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Spook Audiobook

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

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Publisher's 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 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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (954 )
5 star
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3.7 (763 )
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3.6 (762 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Manning Tacoma, WA United States 02-20-10
    M. Manning Tacoma, WA United States 02-20-10 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    22
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    "Ugh. OK book, but WORST. NARRATOR. EVER."

    Like other reviewers, I have never written a review until this one, feeling compelled to warn others away from the audiobook presentation here.

    The narrator reads in a ridiculous, campy, over-dramatic style, as if reading to pre-teens about Ramona Quimby or Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

    When ending a paragraph where the author is dubious, I was almost expecting some sort of "wah wah waaaaaaaaah" sound effect to accompany my mental 'quick tight-zoom facial expression' akin to something seen on Laugh-In.

    The narrator hams it up with teeth-gnashingly atrocious Indian accents (when speaking for Indians the author encounters along her journey) and completely TERRIBLE interpretation of the book and subject matter, I wish I could have my credit back.

    I would much rather have read this in print. STAY AWAY from this audiobook presentation. TRUST ME. It is really REALLY bad.

    If you want to hear someone tell an amazing story and do accents the right way, try David Sedaris.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren E. Dillon Baltimore MD 07-18-13
    Lauren E. Dillon Baltimore MD 07-18-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    19
    5
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    "Narrator Ruins Book"
    Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Bernadette Quigley?

    I love Mary Roach. I hate this snarky, superior, judgmental narrator. She absolutely ruined this book for me.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Bernadette Quigley’s performances?

    NO!


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 07-19-08
    Lloyd Ithaca, NY, USA 07-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
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    "so bad even the Grim Reaper wouldn't take it"

    This might have been the worst purchase I have made yet from Audible. I'd give it negative stars if that were possible. I still like the idea of the book and maybe it would have been a better "read" in print - perhaps it just didn't translate well into the spoken format. The horrendous narrator didn't help either (is there anything more annoying that an American trying to fake an India accent?). I'd love to ask for my credit back, but it died like everything else associated with this horrendioma. Save your credit, save your ears, save yourself and don't buy this audiobook.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 05-10-10
    brenty United States 05-10-10 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    293
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    68
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    ""Meh," indeed."

    This book was mildly interesting. The narrator seemed to be making a great effort to sound "ironic" or something. That was grating at times, but for the most part this wasn't a bad book at all. Not bad, but not good either.

    Also, it seemed as though the first half was devoted almost exclusively to reincarnation, which wasn't quite what I expected. Oddly enough, that was probably the best part.

    I really enjoyed Bonk, though, so I'll likely give Stiff a chance still.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-30-12
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    75
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    "As Always From Mary Roach, Amazing"

    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!

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zuzana 11-14-17
    Zuzana 11-14-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
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    "The narrator killed this book for me..."

    The phony British accent and just god awful narration. Couldn’t even finish the book. Will probably read the book instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jcchurch4 10-17-17
    jcchurch4 10-17-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
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    "Good- was sad when the book was over"

    Great book. It was nice to hear the different avenues science and society has taken to investigate life after death.
    However, if you’re looking for a solid “yes or no”, this book is not for you.
    The only thing I didn’t like was how the part on reincarnation was performed. It was a bit cringey to listen to the narrator attempt an Indian accent. I didn’t really think it was necessary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    leslie 08-29-17
    leslie 08-29-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Narrator painful"

    Couldn't finish because the narrator was so painful to listen to. A very dramatic annoying voice

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    VelvetLedbetter 07-30-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
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    "HORRIBLE attempts at accents"

    This audio book is just about unlistenable. The performer's attempts at accents are awful and distracting. I'm three hours in and I will try to power through, but I may just need to read this book to finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor C. Anderson Virginia 04-25-17
    Victor C. Anderson Virginia 04-25-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    18
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    "Concur With Others... Narration Ruined The Book"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I love Mary Roach's writing, but I could not wait for this book to end.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The end.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Bernadette Quigley’s performances?

    Not a chance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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