2009: #80 – Spook (Mary Roach)

spook Book #80 was Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach.  The back of the book reads:

The best-selling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers now trains her considerable wit and curiosity on the human soul. What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that—the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my lap-top?" In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves’ heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.

This book starts with Mary traveling to India to explore reincarnation and ends with attempts to prove the existence of near-death, out-of-body experiences.  In between, she tries to find out if science can prove the existence of a soul, goes to medium school, and tries to hear (and capture) EVP voice recordings.  All of this is reported with a sense of humor that is unique to Mary Roach.  Though I didn’t like this as much as Bonk, it was still quite enjoyable and a great audiobook to listen to (though the accents used by the reader are a little over the top). I won’t tell you what her conclusions are, but I don’t think you’ll be surprised.

Audiobook length: 8hrs 34min | Word count: 71,211

2008: Fat Tuesday (Sandra Brown)
2007: The Killing Game (Iris Johansen)
2006: Strip Tease (Carl Hiaasen)

Used in these Challenges: The Countdown Challenge; 100+ Reading Challenge 2009; 2nds Challenge 2009;

3 thoughts on “2009: #80 – Spook (Mary Roach)

  • August 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm
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    This is the only one of her’s that I have not yet read. I really enjoyed Stiff a lot, and thought Bonk was interesting, but I saw so many iffy review of this one that I’ve let it sit on the shelves unread.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..What a great weekend! =-.

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  • August 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm
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    I have not read anything by Roach, but hav been meaning to read Stiff forever. Thanks for the review.
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..Tuesday Teaser =-.

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