I rarely ever go to a place like Barnes and Noble to buy books, but a few months ago I had a gift card that burning a hole in my pocket. The question was what to buy. As always I browsed through the science section and didn’t see much of interest. Most of the titles available were about subjects I was already familiar with or didn’t strike my fancy.

I was just about to head home when I spotted Mary Roach’s book SPOOK. It wasn’t typical reading fare for me, but I remembered hearing good things about it. When I got home I started in on it and could not put it down. I even read the whole thing aloud to my wife. As soon as I finished it I ran out to get STIFF and did the same.

STIFF was as good as SPOOK, and when I finished it I was glad to hear that Mary had just recently put out a new book about science and sex called BONK. I loved it, and if you want to know more you should check out Sci’s review. Hardcover books can be expensive, though, so that’s why I am happy to say that BONK has just been released in paperback! It is one of best science books I have read this year, and I highly recommend you pick it up (in addition to SPOOK and STIFF).


  1. #1 Coturnix
    April 21, 2009

    Oh, I just got Bonk myself (loved Stiff before!) as Sheril is leading the book club about it,.

  2. #2 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    April 21, 2009

    I am! I hope you’ll join in our upcoming discussion

  3. #3 ~L.K.
    April 21, 2009

    I was wondering how SPOOK and BONK were, mostly BONK. I bought STIFF a long while back and loved it. I’ve had SPOOK on my bookshelf for at least a year (long list of books to read). Thanks!

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    April 22, 2009

    One man’s Mede is another man’s Persian, as the saying goes: the only review I’d read until now was fairly unenthusiastic (for an interesting reason).

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    April 22, 2009

    Oh, yes: I should add that (a) I haven’t read the book myself and (b) some less-than-safe-for-work content is accessible from the aforelinked page.

  6. #6 ~L.K.
    April 22, 2009

    Blake Stacy: That’s actually a rather good review. I don’t remember if Roach was very embarrassed or grossed out when writing STIFF. Possibly in one experience in which she walks in a field of dead bodies at different states of decomposition.

  7. #7 Laelaps
    April 23, 2009

    Blake; I guess it is just a matter of taste. Unlike the reviewer you linked to I was not irritated by Roach’s sense of humor in BONK and I thought her approach was fitting for the topic. If I were writing the same book I would probably throw in some juvenile humor or be a little embarrassed by the topic, too, and it seemed that the reviewer had very strong ideas about how sex should be written about. It mostly comes down to style and sense of humor.

  8. #9 Blake Stacey
    April 23, 2009

    Yes, an awful lot of judgement comes down to personal taste. And, like I said, I haven’t read the book myself — too many reviews are already in the pending tray, yikes — so I won’t essay to judge whether or how often the author’s style led to oversimplification or a distorted presentation.

    Now, let’s see if I can make that stack of pending reviews any shorter. . . .

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