من التغاضي عن هنّات الترجمة التي قد تعكر مزاجه أحياناً.مراجعة لمن لديهم الوقت الكافي والمزاج المناسب: حكايات متنوعة لحالات مرضية تتنوع مابين العته، فقدان الحواس، فقدان الذاكرة والعديد مراجعة مختصرة جدا لمن ليس لديه وقت: كتاب جميل يجمع بين الرصانة العلمية ومتعة الحكايات وله عمق إنساني مؤثر.مراجعة مختصرة لمن لديه القليل من الوقت:مجموعة قصصية نسجها المؤلف من حالات عاينها شخصياً ظاهرها الظرافة وباطنها البؤس. كتاب ممتع ينصح بقراءته إذا تمكن القارئ من التعامل مع المادة العلمية التي تطغى أحياناً، وتمكن من التغاضي عن هنّات الترجمة التي قد تعكر مزاجه أحياناً.مراجعة لمن لديهم الوقت الكافي والمزاج المناسب: حكايات متنوعة لحالات مرضية تتنوع مابين العته، فقدان الحواس، فقدان الذاكرة والعديد من الاعتلالات النادرة والغريبة. بعض الحالات مثيرة للاهتمام حقاً، البعض مكرر والبعض الآخر مأساوي لدرجة الألم. الطرح العلمي جيد لتوسيع المدارك واكتساب المعرفة، وللخروج بالكتاب من إطار التسلية المحضة، غير أن الطرح أحياناً يستعصي على فهم القارئ العادي. أتفهم ما ذكره البعض من نقد للترجمة، لكنني أجد نفسي في صف المترجمة. فالمادة العلمية التي يتضمنها الكتاب تزخر بالمصطلحات الجافة. وفي كثير من الأحيان، لا يوجد بديل عربي لهذا المصطلح أو ذاك غير ماهو مذكور في القواميس المتخصصة. أعتقد أن القارئ أو الدارس في علم الأعصاب لن يتضايق من تلك المصطلحات بما أنه قد صادفها هنا وهناك. أذكر مثلا مصطلح الواقع الافتراضي، لم يكن له معنى وكان ممجوجا ومفتعلا قبل عامين تقريبا، أما الآن فهو دارج ومستساغ. هل كان بالإمكان أن تكون الترجمة أفضل من ذلك؟ نعم. هل ضايقتني الترجمة لدرجة أن أتوقف عن القراءة؟ لا.لاحظت أن بعض الحالات ألهمت أفلاما سنمائية رائعة مثل حالة التخلف الذي يصاحبه قدرات عددية خارقة فلم (Rain Man)، التوحد المصحوب بولع شديد بالألغاز (Mercury Rising)، و عدم القدرة على تمييز الوجوه (Faces in the Crowd)، الزهايمر (Still Alice) أما أفلام فقدان الذاكرة فلا حصر لها.أبرز فكرتيّن خرجت بهما من الكتاب:1- أن بعض العلل تبدو ذات منشأ نفسي وهي في الحقيقة أمراض عصبية عضوية لا شأن له بالحالة النفسية.2-أن الإعاقة العصبية التي لاتظهر أعراضها للعيان تسبب معاناة مضاعفة للمصابين بها حيث أنها لا تنبئ الناس من حول المريض بأنه مصاب بشيء ما. أقصد أن الأعرج أو الأكتع يحصل على التعاطف والتعاون بسهولة فعلته بادية عليه. أما الذي يعجز عن التذكر أو يجد عسراً في تفسير الكلمات أو التمييز بين الناس والأشياء، فلن يتفهمه أو يتقبله الناس بسهولة مالم يشرح لهم أحد الحالة بالتفصيل. ولاتنس أن بعض الحالات تستعصي على التصديق أصلاً.ثلاث مراجعات في مراجعة حسب ظرف كل قارئ. إن شاء الله ماقصرنا مع أحد :)
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  • حماس
    January 1, 1970
    بعد قراءة أكثر من200 صفحة من الكتابأى ما يقرب من ثلثيهأتوقف وأقرر قراءة النسخة الانجليزية الأصلية في وقت لاحق*ما لي أنا وترجمة تصير العدوى فيها اخماج وال cranium قحف؟؟!!*
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  • Muhammed Hebala
    January 1, 1970
    [English / Arabic review]الريفيو العربي بعد الريفيو الإنجليزي " Is there any 'place' in the world for a man who is like an island, who cannot be accultured, made part of the main? Can 'the main' accommodate, make room for, the singular? " That was the main inquiry of this insightful, compassionate, moving and Remarkable book.. the lucidity and power of a gifted writer.A wonderful book … full of wonder, wonders and wondering. Sacks brings to these often unhappy people understanding, sympathy, and [English / Arabic review]الريفيو العربي بعد الريفيو الإنجليزي " Is there any 'place' in the world for a man who is like an island, who cannot be accultured, made part of the main? Can 'the main' accommodate, make room for, the singular? " That was the main inquiry of this insightful, compassionate, moving and Remarkable book.. the lucidity and power of a gifted writer.A wonderful book … full of wonder, wonders and wondering. Sacks brings to these often unhappy people understanding, sympathy, and respect. Sacks is always learning from patients, marveling at them, widening his own understanding and ours.Dr. Sacks treats each of his subjects with a deep respect for the unique individual living beneath