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Extended Audio Sample The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory, and Love Audiobook, by Michael D. Lemonick Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael D. Lemonick Narrator: Kaleo Griffith Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2017 ISBN: 9781524750466
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In the aftermath of a shattering illness, Lonni Sue Johnson lives in a "perpetual now," where she has almost no memories of the past and a nearly complete inability to form new ones. The Perpetual Now is the moving story of this exceptional woman, and the groundbreaking revelations about memory, learning, and consciousness her unique case has uncovered.

Lonni Sue Johnson was a renowned artist who regularly produced covers for The New Yorker, a gifted musician, a skilled amateur pilot, and a joyful presence to all who knew her. But in late 2007, she contracted encephalitis. The disease burned through her hippocampus like wildfire, leaving her severely amnesic, living in a present that rarely progresses beyond ten to fifteen minutes.
     Remarkably, she still retains much of the intellect and artistic skills from her previous life, but it's not at all clear how closely her consciousness resembles yours or mine. As such, Lonni Sue's story has become part of a much larger scientific narrative—one that is currently challenging traditional wisdom about how human memory and awareness are stored in the brain.
     In this probing, compassionate, and illuminating book, award-winning science journalist Michael D. Lemonick uses the unique drama of Lonni Sue Johnson's day-to-day life to give us a nuanced and intimate understanding of the science that lies at the very heart of human nature. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Watching Lonni Sue and her family reconstruct her life under nearly impossible circumstances is an enthralling story of patience, determination and love, and the bonus is that it's also a window into the emerging science of how the brain makes, stores and recalls memories. You'll never think about your own brain in the same way again.
    Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tom's River
  • "The Perpetual Now is a fascinating and artful book that takes us deep into the most mysterious labyrinth in nature, the human brain. We meet Lonni Sue Johnson, an artist with profound amnesia, who lost her ability to form or recall memories, and we meet Johnson’s loving family and the scientists who have studied brain for many years, probing the mystery of memory.  Richard Preston, New York Times bestselling author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees
  • [The Perpetual Now] enhances not only our understanding of the brain but also our appreciation of human resilence. Katrina Firlik M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
  • A life-affirming exploration.... Lemonick’s prior connection to the Johnson family...combined with [his]personal delight at Johnson’s optimism and obsession with word puzzles and spontaneous bouts of song, bridges the gap between his interest in Johnson as a research topic and his affection for her as a human being. Fans of the late Oliver Sacks will appreciate the blend of heart and science in Lemonick’s account. Publishers Weekly 
  • A fascinating and poignant portrait...Lemonick’s compassionate look at illness, memory, and what it means to be human will appeal to Oliver Sacks fans. Booklist
  • Through sharing Johnson’s compelling story, Lemonick delivers a fascinating lesson that deepens our appreciation for our own memories. Real Simple
  • [The Perpetual Now] enhances not only our understanding of the brain but also our appreciation of human resilence. Katrina Firlik M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
  • There may be nothing so evanescent as memory. It’s fleeting, it’s fickle, it’s destructible, and yet it’s the very foundation of who we are. So what happens when it’s suddenly annihilated? Lonnie Sue Johnson—artist, musician, pilot—learned that in the most painful and personal way imaginable in 2007, when a sudden encephalitis infection destroyed her hippocampus, the locus of memory in the brain. She recovered, but lives in a world of moments, in which all memories are wiped clean and start over every 10 or 15 minutes. In The Perpetual Now, Michael D. Lemonick, the rare journalist and author who can weave a compelling narrative while unpacking complex science, tells Johnson's unexpectedly life-affirming story and, in doing so, explores what researchers know—and are continually learning—about human memory. With this book, as with all of Lemonick's books, I came away both moved by what I read, and smarter for having read it. Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect, co-author of Apollo 13
  • [The Perpetual Now] enhances not only our understanding of the brain but also our appreciation of human resilence.  Katrina Firlik M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
