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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule


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I have not read this one, but I sold it an awful lot when I worked in a bookstore. One piece of narrative non-fiction I liked was "Nine Parts of Desire: the Hidden World of Islamic Women," by Geraldine Brooks.

I've always wanted to read her fiction, particularly Year of Wonders, but never got around to it yet.

Oh! And these three books by Mary Roach: "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers," "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife," and "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex."

I also quite liked the Bill Bryson I've read, but I liked his "A Short History of Nearly Everything" best.

The one I REALLY want to read, have wanted to read for ages, is one that's right by my bed currently, called "The World Without Us."

My father also recommended "The Ghost Map," about a cholera outbreak in London. When I last spoke to him, he was very into the audiobook of "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York."

Not that you needed anything more to read. :)

I loved the Mary Roach books I read (Stiff and Bonk). I'm waiting for the library to bring me Packing For Mars, about issues of living in space over the longer term.

Another piece about living in space is almost impossible to find - a reprint from the New Yorker about Space Lab that ran across three issues. Although it should be available in their new digital archive of everything.

I've loved all the Mary Roach books I've read, and I think that Packing for Mars is her best yet. All of her discussion about the complexities and chaos and hilarity and bureaucracy of the research did more to sell me on the space program than a dozen "But...space!!" conversations with enthusiast friends. Also: funny.

...I'm suddenly reminded it's been ages since I reread Spook.

Agreed. Mary Roach is a writer who handles interesting subjects and usually quite hilariously.

"The Ghost Map" and "The Poisoner's Handbook" are both fabulous. As are all of Mary Roach's books. Sort of in the same vein, I loved "The Disappearing Spoon" by Sam Kean which is about the periodic table. It went very well with "The Poisoner's Handbook".

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