Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Last fall, I needed a gift for my parents’ anniversary. When in doubt, I give books, so I was in Barnes and Noble. Browsing along, I happened across this book. Knowing my mother’s dark humor, I was pretty sure this would be right up her alley. I sent it, along with some other things, and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I remembered and asked her about it. She said it was very good and that even my aunt had liked it. So I decided it was time for me to get around to reading it, too. Lo and behold, PaperBack Swap (link on the sidebar) had a copy and I ordered one. It’s a great book and the author has an amazing wit and it’s a very readable book. And that was a very bad sentence that I don’t feel like changing. So…READ THIS BOOK! How can you not like a book that starts its introduction off like this:

The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.


I suppose the book isn't for the very squeamish. It talks about the dead in a rather irreverent way, but I don't think it's ever offending. I learned lots of new things, though I'm pretty sure my husband is glad I'm done so I don't interrupt his nightly reading with things like this:

Here is the deeply unnerving thing: The heart, cut from the chest, keeps beating on its own. Did Poe know this when he wrote "The Tell-Tale Heart"? So animated are these freestanding hearts that surgeons have been know to drop them. "We wash them off and they do just fine." replied New York heart transplant surgeon Mehmet Oz when I asked him about it. I imagined the heart slipping across the linoleum, the looks exchanged, the rush to retrieve it and clean it off, like a bratwurst that's rolled of the plate in a restaurant kitchen.


Like I said, I loved this book. I even read it at suppertime and in the car (while I was the passenger, duh). It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. So, what are you waiting for? Go read it! Unless you're squeamish. Then, umm...I don't know what to do. *g*

9 comments:

Angela James said...

Okay, since I'm too lazy to type this into Amazon and look myself. Even though it would take way less typing than what I'm doing here ;) I'll ask, is it fiction? Or non-fiction. And now I'll have to come back here and check the answer and it would probably have just been easier to type it into my Amazon browser and click enter. ha.

Nicole said...

Non-fiction. You should see the bibliography at the back.

Angela James said...

Thanks Nicole! See, I really did come back to check.

BJ Deese said...

This doesn't sound like a book for me. LOL Glad you found something new and different to read, though. :)

I wish I could read in the car. It makes me sick everytime I've ever tried. :(

Nicole said...

I can't read for any long length of time, since I do get sick, but I usually just fall asleep. Cars and me don't mix. I get so drowsy. But I did find that motion sickness pills work if you want to read in the car. I just usually forget about them.

Jill said...

LOVE the opening of this book, LOL!

Candy said...

I have this on my TBR pile. Whee! The opening paragraph was what hooked me, too.

Demented M said...

I loved this book too! It creeped me out a bit, but it was very very interesting!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Michelle

CW said...

LOL! I loved it, too.

You might want to check out WALK ON WATER by Michael Ruhlman, about peds docs. I'm still reading it, but the opening paragraphs on Amazon sold me.