“Science, Humor, and Something Gross”: Mary Roach’s Popular Science Books
December 2018

One of my favorite Delightful Authors, Mary Roach, writes popular science books about the human body. As she explains, her topics “have a little science . . . a little history, a little humor—and something gross.” Examples include cadavers and the alimentary canal.

According to her website, “I often write about science, though I don’t have a science degree and must fake my way through interviews with experts I can’t understand.”

My all-time favorite Mary Roach book is Bonk: The Coupling of Science and Sex, a hilarious review of the various scientific studies of human sexuality. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Roach is one of those rare writers who can tackle the most obscure unpleasantness and distill the data into a hilarious and informative package. . . It’s a wonderful read, sprinkled with facts you can quote to amaze your friends.” And the The New Yorker calls her “The funniest science writer in the country.”

For the strong of stomach, I recommend Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, “the much-maligned tube fro m mouth to rear.” In Gulp, we meet the scientists who tackle the questions such as “How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?” “Can constipation kill you?” “Did it kill Elvis?”

Other books include Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

For other Delightful and Amusing non-fiction recommendations, click here.