Don't Try to Read this Book in a Day

The Pick: The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks

The Premise: A compilation of essays on the nature of consciousness and how we perceive the world around us by the always astute Oliver Sacks.

The Pros and Cons: I am an avid fan of Oliver Sacks. Ever since I first read an excerpt of his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat in a magazine, I’ve been hooked on neurology and neuroscience. I will forever be grateful to Oliver Sacks for introducing me to that world within. (I included his book in one of my Favorites Friday posts.)

Though The River of Consciousness was published posthumously, Sacks himself outlined the idea for the book and gathered his essays a few weeks before he died. Each essay is textbook Sacksian (including the numerous parenthetical statements and footnotes). I enjoyed them for that reason. However, I do think the book suffered from not having been edited and compiled by Sacks himself. At times the essays rambled and the sentences became so convoluted, unlike the more readable style of his other great works. The River of Consciousness is definitely not entry level Oliver Sacks. A creationist reader may be dismayed at the heavy reliance on evolutionary thought prevailing in the book, but an astute discerner can mine its pages for the scientific truths we can agree on. I recommend this book to anyone who has read everything else Sacks has written and still can’t get enough.

The Perfect Book For: The hard core fan of Oliver Sacks and the student of historical changes in science’s beliefs about the development of human consciousness (that convoluted sentence is brought to you by a day of reading The River of Consciousness).

Also, don’t try to read this book in a day.