Friday, May 20, 2011

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mary Roach's writing style makes me laugh out loud. She is one of the main reasons I began branching out into reading nonfiction. Her research is incredibly thorough. I don't think I'd go to the lengths she does to get her facts straight. I'd happily, joyfully experience weightlessness in the C-9 airplane that flies parabolas! But I seriously doubt I'd try treating & drinking my own urine. I'm with her husband on that one--UGH.

What I especially love about this book is that she focuses not on the history of the development of the technology (rockets & bolts and such) of space flight but rather on the human aspects of it--eating, sleeping, vomiting, interpersonal conflicts & psychology, sex, gravity & G-forces, hygiene, "waste elimination," etc. All the stuff you were curious to know but which rarely, if ever, gets explained. So fascinating! My one regret, however, is that I read this book almost entirely during my lunch breaks...which not only slowed me down but also sometimes made it difficult to eat. Particularly true of the vomit and poop chapters. :( My husband was not so foolish, thankfully, and read it on evenings, weekends, and our mini-vacation.

For readers' advisors: character doorway because Roach's personality infuses her books like she's cracking jokes and telling stories just for YOU. Story doorway is a distant second because it is fascinating, albeit non-linear, history she's telling.

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