Best Selling Books by Mary Roach

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release date: May 17, 2004
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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers―some willingly, some unwittingly―have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary 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.
release date: Jun 06, 2017
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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

A New York Times / National Bestseller

"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries―panic, exhaustion, heat, noise―and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.

15 illustrations
release date: Apr 04, 2011
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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) returns to explore the irresistibly strange universe of life without gravity in this New York Times bestseller.

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.
release date: Apr 01, 2014
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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of―or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists―who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

15 illustrations
release date: Apr 06, 2009
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

A New York Times Bestseller

“Rich in dexterous innuendo, laugh-out-loud humor and illuminating fact. It’s compulsively readable.” ―Los Angeles Times Book Review

In ?Bonk, ?the best-selling author of Stiff turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn't Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place. 16 illustrations
release date: Oct 17, 2006
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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

The best-selling author of Stiff  and Bonk 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.
release date: Jun 01, 2017
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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Science & Technology Book Prize 'The most entertaining writer in science' - The Times, Books of the Year War. Mention it and most of us think of history, of conflicts on foreign soil, of heroism and compromise, of strategy and weapons. But there's a whole other side to the gruesome business of the battlefield. In Grunt, the inimitable Mary Roach explores the science of keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.Setting about her task with infectious enthusiasm, she sniffs World War II stink bombs, tests earplugs in a simulated war zone and burns the midnight oil with the crew of a nuclear submarine. Speaking to the scientists and the soldiers, she learns about everything from life-changing medical procedures to innovations as esoteric as firing dead chickens at fighter jets. Engrossing, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, this is an irresistible ride to the wilder shores of modern military life.
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release date: Apr 04, 2013
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My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places
From acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach comes the complete collection of her “My Planet” articles published in Reader’s Digest.  The quirky, brilliant author takes a magnifying glass to everyday life, exposing moments of hilarity in the mundane.

Best-selling author Mary Roach was a hit columnist in the Reader's Digest magazine, and this book features the articles she wrote in that time. Insightful and hilarious, Mary explores the ins and outs of the modern world: marriage, friends, family, food, technology, customer service, dental floss, and ants—she leaves no element of the American experience unchecked for its inherent paradoxes, pleasures, and foibles.

On Cleanliness:
Ed has crud vision, and I don’t. I don’t notice filth. Ed sees it everywhere. I am reasonably convinced that Ed can actually see bacteria. . . . He confessed he didn’t like me using his bathrobe because I’d wear it while sitting on the toilet.
“It’s not like it goes in the water,” I protested, though if you counted the sash as part of the robe, this wasn’t strictly true.

On the Internet:
The Internet is a boon for hypochondriacs like me. Right now, for instance, I’m feeling a shooting pain on the side of my neck. A Web search produces five matches, the first three for a condition called Arnold-Chiari Malformation.
While my husband, Ed, reads over my shoulder, I recite symptoms from the list. “‘General clumsiness’ and ‘general imbalance,’” I say, as though announcing arrivals at the Marine Corps Ball. “‘Difficulty driving,’ ‘lack of taste,’ ‘difficulty feeling feet on ground.’”
“Those aren’t symptoms,” says Ed. “Those are your character flaws.”
On Fashion:
My husband recently made me try on a bikini. A bikini is not so much a garment as a cloth-based reminder that your parts have been migrating all these years. My waist, I realized that day in the dressing room, has completely disappeared beneath my rib cage, which now rests directly on my hips. I’m exhibiting continental drift in reverse.

On Eating Healthy:
So Ed and I were eating a lot of vegetables. Vegetables on pasta, vegetables on rice. This was extremely healthy, until you got to the part where Ed and I are found in the kitchen at 10 p.m., feeding on Froot Loops and tubes of cookie dough.
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release date: May 06, 2014
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Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed
Body art meets popular science in this elegant, mind-blowing collection, written by renowned science writer Carl Zimmer. Showcasing hundreds of eye-catching tattoos that pay tribute to various scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to mathematics and astrophysics, Science Ink reveals the stories of the individuals who chose to inscribe their obsessions in their skin. Best of all, each tattoo provides a leaping-off point for bestselling essayist and lecturer Zimmer to reflect on the science in question, whether it's the importance of an image of Darwin's finches or the significance of the uranium atom inked into the chest of a young radiologist.
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release date: Oct 04, 2011
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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011
The Best American Series First, Best, and Best-Selling The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected-and most popular-of its kind. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem, Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others
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