Have you ever wondered what happens to us when we die? Is there really a life after death, and what would it look like? I picked up this book expecting a thoroughly serious, scientific look at the afterlife, but what kept me reading until the last page was the hilarity that Mary Roach brings to her quest. I rarely laugh out loud while reading and this book kept me in stitches up to the very end, the funniest parts being her footnotes which often poke fun at the obviously foolish experiments of scientists throughout time. Starting from a beginner's point of view, Mary investigates everything from reincarnation, to ectoplasm and mediums, to electromagnetic fields and white-light, near death experiences. She also adds her own observations of "bovine fascination," possessed spell-checkers, "Spirit Table Lifting" medium mechanisms, and her new graveyard friend Flossie Gobble. Under all the humor, I did find fascinating facts which led me, and Mary, to wonder if there is a way to prove life after death. Spook is reminiscent of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, which also enlightened me in varying degrees to the odd-ball personalities of scientists and experiments through the ages.
Recommended by Allison Holbrook