Sacks: Oaxaca Journal
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Oliver Sacks, Oaxaca Journal. Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, 2002. xv + 159 pages; illustrated; with maps.
Sacks is one of my favorite nonfiction authors, the one I recommend whenever I meet someone who "never reads nonfiction". This book felt a bit more raw than his others; he explains in the introduction that he always keeps journals while traveling, and he decided not to edit it much before publishing. I think that really works; I felt like I was inside Sacks’ brain as he explored Oaxaca, Mexico with a bunch of fern enthusiasts.
And his brain is a wonderful place to be! There are musings on plants (of course!), his fellow travelers, the Mexicans he meets, the landscape and history of Oaxaca, and it’s all written in such a refined, curious, intelligent tone. As if all of that weren’t enough, there are sketches of some of the ferns! (Certainly I’m not the only one who adores botanical sketches.)
I loved this one so much that as soon as I finished, I had to go put another Sacks on hold (his memoir, Uncle Tungsten). Also, it’s part of a National Geographic travelogue series, so I’ll be looking into the other titles!
-- Notes by EVA