Sacks, Oliver. Gratitude
LJ Reviews 2016 January #1
Sacks's (Awakenings; The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) powerful look back at his remarkable life was published posthumously. The book chronicles the famous author's thoughts, wishes, regrets, and, above all, feelings of love, happiness, and gratitude even as he faced the cancer that ended his life last year at 82. In essays that originally appeared in print in the New York Times, Sacks relates what makes him happy—simply to be alive on a beautiful day, for example—as well as what causes him sadness as he ages. He considers people he has known and loved and how they approached death and candidly discusses his feelings upon learning that his cancer had metastasized and was terminal. Surprisingly, the writings feature themes related to physics rather than biology, with Sacks explaining that "Times of stress…have led me to turn, or to return, to the physical sciences, a world where there is no life, but also no death." While the book shows no dimming of intellect—indeed, the material offers incisive, poignant observations—the author's usual scientific narrative has in places been supplanted by wistful musings on life and love. The essays also tie up the strands of a career spent investigating and writing, mentioning various projects, mentors, and books along the way. VERDICT A perfect gift for thoughtful readers, and a title that belongs in science and biography collections.—Henrietta Verma, formerly with Library Journal[Page 127]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.