Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

by mary roach | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0141007451 Global Overview for this book
Registered by bigcurlyloz of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire United Kingdom on 9/7/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by bigcurlyloz from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire United Kingdom on Thursday, September 07, 2006
"What happens to your body after you have died? Fertilizer? Crash Test Dummy? Human Dumpling? Ballistics Practise? Life after death is not as simple as it looks. Mary Roach's Stiff lifts the lid off what happens to our bodies once we have died. Bold, original and with a delightful eye for detail, Roach tells us everything we wanted to know about this new frontier in medical science. Interweaving present-day explorations with a history of past attempts to study what it means to be human Stiff is a deliciously dark investigations for readers of popular science as well as fans of the macabre." - synopsis

Journal Entry 2 by bigcurlyloz from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire United Kingdom on Thursday, September 07, 2006
I only joined Bookcrossing in July and have since been amassing books at an alarming rate! I'm not going to have time to read many of them soon, so I'm offering up some of the more popular ones as rings.

notingnothing (UK - UK)
candy-is-dandy (UK - anywhere surface)
Pakasanelly (UK - anywhere)
Jalna (UK - anywhere)
oisec (Germany - Germany/surface Intl)
Tournesol73 (France - W. Europe)
Iojima (France - anywhere)
macewoman (US - US/Canada)<--- book is here
fantasy221 (US - anywhere surface)
jenptcfan (US - US/Intl if needed)
valerief (US - anywhere)
synical (Malaysia - anywhere surface)
katfysh (Australia - Australia)
deense (Australia - Intl)
sudokugirl (Bosnia-Herzegovina - Intl)
Miss-R (UK - Europe)
Jaycee1972 (UK - UK/Europe)
birmingham-rose (UK - pass on in person to)
juliako (UK - UK/anywhere)
billhookbabe (UK - anywhere)
rumble-bee (Germany - anywhere)
book-man-8 (Germany - anywhere)
Tanamo (UK - Intl)
*bookring closed - back to me*

How it works
- PM me to join and state your shipping preferences.
- When I have at least 5 people, I'll post the book to the first person.
- Please journal the book when it arrives and when you've sent it on.
- When you've read it, please PM the next person on the list for their address.
- Bear in mind other people want to read it, so don't put it at the bottom of your TBR pile (6 weeks is a reasonable timeframe imo)!
- The last person on the list is to send it back to me :-)

When I have enough participants I'll sort the order to suit as many people's postage preferences as possible.

Journal Entry 3 by bigcurlyloz from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Ok I lied, I decided to read this before sending it out and it certainly kept me and lwpallett entertained driving from the south to Scotland and back. She has a very entertaining style of writing and sometimes I just couldn't help myself crying with laughter at the most horrific things!

I guarantee you'll all enjoy this.

Posting today.

Journal Entry 4 by notingnothing from Sidcup, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, October 06, 2006
Arrived today, thank you. Am really looking forward to this. Am fascinated by the macabre -- and to read the author has entertaining writing style is even better :)

Journal Entry 5 by notingnothing from Sidcup, Kent United Kingdom on Saturday, December 23, 2006
Eeeps! Hadn't realised I had had this quite so long - sorry for holding the ring up. This was interesting read, learnt a lot. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Have PMd candy-is-dandy for an address and will post on after Christmas.


Got candy-is-dandy's address now, so will post this tomorrow. Enjoy :)

Journal Entry 7 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Friday, January 12, 2007
I'm looking forward to reading this - macabre I know but... I should think its fascinating.

Journal Entry 8 by wingBookAmblerwing from Isle of Lewis, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 04, 2007
OK, there's Good News and Bad News!

The Good News is that I finally managed to wrestle this book off Candy-is-Dandy, and will have it cracked in a week or so.

The Bad News is that I have to give it back as she still wants to read it ...

Journal Entry 9 by wingBookAmblerwing from Isle of Lewis, Scotland United Kingdom on Friday, April 13, 2007
This book is right up my street! Love the science, adore the humour, appreciate the research which went into it… Thanks for sharing BigCurlyLoz!

I’m not particularly squeamish but did squirm in my chair during the chapter called ‘Holy Cadaver’ and the one following, ‘How to Know if You’re Dead’.

I would have given it 10 stars but felt that Roach went off the boil a little in the last few chapters.

If you enjoyed this book then I highly recommend In The Heart of the Sea: The Epic True Story That Inspired "Moby Dick" by Nathaniel Philbrick. (Saves you reading Moby Dick, for starters - I’ve heard it’s hard going!) Doesn’t have the humour element which Roach uses so effectively. But the rise of the whaling industry is covered well and science of being shipwrecked (including starvation cannibalism) is explored thoroughly.

I’m seeing Candy-is-Dandy tomorrow and will be interrogating her about the extent of her bookring TBR pile before I hand it over to her!

Journal Entry 10 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 08, 2007
A very interesting read. Lucky I'm not too squeamish though I'm sure it helped there were no photos or pictures to make it all a bit too explicit. I found most of this really interesting though some experiments undertaken on the human body in the past seem rather too gruesome.

Thanks for sharing bigcurlyloz.

Posted to Jalna 10 May.

Journal Entry 11 by jalna from Wrexham, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, May 11, 2007
This book arrived with me this morning. The book I am currently reading is quite thick and will take me a while, so I will set it aside and start this one so I do not hold it up too long. (Not to mention the other Ring book which I know is on its way to me!)

I'm desperately squeamish "in real life" but have no qualms about reading gruesome stuff and this books looks as though it will be most interesting and informative.

Journal Entry 12 by jalna from Wrexham, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I dithered over whether to give it a 7 because 6 seemed a bit mean, but I decided I must be strict with myself over my scoring system! Six still means I liked the book. It was extremely interesting and I do hope it might have a positive effect on people who are doubtful about organ donation or even cremation. I must confess though, I thought some of the experimental procedures - head transplants, for example - were a step too far.

