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. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves' heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of "ectoplasm" in a Cambridge University archive.
©2005 Mary Roach; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio
Jeez! I avoided this book for years, frightened away by the moans and groans over Bernadette Quigley's reading. Yes, it is a bit odd. But it's not bad. Indeed, it's rather sweet. And heck, her accents are no worse than mine. Indeed, they're better. All my accents sound the same. And anyway, Mary Roach is always -- always! -- worthwhile. The woman is a national treasure. I can't wait to see what's next...
I love Mary Roach. I hate this snarky, superior, judgmental narrator. She absolutely ruined this book for me.
Although the narrator of this book is phenomenal, and generally pleasant, she managed to make the tone of this book rather intentionally or unintentionally, patronising, and therefore amusing. I doubt the author had intended to take mockery this far. The professed content is intriguing, but execution left something to be desired. This is not a history book, but rather, a highly investigative journalistic in style. I give it three stars because although I am entertained and amused, the content and the structure definitely left something to be desired.
I will avoid any other books read by Quigley. She does terrible accents for the characters in the book that are neither necessary nor well done, and more than once sound borderline racist.
I thought I was just being snobby when I stopped listening to this book after an hour. I could not stand the narrator. Audible, please, don't ever use her again. She literally ruined this book. Like many others here, I will read this book in print. There's no way I could listen to another hour of this narration.
Any of Mary Roach's books
I didn't realize the narrator was not the author until after I finished the book. She very convincingly made the words her own.
No. Sometimes the chapters felt fluffed, with a lot of information that was not necessary.
I did enjoy the book and the narrator, but I liked it less than some of Mary Roach's other books.
I LIKE BOOK TALKY TALK
REALLY RATHER INTERESTING
MARY ROACH BE A FUNNY LADY
I RATHER ENJOYED ALL OF HER VOICES, ALL WERE UNIQUE AND INSPIRED. MARY BEING THE MAIN CHARACTER OF COURSE ENDED UP BEING MY FAVORITE..
NO NOT REALLY
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. I LOVE ME SOME MARY ROOOOACH
A decent narrator that doesn't engage in cheesy dramatics (and terrible, unneeded accents). I could not finish the book as the awful reading was too distracting. It actually made me cringe, partly because it was bad and partly out of embarrassment for the narrator. She reads the book like a high school girl engaging in empty gossip.
No, but I will check that this narrator is not the reader for anything else I buy. I wish I had listened to a sample beforehand.
Whoever was the narrator for Roach's previous book, Stiff.
I don't know, because I couldn't get through the book due to the terrible narrator.
I wish I had checked who the narrator was and listened to a sample before I purchased the book. I may check the book out of the library in print to finish it.
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
I am working my way through everything Mrs. Roach has written and without exception her work is incredible. Here she approaches the afterlife (reincarnation, out of body experiences, psychics, mediums) with a sense of profound wonder and scientific curiosity. What separates her writing on the subject is her open minded approach to the subject matter. She is never callous and never cynical; she genuinely wants to know what's out there after death. On top of the scope of this book and its intrigue, there is her wonderful sense of humor which keeps the topic of death very light and fun.
First she follows a scientist who researches reincarnation in India, then she's off to history where serious scholars debated when the soul enters the body, then she's on to psychics and ectoplasm and how such acts were faked. Near the end she visits operating rooms, trying to understand out of body experiences. With each encounter she exams the evidence, and the lack thereof, and tries to draw reasonable conclusions. Naturally, there is no way she can prove anything. This book is about the journey. And what a journey.
Of particular interest is the time she enrolls in a British course that promises to teach her how to become a medium to the spiritual world. After that she goes back to America and tape records the site of the Donnor Party's disaster with several devices and listens to the static, trying to pick up voices. It's funny and wonderful to hear about these experiences.
And standing out here is the narrator. She is passionate and enthused about the material and brings her own sense of comedy to the proceedings. Really, Bernadette Quigley is a gem!
Get this book. Now. Right now. Why are you still reading? But be warned, you will end up spending all your future credits on the rest of Mary Roach's books (Stiff, Bonk, and Packing For Mars) and enjoying yourself the whole way!
It's science and history told in an engaging fashion
The stories about ectoplasm were a hoot.
She has a great and subtle range of emotions
It made me curious for more. I found myself browsing the internet many times.
She makes science and history fun.
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