the disorder. These tales inspire awe and empathy, allowing the reader to enter the uncanny worlds of those with autism, Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s syndrome, and other unfathomable neurological conditions.He shares his experiences with readers to dispel prejudice against people who are different because of their problems. One very important truth that Sacks tries to incorporate into his life and work is that one can respect others no matter what their limitations may be. " animals get diseases, but only man falls radically into sickness " and this book is about weird conditions and the human reaction towards them, about the attempts at restitution and reconstruction of a world of complete chaos. This book is about this 'organized chaos'.These case histories are about the individual and his history, about the person and the experiences he faces, and struggles, to survive his disease.In the first case,Mr.P. and prosopagnosia, the man who mistook his wife for a hat, we see how he picks-up tiny features, but not the scene-as-a-whole, failing to see the whole and trapped in the details, and lost in a world of lifeless abstractions.Luis Bunuel said : " You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all." and that what happened to the 'Lost Mariner', " what sort of a life (if any), what sort of a world, what sort of a self, can be preserved in a man who has lost the greater part of his memory and, with this, his past, and his moorings in time? " , he was stuck in a constantly changing, meaningless moment, imprisoned in his past. He haven't felt 'alive' for a very long time. His time suddenly stopped, and he lost his soul.But the fact is " A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, and moral being .. Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely " Proprioception is the way by which the body sees itself, and her body went blind, she was disembodied. " What life it is if you painfully forced to use your consciousness with every simple movement you attempt to do? " she replaced her natural posture and self-image with a second conscious nature, she even will grip the fork and knife with painful force.Christina is condemned to live in an indescribable, unimaginable realm. She says about the 'old Christina' : " I can't identify with that graceful girl any more! She's gone, I can't remember her, I can't even imagine her. It's like something's being scooped right out of me, right at the center." Nietzsche writes : " One can lie with the mouth, but with the accompanying grimace, one nevertheless tells the truth ", and that exactly what the aphasics grasp in their 'second nature', after loosing any meaning to any word.You read about a 'handless' woman , who turns into a sculpting artist, and a woman who completely lost her left half. You read about " the paradox of an illness which can present as wellness - as a wonderful feeling of health and well-being, and only later reveals its malignant potentials." In the second part of the book, the excess, we read about the feverish energy and the morbid brilliance, about the deceptive euphoria with abysses beneath, about patients who are faced with disease as seduction, " for 'wellness', naturally, is no cause for complaint- people relish it, they enjoy it, they are at the furthest pole from complaint. People complain of feeling ill- not well. Unless, as George Eliot does, they have some intimation of 'wrongness', or danger, either through knowledge or association, or the very excess of excess." Nietzsche says : " Only great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit " , and that what happened with the wild disease of Tourette, and that is how a person is 'reanimated' , as in Cupid's disease. Even the patient says about it : " I know it's an illness, but it's made me feel well. I've enjoyed it, I still enjoy it." " We are in strange waters