Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author, died on Sunday at age 82. Sacks announced in February that he had late-stage cancer. Sacks’s books, which include Hallucinations and Awakenings and the recent memoir On the Move, captured the mysterious workings of the human brain. In his 1985 book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, he wrote about a patient with a parietal-lobe tumor, who tried “to kick his own left leg out of bed under the mistaken impression that someone has placed a cold cadaver limb beside him as a practical joke.”
Jeb Bush likes bestsellers such as Robert Putnam’s Our Kids, Marco Rubio favors the books of “Reformicon” Yuval Levin, Scott Walker has dropped references to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence: What the Republican presidential candidates are reading.
Three Al Jazeera journalists have been sentenced by an Egyptian judge to three years in prison. The jounalists—Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste—all worked for Al Jazeera’s English news channel, and had been accused of broadcasting “false news” about Egypt.
It is rumored that the mysterious novelist Elena Ferrante is granting only one interview per country to publicize her new novel, The Story of the Lost Child, which concludes her series of four Neapolitan novels. In the US, that honor went to Vanity Fair. You can read part one of a two-part interview (conducted by Elissa Schappell) here. “Friendship is a crucible of positive and negative feelings that are in a permanent state of ebullition.”
Scarlett Johansson has failed to halt the English publication of Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, a French novel that features a character who resembles her. In the book, “a French village mechanic’s quiet life is interrupted when a woman who appears to be Scarlett Johansson shows up at his house. As it turns out, she is an imposter.” Johansson and her lawyer claimed that the book is “defamatory,” but their demands to stop publication were rejected, and the English-language publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson will release the book, which came out in France in 2013, on September 10.