Nov 7, 2014
Stiff, by Mary Roach
I was unable to eat while reading this book, but it was still awesome. Written about ten years ago, Mary Roach tackles the nasty, disgusting, smelly, ugly, helpful, and interesting life after death: what happens to the human body after the soul has left the building? What happens when you will your body to science? What's the best way to dispose of a dead body? Just how gross is rotting human flesh? Roach courageously, and hilariously, seeks to answer these questions and address the fascinating history of anatomy as well as our evolving social mores. It's a subject that could only have been dealt with properly by the likes of Roach, with equal amounts humor, empathy, and gumption. Only today did a customer, in reference to Gawande's new book, "Being Mortal," mention that our discomfort talking about death needs to end, if we are to care for the dying with dignity. She's right, as was Roach - we need to move past the way our own fear of death prevents us from helping others through it; reading Roach's book is a good start.