here, where all the usual considerations may be reversed- where illness may be wellness, and normality illness, where excitement may be either bondage or release, and where reality may lie in ebriety, not sobriety." The world keeps disappearing, losing meaning, vanishing - and they must seek meaning, make meaning, in a desperate way, continually inventing, throwing bridges of meaning over abysses of meaningless, the chaos that yawns continually beneath them.You read about people drowning in an ocean of sounds, about 'mental diplopia', about the possessed, this woman who, becoming everybody, lost her own self, became nobody. About the woman who took a back-home journey, and died after she 'arrived'.And in the last part about the world of the simple, he tells us about people who are though mentally defective in some ways, they may be mentally interesting, even mentally complete, in others. " We find ourselves entering a realm of fascination and paradox, all of which centers on the ambiguity of the 'concrete'." " In medicine, understanding and collaborating are central, patients and physicians are coequals, on the same level, each learning from and helping the other , and between them arrive new insights and treatments." ==========================================="لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ"هذه الآية هي ما يتردد صداها بداخلك بعد قراءة هذا الكتابيا لروعة و جمال و عمق هذا الكتابأوليفر ساكس كتب كتابا بمنتهى العمق و الجمال و الرومانسية و الحبما الذي يمكن أن يحدث لو فقدت حياتك و أنت على قيد الحياة ؟ما الذي يمكن أن يحدث لو أنك أصبحت بلا ماض و لا حاضر و لا مستقبل ؟لو أنك أصبحت لا تدرك الصورة التي تراها ؟؟ حتى لو كانت صورة زوجتك ؟؟لو أنك في عمر الستين و رددت حتى لا تعلم بعد علم شيئا ؟؟جسدك في الستين من العمر, و توقف بك الزمن عند السادسة عشرة من العمر ؟؟هل تخيلت أنك من الممكن أن تستيقظ من النوم ناظرا نحو قدمك جاهلا أنها تنتمي لجسدك و تصرخ طلبا لنجدة من يخلصك منها ؟؟هل تخيلت أن من الممكن أن يجهل مخك تماما وجود نصف آخر أيسر لجسدك يماثل تماما النصف الأيسر ؟؟ماذا لو تحول عالمك لمجموعة من الأصوات المستمرة التي لا تنقطع ؟ و ماذا لو انقطع فهمك لما تسمعه؟ او لما تراه ؟ماذا لو أن مرضك تسبب لك في قدرة خارقة لم تكن موجودة من قبل , تخفي من ورائها سبب فنائك ؟و ماذا عن بساطة عالم من نسميهم بالمتخلفين ذهنيا ؟ هل هم بالفعل متخلفين ؟ أم أن لهم عالما آخر خاص بهم ؟ و لغة أخرى ؟ و كيف هو شعورهم نحو العالم الجاهل من حولهم ؟ماذا و ماذا و ماذا؟؟؟؟كل هذه التساؤلات و أكثر لا يحاول أوليفر ساكس أن يتساءلها و يناقشها فلسفيا فقط , بل إنها مآس و معاناة لأناس حقيقيين مثلي و مثلك , تسبب عطب أحد أجزاء المخ في أن يسبب لهم هذه الأمراض, أو هذه اللعنات.أوليفر ساكس يكتب و يصف مآسيهم و أحزانهم, و معانات أرواحهم التي سلبت منهم بمرض لعين. دمر حياتهم, و أثر على حيوات من حولهم.يصف كيف قد غير المرض حياتهم جذريا , و كيف شكلها , و كيف دمر مستقبل بعضهم.. و صنع مستقبل آخرينيقول أوليفر ساكس : " الجميع يمرض, بما فيهم الحيوان, لكن الإنسان فقط هو من يعاني" و يقول نيتشة : " المعاناة الكبرى هي المحرر الأعظم للروح " و هذا الكتاب ليس عن المعاناة التي حررت الأرواح, بل التي قتلتهاهذا كتاب عظيم , و أجمل ما فعلته أنني لم أقرأه في ترجمته العربية, بل في لغته الأصلية, كانت لدي النسخة العربية لكنني من فرط شغفي بالكتاب و بموضوعه اشتريت النسخة الإنجليزية . و كان خير ما فعلت, فالترجمة العربية حين قارنتها في بعض الأجزاء وجدتها كأسوأ ما يكون. سلبت من الكتاب كل شيء, فلسفته و روحه و أسلوبه المتفردهذا الكتاب من أصعب الكتب التي كتبت مراجعة لها على الإطلاق.نصيحتي لكل من سيقرأ الكتاب أن يقرأه في نسخته الإنجليزية
