All posts filed under: December & January

The Quick and the Dead

I will be honest – I was not looking forward to reading this book, but I have been on an unintentional hiatus and I just didn’t want it to last any longer. So here I was, holding my Kindle, Stiff on the screen, simply dreading reading a book about dead bodies when I so recently had to confront the reality of death in my life. That being said, here’s the good side. Roach’s writing is engaging, the topic is (admittedly) interesting, and I even found myself chuckling more than just a bit – she seems to have a delightfully dry, witty sense of humor and it comes across clearly in her writing. I truly do understand the value in using human cadavers to study most of the things Roach wrote about, and it really is fascinating what important information and learning can come from the science of the dead. Also, it was a fast read – just what I needed to break the hiatus. And here’s the bad side. Not really bad, I suppose. More like… …

Fast and Loose with Stiff

It took me longer than I’d expected to finish(ish) this one. I was excited to read this one, but it came at a busy time… the holidays, my brother’s wedding, the onset of winter illnesses for every member of my family. Ya know, the usual December/January stuff. So, I started off strong, but things kind of tapered off toward the end. I definitely enjoyed what I read, and learned a lot. There is a surprising amount to learn from cadaver “lives.” But I guess that’s what I liked most about this book, not only was it well written with a healthy lighten-the-mood sense of humor, but you could jump around with the chapters if needed. For example, I didn’t really have an interest in reading about plane crash cadavers. As a nervous flyer, I thought I’d do us all a favor by avoiding that one. But “Crimes of Anatomy,” “Holy Cadaver,” and “How to Know if You’re Dead” were my personal favorites. But, admittedly, there were a few more chapters at the end that I didn’t read. …

Stiff: An Interesting Case for Coping with Humor

  As a physician and, I guess more specifically, someone who has participated in a gross anatomy lab, I have a specific point of view about human cadavers.  I will start by saying this – the book provides some truly interesting history on the matter.  For that point alone, I would say Roach’s book is a worthy one. Albeit, it is not one for everyone. The subject is a bit – um – macabre.  If you didn’t know that from the cover, I’m not sure reading is for you. Now what I really took away from this book is that how we deal with things that make us uncomfortable is rather universal. I often wondered why I wasn’t more bothered by anatomy lab my first year of medical school. I didn’t particularly want to get physically sick or feel overwhelming guilt. But I also didn’t want to feel how I did – like it was normal. There was nothing normal about what I was doing. History may suggest otherwise. Personally, though, gross anatomy lab was …

December & January Book

Happy holidays! Hope you didn’t come here for a good holiday selection, because our next book probably couldn’t be farther from the holiday spirit. But it should be interested none-the-less! Maybe just start reading after Christmas? We’ve combined December and January into one book. And in appreciation of the approaching new year we’ve picked our next book as a way to learn something new. Something that we might never otherwise have the occasion to learn. Have any of you ever heard of Mary Roach? She’s an author who has her roots in journalism and now writes books. She has published seven books, all of which deal with unique non-fiction subject matter. Most of which follow the same title formula of a single noun or adjective: Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005), Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008), Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013), and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (2016). Her style is notable for its humor, curiosity, and interesting subject matter. She becomes a part of her …

Shopping the Periphery

Truth time: This book wasn’t as compelling as I expected it to be. I bought it years ago, and because of my habit of buying books (much) faster than I can read them, it sat on my shelf until just a couple weeks ago. I bought it not long after it was first published, when this idea – that how we were being told to eat might not be the best way to eat – first became popular. We clearly still have a long way to go in terms of changing the accessibility and affordability of whole foods in our society. But I like to think that at least a little bit of what Pollan talked about in In Defense of Food has taken hold. Organic fruits and vegetables are a tiny bit more readily available; farmers’ markets have risen in popularity; trans fats have disappeared; more and more discussions are being had about sugar and good fats and whole grains. Some progress has been made. What I found most fascinating, if not a little …