Sunday, January 18, 2009

5. "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife" - Mary Roach

What happens after we die? Do we have souls (OK, do you normal people have souls)? Is this - reading a book review blog - *it*?

Mary Roach is the perfect person to tackle the scientific side of life after death. As she states in the foreword, "This is a book for people who would like very much to believe in a soul and in an afterlife for it to hang around in, but who have trouble accepting these things on faith. It's a giggly, random, utterly earthbound assault on our most ponderous unanswered question. It's spirituality treated like crop science."

She does not disappoint.

Exploring everything from historical scientific data to modern experiments (for example, a laptop computer that faces the ceiling has the picture of an umbrella, so if a patient has an out-of-body experience after "dying," the doctor can test him or her), Roach approaches the subject with glee. Though it is obvious that she isn't a religious right-winger, she does not bash religion. She just wants answers, and her religion is science-based.

The stories are both hilarious and stunning. I finished the book with a greater appreciation for the everyday world, knowing that I am the only one who holds the key to the afterlife answer. OK, fine, Mary Roach and I still don't know what happens, but what a fun ride.

Speaking of fun rides, I'm reading her science and sex book, Bonk, next.

4.0 out of 5.0 Shots from Hell.

1 comment:

Bibliolatrist said...

Nice review - I've heard conflicting reviews on this piece, so I wasn't sure whether or not to pick it up. Looks like you've swayed me!