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  • Mark Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    This is an utterly fascinating book, a collection of case studies by psychologist Oliver Sacks, presented in an eminently readable style. These studies deal with the most extraordinary mental conditions, often arising from damage to the brain, from the title case where a man in full charge of his faculties is unable to identify the purpose of any object (thus his mistaking his wife for a hat) to individuals who, again otherwise wholly reasonable, will deny ownership of one of their limbs.This is This is an utterly fascinating book, a collection of case studies by psychologist Oliver Sacks, presented in an eminently readable style. These studies deal with the most extraordinary mental conditions, often arising from damage to the brain, from the title case where a man in full charge of his faculties is unable to identify the purpose of any object (thus his mistaking his wife for a hat) to individuals who, again otherwise wholly reasonable, will deny ownership of one of their limbs.This isn't presented as a freak show. Each person is shown as an individual demanding our respect and sympathy. The over-arching message is how little we understand ourselves and how both revealing and bizarre it is when the machinery of the mind breaks down.An enthralling, humbling read that will make you think in ways you have never thought before.Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes.
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  • Glenn Sumi
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come. This was a hard one to rate. Lots of 5 star sections but some needless academic jargon, particularly in the introductions to sections. I can see why this is considered a classic. Such fascinating case histories. The brain is truly a mysterious thing.
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  • aljouharah altheeyb
    January 1, 1970
    هذا الكتاب المُذهل الرائع يقدم لك فرضية مُخيفة ومرعبة بمضمونها، لكنها - وللأسف - تحدث كثيراً .. المرعب في الأمر أنه لا أحد يعلم بحدوثها حتى تحصل إنتكاسة أو ميلان غير طبيعي في التصرفات. تخيل معي لبرهة شكل الدماغ الإنساني، هو يتكون من فصين ( أيمن وأيسر )، من المعروف أن الفص الأيسر يتحكم بالعمليات التخطيطية والتفكير الإستراتيجي والعمل .. لكن الفص الأيمن، المتكفل بالخيال والربط “ العقلاني” .. ماذا سيحدث إن فشل جزء من، أو قُطع عمل عدة خلايا من أحد هذين الفصين ؟! في الفص الأيسر سيُلاحظ الخلل على الفور هذا الكتاب المُذهل الرائع يقدم لك فرضية مُخيفة ومرعبة بمضمونها، لكنها - وللأسف - تحدث كثيراً .. المرعب في الأمر أنه لا أحد يعلم بحدوثها حتى تحصل إنتكاسة أو ميلان غير طبيعي في التصرفات. تخيل معي لبرهة شكل الدماغ الإنساني، هو يتكون من فصين ( أيمن وأيسر )، من المعروف أن الفص الأيسر يتحكم بالعمليات التخطيطية والتفكير الإستراتيجي والعمل .. لكن الفص الأيمن، المتكفل بالخيال والربط “ العقلاني” .. ماذا سيحدث إن فشل جزء من، أو قُطع عمل عدة خلايا من أحد هذين الفصين ؟! في الفص الأيسر سيُلاحظ الخلل على الفور من قبل المريض قبل غيره ! فهو إما سيفقد القدرة على الحركة \ الكلام \ السمع، أو حتى يحصل خلل واضح في العمليات الروتينية اليومية التي يعرف بها المريض تماماً أنه هُنالك شيئاً خاطئاً في جسدة .. الأمر المُرعب الذي يعرضه هذا الكتاب هو “ ماذا لو حدث خلل في الفص الأيممن ؟ “ .. المريض لن يعرف ذلك، لن يحس بأنه هُنالك شيئاً ناقصاً في جسده، لأنه عندما يحدث خلل في ههذا الفص، فإنه يحدث خلل في خلايا الفهم والربط ، الخلايا التي تحذرك قائلة “ هُنالك خطب ما في جسدك، احذر ! “ .. هنا أتى الدكتور أوليفر ساكس وأعطانا عدة أمثله عجيبه عن ماقد يحدث لو فقد أو اضطرب عمل الفص الأيمن من الدماغ أو بعضُ منه .. قد تحسب زوجتكَ قُبعة .. قد تحسب أن قدمك “مُلصقة” بك وليست قدمك الحقيقية .. قد تفقد القدرة على “إبصار” وجوه من حولك ومعرفتهم من وجوهم .. “رغم عدم فقد حاسة النظر . قد يتحول عالمك إلى أعداد أولية غير مُجزءة .. أو حتى الأسوأ من هذا قد تفقد القدرة على التحكم بجسدك تماماً لتضطر أن “تراه” لتعرف أن تحركه ! قد تفقد ذاكرتك كُلها في ثوان وتعيش كجزيرة جرداء طافية في لُجة البحر .. قد تعود بالزمن - حرفياً - إلى الوراء بذكرياتك لتنسى كُل أحداث حياتك عدا الماضي .. الكِتاب مُمتع جداً وقد أنيته دون قصد صراحة xD لأول مرة منذ زمن أقف أمام البرنامج محاولة بيأس الإنتقال للصفحة التاليه الخيالية هههه .. من المذهل ومن الرائع معرفة جزء بسيط من دماغك ومن كيفية عمله، بهذه الطريقة تشعر وكأنك تعرف نفسك قليلاً .. أحببت الكتاب، القصص و الشرح الطبي لُكل حالة والتعقيب الشخصي من الطبيب عليها .. مادة مُذهلة يجب إقتنائها بالتأكيد .. هُنا فيديو يتكلم عن بعض الحالات التي وردت في الكتاب ^^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl2Lwn...
