Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Company
Publication date: August 2010
Pages: 336
Source: Library
For: Book Group

Summary (from goodreads):
Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Things I Liked:
Mary Roach, where have you been all my life? Just kidding, but I really love the way she writes interesting nonfiction. I struggle to want to read NF a lot, but this book made me love it.  I love space, and pretty much would have loved a dry, boring book about all the crazy stuff that zero-g does to humans, but Roach made this book awesome by just basically being funny the whole time.  Seriously, if you have to write about puke and poop on space shuttles, you may as well make it fun.  I could pull quotes from pretty much every page that made me laugh.  She's witty, she's good at what she does.  Interesting stuff.

Things I Didn't Like:
She has a serious potty mouth and everything has something to do with sex.  And sometimes, I was a tad bored, but I still loved it.

Stiff by Mary Roach

s-factor: !@#
quite a few, several f-bombs

mrg-factor: XXX
plenty of talk about sex, a bit of it crude

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Interesting. I'm going to have to read one of her books some day.

    1. Yes, they are quite interesting (ok, this is the only one I've read, but still!)

  2. This does sound funny. I've never read Mary Roach, but her books look fascinating. I'll have to give this one a try since you found it so entertaining.

    1. I get the impression all of her stuff is equally entertaining :)


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