Brad and I take turns picking books to real aloud to one another (or rather, for me to read aloud to both of us). The first book was What to Eat by Marion Nestle. It was super great, but took us a year to get through. We’re highly sporadic read-alouders. After that, I picked The Magician’s Nephew because everyone needs to read that at least a dozen times and Brad has never read it. Reader, I cried. But then it was time for Brad to pick again and he chose the book you see me holding in my greedy little paws above.
Stiff is funny girl Mary Roach’s exploration of what exactly happens to corpses. Corpses left in the ground, corpses left above ground, corpses donated to science, corpses forced into being used for science. There are gross-out moments–this is a book that relies heavily on descriptions of decay, after all–but she’s funny enough that it’s not too dark or sick. I wish I could remember some of the bizarre things done to dead bodies throughout history but it’s actually been a month or two since we finished it (as you can tell by the greenery behind me). I’ll just say, if you’re on the fence about reading this book, read the first half and thoroughly enjoy it, then skip the rest because it gets more boring the more she talks about herself. And do yourself a favor and skip the footnotes. Nobody wants to know about the perverted things people do to or with corpses. Except Mary Roach. She apparently delights in that type of information, which neither Brad nor I appreciated.
Pardon me as I jump off this soapbox.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
photo: Brad Linberg