insomniac city by bill hayes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“O: “The most we can do is write - intelligently, creatively, critically, evocatively - about what it is like living in the world at this time.””

Have you ever read a book that you just never want to let go of? I want to sleep this book under my pillow to keep it safe, but also share it with the world, because it is a beautiful and important work filled with enormous depth on living in a big city amongst others, falling in love and sharing a life, alongside notable remarks on the science and curiosities of the mind.

Bill Hayes, an author and photographer, moved to New York after the loss of a spouse, and ended up forming a relationship with the legendary Oliver Sacks. Almost in a diary format, Hayes has written a social commentary on living in Manhattan, along with, what may seem ordinary but are deeply personal, moments shared between Oliver and himself.

Written with almost a delicate simplicity, this book is a reminder you we are social beings who have the power to form connections with others in very modest ways. The book is a reminder of what it takes to be a kind human, and just by living with an open mind, how much of an easy feat it is. Through Oliver’s humbling observations throughout, the book is a reminder of the vast complexities of science, and that creativity and new knowledge stems from simply looking up, questioning everything and acknowledging the discourse between past discoveries and our current surroundings.

I never want to let go of this book. I will read it over and over again. I truly loved it, and I hope you will connect with it too.


Reviewed by: @malireads
Sydney, Australia


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