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My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,172 ratings  ·  495 reviews
A Hilarious Collection of Essays from one of America's Most Gifted Humorists!

Follow New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach -- but be careful not to trip -- as she weaves through personal anecdotes and everyday musings riddled with her uncanny wit and amazingly analytical eye. These essays, which found a well-deserved home within the pages of Reader's Digest as the co
Paperback, 191 pages
Published April 4th 2013 by Reader's Digest
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  3,172 ratings  ·  495 reviews

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Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous-essays
1/3 less filling than a regular Mary Roach book, but fun all the same.

This is a collection of Reader's Digest essays. Keeping in mind that the sole purpose of that rag is to NOT UPSET ANYONE, these tales of Roach-life are tame compared to her usual books. There are certainly no Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex moments to be found.

Here we have Mary relating all the trials and tribulations of her everyday life, from her attempts to call a Customer Care Service to the hazards of Valent
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had mixed feelings while reading these essays by Mary Roach. First, I was incredibly amused. She is hilarious and honest yet clean. CLEAN. Did I mention hilarious? That's where the mixed feelings come in. Mary is funnier than I am. So I have to hate her just a little bit.

Still, her writing is so honest and real that I had to read snippets of it to my husband. So many of her essays were centered around her marriage and the differences between herself and her husband, Ed, who sadly resemble in m
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read Roach's columns in Reader's Digest (RD) & loved them, so when a friend told me she had written a book about bodies after death, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, I was immediately interested, read it, loved it & have loved every book since.

As they originally appeared, each column was the front & back of one page in RD. Nothing has been done to change them, although they're lacking the cartoon that accompanied them in the magazine, which is a shame. The main point being, th
B Schrodinger
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: humour
Thanks to Netgalley and Readers Digest for a reviewers copy in exchange for an honest review.

Cross-posted from my blog The Periodic Table of Elephants

After an ambivalent start with her early books, I have grown to love Mary's later works such as 'Packing for Mars', 'Stiff' and 'Gulp'. Mary's long form writing addresses all those questions that we are all thinking yet do not ask such as "What the hell is a shit transplant?", "When you donate your body to science, what happens to it?" and "What ha
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Mary Roach has taught me about germs, sex, and death, so when I saw that she had written a compendium about the planet, I felt that nirvana was at hand.


This is a collection of 500 word essays written for Reader's Digest. They fit perfectly: all about Life in these United States, all perky, all light. Great bathroom reading. One at a time.

Mary Roach is a great writer, but the 500 word essay isn't anyone's medium. She writes lines like "God help me. I've entered the Age of Skirted Swimwear
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
This is a side of Mary Roach I really wish I'd never seen. I'm sure these stories were hilarious in small doses when originally published, but all together they came off as whiny and self-centered. This should have been called, "My Husband", although Ed seems to be her whole world as documented here so maybe the title is appropriate.

Until I picked this up, Mary Roach was one of my favorite authors. I loved her humor and her tenacious research and approachable way of describing science. Reading
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
From acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach comes the complete collection of her “My Planet” articles published in Reader’s Digest. I did not expect to enjoy this title so much, but I really related to almost all the stories in here, and was giggling throughout the book, which I read in one sitting. If you want some light entertainment, and your sense of humour tends to be a bit off-beat, I highly recommend this book.
Kayt O'Bibliophile
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humorous
From one of my all-time favorite authors (and people-surrounding-me's least-favorite authors, due to her incredible read-out-loudability) comes something that...well, I wasn't sure what it was at first, but it had Mary Roach's name on it so it had to be good.

And it was, though not quite like I expected. In the early-mid aughts (a.k.a. ~ten-ish years ago, but let us use fancy words instead) she wrote a column for Reader's Digest, and those monthly shorts have been compiled here.

If you're familia
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well, that was disappointing.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved this compilation of Reader's Digest columns of Mary Roach. Sharp, witty, relaxing. She touches on social issues that is relevant to most of us and makes something funny of it. After reading them all, I thought it was a perfect coffee table or bathroom book. ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, humor, essays
I love Mary Roach. So much. And finding humor in the oddest places is absolutely the schtick that made her famous.

This is not it. This is finding humor in the most trite, pedestrian places. Like, stop me if you've heard this one: there isn't much knee room on airplanes! Phone trees are incomprehensible! Tech support isn't based in the USA and also doesn't like to help you! Women don't like their bodies as they age! Men are slobs who like sports!

Also, speaking of aging with indignity, many of th
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious vignettes that will make you laugh aloud. Careful when reading in public. Strangers will stare.
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure before the review: I listened to this as an audio book, rather than reading it as I usually would (in a physical book). I've recently taken on a new assignment through work, and now have alternating 10 and 16 mile drives back and forth to home. I thought maybe it was time I gave audio books another try, as my previous assignment, at only 4 miles from our apartment, barely gave me time to listen to one song on the radio. After trying this particular title, I can't say I'm sold yet ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
I happened upon this book at a thrift shop and snapped it up when I saw it was written by Mary Roach. I didn't realize that she had written a humorous column for Reader's Digest. I have read a couple of her other books including Bonk, a funny and in depth look at sex and science, and have some others on my to-read shelf.

