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36 books of Mary Roach

The irresistible, ever-­curious, and always best-­selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Like all of Roach’s books, is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

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“Rich in dexterous innuendo, laugh-­out-­loud humor and illuminating fact. It’s compulsively readable.­” —

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Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,­000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

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Oddly compelling and often hilarious, Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

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"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year....­Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting.­"—

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Starred Review. Roach made an exceptional debut two years ago with Stiff—it
might seem a hard act to follow. Yet she has done it again: after her
study of what becomes of our mortal coil after death, she now presents
an equally smart, quirky, hilarious look at whether there is a soul that
survives our physical demise. Roach perfectly balances her skepticism
and her boundless curiosity with a sincere desire to know. She ranges
into the oddest nooks and crannies of both science and belief (and
scientists who believe), regaling the reader with tales of Duncan
Macdougall, a respected surgeon who weighed consumptives at their moment
of death to see if the escaping soul could be measured in ounces, and
of female mediums who, during séances, extruded a substance called
ectoplasm from their private parts (she even examines a piece of alleged
ectoplasm archived at Cambridge University). She goes to school to
learn to be a medium, subjects her brain to electromagnetic waves to . . .

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Books of Mary Roach