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  • Deedee
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book years ago and maybe Sacks was a more skilled doctor than writer but a lot will depend on why you're reading this book to begin with. I felt, still do, that Dr. Sacks humanised his patients and that's not necessarily easy given the subject. The brain has such layers of complexity that are not fully understood. Sacks attempts to issue clarity on the matter, no pun meant, it could happen to you or a loved one~ trauma, a stroke, lasting or transient confusion. To have someone in you I read this book years ago and maybe Sacks was a more skilled doctor than writer but a lot will depend on why you're reading this book to begin with. I felt, still do, that Dr. Sacks humanised his patients and that's not necessarily easy given the subject. The brain has such layers of complexity that are not fully understood. Sacks attempts to issue clarity on the matter, no pun meant, it could happen to you or a loved one~ trauma, a stroke, lasting or transient confusion. To have someone in your corner looking for a solution was comforting. Excellent clinical reading in a non-clinical and compassionate format.
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  • Sinem A.
    January 1, 1970
    Yine bir Sacks şaheseri. fizyoloji ve psikoloji arasındaki bağı ortaya koyarken hem bu kader sade hem de bu kadar teknik olmayı nasıl başarıyor hayranım doğrusu. Bir gerilim filminden bile daha etkileyici hikayeleri sıralarken güzel de bir çerçeve çiziyor; önce kayıplardan sonra aşırılıklardan bahsedip en sonunda basit olmanın değeri ve güzelliğini vurguluyor. Müzik matematik ve doğa...işte tüm ihtiyacımız, tüm müştereğimiz bu :))
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  • Laala Alghata
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn't easy to review, because it's not a novel, or short story collection; it's not poetry, or essays. It's straight up non-fiction in the form of case studies and clinical analysis of different bizarre neurological cases that Oliver Sacks came across. There's everything from the titular character -- a man who really did mistake his wife for his hat -- to people with Tourette's, both severe and manageable; from excesses to people with IQs of 60 but who possess amazing talents.There is This book isn't easy to review, because it's not a novel, or short story collection; it's not poetry, or essays. It's straight up non-fiction in the form of case studies and clinical analysis of different bizarre neurological cases that Oliver Sacks came across. There's everything from the titular character -- a man who really did mistake his wife for his hat -- to people with Tourette's, both severe and manageable; from excesses to people with IQs of 60 but who possess amazing talents.There is a wide variety of cases presented. My interest in psychology, which will hopefully be my future career, is what led me to pick up this book. There's only so many academic articles you can read without wanting to smack your head against concrete, so I thought this would be a welcome change, both enlightening and easier to absorb. Sacks has a truly wonderful ability to make his writing accessible, while not for a moment relinquishing the jargon he needs to use or 'dumbing down' the studies for general consumption. It's quite enviable. I gained a lot of perspective from reading this, I tried to use what I have already learnt to understand his explanations more, and I really, really enjoyed reading it. It's an amazing book that showing the extraordinary capabilities of the human mind and psyche and the extent to which, despite all of our advancements in science, we know very little about one of our body's most important organs.
