My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places Paperback – 4 Apr 2013
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From acclaimed, "New York Times" best-selling author Mary Roach comes the complete collection of her "My Planet" articles published in "Reader's Digest." She was a hit columnist in the magazine, and this book features the articles she wrote in that time. Insightful and hilarious, Mary explores the ins and outs of the modern world: marriage, friends, family, food, technology, customer service, dental floss, and ants--she leaves no element of the American experience unchecked for its inherent paradoxes, pleasures, and foibles. On Cleanliness: Ed has crud vision, and I don't. I don't notice filth. Ed sees it everywhere. I am reasonably convinced that Ed can actually see bacteria. . . . He confessed he didn't like me using his bathrobe because I'd wear it while sitting on the toilet. "It's not like it goes in the water," I protested, though if you counted the sash as part of the robe, this wasn't strictly true. On the Internet: The Internet is a boon for hypochondriacs like me. Right now, for instance, I'm feeling a shooting pain on the side of my neck. A Web search produces five matches, the first three for a condition called Arnold-Chiari Malformation. While my husband, Ed, reads over my shoulder, I recite symptoms from the list. "'General clumsiness' and 'general imbalance, '" I say, as though announcing arrivals at the Marine Corps Ball. "'Difficulty driving, ' 'lack of taste, ' 'difficulty feeling feet on ground.'" "Those aren't symptoms," says Ed. "Those are your character flaws." On Fashion: My husband recently made me try on a bikini. A bikini is not so much a garment as a cloth-based reminder that your parts have been migrating all these years. My waist, I realized that day in the dressing room, has completely disappeared beneath my rib cage, which now rests directly on my hips. I'm exhibiting continental drift in reverse. On Eating Healthy: So Ed and I were eating a lot of vegetables. Vegetables on pasta, vegetables on rice. This was extremely healthy,
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Top Customer Reviews
Mary Roach's forays into popular science (with an emphasis on the human body and physiology) ‒ Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Sex and Science, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science Of Life In Space ‒ have proven to me at least that she's a national treasure. For readers of these books, the author strives to be informative, but from a viewpoint which demonstrates that she doesn't take things too seriously; there's always that sideways look with a cocked eyebrow.
MY PLANET is a collection of sixty of her essays that originally appeared in Reader's Digest and in which she provides humorous commentary on everyday things and circumstances encountered by her in her world. As such, they may remind one of Andy Rooney's musings, both in his books and on "60 Minutes", though so far Mary hasn't demonstrated Rooney's curmudgeonly side. I like Mary's take on life's absurdities so much better.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In her Reader's Digest column, My Planet, her only goal is to be amusing, not informative. I used to laugh out loud at Dave Barry, Bill Bryson, and later at David Sedaris and Laurie Notaro. Lately, although I still read all my favorites, I find myself chuckling quietly or grinning in agreement, but rarely laughing out loud. I figured that's what happens when you get old and cynical. But Mary Roach's columns had me sputtering and reading bits out loud to my husband. He laughed too.
Not every column hits the mark. A few appear to have been written for a looming deadline and draw on overdone topics like getting lost in a voice mail maze or trying to interpret the menu of a snooty restaurant. But many of the pieces are very funny, especially the ones that include her husband, Ed. I read the book about a month ago and looked at it again today to refresh my memory. I laughed again at the same lines in addition to some new ones.
Some of my favorites in this volume (and I do hope there will be more humor columns from Roach soon) are Night Light Fight, Taking Its Toll, and And There's the Rub.
(Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy.)
In "Meet the Parents" I found myself laughing along, thinking of past visits and sleepovers with family. In "Soap Opera" she mentions a professor from Wartburg College, my niece's alma mater, and reminded me of those early stages of dating my husband. In "Best Cheap Fun" Roach has given me a new list of items to do with our kids this summer...LOL. After reading "RV There Yet?", I'm seriously reconsidering our plan to rent an RV and drive across the country with our children. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. These essays are a delight to read.
This book can be read all at once or you could read a few stories before you drift off to sleep. Each one will leave you smiling and nodding your head in agreement to her descriptions of family life. No matter what your age, you will be able to identify with something in the book and realize that your family life isn't so crazy after all. This book features Roach's wit, humor, and honesty in a delightful package of essays.
If you were hoping for a funny but in-depth informative take on an interesting subject - like her books Gulp, Bonk, Spook, or Stiff - THIS ISN'T IT. This is a collection of mini humor essays written for Reader's Digest - shallow subject matter, no funny footnotes, nothing new to learn. Roach is a great writer, so these mini essays are still amusing, but I'd still recommend passing on this.