Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Summer Reading

Nothing much to report on today, so we will head right to...

Don't let the cover put you off. This is one great book!

Stiff is all about dead bodies. Not the act of death, but what we as a society do (and have done) with that which is left over once our spirit leaves the mortal plane (if you believe in that sort of thing.)

Now, let me repeat, this book is not about dying or souls or afterlives or anything like that. It is a humorous, intelligent, thoughtful examination of what we do and how we treat this fleshy thing that has carried us through our life... once we are done with it.

Note to the squeemish. There are NO pictures in this book. NONE. So you don't have to fear turning a page and being traumatized for years to come. Each chapter deals with a different road well travelled. So you can read a chapter, put it down, pick it up a few days later.

Donating your body to science.
Organ donation.
Freeze drying yourself.
Even old fashioned things like mummification, grinding up bodies for use in medicine and... a little side trip to cannibalism. The book is covers it all. But no pictures!

But the writer, Mary Roach is so engaging and all her journeys come from an infectious curiousity that you can't help but go along on the journey.

Some of the chapters (like the organ donor and the crash test dummy) stay with you long after, because of their eloquence. Others (like the trip to a mortuary) make you think twice about your plans for the future :)

Final word... Stiff is a funny, throught provoking, book unlike anything else you have ever read.



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