Tag Archives: Melville House Publishing

Oliver Sacks: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

Oliver Sacks - The Last Interview and Other Conversations Title: Oliver Sacks: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Author: Oliver Sacks
Interviewers: Charlie Rose, Studs Terkel, Lisa Burrell, Tom Ashbrook and Robert Krulwich
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
ISBN: 978-1612196510
Genre: Non-Fiction, Interviews
Pages: 208
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 Stars

I’ve always admired Oliver Sacks. His works make you want more and illuminate you on so many levels about science, humanity, relationships and empathy. Oliver Sacks was not just another neuroscientist. I think he knew how to give cases a voice – to add the human touch to them, to not make them seem so scientific but connect with them on an emotional level because that is what science is at the core. His creativity, compassion and insight made him a worldwide renowned persona and this volume of interviews only make that belief stronger at every possible level.

“The Last Interview and Other Conversations” is a series of interviews (including the last one) with eminent personalities and the volume read by me was of course the one on Oliver Sacks. This volume includes transcripts of six interviews given by Sacks from 1987 until 2015. He died in August 2015 at 82.

These interviews were conducted around the time of his books’ releases – four books and the last two (my favorite ones in the volume) are on aging and finding love. This book just makes you look at Sacks’ various personality attributes – shyness, inquisitiveness, and how he could empathize with people who had neurological disorders and not just treat them as only cases.

This book is a great place to start if you haven’t read any of Oliver Sacks’ works only because these interviews give you the essence to the man and the writer, which would compel you to read at least one of his books if not all. Which would further lead the reader to some incredible case studies (The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat) or the one about the face colorblind person (it is a real thing by the way) to the surgeon with Tourette’s syndrome who also flew a plane.

Sacks speaks of them so fondly in these interviews, also about his friendship with Robin Williams to my most favourite interview (the last one) where he speaks of death and finding love at seventy-seven. These six interviews are like the appetizers that will for sure want you to take a bite of the main course. Read these interviews. Also, read all his works.

 

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Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra Title: Bonsai
Author: Alejandro Zambra
Publisher: Melville House
ISBN: 978-1612191683
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 86
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Not all good novels have to be long. There are times when you read a book and wish it was not that short. I have read “Bonsai” by Alejandro Zambra a couple of times. This was another time that I had to re-read it. “Bonsai” is a love story. It is a story on art and life. It is about life and its misery. It is also about how one can live and how one does. Alejandro Zambra’s debut novel (or actually a novella) is profound and yet funny in some parts. It is a story that is meant to be simple and ends up being extremely complex.

Julio and Emilia are two Chilean university students. Julio loves Emilia. Emilia loves Julio. They both are avid readers. They lie to each other about having read Proust. They read in bed. They are grand when it comes to love and also doubtful and unsure about their love. They drift apart. Emilia then disappears from Chile without a word and that is when the story begins, merging the past and the present. There is also another story within this story and one more which will leave the readers spellbound.

Bonsai of course does have a major role to play in the book and that I will not speak about in my review. Each word is essential. Everything is in place. The writing is accessible. It is melancholic and superlative. This is the kind of book that shows you that you do not need too many words to say what you want to. The tragic end of the story and the way it begins is enough for the reader to know that he or she is sold. The book is edgy, will be a treat for literary lovers and for those who want to explore the different side of fiction.

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