June 21, 2004
Yesterday at Borders, I got completely absorbed reading "Stiff," by Mary Roach. I happened to open it up in the middle, which is how I always judge books in bookstores. Apparently, a lot of people (most people?) start reading at page 1, but I figure the author has too much incentive to put good material on the first page. I want to see a more representative part of the book, so I open it up at random. Usually, I open in a few different places, and if they all seem interesting, I'll buy the book. I opened up "Stiff"--which is a book about cadavers, as you can tell from the cover--to a chapter called "Eat Me"--which, as you can imagine, is about cannibalism--and read about a little medicinal concoction called "mellified man." Well, that may have been the most amazing thing I've ever read about, and the author writes quite entertainingly about the subject. Really, just as an exercise in writing, this book is a marvel: how did Roach make so many things about dead bodies so interesting and so much fun? So, go pick up this book and read the part about mellified man or anything else. I'd try to say what mellified man is, but I can't put it as well as Roach. Let's just say it involves a lot of honey and 100 years.