Book Review – Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Summary

“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 laptop?” In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and history soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die.

Spook

Along with my love for horror I’ve always had a (sometimes terrified) fascination with the paranormal. This has felt somewhat contradictory to my secular upbringing, but it’s something that I simply haven’t been able to help. I can’t help but find videos or written accounts of the strange, otherworldly, or unknown alluring. But lately I’ve taken a greater interest in considering accounts of the paranormal more closely. It’s easy enough to be broadly skeptical and give the subject no time of day, but when I hear stories of ectoplasm spilling from a medium’s mouth, communicating with the other side, or children remembering past lives I want a more thorough examination of these incidents that lays all details bare. This is where Spook by Mary Roach comes in, a book that works to scientifically consider various studies of the afterlife to see what, if any, proof has ever truly been found.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/07

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m still reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, but unfortunately I have made no progress since last week. I will be pushing myself to get it finished by next week now, as I feel like I’ve officially lingered on it too long and I haven’t been reading chapters here and there like I want to be with a supplemental read.

MansSearchForMeaningI’ve started reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, the widely published memoir of the author’s time in a concentration camp and his psychological theory known as logotherapy, which asserts that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. This book came to my attention after watching a short biography of Frankl’s life and I picked up a copy last week. It’s an idea that resonates with some existing notions I have already and I’m eager to learn more about this subject.

Recently Finished

ShiverA day after last week’s post I finished reading Shiver by Junji Ito. All in all I liked the collection, though not as much as his longer form stuff. Some of them were just okay, naturally limited in how much they can develop by their length. Certain stories had absolutely captivating ideas, however, and one in particular is easily the most effective example of gross-out horror I have ever seen. It still makes me sick to think about. I will have a review up soon.

SpookI also finished reading Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. I wasn’t as swept away with this book as I wanted to be, though I feel that had more to do with me than Roach’s writing. This book was a fascinating read, but due to its focus on science I had a harder time getting through it quickly and having fun with my time doing so as much as I do fiction. I should have a review of this up soon as well; if I manage my time correctly either Friday or Saturday.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsI don’t know if I’ll regret this decision, but I’ve decided to move forward on starting The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien once I’ve finished up with 45 Master Characters. Specifically this means I will be starting The Fellowship of the Ring, as I expect I will not want to read through all three books as one without some other books to space things out a little. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll love it or enjoy it enough to power through as much as I can in a short amount of time. Either way, I look forward to finally striking the book off my to-read list after so long.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/31

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersProgress has slowed a little on 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, but I have finished reading through all of the female archetypes. It’s certainly been a valuable resource, giving me a lot to think about as well as some new ideas. I will likely ramp up my progress on the book soon so that I’m not taking too long getting through it. The archetypes are interesting, but I especially want to get to plotting character journeys and their differences.

SpookI’m a little over halfway through Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. I had wanted to have the book finished by now, but as it turns out scientific nonfiction isn’t as easy to digest as quickly as fiction for me. Regardless, I’m enjoying the book a lot. At first the sense of humour didn’t really work for me, but I have come to enjoy it as I’ve gotten further along. Roach’s work is quite thorough and really insightful. It’s astounding what science used to take seriously.

ShiverI’ve also been reading Shiver by Junji Ito, collecting nine of the author’s best short stories, as selected by the man himself, spanning his entire career as a manga creator. The art is harrowing as expected, while the stories themselves have a very Tales from the Crypt feeling that I’m enjoying a lot, though not as much as his longer stuff.

Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, though I’ve got a good feeling at least two of the three books above will be included here next week.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsIt’s hard to say what I’ll be getting to next. I definitely want to read Godzilla in Hell soon, which is a conceptually delightful comic book that I came across recently. The title says it all. Hopefully the actual book lives up to how in love I am with the idea. Otherwise, I’m considering starting one of the longer books I added to my physical to-read list for the year. One possibility is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve had all three books collected into one for many years, but have never touched the series. Maybe I’ll get a start on that finally, since I could put it down guilt free while I’m between “books” within the collection. We’ll see.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/24

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersI’m still slowly making my way through 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I haven’t made as much progress as I wanted to, but I really wanted to get some other things finished instead. I’m still in the midst of female archetypes, a continuously useful section. I’m finding I might have to blend elements from different models together. These archetypes are meant to be a foundation from which you build up characters, so I’m hoping mixing and matching elements that could work together won’t complicate things too much. Regardless, there’s still much for me to work out, so we’ll see.

Recently Finished

StarWarsANewDawnMere minutes before starting to write this post I finished reading A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, the Star Wars novel following Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels in their first adventure together. Maybe it was because I was pushing myself to get through it a bit too much, but I found it to be much longer than it likely needed to be. At times the drawn out, continual action felt tiresome. Despite this, I think it is one of the best of the new canon novels I have read thus far. My review will probably be up by Friday.

Reading Next

SpookAfter a lot of thought, I’ve decided my next book will by Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. It’s a book I was able to secure a copy of a few months ago after having been on my radar for a little while. It’s a nonfiction, humorous look at ghosts and life after death from a scientific perspective. I’m an atheist (secular humanist if you want to get specific), but I’ve never been able to help a fascination with the paranormal. Taking a look at the subject from this perspective was hard to resist once I’d come across it and I look forward to digging into it over the next week.