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Roach is not like other science writers. She doesn't write about genes or black holes or Schrödinger's cat. Instead, she ventures out to the fringes of science, where the oddballs ponder how cadavers decay (in her debut, Stiff) and whether you can weigh a person's soul (in Spook). Now she explores the sexiest subject of all: sex, and such questions as, what is an orgasm? How is it possible for paraplegics to have them? What does woman want, and can a man give it to her if her clitoris is too far from her vagina? At times the narrative feels insubstantial and digressive (how much do you need to know about inseminating sows?), but Roach's ever-present eye and ear for the absurd and her loopy sense of humor make her a delectable guide through this unesteemed scientific outback. The payoff comes with subjects like female orgasm (yes, it's complicated), and characters like Ahmed Shafik, who defies Cairo's religious repressiveness to conduct his sex research. Roach's forays offer fascinating evidence of the full range of human weirdness, the nonsense that has often passed for medical science and, more poignantly, the extreme lengths to which people will go to find sexual satisfaction. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* The New Yorker dubbed Roach “the funniest science writer in the country.” OK, maybe there’s not a lot of competition. But even if there were thousands of science-humor writers, she would be the sidesplitting favorite. Of course, she chooses good subjects: cadavers in Stiff (2003), ghosts in Spook (2005), and now a genuinely fertile topic in Bonk. As Roach points out, scientists studying sex are often treated with disdain, as though there is something inherently suspicious about the enterprise. Yet through understanding the anatomy, physiology, and psychology of sexual response, scientists can help us toward greater marital and nonmarital happiness. Such altruistic intentions, which the book shares, aren’t the wellspring of its appeal, however. That lies in the breezy tone in which Roach describes erectile dysfunction among polygamists, penis cameras, relative organ sizes and enhancement devices, and dozens of other titillating subjects. Not to be missed: the martial art of yin diao gung (“genitals hanging kung fu”), monkey sex athletes, and the licensing of porn stars’ genitals for blow-up reproductions. To stay on the ethical side of human-subjects experimentation, Roach offers herself as research subject several times, resulting in some of her best writing. --Patricia MonaghanSee all Editorial Reviews
I'm absolutely in love with Mary Roach and her writing style. At first I thought I'd have to buy a book cover to put over this book so that I could read it in public guilt-free. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Katy
wonderful item - totally accurate description - fast quality shipping !!!!Published 15 days ago by DebDavis
Absolutely fascinating!! Read this simultaneously watching "Hysteria". What a hoot!Published 1 month ago by Cat Whowhatstoknow
Like many other Mary Roach books I have read it was interesting. I like how she often seem to tackle issue from a stance where she did know anything. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Johnny Aman
Not as fun as you'd think by the subject, but interesting nonetheless. Unlike Gulp, the animal experimentation is thankfully kept to a minimum and it is mostly observational. Ms. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gorilichis
In general, I recommend anything Mary Roach writes. She explores the many aspects of a subject with curiosity and thoroughness, and reports with sly wit. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Selchie