Book Thirty-Seven of 2014: SPOOK by Mary Roach


What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my lap-top?” In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die.

I’m not a big nonfiction reader. It tends to take a while for me to finish a book. It takes even longer finding a nonfiction I like. SPOOK is a nonfiction that I liked, but it did take me a while. Which had to do more with my need to switch to fiction books next. Just imagine what I’m like when it comes to school books. Yep, I don’t think I ever read a single chapter in the textbooks. I did take good notes though.

Anyways, SPOOK is about the different methods humans have used trying to proove in an afterlife. Mary Roach begins with her own personal doubts in an afterlife and then starts with an interesting chapter about reincarnation. Which is probably one of the oldest theories in an afterlife. She then talks about various science experiments used to proove that a soul exists. For instance, did you know that there was a man in the turn of the century who weighed people to the point of their death and did find a change in weight? It was small, but there was a change. Granted, Roach does show both the skeptic and believers’ thoughts; giving a more reliable depiction.

I’m a believer in the afterlife and ghosts. Reading this book may make the believer uncomfortable because it does seem like Roach is ridiculing or is a flat out skeptic. She is a skeptic, but I didn’t feel like she was inconsiderate. If anything, I saw the book and different chapters as a warning for believers that sometimes our beliefs will overpower the evidence at hand. Or worse, the believers will be tricked because of their strong beliefs and another person’s ability to con.

In the end, it’s the fact that even though we don’t have the science or technology to proove anything doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Even Roach explains that in her last words. If you like a book that has to do with history, science, and the spirituality, this is a pretty interesting read. Not to mention, she is a witty author.

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