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Spook: Introduction

This is the guide for the 2011-12 Common Reader, Spook by Mary Roach.

About the Author

Mary Roach 

Mary Roach is a book author and science journalist based in San Francisco, California. In her books, Roach often delves into universal topics of human interest, such as sex and death, and reduces them to a level of meaningful discussion and interesting history. Reviewers have noted Roach's careful analysis of unusual topics, her ability to communicate complex subjects to an intelligent but nonspecialist audience, and the humor and cheerful, guilt-free involvement she brings to her subjects. She has "carved out a niche for herself writing irreverently about science for a general audience," reported Reyhan Harmanci in the San Francisco Chronicle. "To be polite about it, Mary Roach has a rather eccentric sense of curiosity. When she was a columnist for Salon, the advent of Thanksgiving led her to investigate how much a human stomach could hold before it burst," reported Priya Jain in an interview for Roach's "special talent consists of combining sharp but lighthearted humor with an intuitive grasp of a lingua franca between scientists and John Q. Citizen," observed Ted Boynton in an interview for Pajiba. "Roach is a great wit in a relatively witless era," mused Bookslut contributor Elizabeth Bachner. She "excels at transforming dry lecture notes into giddy nuggets of improper dinner-party fodder," noted Kelly Clarke in Willamette Week. Roach's works are "beloved because, unlike most non-fiction books about science, they're laugh-out-loud funny. But under the humor is a serious mission: to report on the valuable, if bizarre and/or embarrassing, work that science is doing on the nature  of death and sex," commented January Online contributor Caroline Cummins. San Francisco Chronicle contributor Jack Boulware described Roach as "one of those rare writers who can tackle the most obscure unpleasantness and distill the data into a hilarious and informative package." For her own part, Roach told Boynton, "I try to be a massive filtration system, filtering out the less interesting parts up front and condensing it down to the weirdest and funnest parts."

Source Citation:

"Mary Roach." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 26 May 2011.

Mary Roach Links