My Planet is a collection of her writings from Reader's Digest consisting of 60 or so 2 and a half page vignettes of the humor in her everyday experiences. I could relate to alm
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Yes, as another reviewer had put it, this is "Mary Roach Lite." But hey, I laughed out loud in almost every chapter. In fact, in a few I laughed so much that I scared (or just disgusted) the cats, who decamped. ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: san-francisco, humor

I've never really read March Roach, Essayist before and as a result I missed her usual underlying passion for the unknown. This is more Mary Roach, Bored on a Thursday and I Need To Pay My Phone Bill.

Reader's Digest is weird. It's for people who don't really have an attention span. This was all fluff, no substance, and it while it was FOR SURE clever and funny and filled with her typical wit and sarcasm, gently poking fun at her wasn't enough for the disce
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mary Roach is an author that I can't get enough of. I love her informative books on science, her interviews on Coast to Coast AM (though, like her, I regret Ian Punnett having left the show - her rapport with her was wonderful), her TED Talks... just everything. My love of her only grew when I was lucky enough to meet her at the National Book Festival and talk to her about how much I adored Spook and regretted it not being available there. We even talked together about our belief that the lack ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: festival-of-suck
Really, really wanted to not hate this. But, I couldn't do it. Because it's super boring and not interesting at all and bad. I wanted to like it because I think Mary Roach is awesome, I think she does non-fiction in a readable, interesting, informative way, like few else out there. Bonk, Stiff, etc, all great. And in them, you can tell they are written by someone with a good sense of humor, there are genuine smirky moments of humor infused throughout. So, you'd think a book that was JUST funny l ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
This book really does focus on *her* planet. It should have been titled My Marriage. Perhaps if it were titled as such, I would not have been so disappointed by the content.

There is no question Roach is funny, witty, and provides a novel take on most situations. That is what makes her books so fantastic. But, this book about her life just didn't do it for me. I can see why her husband would have picked her. I could easily see myself being very happy married to someone like her. I would probably
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
ARC for review.

If you are a Roach fan and are familiar with her style, this is exactly what you would expect when Roach is writing for Reader's Digest, i.e. an older crowd. Lots of the standard husband/wife and aging drama that Roach manages to make funny in these bite-sized essays. Each essay is incredibly short, so it's a good choice for short attention spans.

My favorite lines - "From observing dozens of Before and After shots, I concluded that women are much better at applying makeup after t
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My warning signals should have gone off with this book for two reasons: 1. Reader's Digest 2. Listed as "Humor" on the back. Turns out this is not the Mary Roach I know and love.

That said, these are cute essays that only take about five minutes a piece to read. They are clever and do have some of Mary's trademarked humor but there is no science or learning here. These are "slice of life" vignettes, mostly about Mary and her husband - sweet but also a little dull.

This is not really for Mary Roac
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Listened this on my drive to and from training, and it was exactly what I needed: incredibly bite-sized blips of Mary Roach humor. Quite often I found myself guffawing in the car, wishing I could nudge someone next to me.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, misc
Not even Mary Roach can make Reader's Digest entertaining.

Skip this and give her science based books a go. They won't disappoint.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If taken in small doses, as when sitting in the smallest room in the house in your husband's bathrobe, this is a pretty good book.

I love Mary Roach's work. I've read most of her books, with Mary as narrator. I wondered why we were being subjected to a narrator who projects across the room while she stands right in front of the mic, as if she's lecturing an unruly class of dunces. Ouch! I could only listen to one or two at a time.

It's because Mary had no control over that.

Readers' Digest, that
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The audiobook narrator for this has a bizarre/stilted way of speaking. Mostly it's annoying (who talks like this? apparently she's from Lansing, Michigan and Chicago), but occasionally it just works as the audio equivalent of `/shrug` while delivering the one zinger present in every chapter/story. Lots of them, all very short, and pretty tame content, probably make a good gift for parents. After seeing her TED talk, I might have a crush on Mary Roach, she's just such a dork. ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of short humorous essays. It's good for a few chuckles! This type of book is great for when you only have a few minutes to read, because each essay takes less than 5 minutes to read. ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Mary and Ed are likeable, normal with a normal amount of quirkiness. However I can't say this book has impacted my life. ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun compilation of essays. I laughed out loud A LOT. Very enjoyable.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary roach is always good for some stifle-your-laugh-in-bed reading. I prefer her science books but got some chuckles out of some of these collected columns.
Dinh Hong
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Mary Roach's diary with her usual humourous 'tone', it's also our daily things to cope ...more
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Mary Roach is the author of the New York Times bestsellers STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; GULP: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, PACKING FOR MARS: The Curious Science of Life in the Void; and BONK: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.

Her most recent book, GRUNT: The Curious Science of Humans at War, is out in June 2016.

Mary has written for National Geographic, Wired, Discover

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