Oliver Sacks remains my hero to this day. He was one of the first medical writers I read. The other was Lewis Thomas, who is no longer alive but is just heroic to me.
Although many of his other novels are brilliant there is a power in 'Oliver Twist' that I believe Dickens never managed to retrieve. It is as if he was sent to this earth with the sole purpose of writing this book.
I think one of the few faults in Dickens is that mostly his lead characters are blanks - who is David Copperfield, who is Oliver Twist? And yet he takes such joy in populating the rest of his novels with these fantastic, grotesque people like Pecksmith and so on.
I listened to King Oliver and I listened to Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp... I listened to everything I could that came from that place that they call the blues but, in formality, isn't necessarily the blues.
Philip E. Berger
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec