Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Author Information: Journalist and former Salon.com columnist Mary Roach
has written for Outside, GQ, Vogue, and The New York Times Magazine. She
writes the humor column "My Planet" in Reader's Digest and is a contributing
editor for the science magazine Discover. She lives in San Francisco with her
1. Before you read "Stiff," were you aware of the ways human remains had been
used in science and research?
2. In the introduction, Mary Roach writes about her mother's death, noting that
"One's own dead are more than cadavers, they are place holders for the living . .
. the dead of science are always strangers." Do you agree with her?
3. Each religion and culture has its own approach to death and the human
cadaver. How does your tradition approach these issues?
4. Roach discusses many ways that human remains have been used: automobile
crash tests, medical and military research, etc. Can you see the value in this kind
5. Did you find any parts of the book difficult to read because of the subject
Roach was discussing, or the details she provided?
6. Have you ever considered donating your body to science? Has this book
changed your mind about your choice?