Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review: Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

A friend who read and loved both Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Mary Roach's other book Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex lent me this one. I've never read either so I can't do a comparison, though I was intrigued.
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 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. ...
Roach kept me engaged from the first page, with enough science to learn something new and enough anecdotes and stories to keep me amused. Roach, though, has a real dry sarcasm that grated on me a bit at times. Maybe its because of my religious beliefs, but there were times I felt like Roach was a little disrespectful of others' faith. I also felt like she was trying so hard to be skeptical, it was a little forced.

Still, Spook was a very interesting read. I found the early anatomy history, with various scientists trying to figure out where the soul is housed in the body, to be particularly fascinating.

Buy Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach on Amazon.


  1. I haven't read this one, but I did love the one about cadavers.

  2. No surprise, but my anatomist husband also loved Stiff. I'm way too squeamish to read it, though.

  3. Hmm, I think I'll stick to STIFF and BONK (if I ever get around to them, that is), this one might grate me the wrong way as it did you.


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