Oliver Sacks’ latest book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, feels like a summing-up of the neurologist’s four decades of work. That’s partly because he revisits many of the patients featured in his previous writings: People who know Sacks through his best-sellers have already met the woman who couldn’t stop “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” from playing in her head, the Tourettic jazz drummer known for his “sudden and wild solos,” and the tumor-stricken man who recovered his sense of spontaneity when Sacks took him to a Grateful Dead concert. The focus on music gives Sacks a chance to produce a guidebook to a universe of neurological issues, from familiar cases of autism, perfect pitch, and synesthesia to lesser-known genetic disorders such as Williams syndrome, which comprises mental retardation and an intense love for music. Covering a little bit of everything, though, means many of his tales feel undernourished, if not insubstantial. It’s unclear, for instance, why a one-page squib on the connection between a motor disorder and Jewish prayer deserves its own chapter; though he has a great story in Tony Cicoria, a surgeon who developed an obsession with piano music after he was struck by lightning, evidence of emotional damage (such as Cicoria’s divorce) merits only a passing mention. The more details Sacks provides, the more his prose sings: A beautifully turned chapter on Clive Wearing, a pianist who lives in a perpetual state of amnesia, proves that Sacks can be a storyteller as much as a case-study-teller. Sacks discusses and signs copies of his work at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.