Friday, October 30, 2009

Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, a book written by Mary Roach and published in 2004, is the kind of book that makes me wonder why I never wonder about the same things other people do. So Roach has all these questions: what happens when people donate their bodies "for science"? how do they figure out what happens when bodies decompose in various climactic conditions? what's with the coffins and the whole mortuary industry? How come I never wondered ANY of these questions? But when Roach points them out to me, of course I'm interested!!

This book is about dead bodies.

It is also hilarious without being disrespectful in any way to the cadavers. I even read this book over breakfast, so although dead bodies get mentioned (quite a lot, actually), it's rarely so explicitly disgusting that a strong stomach is required to read it. Roach is dry, droll, and insatiably curious, and I am totally putting her other books Bonk and Spook on my to read list.

Go read this book. And laugh. A great read for the Halloween weekend.


  1. I too enjoyed Stiff, though I thought the best chapters were the first couple and it suffered as it went along. In any case, it was a nice diversion from grad school reading!


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