Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers

I’m excited to announce that I graduated with my MA of Higher Education in Student Affairs on Saturday! It’s been an exciting journey, but I am happy that I will be able to dedicate more time to reading for pleasure.

Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach is not on my books-to-read-in-your-20s list, but I finished it last week. This book is not lengthy, but it did take me a while to read. It’s actually the first book that I have finished on my Nook. I hope to do more e-reading, but I have so many paper books that it’s difficult to justify purchasing e-books sometimes.

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Stiff has been on many book lists that I have seen over the years, and I often hear it recommended on a few of the podcasts I follow. I cannot remember what initially caused me to download this book, but I found it extremely interesting! I anticipated a lot of strange looks whenever I talked about it (and I did get those looks), but I could not stop telling people about what I was reading.

I am a terrible person to travel with because I do not fly well. I get incredibly anxious on airplanes, and always fear that each flight will be my last. Oddly enough, my favorite chapter in Stiff was about plane crashes! It was so interesting to read about how researchers have determined the cause of death when planes go down, and the accounts from plane crash survivors made me feel better about flying.

I highly recommend this book. Roach has a great sense of humor and her writing is excellent. There are parts of this book I have not read in months, yet I can clearly remember scenes from the early chapters. My grandfather has said he wants to donate his body to science, and I feel better about that decision after reading this book. We live in a world that focuses on making a difference, figuring out your meaning, and living your life to the fullest. Roach presents what we do not like to think about – rotting bodies and human pieces floating in formaldehyde – but she sheds light on how those who have died can help the living. Even if you don’t go on to donate your body to science, it will make you more aware of what your options are, and provide you with a better understanding of what happens to our bodies, and the potential of what they can do after we leave them.

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2 thoughts on “Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers

  1. Thanks, Emily! You should get your hands on this book, for sure. I’m going to add more of Roach’s books to my TBR because she is so engaging. Have a good day!

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