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  • Odai Al-Saeed
    January 1, 1970
    هذا الكتاب مؤثر وذا قيمةعالية في محتواه فذكريات الماضي المؤلمة المتراكمة أو هوس االخوف من مجهول المستقبل يرهق أعصابنا ويؤثر في أدمغتنا لحد التلف , في الكتاب قصص مؤثرة للدكتور الكاتب يستفاد بها دروساً لمجمل حياتنا ... أنصح به
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  • Murat Gonul
    January 1, 1970
    Nörolojik çarpıcı vakaları anlatan kitap cidden çok etkileyiciydi. Kurgu olmayan roman tarzında bir çok önemli bilgi içeren bir kitaptı. İnsana yaşadığı her anın ne kadar değerli olduğunu hissettiriyor kitaptaki olayları yaşayan hastalar. Etkileyiciydi.
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  • erigibbi
    January 1, 1970
    L’uomo che scambiò sua moglie per un cappello è un saggio che racchiude al suo interno alcuni casi di pazienti con problemi neurologici che Oliver Sacks, medico, chimico, scrittore e accademico, ha incontrato nel corso dei suoi anni.Il libro si divide in diverse sezioni: Perdite (in cui Sacks parla di pazienti che appunto hanno perso qualcosa: la capacità di vedere gli oggetti e/o il volto, la memoria, la propriocezione…); Eccessi (in questo caso si assiste quasi al contrario: immaginatevi, per L’uomo che scambiò sua moglie per un cappello è un saggio che racchiude al suo interno alcuni casi di pazienti con problemi neurologici che Oliver Sacks, medico, chimico, scrittore e accademico, ha incontrato nel corso dei suoi anni.Il libro si divide in diverse sezioni: Perdite (in cui Sacks parla di pazienti che appunto hanno perso qualcosa: la capacità di vedere gli oggetti e/o il volto, la memoria, la propriocezione…); Eccessi (in questo caso si assiste quasi al contrario: immaginatevi, per esempio, tutti quei disturbi con il suffisso «iper» davanti); Trasporti (in questi capitoli possiamo leggere di come il cervello possa portare alla nostra coscienza ricordi olfattivi o musicali che non pensavamo di avere) e infine, Il mondo dei semplici i cui protagonisti sono persone considerate idiots savants e/o persone autistiche.Questo è un libro che può essere letto sia da persone che hanno una base medica (psicologi, psichiatri, neurologi) ma anche da chi non ce l’ha. Ogni disturbo è infatti descritto molto bene in termini sintomatologici da Sacks e i casi singoli da lui portati permettono al lettore di capire in modo concreto il manifestarsi del disturbo in questione.Al di là della descrizione medica, oggettiva oserei dire, della malattia, il paziente, in questo libro, è molto di più: è una persona. Probabilmente anche questo ha influito sul giudizio particolarmente positivo che mi sento di dare a questo libro. Sacks non si dimentica mai che la persona che sta studiando e che sta cercando di curare è in primis proprio una persona. Oggi, con l’affermarsi delle neuroscienze e di tutte le loro meraviglie, è ancora più importante conservare la narrazione personale, considerare ogni paziente come un essere umano unico con la propria storia e le proprie strategie di adattamento e sopravvivenza.Questo messaggio, a mio avviso molto importante, viene ripetuto più volte. Spesso i medici, di qualsiasi ambito, dopo anni e anni passati a fare il proprio lavoro, perdono l’umanità che sembra contraddistinguerli all’inizio, come se si fossero abituati a tutto quello che ogni giorno si trovano davanti e nessuno è importante: si tratta semplicemente di un altro paziente da curare, il lato umano viene trascurato e questo, questo è un grosso sbaglio. Che cosa si poteva, che cosa si doveva fare? «In un caso come questo non ci sono indicazioni» scrisse Lurija. «Faccia tutto quello che le suggeriscono la sua intelligenza e il suo cuore. La speranza che egli recuperi la memoria è poca o nulla. Ma un uomo non consiste solo di memoria. Ha sentimenti, volontà, sensibilità, coscienza morale, tutte cose su cui la neuropsicologia non può dire nulla. Ed è in queste cose, che travalicano i confini di una psicologia impersonale, che lei può trovare il modo di arrivare al suo paziente e di cambiarlo. […] Dal punto di vista neuropsicologico, lei può fare poco o niente; ma nell’àmbito dell’Individuale forse può molto».Se amate la psiche, l’aspetto medico, i disturbi neurologici L’uomo che scambiò sua moglie per un cappello non può assolutamente mancare tra le vostre letture.