Mary spoke last night at the California Academy of Sciences. A Bay Area resident, it was her third time speaking there (they even hosted the release of her last book, Packing For Mars), but it was my first time seeing her speak. And now I’m hooked on Roach!
Her books are both informative and funny with many extremely quotable parts and stories to tell both at the water cooler and when you’re at a club with friends. But I wasn’t prepared for the level of humor and lovely personality Mary has inperson.
Watching her before she came to the podium, she was obviously nervous and flipping through her book, marking a some pages. I was expecting a typical author event where he/she spends the majority of the time reading passages, but Mary spent most of the time relaying stories not in her books and in conversation with the audience. She calls herself the “bottom-feeder of science writing.” I’d debate that because she writes about fascinating topics, but she definitely is a different caliber of writer – especially when it comes to science writing.
If you can, I highly recommend going to hear her speak. If you can’t, check her out on a recent episode of WHYY’s Fresh Air or live today on KQED’s Forum (usually available in podcast after the show).
Then pick-up a copy of Gulp and find yourself as interested and amused as you may be disgusted. Our bodies are amazing and, as Mary urged in her talk, we need to take more awe and respect for our insides as we do for what’s outside.