recent media consumption

    This is a film noir set in a present-day high school. It has the traditional banter, character types, and plot-style, but doesn't ape the visual look. The surprising thing is that it almost always works. There's only one scene where it seems forced, and that scene is really funny, so it's forgiven. Definitely worth seeing.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore:

    Moore has not written a less-than-hilarious book yet. This is the story of a guy who discovers that he's a grim reaper, so comparisons with Dead Like Me aren't far off. It's very silly, and very awesome. It also includes some returning characters from both Bloodsucking Fiends and Coyote Blue.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach:

    This is a book about what happens to dead bodies: how decay, embalming, cremation, organ donation, crash testing, medical training, and all sorts of gross things work. It's really interesting, and written in a very non-clinical personal style (e.g., "they asked if I wanted to watch, and I didn't, but I said yes anyway.") You can -- and should -- read part of the first chapter here: A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste.

    My new favorite piece of trivia: it turns out that hearts work just fine without brains attached. During a heart transplant, with a corpse on life support to keep everything warm, after completely disconnecting the heart from the body, the heart keeps beating for like ten minutes. And they really go: they're not cute little gently pulsating blobs, they really thrash around, which means that it's not uncommon for them to get away. And when that happens, they pick 'em up off the floor, wash 'em off, and install them anyway.

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8 Responses:

  1. buntz says:

    actually read stiff for a class on death + dying. the morbid humor of it was magnified by the fact that we were going to discuss it later on.

  2. vanbeast says:

    I thought Stiff was a great book, but I strugged with Mary Roach's writing. I can't quite articulate it but it sometimes felt condescending and other times just too... mass market. Like she would dumb things down so more people would get it. It annoyed me and will likely keep me from reading her other books, though the subject matter seems interesting.

  3. In Brick, are you talking about the scene where the kingpin's mother is serving milk and cookies? I thought that was a well-done example of breaking the fourth wall.

    I also liked when the kingpin asked if the protagonist had ever read Tolkien.

  4. g_na says:

    I loved Stiff. I thought it was the right combination of facts and funny, while still appealing to the morbid streak inside of me.

    Have you read Christopher Moore's Biff... yet? I recently finished it and I like his writing style, but I had trouble getting past my own prejudices against religion and couldn't thoroughly enjoy the book.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, I really liked Biff too -- I've read all of his books and loved them all. I guess I didn't think of it as a "religious" book; sure, Jesus is in it, but he also writes about vampires and genies and talking dolphins, and those are all basically the same thing.

  5. whittles says:

    I need to add another hooray for stiff. I read it while I was TAing an advanced anatomy class at school and I got to share all kinds of those fun useless anecdotes in class, much to people's horror and amusement.
    Much fun was had by all.

  6. myth says:

    I loved Brick! I saw it twice in two days. Which scene seemed forced to you? I'm guessing maybe the scene in the VP office with Shaft?

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, the VP office scene. That broke suspension of disbelief for me, but like I said, it made up for that with being hilarious.