Book Reviews: Packing for Mars

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
by Mary Roach
★★★☆

I always enjoy Roach’s books. She manages to blend scientific research with humor in a delightful way that makes each topic interesting. I’ve read Stiff, Bonk and now this one. Roach has a biting wit and makes keen observations about science in a way that I’ve grown to love.

In Packing, Roach asks great questions about NASA’s procedures and preparations for trips. She shares details that make the astronauts human and accessible, like frequent attempts to smuggling alcohol on board or their tendency to get fed up with each other and the food selection. She dwells on sex (or lack there of) and bathroom procedures in space for a really long time. Those sections became a bit tiring after awhile.

In the end, it’s Roach herself that make her books so enjoyable. Her sense of humor, irreverent approach to any topic and tireless fascination with the world around her make her books worth reading. I always feel like I learn something and I get a lot of laughs while reading one of her books. If you’re looking to try one I would recommend Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, as a good place to start.

4 comments:

Brenna said...

I really enjoy Mary Roach. I've only read Stiff, but I found it hilarious. She's got a real gift for taking serious and scientific subject matters and making them accessible.

Emily said...

LOVED this. Loved. And I hear she's working on a new one...which makes me happy.

Avid Reader said...

Brenna - Stiff remains my favorite, but her hilarious tone is in all of her books.

Emily - I hadn't heard that! I will definitely read whatever she writes. Even if it's not my favorite, I learn so much.

Jenners said...

Thanks for the reminder that I need to get this one!!