Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gratitude: by Oliver Sacks

by Oliver Sacks
Hardcover, 64 pages
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Also available as an eBook 

I was fifteen years old when I read my first Oliver Sacks book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
I was instantly a fan. Sacks has the ability to make his readers interested and intrigued with his parables of medicine and neuropathy. He was a scientist and a storyteller. And one of the few people in history to combine the two in a way that made the lay person feel a part of his world.

I have read many of his books, most recently his autobiography, and was saddened by his death a couple of months ago. He was a special man.

Gratitude is a slim book of reflection from this incredible human being. A gift from him to us. In the end few words are needed.

A lovely parting gift from him to us.

From the Back Flap:

A deeply moving testimony and celebration of how to embrace life.

In January 2015, Oliver Sacks was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, and he shared this news in a New York Times essay that inspired readers all over the world: "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.... Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."
Gratitude consists of four essays that originally appeared in The New York Times, accompanied by a foreword that describes the occasion of each chapter. The foreword is written by Billy Hayes, Oliver Sacks's partner, and Kate Edgar, his long time collaborator.

Photo by: Elena Seibert
Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks was a physician, writer, and professor of neurology. Born in London in 1933, he moved to New York City in 1965, where he launched his medical career and began writing case studies of his patients. Called the “poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times, Sacks is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Awakenings, which inspired an Oscar-nominated film and a play by Harold Pinter. He was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for services to medicine. He died in 2015.