by Mary Roach

Judy Stanton (10/01/11): There are some books that you would never pick up if you didn't have them as "required reading" for a book club; Stiff is one of them. Yes, it is about dead bodies. The author, Mary Roach, is a journalist, a columnist, and a researcher who has a wry sense of humor and can turn a phrase that makes what could be a pretty heavy subject, not so deadly....pun intented. As our society has become more open about addressing issues that were once not considered appropriate for public discussion, it is only fitting that we face what becomes of our bodies after we die. The book covers a vast array of topics, from scientific research to studies of the body in trauma -- from plane or car accidents -- and how cadavers can help move science forward, and save or better human life. It also addresses such strange subjects as human cannibalism and methods of disposing of cadavers. The author is thorough in her research and puts in bits of interesting information that, while not exactly great dinner conversation, might help you win a trivia contest! I usually read fiction, so this was out of my usual scope, but I was pleasantly suprised to find it to be an interesting and unusual read. .
Rating: ****

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