Since my Trick or Treating days are behind me, I don’t always celebrate Halloween. This year I don’t have a costume, but I did read Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. Despite the title, I didn’t find it especially spooky but it is hilarious.
The subtitle pretty much tells you what you’re in for. Mary Roach casts her skeptical eye on people (current and old-timey) who study things like reincarnation, mediums and near death experiences. The results are (spoiler!) inconclusive at best, but you probably guessed that going in. You may not have guessed that a book about the potential afterlife would be funny. But it is. (At least I thought so. Not everyone shares my sense of humour.) Some bits I laughed at:
At Medium School: “Everyone seems to be in the gift shop, so I join them. People who enjoy fairies and dolphins have a wide range of purchase options here.”
Attempting to record ghostly voices: “To me it did not sound like communications of any sort, except possibly the sort exchanged by turkeys.”
On homeopathy: “And then there is chamomile, said to cause the symptom ‘cannot be civil to the doctor.'”
I don’t, as a general rule, really care for books that are specifically humour books. But I do like books that are incidentally funny, where even if you don’t laugh, you can still read about ectoplasm and attempts to weigh the soul. (Or, you know, whatever else the book may be about.)