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Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: My mother and grandmother, who enjoy reading violent thrillers, were both completely disgusted by the mere title of this book. That amused me.

And while I admit that the chapter on decay turned me into a vegetarian for a day, by and large the descriptions of the various fates that befall our bodies after death were occasionally disturbing, often hilarious, and yet never irreverent. I’d never given much thought to the process of embalming or cremation, much less the history of the funerary business in general. This book certainly was an educational experience in terms of cadaver research as well. I admit that before this book I’d never considered donating my body to science, but it sounds like an interesting idea. However, I agree with the author: ultimately, the fate of my body rests with the loved ones who survive me. If it bothers them to know I’m going to end up in some anatomy class, they’re the ones who will have to live with it, not me. Ending up as part of live-saving research or garden compost hold their appeal, but giving closure to my friends and family is far more important. After all, I won’t know the difference.

In short, I give this book a thumbs up for giving me all kinds of new things to think about. Definitely recommended.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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