Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Spook by Mary Roach
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Sep 25, 11

bookshelves: bookclub, non-fiction, philosophy, science, reviewed, gr-a, aaalt
Recommended for: fans of books by Mary Roach; any reader interested in the subject matter
Read from September 20 to 25, 2011

I loved Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (how can I not adore an author who has me laughing heartily as I read about what happens to dead human bodies?!) (a 5 star book for me) and I’d like to read her book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void and maybe Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex too, but I wasn’t that enthusiastic about reading this book. But, it’s the October selection for my real world book club so I dived in, with maybe not an open mind but not a 100% tightly shut mind, just a 99.99% shut mind. This book, I’d likely never have picked up on my own, at least not until I’d read all other books by Roach.

This book is a delight because its author is funny. So funny! She’s also scientifically minded. Sense of humor and scientific mindedness are two things I value highly.

And, it’s a good thing that this book is laugh out loud hilarious because I also had to get through reading about absurd and gruesome experiments on animals and people that she describes. The contents turned out to be partly about a subject I’ve always enjoyed: the history of medicine.

And on page 72, there is even mention of the man I read about in the children’s picture book Fartiste by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer and illustrated by Boris Kulikov.

This is a remarkably quick read. I laughed and smiled more during the first half than the second half of the book, but I’m not convinced it got any less funny; I’m more inclined to think the humor wore thin for me, and I’d had enough of the subject. But there is plenty of humor throughout and even the “Acknowledgements” section is a hoot.

The book is organized beautifully; one chapter flows perfectly into the next.

Oh, and for all my talk of the hilarity present within these pages the subject is taken seriously, and with an open, albeit scientific, survey.

I must say I was a wee bit surprised by her expressed opinions in the “Last Words” section in the back of the book.

What I love most about this book (and Stiff and I assume her other books too) is that she takes her readers on a journey that she is also experiencing for herself.

There is an impressive Bibliography, materials listed for each chapter of this book.

My book club chose this as our October selection because it’s the month of Halloween. I’m not sure how much we’ll talk about the book vs. our own beliefs vs. general talk, but that’s the case for virtually all our book club meetings, no matter which/what types of books we read; most meetings we talk more about non-book related things than the books we’ve read, and the vegan food we’re eating and enjoying is a common enough subject of our conversation.

3 ½ to 3 ¾ stars
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Reading Progress

09/20/2011 page 79
25.0% "I haven't started Harry Potter 7 as part of my 1-7 reread, and this wouldn't have been my choice of a Mary Roach book to read, even though I loved Stiff and would like to read Packing for Mars. BUT, she is SO funny, and I love the history of medicine, and that's part of what's covered. Fun so far!!!"
09/21/2011 page 123
40.0% "Good thing this is laugh out hilarious in many places because I'm also having to read about absurd and sometimes gruesome experiments done on animals and people. A very quick read and hard to put down, but concurrently reading other books so will have to put it down at times."
09/22/2011 page 171
55.0% "And on page 43 of Harry Potter 7 as part of my 1-7 reread."
09/23/2011 page 215
69.0% "On page 215. Very funny. But a bit much at this point. It helps that I'm of like mind with the author. Still on page 43 of Harry Potter 7 as part of my 1-7 reread."
09/24/2011 page 270
87.0% "I guess I'll finish this up tomorrow, or maybe before bed?? Very funny and interesting but I've kind of had enough. I'm also on page 106 of the paperback edition of Harry Potter 7, as part of my HP 1-7 reread."

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Angie (new)

Angie Looks good!


Lisa Vegan Angie wrote: "Looks good!"

It's funny. She's funny. It helps me like it that we're both skeptics, but she is open-minded, I think.


Sarah I love her, but I haven't gotten to this one yet. (Now I will sooner rather than later!) Packing for Mars was really great too.


Lisa Vegan Sarah wrote: "I love her, but I haven't gotten to this one yet. (Now I will sooner rather than later!) Packing for Mars was really great too."

Sarah, Yes, I should read everything by her. I really liked this and subject wise it's probably my least favorite of the bunch, but she does it so well.


message 5: by Eric_W (new) - added it

Eric_W I would love to know the distinction between 3.5 and 3.75 stars!


Lisa Vegan Eric_W wrote: "I would love to know the distinction between 3.5 and 3.75 stars!"

;-) Hey; I could have said 87.348%. I don't know the answer to your question, Eric. I guess that's just the way my warped mind went when I thought about how to rate this book.


message 7: by Eric_W (new) - added it

Eric_W Lisa wrote: "Eric_W wrote: "I would love to know the distinction between 3.5 and 3.75 stars!"

;-) Hey; I could have said 87.348%. I don't know the answer to your question, Eric. I guess that's just the way my..."


LOL.


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