Friday, June 26, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: June 2015

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Author: Mary Roach
via Amazon
My Wife's first book swap choice of the summer for me was Bonk, Mary Roach's survey of sex research.  Just as The Omnivore's Dilemma inspires an assessment of one's relationship with food, Bonk inspires a re-examination of one's sexual being.  Am I going to share that assessment with you as I did with the other?  Well, no, I'm not that kind of blog (I can hear your collective sigh of relief).  Suffice to say, the book did leave me feeling grateful for my own lot in life and gave me plenty of reason to hope for continued health in the future.

I wouldn't consider myself particularly prudish.  In fact, I am of the opinion that people should be able to talk about sex openly and respectfully.  I don't mean the locker room talk.  That's about ego gratification.  I simply mean that we shouldn't all be so embarrassed by the idea that sex is a significant element of human life.  Learning more about it and being able to discuss it frankly with the important people in our lives is both healthy and responsible.  I wouldn't say I'm always able to do that but I think it's a worthy goal as a society.  As such, I think Mary Roach and the scientists she studied are to be commended for their contributions.

That is not to say the book didn't make me squeamish from time to time.  For me, the discomfort had more to do with surgery than with sex.  I'm okay with discussing body parts unless you're talking about cutting them open.  Yick!  There are plenty of leg crossing moments for both ends of the gender spectrum.  I was tempted to skip a few particularly cringe-worthy passages but I soldiered on.  Even with the occasional wince, I think I'd be up for more from Roach.

Be forewarned, the book is very funny.  I would not be comfortable reading Bonk on an airplane - less for the subject matter than for my own incessant chortling.  Roach's commitment to the project is total, even offering herself and her husband as study subjects.  Her sense of humor about both sex and herself make for a highly engaging read.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post July's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is July 31st.


20 comments:

  1. That sounds interesting.
    But I'm with you on the surgery parts. I'm not even good with needles (when they're pulling stuff out (I'm okay with basic shots)).

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    1. I'm with you on the needles. On the bright side, it's kept me well clear of heroin.

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  2. Well, this might could be a nonfiction book I'd pick up! It sounds fun, and informative. I'm, to my kids' mortification, that mom who actually TAUGHT her kids about sex ed. For real. Cracked open my Human Physiology texts for the full color illustrations and everything. But, really, there should be nothing in our way regarding frank and honest discussions of sex and sexual health. When I learned my eldest's "sex ed" at school was all abstinence-based we had many discussions about protection. I even asked his physician for the HPV vaccine before they started freely offering it to boys.
    Thanks for recommending this!
    Veronica

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    1. I thought I might intrigue you with this one, Veronica! Unfortunately, the town where I teach is not very responsible when it comes to sex ed. The town where we live does better. But as you suggest, there needs to be an open line of discussion at home, too.

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  3. It sounds a great book to have on hand for growing families. I came from a 'don't discuss things' family to a an open discuss (almost) everything second husband and family - quite a shock to this stiff upper lipped English girl but much more enlightening and less frightening.

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    1. Interestingly, Sally much of my own experience in the matter derives from dating two very different British women, my last two significant relationships before I met my wife. But I'll save all of that for the trashy novel.

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  4. Ouch. It sounds like a tough book to read, but fascinating. There's been a lot of incredible work in the field over the years. That title is my new favorite too.

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    1. Roach specializes in punchy one-word titles.

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  5. Years ago I was in the hospital waiting with a large group of people for our out-patient surgeries. I was reading a book by Garrison Keillor with Lake Woebegone stories. I laughed so hard that everyone stared at me. The crazy lady is hysterical because she's having surgery! Willy Dunne Wooters and I talk openly about sex when we are alone, together, and no way, no how can anyone hear.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. The hardest for me along those lines is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even in rereads, I giggle like an idiot the whole way through.

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  6. This sounds like an excellent book and the fact that it's funny, too is a huge plus. Another book for the wish list, methinks.

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    1. I'd be delighted to know what you think of it.

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  7. I don't like reading about surgeries, but I do like humorous books. I'll put this on my wish list.

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  8. I heard an interview with Mary Roach when she was doing press for her latest book about the digestive system. She really gets into the stuff she writes about, and it's fun to hear from someone who is so passionate about whatever subject she's researching at the moment.

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    1. She's genuinely obsessive, her own best character.

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  9. Sounds like an intriguing read - if wince-inducing at times as you say!

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  10. hahahahahhaahahahaha. interesting !

    cheers, parsnip

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