I read my first Oliver Sacks's book two years ago. It was An Anthropologist on Mars and he's prone to do it focused on the various mental disorders that baffle doctors to this day.
He's written a new book called Musicphilia and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Wired did an interview with Sacks and have part of the interview here.
A great quote:
Sacks: Hume wondered whether one can imagine a color that one has never encountered. One day in 1964, I constructed a sort of pharmacological mountain, and at its peak, I said, "I want to see indigo, now!" As if thrown by a paintbrush, a huge, trembling drop of purest indigo appeared on the wall — the color of heaven. For months after that, I kept looking for that color. It was like the lost chord.
Then I went to a concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the first half, they played the Monteverdi Vespers, and I was transported. I felt a river of music 400 years long running from Monteverdi's mind into mine. Wandering around during the interval, I saw some lapis lazuli snuffboxes that were that same wonderful indigo, and I thought, "Good, the color exists in the external world." But in the second half I got restless, and when I saw the snuffboxes again, they were no longer indigo — they were blue, mauve, pink. I've never seen that color since.
It took a mountain of amphetamine, mescaline, and cannabis to launch me into that space. But Monteverdi did it too.
So very accurate. I have said ad naseum that performing a beautiful piece, Dvorak's New World Symphony for example, is better than sex.