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Over the course of his long career as a neurologist, Sacks has had plenty of interesting cases. It makes you appreciate what a complex organ the brain is when you see all the different ways that impairments can manifest themselves. Sacks is at his best when he's describing the most unusual quirks. The first chapter -- the case that gives the book its title -- is a good lead-in to the weird behaviors that follow.At the time the book was written, these disorders must have seemed even more unusual. Over the course of his long career as a neurologist, Sacks has had plenty of interesting cases. It makes you appreciate what a complex organ the brain is when you see all the different ways that impairments can manifest themselves. Sacks is at his best when he's describing the most unusual quirks. The first chapter -- the case that gives the book its title -- is a good lead-in to the weird behaviors that follow.At the time the book was written, these disorders must have seemed even more unusual. However, by now, most everyone knows about Tourette's syndrome, inability to recognize faces, and savants with amazing abilities in music or math. In fact, there was one example where autistic twin brothers saw a box of toothpicks fall to the floor and almost instantaneously said, in unison, 111. Of course, this is a scene out of Rain Man. The movie must have borrowed from the book which predates it. What struck me most, though, was how brain science could seem so clinically precise yet still so remote and inscrutable. At one moment the author may say "similar hyperosmia, sometimes paroxysmal, may occur in excited hyper-dopaminogic states," and in another offer "globular clusters and nebulae of numbers whorling and evolving in an ever-expanding mental sky" as explanation. Huh?Some may say that the more we understand of brain mechanics, cause and effect, chemical reactions, and modelable outcomes, the less room there is for things like free will and human spirit. This can be a depressing thought. Where's the romance in robotics? I still like to believe in something that proxies for a soul, though, even if it does reduce down to just hardware, software, and inputs. At least what each of us has is unique, and that's special enough. (Thanks, Susan, for your thoughts prompting this topic.)A book like this that helps us understand how the brain functions by showing how a damaged brain malfunctions still leaves a lot that's unexplained. In my view, neurology is asking new questions at a faster rate than it's answering old ones. I like it like that. Mysteries still abound.
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    A few quick notes. I picked this up as an audiobook from Kindle Unlimited and although some of the medical terminology was beyond my normal understanding I found the book fascinating, but probably not in the way it was intended. Our senses take in all of the information we use and it is the brain that takes that information and puts it into, what we think is, normal perspective. There are common things like color blindness which leads me to wonder how that world would look. It is not devastating A few quick notes. I picked this up as an audiobook from Kindle Unlimited and although some of the medical terminology was beyond my normal understanding I found the book fascinating, but probably not in the way it was intended. Our senses take in all of the information we use and it is the brain that takes that information and puts it into, what we think is, normal perspective. There are common things like color blindness which leads me to wonder how that world would look. It is not devastating unless you work in electronics. Cases here are different. The title case is a man who no longer recognizes faces is also the man who mistakes his wife for his hat...or at least her head for his hat. We depend on our brains to take in information constantly and translate that information into something useful to us; something that reflects reality. The idea that this system can become flawed is terrifying. So much more than the results of the defects, but in that the person affected doesn't realize the problem. His brain tells him everything is right as he experiences it. Those around him tell him different. This is certainly the making of a living horror story. Your brain tells you one thing those around you say different. Even if you believe those around you, how can you go through life questioning everything you experience? Perhaps one of the most terrifying, but completely real, books I have read.
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