Oliver Sacks, however, has a way of writing about his areas of lifelong interest — they include libraries, neurological disorders, botany and the history of science — that never fails to captivate me even if they are far from my own passions. Sacks possesses the crucial knack of neither dumbing down nor writing over the head of a lay reader ... Much science writing for a general readership strains to explain specialized topics. For Sacks it’s more about enthusing his way to promote appreciation (and greater understanding). We get excited about, say, ferns because he is so into their beauty and resilience ... If you love fascinating tidbits, this book of uncollected or previously unpublished essays is for you ... neatly summarizes the extraordinary career of a brilliant translator between far-apart worlds.
The word 'Oneirism' is more than just an obscure exception to the 'i' before 'e' rhymelet. It also exemplifies the exceptionally advanced and sometimes stymying lexical breadth of Oliver Sacks’s writing—never more challenging than in this last, posthumous book ... this obscure terminology serves to honor the reader. If you don’t know our meanings, these terms imply, trust us that we are carefully chosen, as we trust you to look us up ... the topics here are actually a wonderfully odd lot ... Life bursts through all of Oliver Sacks’s writing. He was and will remain a brilliant singularity. It’s hard to call to mind one dull passage in his work—one dull sentence, for that matter. At the end of this book, and very near the end of his life, in 'Filter Fish,' he even manages to give gefilte fish, of all things, a wonderful star turn[.]
This posthumously published collection of essays by Oliver Sacks further cements the neurologist’s place in the pantheon of science writers ... His agility with the microscope of prose—zooming in on acute scenes from his own life, then back out to encapsulate life and science as a whole—is in full flourish in his latest book ... the pieces rhythmically shift from longer introspections to brief and punchy vignettes ... Fans of Sacks’s writing will likely gravitate towards the previously unpublished works collected in Everything ... Although his prolific writing career cast his robust imprint on our culture long ago, Sacks further secures his legacy with this most recent collection of his work.
As polished and as intimately voiced—the author seems our bosom friend far more than an 'authority'—as Sacks is at his best ... impossible to put down unfinished ... Since the 1970s, Anglo-American literature has boasted an astonishing number of excellent writing physicians and scientists. Consider Oliver Sacks their dean.
...a reminder of the breadth of his professional expertise and the depth of his personal passions ... Admirers of Sacks’ previous books, like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, will most enjoy the section titled 'Clinical Tales' ... Sacks is equally appealing when he turns to more personal topics—including his love for gefilte fish and botanical gardens—which make up the book’s final section ... That aspiration and all the essays collected here are a fitting valedictory to Oliver Sacks’ fascinating life.
... delightfully varied ... weaves a rich tapestry of influences, obsessions, curiosities, passions and achievements worthy of the often-misused phrase 'Renaissance Man.' In Sacks’ case, the distinction is a perfect fit ... Sacks places each case within a very human and empathic context, building connections and relationships that are both memorable and compelling. He writes for people, not specialists ... Reading this elegant and diverse collection reminded me that the unannounced encore often turns out to be the concert’s most memorable performance. In so many ways, this literary encore, the unannounced 'one more thing,' beautifully sums up the remarkable legacy of Oliver Sacks.
There is an unusually intriguing discussion of the many sides of Tourette's syndrome as well as a detailed analysis of the misleadingly named 'bi-polar' disorder ... In a lighter vein, Sacks discusses his early fascination with fossil botany and chemistry. He also offers odes to libraries, swimming, museums, the necessity of gardens, and the majesty of the ginkgo ... his essay on pioneering British chemist and poet Humphry Davy is particularly edifying ... Balanced and insightful, this valedictory collection offers a fine coda to a remarkable life and career.
...this is not a mere Sacks smorgasbord: it has a distinct identity of its own and covers a remarkably wide range of topics, none of them unknown to his regular readers, but unified by a particular tone ... we are left with an image of the author that is extraordinarily touching ... There are echoes here across the whole of Sacks’s voluminous oeuvre—tales differently told, glancing allusions to people encountered elsewhere, fragments of autobiography ... the pieces collected in Everything in Its Place introduce us to the remarkable, odd boy that he was ... Sacks traces with fine sympathy the terrible spiraling failure of care over the twentieth century.
...his inexhaustible curiosity, his sharpness of wit, and his special ability to create, maintain, and write about meaningful friendships, often with his patients, lent his writing humane, uncommon compassion ... All of these most endearing qualities are on full display in Everything in Its Place ... Sacks is again larger than life—as memoirist, clinician, naturalist, antiquarian, and philosopher ... Sacks thinks in exceptional cases ... In the powerful force of his prose, he crafted an explicit archetype for what we all might desire from our doctors ... masterful ... a recipe for psychiatry’s future.
...a fitting coda to an exemplary literary and medical career, displaying the essential humanity and spaciousness of mind that his readers have long come to expect ... Contained in this wide-ranging valedictory volume are the customary clinical case studies from his medical practice, generally in aid of clarifying a condition or illuminating a concept. But there is also an array of musings ... Sacks offers passionate odes to libraries, photography’s revelations on movement, fossil botany, gardens, the wonder of crystals ... Sacks, justifiably called the 'poet laureate of science,' will be keenly missed, not only for the elegance and potency of his writing, but for his critically important championing of science in an age of science denial.
If you are not already familiar with the writing of Oliver Sacks, this volume is a lovely way to acquaint yourself with it ... Most interestingly, the chapters take into consideration not only the scientific and medical aspects of each case, but also the humanistic viewpoint of the patient, doctor, and caregivers involved ... Sacks’ writing is still filled with the joy of discovery, yet at this time, it is also rife with the sagesse of life experience ... Above all, his greatest strength is how he skillfully allows the non-specialist to deeply delve into the field of neurological study.
...a series of essays as varied as they are wise ... Their central core is a section devoted to 'clinical tales' in which Sacks discusses freely, and always with a deep sense of humanity, several patients and their neurological disorders that fascinated him ... Though these types of diseases are tragic, Sacks provides useful discoveries along the way ... These later essays are full of curiosity and awe ... Whether discussing botany or the intricacies of the brain, Sacks writes with the natural candor and wisdom of a great teacher. Everything in Its Place is his thoroughly illuminating last word.
... was worth waiting for ... The previously published essays, like Sacks’s books, are enormously readable and erudite. We are familiar with Sacks the meticulous researcher and eloquent explicator of science for the layperson, but new to us are the meditations, prose poems, and ponderings offered here, some in chapters as brief as two pages ... Tantalizingly, Sacks illuminates paths for research not yet conducted ... As long as people are still reading Sacks, in spite of what they’re doing with their glowing devices, this reader will continue to harbor optimism for our species.
...[a] lovely collection ... Readers will learn of influences that molded Sacks’s brilliant mind ... Of the many remarkable essays on medical conditions, 'Travels with Lowell' stands out for its sensitivity and nuance ... Sacks’s gentle, ruminative voice is a salve when investigating difficult subject matter ... Piercingly insightful and delightfully strange, Sacks’s final collection is a treat for the chronically curious.