Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mission Accomplished

I went to the book signing last night and managed to get a good seat.  I've been to a few book signing events and this one was definitely one of the better ones, not a little bit due to the fact that there is just so much cool stuff in the book to be discussed.

I forgot to bring my copy of Packing for Mars but I brought two others and she happily signed all three.
Notice the mistake in the last one.  It's kind of weird but that made my day!  She was super nice about it and had a great sense of humor (could you really expect anything else?) too and I sure didn't mind.  I guess what makes it truly special for me is the unique and personalized quality to the message (how many people will get books signed complete with editorial marks and the word "duh" included?

It was her first signing event for the new book so that was cool but I kind of wish I could have gone to tonight's at the Mutter Museum (I think) which will involve the curator bringing related specimens.


Well, if I can't go, at least I can close this posting with a picture of a megacolon on display at the museum (photo from


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

scurrying to see Mary Roach

Mary Roach, one of my all-time favorite nonfiction authors (hell, one of my all-time favorite authors period) is reading from her new book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal tonight at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square.

With the exception of Spook (which I do plan to read), I have read all her previous books and loved each.  Her topics of choice are the sort that can't help but stir the imagination - corpses, space, sex, ghosts - and she has previously stated (I'm paraphrasing) that she has the interests of a 14 year old boy.  Give that, this book seems a bit of an oddity for her.  I'd imagine that a book devoted to the digestive tract is a hard sell for most of the public, but maybe I'm wrong.  I can see how it relates to the 14 year old boy mindset (digestion = poop) but I'm not sure if a. that will occur to many would-be readers or b. that will be the very thing that keeps some from reading it. 

I'm thinking/hoping that her growing popularity is enough to push the public to buy the book.  That in itself is huge.  For myself as a biologist and as an aspiring science writer, the ability to get people interested in topics generally ignored/actively avoided is a major goal.  Beyond that, I am in awe of Ms. Roach for her seemingly fearless approach to all subjects she writes about (in Bonk she doesn't just write about sex research - she participates in it).  I'm not sure how far I will find myself going in pursuit of answers to my questions but starting a blog - available to the public - is a tiny start for me.