Fresh Picks for Your Book Club Meeting
By Oliver Sacks
416 pages; Knopf
Why Your Book Club Will Love It: This powerful, honest memoir may just inspire your members to confess to—and pursue—their long-deferred dreams.
The Burning Questions: How can failure and hurt put us on the road to triumph? Why are our quirks our greatest gifts?
What to Bring to Your Meeting: Your freak flag! Seriously, you'll feel encouraged to be your unique and wonderful selves together.
In his final book, published four months before his death, best-selling writer and physician Oliver Sacks looked back on his life. Sacks came from a family of doctors but always had an artist's temperament. When his surgeon mother learned he was gay, she exclaimed, "I wish you had never been born." Sacks forever carried the sting of that moment; it prompted a "need to have different selves for day and night," a "doubleness" that may explain the unique blend of scientific precision and openhearted observation that he brought to his patients and his writing. While at Oxford, he came to realize he wanted to write "essays presenting individuals with unusual weaknesses or strengths," though before pursuing that goal, he made one last attempt to gain a foothold in the world of medical research. It ended so disastrously, his bosses told him, "Sacks, you are a menace in the lab. Why don't you go and see patients—you'll do less harm," which is perhaps the nudge this eccentric genius needed to pursue his one-of-a-kind career.
— Terre Roche and Dawn Raffel