I've contacted Oisec and will be posting the book on as soon as I have her address.

Journal Entry 13 by BPO-303097 on Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The book just arrived and I have one more ahead of it. Should get to it soon - and can hardly wait!

update August 31:
I finally finished this wonderful book! It was really interesting to read it, though I had some problems from time to time. It was definitely nothing like my usual reads!

update Spetember 1:
I already mailed the next person for their address.

Journal Entry 14 by BC0807232647 on Sunday, October 14, 2007
Received yesterday. Will start reading it as soon as possible!

Edit 3 November:
Very interesting read, both about the past and the present. Some details were a bit disgusting but the accounts were really funny. Food for thought also about organ donation and cremation.

Journal Entry 15 by Iojima from Nyons, Rhône-Alpes France on Thursday, November 08, 2007
Arrived today and is next in the queue. Thank you.

Journal Entry 16 by Iojima from Nyons, Rhône-Alpes France on Monday, November 12, 2007
I thought I would enjoy this more. I find forensics interesting and I like narrative non-fiction. Much of it was very interesting, but I found Roach too intrusive and too flip. I suspect that she took this attitude to reassure readers who aren't sure of the subject, but for me it was over the top. Still, I learned a few things and am glad to have had the chance to read this. Thank you, bigcurlyloz.
Next,to macewoman.

Journal Entry 17 by macewoman from Winston Salem, North Carolina USA on Monday, December 03, 2007
Arrived today and I'm excited to get started. I'm a big science geek, so I'm sure I'll find it interesting. Thanks for including me in the ring and to everyone for passing it on. I'm reading a ring book now, so it shouldn't spend too much time waiting.
Iojima - I love the Mucha postcard!

Journal Entry 18 by macewoman from Winston Salem, North Carolina USA on Saturday, December 22, 2007
Death is not a subject I prefer to dwell on, but Roach approaches it with a matter-of-fact air. Her rather morbid sense of humor had me chuckling more than once, but I can see how it wouldn't go over so well with everyone. While the historical information was interesting, the recent uses involving cadavers were amazing. I didn't realize how much cadavers were still used in research today.
SPOILERs: The restriction on the military using cadavers, but not animals was shocking. Not real sure why it is better to use a live animal than a dead body to test munitions.
The cannibalism section absolutely grossed me out. It is my "YUCK" button. I managed to get through it, but it was close on more than one occasion.
The different processes being developed to give people an alternative to the traditional casket and cemetery were a surprise. I'm planning on cremation, but I'll be watching what happens with the "water reduction" and the Swedish "organic composting" methods.

Thanks bigcurlyoz for sharing this book. fantasy221 found another copy and asked to be skipped. I have jenptcfan's address and this will go out in today's mail. (DC 420720349102805213907486233201)

Journal Entry 19 by jenptcfan from Mechanicsville, Virginia USA on Thursday, December 27, 2007
This book made it safe and sound!

I'm about 1/2 way through my current read, but it shouldn't take me long to finish that one and start on this one. I will post an update when I've finished this.

Thanks for sending this along!

Journal Entry 20 by jenptcfan from Mechanicsville, Virginia USA on Sunday, January 06, 2008
I thought this was very entertaining (am I allowed to say that about this kind of book?) and educational. As an added bonus, my boyfriend actually picked this up and read it any time I put it down. He laughed all the way through it.

Here's one of the parts that I thought was particularly amusing:

The gelatin sits on the table, soaking up the sunshine, basking beneath the calm, blue Tennessee skies--tra la la, life is gay, it's good to be a gelatin block, I...BLAM! --page 141

I've contacted the next participant and will send this out as soon as I get an address. I'll change the status to traveling and will edit this with delivery confirmation info. when I've mailed it.

Thanks for sharing!

ETA: I ran across this article on about "green" burial options today.

Journal Entry 21 by jenptcfan from Mechanicsville, Virginia USA on Thursday, January 10, 2008
Sent to Valerief today with a delivery confirmation number of 03061070000090307123.


Label/Receipt Number: 0306 1070 0000 9030 7123
Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2008 in FOREST HILLS, NY 11375.

Journal Entry 22 by valerief from Jackson Heights, New York USA on Thursday, February 14, 2008
This has been waiting for me. I have a couple rings and rays ahead of it but will mail it international first class once finished.

Released 11 yrs ago (3/26/2008 UTC) at By Mail in sent to the next bookcrosser, Bookring -- Controlled Releases


As gory and morbid as the subject matter is, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Roach's writing style is light yet gives the subject matter enough respect. The only chapter that really turned my stomach concerns cannibalism and other human-derived remedies. I will never look at Shanghai dumplings the same way, as much as I love them. My mother wants to read this as well, but I will obtain a separate copy for her birthday rather than hold up the ring.


Off to katfysh in Oz. I will send either to Sydney via interoffice mail to be posted locally or from New York via international first class, depending on if my coworker is in the office. [Synical asked to be skipped]

Journal Entry 24 by katfysh from Penrith, New South Wales Australia on Monday, April 21, 2008
Forgot to update that this book had arrived! Already reading, very interesting so far :)

Journal Entry 25 by Jaycee1972 at Alfreton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 03, 2010
Received yesterday from Australia and had completely forgotten signing up to it as it is such a long time ago. Looks fascinating and have started it already!

Journal Entry 26 by Jaycee1972 at Belper, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Thursday, May 14, 2015
Read this ages ago but it has been sat on my bookshelves. Sorry about that. it was a fascinating if macabre book! Thank you for sharing.

Off now to check if the other members of the book ring are active so that I can pass this on.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.