Monday, 11 June 2012

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife - Mary Roach

As you are all aware by now, I'm super interested in horror movies and science fiction. What you probably don't know (but wouldn't be surprised to find out, I'm sure) is that I'm also completely fascinated by the supernatural. I love anything spooky but hands down, one of my favorite things in the world are ghosts. I don't know what it is about ghosts that appeal to me: their need for a backstory, the idea that life goes on after death, just the genuine spookiness of the idea. All of it has drawn me in since I've been young and to this day, they are probably one of the top five things I am interested in.

Now, I have my own beliefs about ghosts, obviously. You can't have been studying up on them since you were five and not have an idea of what you think about them by now. But I'm sure most people haven't done as much in-depth research as young!Molly has and for those of you, I recommend Spook.

Spook is Mary Roach's second book after the well-received Stiff, a novel about the body after you leave it. Spook takes the other side of that coin: what happens to you after you leave your body. 

Mary Roach is super endearing as her books always seem to be about something she was vaguely interested in but knew nothing about so she decides to do a whole ton of research and follow it with a book. I love that approach. Normally, you get books written by people who are experts in their fields and while yes, it's nice to get information from someone you know you can trust on the topic, it's refreshing to read a nonfiction book written by someone that started off knowing as little as you did. It makes the narrative of the research much more appealing and personal, pulling you into it.

Not to mention that Roach is a genuinely excellent writer. She packs what could be a dry expose on spiritualism into a fun and witty adventure through the various ideas and theories people have had over the years. I spent a good portion of my time reading it chuckling to myself and reading portions of the book out loud to whatever friend I happened to be with at the time. I'm sure it was quite obvious I wasn't doing the work I should have been doing in the library.

From ectoplasm to psychics to ghosts to EVPs, Roach tackles all sorts of different ideas on what happens to you when you die. It's a fun journey and one that I would happily read over again. I haven't checked out any of Roach's other books yet but I fully intend to. She's a wonderful writer that makes science fun. Proving, I suppose, that that's possible.

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