  • What is it like to live in the perpetual now? To have no memory of conversations that occurred just a few minutes ago, and no ability to see beyond the next few? A chance encounter on a Princeton street launches Michael Lemonick on a fascinating voyage into the mind of Lonni Sue Johnson, an artist and amateur pilot whose world was upended by a fluke viral infection that robbed her of almost everything but her indomitable spirit. Watching Lonni Sue and her family reconstruct her life under nearly impossible circumstances is an enthralling story of patience, determination and love, and the bonus is that it's also a window into the emerging science of how the brain makes, stores and recalls memories. You'll never think about your own brain in the same way again. Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tom's River
  • "The Perpetual Now is a fascinating and artful book that takes us deep into the most mysterious labyrinth in nature, the human brain. We meet Lonni Sue Johnson, an artist with profound amnesia, who lost her ability to form or recall memories, and we meet Johnson’s loving family and the scientists who have studied brain for many years, probing the mystery of memory.   Richard Preston, New York Times bestselling author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees
  • There may be nothing so evanescent as memory. It’s fleeting, it’s fickle, it’s destructible, and yet it’s the very foundation of who we are. So what happens when it’s suddenly annihilated? Lonnie Sue Johnson—artist, musician, pilot—learned that in the most painful and personal way imaginable in 2007, when a sudden encephalitis infection destroyed her hippocampus, the locus of memory in the brain. She recovered, but lives in a world of moments, in which all memories are wiped clean and start over every 10 or 15 minutes. In The Perpetual Now, Michael D. Lemonick, the rare journalist and author who can weave a compelling narrative while unpacking complex science, tells Johnson's unexpectedly life-affirming story and, in doing so, explores what researchers know—and are continually learning—about human memory. With this book, as with all of Lemonick's books, I came away both moved by what I read, and smarter for having read it. Jeffrey Kluger, Editor at Large of Time magazine and co-author of Apollo 13
  • [The Perpetual Now] enhances not only our understanding of the brain but also our appreciation of human resilence.  Katrina Firlik M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
  • "Lemonick skillfully employs both a personal voice...and a scholarly authority as he travels through the incredible life of Lonnie Sue. His great accomplishment is helping us see the "new" Lonni Sue as a most remarkable person. An absolutely memorable book. Kirkus Review, *starred* 
  • "The Perpetual Now is a fascinating and artful book that takes us deep into the most mysterious labyrinth in nature, the human brain. We meet Lonni Sue Johnson, an artist with profound amnesia, who lost her ability to form or recall memories, and we meet Johnson’s loving family and the scientists who have studied brain for many years, probing the mystery of memory.  Richard Preston, New York Times bestselling author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees
  • Lemonick does an excellent job of explaining why Lonni Sue's 'enormous storehouse of knowledge' regarding visual art, music and aviation made her an especially rich research subject...[A] very diligent reporter...the story of Lonni Sue, one of the great experiments of nature, is intrinsically fascinating. Washington Post
  • Through sharing Johnson’s compelling story, Lemonick delivers a fascinating lesson that deepens our appreciation for our own memories. Real Simple
  • A well-researched, engaging and accessible combination of brain science an biography... Lemonick brilliantly employs this lens, placing Lonni Sue’s story in a personal and scientific context that keeps the reader engaged throughout...At once smart and approachable, The Perpetual Now is an inspiring story of human resilience and scientific progress, a reminder that great triumphs are often borne of great tragedies. Expect an education in memory research, but also expect a gorgeous and memorable testament to the fact that we are far more than our memories. The Huffington Post
  • Lemonick does an excellent job of explaining why Lonni Sue's 'enormous storehouse of knowledge' regarding visual art, music and aviation made her an especially rich research subject...[A] very diligent reporter...the story of Lonni Sue, one of the great experiments of nature, is intrinsically fascinating. Washington Post
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About the Narrator

Kaleo Griffith is an actor and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. He has appeared in such television series as Law & Order and Reggie’s Family & Friends.